Alice Walker, the author, poet, activist, and feminist rose to fame after the release of her book The Color Purple. The Color Purple proved to be a masterpiece and won several awards like the Pulitzer Prize award for Literature and National Book Award for Fiction in 1983. Alice Walker became one of the most significant writers of her era after the book got published.
The writer was always into books and writing. She started indulging herself in books from a very young age. Alice Walker was also suffering from depression and believed that writing and reading brought her peace and helped her get through the tough times. In her words, “Books became my world because the world I was in was very hard.”
She always hid her poems from her parents and but later her poems got published in the book of poetry called ‘Once’. After that, she got her first real recognition when she was discovered by the infamous Jazz poet Langston Huges because of her published short story named ‘To Hell With Dying.’
Apart from The Color Purple, the author has also done some very notable works that are equally impressive. If you are not already a fan of Alice Walker Books, this list will make you one. So don’t wait anymore and dive into these books for a great reading experience.
1. The Color Purple
The Color Purple is a mandatory mention on the list as it is the most recognized work of the author. The feminist book about an abused and uneducated African-American deals with the issue of racism and sexism. The book shows you the woman’s struggle for empowerment and also has pretty strong female characters.
The book was published in the year 1992 and it documents the story of Celie. Celie who led a pretty traumatic life is an African-American teenager lives in the rural areas of Georgia. The book is written in the first-person narration where Celie narrates her story through The Color Purple.
The book was actually widely banned from the school libraries as it mentions lesbian connection and also some sexual abuse. Later the book was adapted into a movie of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey which got widely famous and it also managed to win NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and got nominated for 11 Academy Awards.
2. The Third Life of Grange Copland
The Third Life of Grange Copland is the debut novel by the American writer. The book is set in rural Georgia which revolves around the life of Grange Copland. Grange lives with his family in Georgia that includes his wife, son and his granddaughter. The book tracks three generations of this black family.
The theme is set in the 1930s where Grange Copland, a very struggling and conflicting tenant farmer decides to leave his home. He then moves forward to find a new life in big cities leaving behind everything and everyone that he has ever known or loved in order to find happiness.
He moves to the North area and leads a ‘second life’ which seems to be failing as well. When he gets tired of living a disappointing life, he then decides to go back to his family and previous life. That’s when he finds his third life. He builds a stronger relationship with everyone and grows to love his granddaughter and just like that everything falls into place.
3. In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens was published in the year 1983 is a collection of feminist prose written by the author. It contains a total of 36 written pieces containing essays, articles, statements, reviews, and speeches. The essays that are mentioned in this book were written between the period of 1966 to 1982.
The book is actually based on Alice Walker’s ‘womanist theory’,. It is the first collection of her essays consisting of non-fiction writings in which she has mentioned various political movements, other writers, etc. Alice Walker is a feminist herself and has always been so vocal about her thoughts and this quality of hers makes her a bold writer.
She has also talked about the struggles of Black Women in America and how they were demotivated and deprived of the basic rights of the citizens living in America. She has been a constant inspiration and source of motivation for people.
4. Living by the Word
Living by the Word is what the New York Times called, “An extraordinary diverse collection, pure Walker, fresh-eyed and sassy”. It is a follow-up of her book In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens. In this book, the author has curated several essays, letters, and journals. The book was originally published in the year 2011.
The second collection of essays by the author Alice Walker includes her own personal ambitions and goals that she wants to achieve with her writing career. It is true that she has been one of the most influential writers of her time and is still inspiring millions by her work and Living by the Word could be the finest example of it.
5. In Love and Trouble
In Love and Trouble is the first collection of stories by the author in which she has mentioned several short stories. These short stories are based on the life of black women and their struggles in America during the era. These black women who are connected to each other through their own vulnerability to life.
One after the other, the author has mentioned some really great and inspiring short stories in her book which you will find motivating. People who have read this book have voted that this book is the further evidence of the author’s amazing writing skill of depicting black women perfectly in her writings.
You will be introduced to some women who have faced life’s most brutal realities. Some are carrying the weight of broken dreams on their shoulders, some are faced with doubts and regrets of their own lives, some are handling their kids alone while some are dealing with the loss of their loved ones.
6. You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down
The second work of her featuring short stories is You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down which is a follow-up of In Love and Trouble. There are a total of fourteen stories present in this collection. These provocative and humorous collections of stories may show women oppressed but not defeated.
The stories may show these women facing some harsh truths of life but as the title suggests, the heroines of the story keep rising every time. The collection of stories in You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down is both compelling and educational.
In this book, Walker has also dealt with some controversial topics and mentioned some of the terrible things that happen to a woman like misogyny, cultural theft, etc. The tone in this book is filled with empathy and hope.
They say meridian by the author Alice Walker to be her meditation of the civil rights movements. It is the second novel written by the author preceding The Color Purple. The novel will introduce you with a beautiful story about a black woman that is both moving and touching.
Till now you must have acknowledged that the interest of Alice Walker has always been inclined towards writing the struggles of black women. She has focused most of her writings in making people aware of the various realities faced by these women and in Meridian her main area of focus is the story about the Civil rights movement.
The story features a teenage girl called Meridan Hill. Meridian is a young girl and is in her teenage years, she has already been married and divorce and given birth to a son. The girl is looking for a chance to turn her life and that’s when she finds out about the Civil Rights Movement.
8. Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful
The book ‘Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful’ consists of a collection of poems. Author Alice Walker has always presented poetry in a manner that showed her deeply felt concerns. The poems in this book have a wide spectrum of emotions, it goes to extremes of different feelings such as anger, hope, love, etc.
According to the author, even her happiest of writings such as poems or prose, come from her accumulation of sadness. In her poem “These Mornings of Rain” Walker has tried to capture the paradox of living meanwhile talking about balancing in her. Here’s a part of her book to justify, “To love and be loved/in absentia/is joy enough for me … I need nothing else. And then again,/I need it all.”
9. Revolutionary Petunias
Revolutionary Petunias is another collection of poems by Alice Walker in which she has talked about revolution and love. The author has compared the revolution and love and beautifully described how the loss of trust and compassion in both the situations robs us of hope.
The text was originally published in the year 1973. In the title, Revolutionary Petunias, the word Petunias mean soothing. They provide you with a soothing theme in the poems that are both hopeful and revolutionary.
10. The Way Forward with a Broken Heart
The Way Forward with a Broken Heart is a non-fiction work of writing in which the author tells us a lyrical and autobiographical story. This is the story of a woman whose marriage breaks down, this happens before the beginning of the Civil rights movement. Later the author introduces us to the life story that she imagines after the failure of the marriage.
The hopeful and optimistic tone in the book makes it an uplifting read. The Way Forward with a Broken Heart shows us the wisdom and wit in the author’s writing style.
11. Possessing the Secret of Joy
Possessing the Secret of Joy is a fiction novel by the author first published in the year 1992. The book follows the life of a woman named Tashi, an African-American woman. Tashi also appeared in The Color Purple as a minor character. Tashi spent most of her adult life in North America and is a victim of a brutal procedure of female genitalia mutilation in Africa.
The woman later in her life immigrates to the USA and starts a new chapter and tries to understand and live with what happened in her past. Moving forward she discovers the secret of joy and remains optimistic about life.
12. The Temple of my Familiar
The Temple of My Familiar is a non-fiction novel by the stunning Pulitzer Prize-winning author that features a visionary cast of characters that weave together their past and present and provides us with an excellent read. The characters used in the story are different from each other but connected through the same hope.
The book will introduce you to Lissie, Lissie is the bearer of many pasts and her past stories have a deep impact on her present life. Next, you will meet Arveyeda who is a guitarist by profession and his former wife who had fleed the country. Later on, you will meet Suwelo who teaches history to the students and his former wife who apparently is in love with the spirits.
13. Now is the Time to Open Your Heart
The author that presented us with The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of my Joy and the Temple of my Familiar presents us with another beautiful and moving story in her book Now is the Time to Open Your Heart. Through this book, the author has presented us with yet another powerful and moving story, a story where a woman goes on her own adventure and her quest to find self.
The story of the book revolves around Kate. Kate is a well-published author and grew up in a well-to-do family. She has faced several failed marriages and when she reaches the age of fifty-seven she decides to leave her current lover, Yolo and goes on a quest to explore the different possibilities in life.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author has gifted us with some of the greatest pieces of her writing in her writing career. It is true that The Color Purple got her the name and fame that she has today but her other works of fiction, non-fiction, essays, short stories, poetry is equally appreciable.
The interests of the author have always leaned towards writing the inspirational stories about Black women and their struggles and how they lifted themselves from those brutal realities of life and founded their true selves in the process. Being a feminist, Alice Walker has always been vocal about women’s rights and their struggles which is reflected in her writing style.
The above mentioned were some of the greatest read by the author. Do let us know in the comment section how you liked this article and if you have any queries you can ask them as well by commenting.