Brendan Slocumb: TOP TEN BOOKS

Brendan Slocumb (1)

A classically-trained musician, Brendan Slocumb has just published his first novel, The Violin Conspiracy, a page-turning mystery in which a young Black musical prodigy inherits a priceless Stradivarius only to have it stolen from his hotel room on the eve of performing at the world’s most prestigious music contest. Like his protagonist, Slocumb – an educational consultant for the Kennedy Center and the concertmaster for the NOVA-Annandale Symphony Orchestra – started playing violin at nine in a public schools music program, and has credited that experience for determining the shape of his life. “When my friends were out running the streets, I was in rehearsals,” he has said. “When they were breaking into houses, I was practicing Mozart or Dvorjak.” Below are Brendan Slocumb’s favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set.



Empire of Pain

Patrick Radden Keefe
A powerful glimpse of how far some people will go to maintain wealth and power - an eye opening read that details the Oxycontin crisis: one of the greatest tragedies of modern times.
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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Andrew George (translator)
When I was twelve, this one grabbed me and hasn’t let go. This classic is the father of all epics. Babylonian Mythology, crazy battles, and love - it has everything. I’m reading it again now!
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Harlem Shuffle

Colson Whitehead
If you’re a fan of family, loyalty, and redemption, you'll love this amazingly captivating story as much as I did. I couldn’t put it down!
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Death on the Nile

Agatha Christie
The first mystery I read in one sitting, when I was thirteen. The characters jump off the page. I must admit, I was totally blindsided by the reveal at the end of who the murderer really was. Go, Agatha!
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Cloud Cuckoo Land

Anthony Doerr
A fascinating novel that literally spans hundreds of years while all centered around a single story. A daring undertaking to say the least.
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Great Circle

Maggie Shipstead
If you love flying, you’ll love this one. My brother and I, when we were kids, were fascinated with flying. My brother was determined to be a pilot, and actually joined the air force.
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The Hound of the Baskervilles

Arthur Conan Doyle
This has always been my favorite Sherlock Holmes story. It scared me from ever wanting to walk across a foggy moor anytime of the day. Did I hear a dog howling? Time to go.
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A Little Devil in America

Hanif Abdurraqib
I thought I knew a lot about the cultural and historical facts of some of my favorite performers, but this book took me on a ride that extinguished everything I thought I knew about Black culture in America. Such a gripping narrative.
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Don't Know Tough

Eli Cranor
Takes you literally by the arm and drags you to a dark place that's really had me on the edge of my chair as I read it. So many young people latch onto one thing to get them through High School, trying in the process to do the best they can. Wow, did the protagonist have a lot to struggle against! I haven't rooted so hard for anyone in a long time. 
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How the Word is Passed

Clint Smith
Should be made compulsory reading to everyone in America. You might think you know about slavery in America, but the perspective from voices we’ve never heard from really opened my eyes. Although sometimes a difficult read because of the graphic brutality, the book’s deeply researched honesty can change your life.
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