The Known World By Edward P. Jones
"Okay...this one is not on my desk but it's a masterpiece. I found it so morally complex and enlightening. I want a novel to move my heart, mainly, but I love it when I can learn something that I didn't know before—and I did not know until I read this book that African Americans owned slaves. Jones dropped me into this world, in a setting so richly rendered. At the time I was reading it, I didn't know I was going to be writing a book about slavery. I would've sworn that it was not possible. But, when I was writing The Invention of Wings, I thought back on this book. I wanted that same feeling of realness."