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Reading to Connect: Books That Foster a Sense of Community

In the realm of literature, the ability of words to transport readers to divergent worlds, evoke profound emotions, and engender a sense of community is undeniable. Aniefiok ‘Neef’ Ekpoudom, an esteemed South London writer and journalist, delves into the profound impact that reading can have on our perception of community, exploring how books can create a shared experience and a deeper comprehension of the human condition.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson’s “Another Brooklyn” takes readers on a poignant journey through the bustling streets of 1970s Brooklyn. Through the eyes of August and her close-knit group of friends, the novel paints a vivid tableau of a dynamic city in transition and the challenges confronted by its inhabitants. Woodson’s tender and deftly crafted narrative captures the essence of community, highlighting the enduring bonds of friendship, family, and the shared experiences that shape our lives.

Where I Was From by Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s “Where I Was From” embarks on a soul-searching exploration of her family’s deeply rooted history in California, spanning from 1766 to 2001. Didion delves into the intricate tapestry of her family’s past, seeking connections between the present realities of the state and its inhabitants and the events that molded its history. This introspective journey underscores the profound impact that our ancestors and our shared past have on our present lives and identities.

Poor by Caleb Femi

Caleb Femi’s “Poor” is a remarkable collection of poetry that offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of young black boys growing up in twenty-first century Peckham. Femi’s evocative language and vivid imagery paint a stark portrait of the dreams, joys, and burdens that these young men face. The landscapes of the city come alive in his words, creating a sense of immersion that allows readers to experience the realities of Peckham through the eyes of its inhabitants.

Pappyland by Wright Thompson

Wright Thompson’s “Pappyland” tells the captivating story of the Van Winkle family and the three generations who have dedicated their lives to their whiskey business. Yet, beyond the surface narrative, Thompson explores themes of preservation, legacy, and grief in the heart of the American South. His writing delves into the complexities of family dynamics, the weight of history, and the enduring spirit of perseverance.

The Power of Reading to Foster Community

These four books, each unique in their own way, exemplify the transformative power of literature in fostering a sense of community. They transport readers to diverse times and places, allowing them to connect with characters and experiences that may be vastly different from their own. Through these literary journeys, readers gain a deeper understanding of the human condition, the challenges and triumphs that we all face, and the interconnectedness of our lives.


Whether it’s the vibrant streets of Brooklyn, the vast expanses of California, the urban landscapes of Peckham, or the soul of the American South, these books remind us of the enduring power of stories to unite us, to create a shared sense of community, and to inspire us to reflect on our own lives and the world around us. As Aniefiok ‘Neef’ Ekpoudom rightly observes, reading can leave readers with a keen sense of the community it describes, fostering empathy, understanding, and a deeper appreciation for the diversity of human experiences.

Immerse yourself in these literary gems and discover the transformative power of reading. Let the stories transport you, challenge your perspectives, and connect you to a world of shared experiences. Embrace the power of literature to foster a sense of community and to make the world a more understanding and compassionate place.