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Cultural critic Rebecca Carroll’s book + art recs are the best of both worlds.

We’ve got a special readerly treat today: a new installment in our Literary Gallery series, in which writer, cultural critic, author, and brain-we’d-like-to-be-inside Rebecca Carroll curates 10 totally inspired art + book pairings.

You might have seen Carroll’s name earlier this month in
New York Magazine’s The Cut, where she was interviewed for their How I Get It Done series. In June, she penned this poignant piece for The Atlantic, mining a personal memory in describing the epidemic dehumanization of Black people and the imperative of white intervention. Maybe you’ve read one of her brilliant books. If not, Sugar in the Raw: Voices of Young Black Girls in America is a great place to start. For future reading, her new memoir, Surviving the White Gaze, delves into her experience growing up Black in a white family in a predominantly white town. It’s forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in February 2021 (but available for pre-order now!). Carroll also wrote this image-rich introduction to her friend Leah Giberson’s limited-edition 20x200 print. And as of this spring, she hosts an unmissable podcast. WNYC’s Come Through with Rebecca Carroll is an incisive 15-episode series exploring race in America in 2020, with guests like Ava DuVernay, Julián Castro, Walter Mosley, and Issa Rae.

All of which is to say: it’s no shock Carroll’s
Lit Gallery pairings are so extra excellent. Don’t forget her book selects double as a (really good) recommended reading list.  
— Team 20x200

Art and books are two of my favorite things, because they both create these magnificent, textured worlds and endless ways to engage. They speak to each other, honor each other, laugh and breathe and create community together. What else is there?   — Rebecca Carroll

The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Victorian Interior II by Horace Pippin

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker by Damon Young

Jitterbugging in Negro juke joint, Saturday evening, outside Clarksdale, Mississippi by Marion Post Wolcott

Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara

Harlem Tenement in Summer, a 20x200 Vintage Edition

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

Backsplash by Negar Ahkami

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob

Time Don't Mean a Thing by Hiro Kurata

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

nobody's free until everybody's free by rayo & honey

Tracks by Louise Erdrich

She Tumbles Mountains to the Sea by Yen Ha

Sula by Toni Morrison

Camp Fern Rock (archer) by Gordon Parks

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Interconnected 1 by Carrie Marill

A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei

Gosling Lake by Kurt Tong

The 411 on Rebecca Carroll
Rebecca Carroll is a writer, cultural critic, and host of the podcast Come Through with Rebecca Carroll. Her memoir, Surviving the White Gaze, is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster.