Leslie Odom Jr.: TOP TEN BOOKS


American actor and singer Leslie Odom Jr. made his debut at the age of 17 in Rent, but he is best known for playing Aaron Burr in Broadway’s Hamilton — a role for which he won both the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album as part of the original cast. Odom Jr. details his personal experience climbing the ranks in music and acting in his book, “Failing Up.”

Below are Leslie Odom Jr.’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.


We Were Eight Years in Power

Ta-Nehisi Coates
I thought I was too raw after November 8th to read this one. I was a fool. Healing and informative. They’ve been teaching the Civil War all wrong. Thank you, Ta-Nehisi Coates.
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The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
As a society, there are people whom we regularly ignore. Morrison brings you close to these people. Close enough to touch and be touched. Moving, riveting, maddening, glorious stuff.
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The Godfather

Mario Puzo
Take the longer route the next time you get the hankering to watch the ‘72 Coppola classic; it is every bit as rewarding. The central and abiding lesson in the novel is about friendship. It’ll stick with you.
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True and False

David Mamet
An iconoclastic little book about acting. David Mamet helped me understand what my responsibility was, to the author and to our audiences, when Lin-Manuel offered me the role of a lifetime.
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A New Earth

Eckhart Tolle
Picked it up a decade ago. It is the book I’ve reread more times than any other, responsible for lasting and substantive change in my life.
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Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You

Nancy Tillman
Our favorite to read little our Lucille at bedtime. A meditation on mama and dada’s boundless forever love.
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In My Father’s House: Poems

John Hodgen
My favorite book of poetry. Hodgen makes the ordinary and the plain profound again and again. We all struggle to come up with the words to attach to our grief, our confusion, our losses. Hodgen is not immune to the plight. You can feel and appreciate the effort. He wrestles each of the ingenious little masterpieces from the struggle and the search.
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Letters to a Young Artist

Anna Deavere Smith
I watch everything she does. I read everything she writes. My favorite artist walking the planet. Watch her Notes from the Field on HBO. Pick up her inspiring letters to a young artist immediately afterward. She never disappoints.
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I Knew You’d Be Lovely

Alethea Black
I heard a smart person say once that short stories were the ideal form to receive and integrate information. Whether it’s completely true or not, the idea has stayed with me, and if you were trying to argue the point, “I Knew You’d Be Lovely,” could be held up as Exhibit A. Emotionally, no work(s) of fiction ever moved me more thoroughly.
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The Autobiography of Malcom X

as told to Alex Haley
Found my Dad’s old copy in the basement when I was in seventh grade. I’ve read it many times since. It’s always a pleasure spending a few days learning from brother Malcolm. You can feel the depth of his care and his sincere hope for your survival in every page. If he wasn’t a friend and a hero before you started reading, you’ll have to make some room for him.
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