Luke Cage reading list

marvel-luke-cage-posterIn case you haven’t noticed, Netflix released its latest Marvel TV series, Luke Cage, on 30 September. Like its predecessors Daredevil and Jessica Jones, it is excellent. But what caught my eye in the early episodes is that Luke Cage is not just a big-hearted bulletproof superhero, he’s also an avid reader.

The first clue was early in episode one, when between finishing a shift at one job as a hair sweeper at a barbershop and starting a shift at his other job as a washer-up, he stops by a news stand to buy a copy of the New Yorker. Scenes of Luke’s apartment show stacks of books on every surface and when he’s not fighting baddies he likes to discuss detective novels.

What really made me pay attention was that first clear shot of a book cover. The book in question? Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. This seemed like exceptional timing. While on holiday, Tim and I went to the art gallery C/O Berlin where the main exhibition was the work of photographer (and film director) Gordon Parks, including his partnerships with Ralph Ellison, such as Invisible Man. I’ve been meaning to read the book for years, but now I’ve seen the powerful accompanying photographs, I want to more than ever.

So I did what I do. I made a reading list of all the books and authors mentioned or shown in the whole series. Enjoy.

The reading list

Ralph Ellison Invisible Man

Julius Lester Black Folktales

Malcolm Gladwell Outliers: the Story of Success

Attica: the Official Report of the New York State Special Commission on Attica

Walter Mosley Little Green and others in the Easy Rawlins series

Donald Goines Kenyatta series

George Pelecanos

Richard Price

Dennis Lehane

Ernest Tidyman Shaft novels [though reference is probably to Gordon Parks film not books]

The Bible

Jeff Chang Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: a History of the Hip-hop Generation

Robert Greene The 48 Laws of Power

Chester Himes The Heat’s On and others in the Harlem Cycle

Michael Connelly Harry Bosch series

Related reading

Of course, Luke Cage is itself based on the Marvel comics character created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska. The latest related title from Marvel is Cage, starting this month. It is written and drawn by Genndy Tartakovsky, who I know best as the master behind Samurai Jack. Tim picked up issue one yesterday and I am excited to read it.

4 thoughts on “Luke Cage reading list

  1. Rachel October 9, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    It’s always interesting to see what books are read by characters on TV. I’m sure they are carefully chosen to reflect the character – or at least that would be an ideal. 🙂

    • Kate Gardner October 22, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      I think they usually are. After spending a couple of years on my Gilmore Girls Reading List I think my eye is now always drawn to the books on TV shows.

  2. Bryan G. Robinson October 9, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Luke Cage is good, I agree. I still liked Daredevil, Season 1, the best out of all of them. Invisible Man is one of my favorites, along with Richard Wright’s Native Son. I’ve read all of the Easy Rawlins series, with the early ones being the best. Later on, they’re not as good, but still good. I had never heard of Chester Himes, but definitely want to check his work out after seeing him mentioned on the show. The Bosch series is one of my favorites. My wife also has found playlists on Google Play Music with music from the show and inspired by the show. I’m sure they are on other services too, such as Pandora and Spotify.

    • Kate Gardner October 22, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      It was seeing one of the playlists of the show that gave me the idea of making a reading list. Great music, particularly some of the live acts in the club.

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