Book recommendations in memory of Ilza B. Williams


Book recommendations in memory of New York educator Ilza B. Williams

2019 Top PICKS


A State of Freedom

Olive Again


David Szalay

Olive Again

A State of Freedom

Olive Again


Elizabeth Strout

A State of Freedom

A State of Freedom

A State of Freedom


Neel Mukherjee

The Nickel Boys

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

A State of Freedom


Colson Whitehead

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Fruit of the Drunken Tree

Fruit of the Drunken Tree


Ingrid Rojas Contreras

2019 Solid PicKs


Friday - Nana Kwane Adjei-Brenyah

The Dutch House - Ann Patchett

The Shadow King - Maaza Mengiste

News of the World - Paulette Jones

The Other Americans - Laila Lalami

Stay and Fight - Madeline ffitch

2019 Interesting Picks


The Last Watchman of Old Cairo - Michael David Lukas

A View of the Empire at Sunset - Caryl Phillips

Washington Black - Esi Edugyan

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" - Zora Neale Hurston

Shoe Dog - Phil Knight

Gangster State - Pieter-Louis Myburgh

The Gone Dead - Chanelle Benz

Lalita's top 2019 picks


Red at the Bone - Jacqueline Woodson

Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead

The Dutch House - Ann Patchett

Olive, Again - Elizabeth Strout

Disappearing Earth - Julia Phillips

About Ilza's List

Dear Friends and Fellow Readers

2019 produced an extraordinary number of interesting fiction and new  writers. Selecting my top picks was heavily dependent on the underlying  story and pace of the story telling. I couldn’t limit my selections to  just 5 books, but Lita followed the rules and made tough choices.

Both Lita and I started book clubs this year and each has the strict  requirement that you must have read the book before speaking up.

Again, I read some interesting nonfiction, mostly selected by my all  male book club. A big shout out to my friend Susan Rice and her book, Tough Love.

Please visit the website and provide me with your favorites and any comments on ours.

Barry Lawson Williams


Ilza's List is made each year in honor of my deceased mother, Ilza Berry Williams.

My mother was a New York  City schoolteacher. She taught reading, then all subjects to special  needs students, and then English as a second language to Spanish  speaking students. She became a principal, and then the Deputy School  System Administrator before retiring. She managed to read a book a day before she passed.

- Barry L. Williams