Kim Jones, Simone Rocha, Jeremy Pope, and more Document No. 16 contributors share required reading for future generations

Judy Chicago, Duane Michals, and others share the literature that has changed their lives. Document No. 16 contributors shared their required reading for future generations.

Charles Renfro Sapiens by Yuval Harari
“If we don’t survive as a species, you can thank Harari for helping you understand why.”

Chelsea G. Summers King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes
Part sex work memoir, part feminist manifesto, Virginie Despentes’s King Kong Theory is psychic balm for anyone who has ever thought they were too much, too little, too big, too noisy, too fucked up, too old, too pretty, or too unruly; it’s 160 cranium-smashing pages of punk perfection.

Lucia Pieroni The Power of Now by Eckharte Tolle
“With all of us being forced to live in the moment, this book’s powerful message of how to live a healthier, happier, mindful life is, if anything, more relevant today than when it was first published 20 years ago.”

Judy Chicago Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks
“I chose this book because I believe it should be essential reading for all people—both men and women—who are interested in building a more equitable and just society.”

Stuart Murdoch The New Eight Steps To Happiness by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
“I recommend this book with the caveat that it should be accompanied by classes taught by a friendly and qualified Bhuddist teacher who can explain some of the concepts and answer your questions at the end. Happiness is an underrated entity in current public education!”

Nina Burleigh Selected Poems by Robert Frost
“The pastoral images and wonderful cadence of the language will keep alive the memory of the beauty of the American countryside, all its flora and fauna and the good people who once inhabited it.”

Simone Rocha Understanding a Photograph by John Berger
“This book is an insight to intimacy, history, and human nature through literacy and imagery.”

Camille Summers-Valli The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants by Martín Prechtel
The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants by Martín Prechtel is an ecological fable that digs deep into the truth that we are so inherently connected to nature.”

Kim Jones Orlando by Virginia Woolf
“One book I go back to time and again is Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I love it so much, I have multiple copies, including Vitas’s, who she wrote it about, along with her sister’s, Vanessa Bell, which is inscribed “from her sister and slave,” and her friend Noel Coward’s copy.”

John Jennings Dark Matter edited by Sheree Renée Thomas
Dark Matter edited by Sheree Renée Thomas brings together some of the most amazing speculative stories written by African Americans over the last century. It’s extremely empowering to see the black radical imagination writing the future into existence.”

Earl Cave American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis
“The novel begins with ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ scrawled on the side of a bank, which is essentially what you do when you read this book. Reading this novel, driving through the Winton Wetlands with the cast of the Kelly Gang is a time I’ll always remember.”

Markn Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
“A story about a family with a genetic mutation. The protagonist’s transformation makes him suited, intellectually and emotionally, to tell other tales of metamorphosis, be they national, racial, or historical. It’s about curiosity and understanding—two qualities that help us to have greater empathy toward others.”

Duane Michals Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
“Joyce was the first Cubist writer—he chops words into sounds, sturm und drang, more easily hummed than read. It is a novel like alphabet soup, incomprehensible and delicious.”

Andreas Laszlo Konrath The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
“Devastatingly beautiful, this book means a lot to me as it inhabits so much about America in relation to gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion, without feeling like a history lesson. Coming to the States from Europe, this book felt like vital insight into understanding the country I was now living in, while also being a masterfully poetic and tragic piece of writing.”

Jeremy Pope The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Read this. Remember to celebrate and stand firmly in your blackness and in your truth. And if you happen to lose yourself in this world, just be sure to find your way back.

Tananarive Due Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
“Octavia E. Butler’s prescient near-future novel Parable of the Sower is a difficult but urgent story about how to imagine faith in the midst of crisis. Octavia autographed a copy to my late mother.”

R. Kurt Osenlund Angels in America by Tony Kushner
“It’s a gay play about AIDS, but Kushner’s hopeful opus also encapsulates history, faith, politics, capitalism, medicine, love, and canonical art, ultimately enduring as a spiritual text for certain otherized folks desperate to find one that speaks to them.”

Kyle Abraham Billy by Albert French
“I first read Billy when I was a teenager in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s a book that addresses the hardships of racism in America in the late 1930s. It’s important to talk about those struggles and the sad, cyclical nature of injustices towards young black men in this country from yesteryear through today.”

Robin R. Means Coleman Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved teaches us that violence and oppression in our society does not simply disappear. Beloved is a lesson in why we have to be ever-vigilant regarding anti-discrimination, as harm in our society is not easily vanquished and can have negative consequences for generations to come.”

Amoako Boafo The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
“The vision of the book is about being comfortable with being different in your life choices and pursuing your own individual passion and dreams while ignoring adversities and obstacles.”