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19 books written by Columbus authors you have to read

From poems to nonfiction, these are our top recommendations of books written by authors based in Columbus, Ohio.

Start your summer reading with a trip to The Book Loft of German Village. | Photo by @cassidys.bookmark

Nearly every book on this guide can be found here — yes, we checked.| Photo by @cassidys.bookmark

Table of Contents

What’s better than a good book? Maybe a good book written by your neighbor. Brew up a batch of your favorite local tea or coffee and get ready to meet your next summer read, because we’re talking about locally written books in Columbus, Ohio.


  • “There Comes a Midnight Hour” by Gary A. Braunbeck | Release date: March 9, 2021 | Time is racing in this dark fiction story as a star is about to implode and cause doom.
  • “The Assassins of Thasalon” by Louis McMaster Bujold | Release date: June 1, 2022 | This novel-length fantasy follows Penric and his adventure after an unholy attack.
  • “Be Not Far From Me” by Mindy McGinnis | Release date: March 3, 2020 | With critics describing this as a modern take on “Hatchet,” read along as Ashley, a teenage girl, puts her wilderness survival skills to the test.
  • “One D.O.A., One On The Way” by Mary Robinson | Release date: September 11, 2018 | This story takes place in New Orleans after Eve’s husband, Adam, becomes sick and moves back home with his parents. She tells herself she’s okay with it, but is she really?

For the family

  • “Before the Ever After” by Jacqueline Woodson | Release date: September 6, 2022 | This heartfelt story details ZJ’s experiences of coming together as a family to care for his father who is ill from football injuries.
  • “The Chronicles of Claudette” by Jorge Aguirre | Release date: April 10, 2012 | This three-part children series stars a young giant slaying girl on a quest to become a famous warrior like her dad.
  • “Up, Down, And Around” by Katherine Ayres | Release date: February 26, 2008 | This book teaches kids about all the different forms of life, including plants, bugs, animals, and humans.
  • “Packard Takes Flight: A Bird’s-Eye View of Columbus, Ohio” by Susan Sachs Levine | Release date: November 8, 2010 | After Packard, a peregrine falcon, falls from his nest and gets lost in downtown Columbus, he must find his way back home.

Expand your worldview

  • “Tigerland” by Wil Haygood | Release date: August 13, 2019 | Follow the true story of Columbus East High School in 1968 when the school won both the basketball + baseball state championship.
  • “Colorization” by Wil Haygood | Release date: October 19, 2021 | This Columbus author examines a century of Black history in cinema + the themes within the films.
  • “A Little Devil In America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib | Release date: March 30, 2021 | Explore the history of Black art, music, and culture from this Columbus author who was a National Book Award finalist for this book.

Personal stories

  • “Black Nerd Problems: Essays” by William Evans + Omar Holman | Release date: May 24, 2022 | These two authors give their insights on topics like Mario Kart to Black representation in media.
  • “How We Fight for Our Lives” by Saeed Jones | Release date: July 7, 2020 | This coming-of-age memoir is about a young, Black, gay man from the south attempting to fit into a difficult world.
  • “Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest” by Hanif Abdurraqib | Release date: February 1, 2019 | This New York Times Best Seller is partially history piece on the iconic rap group A Tribe Called Quest + partially a collection of memoirs.


  • “Alive at the End of the World” by Saeed Jones | Release date: September 13, 2022 | Explore themes of grief, betrayal, and mourning in this powerful yet thought provoking poetry collection.
  • “Prelude to Bruise” by Saeed Jones | Release date: August 18, 2014 | This debut from Saeed became a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Club.
  • “Goldenrod” by Maggie Smith | Release date: July 27, 2021 | From the author of “Good Bones” is this collection of poems that looks at parenthood, love, and memory.
  • “New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay” by Caitlin Kunkel, Brook Preston, Fiona Taylor, and Carrie Wittmer | Release date: November 13, 2018 | This collection of vignettes imagines a world based on one question — what do women really want?
  • “French Door to Foyer” by Signe Damron | Release date: March 31, 2022 | Doubling as a memoir, follow as the author tells her survivor story + journey of rediscovering self-love and peace.
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