Dipo Faloyin is a senior editor and writer at VICE. His book, Africa Is Not a Country, is out now
■ Half of a Yellow Sun By Chimamand Ngozi Adichie (2006)
An astonishing story of love and loss set against the backdrop of a civil war that almost tore apart a fledgling Nigeria.
■ My Sister the Serial Killer By Oyinkan Braithwaite (2017)
A thrilling, hilarious tale of family loyalty and jealousy in which a sister’s allegiance is continually tested to its extremes. The writing is exquisite and bounces the whole way through.
■ Dreams from My Father By Barack Obama (1995)
It’s often forgotten that former President Obama is an astonishing storyteller. This memoir of his formative years offers so many clues to all that was to come.
■ Caste By Isabela Wilkerson (2020)
I kept coming back to this book as I was writing mine as a guide to how to write clearly about vast histories and complex presents, and connect them both together.
■ Trick Mirror By Jia Tolentino (2019)
How we choose to project ourselves on social media has probably been the defining factor of my generation. Trick Mirror breaks down the dynamics that sit behind our obsession with the internet and the lies that we tell ourselves.
■ Underground Railroad By Colson Whitehead (2016)
It takes an incredible amount of skill to write a book that spans so much time and so much pain. An incredible portrait of the horrors of slavery.
■ Letter from the Birmingham Jail By Martin Luther King Jr (1963)
This I read often to remind me of the power and reach of the written word and the sacrifices that so many have made to ensure that I get to enjoy the ability to have a voice.
■ Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe (1958)
A poetic account of how everything changed for a continent and its people in a way so devastating, decades later, that we’re still reckoning with the fall-out.