The killing of George Floyd by police sparked nationwide protests against state violence toward Black people. With demonstrations on countless streets and the conversations taking place in countless homes, bookstores are now experiencing a surge of interest in books about Black history, racism and social justice.

Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility,” Ibram X. Kendi’s “How To Be an Antiracist” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” all turned up on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. It’s cause for hope, among those who believe that reading can make us better and stronger.

Here’s a shortlist of titles — nonfiction and fiction — for those who want to learn more about how we got to where we are, and how we can do better.

Nonfiction

There is no list of nonfiction books that could ever encompass the breadth and complexity of African American history and the underpinnings of systemic racial injustice. But in an effort to ground this moment in history, humanity and connection to place, here are a few books for deeper exploration.

Fiction

Reading fiction won’t give us a specific list of steps to take to fight social injustice, but it places us inside someone’s head and someone’s imagination, letting us begin the work of understanding. Here are four books by Black American authors, new and old, that immerse us in Black lives.

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