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Esquire Admits Shortcomings Of "Best Books" List, Invites Women To Fix The Problem

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Photo: Kai Schwabe/Getty Images.
Esquire's list of "The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read," which the magazine notes was published "several years ago," has been criticized for not featuring works from a diverse pool of authors. Now, Esquire has admitted its shortcomings — and it's made an effort to fix the problem, too.

In the introduction to its new list of "80 Books Every Person Should Read" (notice the change in semantics), Esquire editors note that the original list "was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles." Now, the magazine has asked prominent women — "female literary powerhouses," as it calls them — to recommend a new roster of books that should be required reading for everyone.

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times' chief book critic, recommends titles like Toni Morrison's Beloved and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Other women who helped create the new list include authors Lauren Groff and Roxane Gay, who recommended titles ranging from Zadie Smith's NW to Joan Didion's Play It as It Lays.

It's a huge deal for a title like Esquire to say outright that it could have done better in choosing its original list. Let's hope the new roundup, and Esquire's honesty about the situation, are part of a new era of diversity and inclusion in the literary world. Check out the new tally of 80 books over at Esquire.
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