Here is an annotated version of my Senegalese reading list. I want to save future Googlers the work I did. It's an English-language list. French readers can expand it by a factor of 50 or so.
Especially useful books - books that really helped me prepare for Senegal - have been marked with an asterisk. This is entirely independent of literary merit. If there's no comment, I haven't read it. If there's a comment, I have. No Senegalese movies or music here, despite the quality of both. Most of the novels are extremely short, often 100 pages or less.
Suggestions and corrections are still welcome. Thanks to those who helped out with the original list.
Books by Senegalese authors
Ousmane Sembène: The Black Docker (1956) - Angry first novel, set in Marseilles.
*God's Bits of Wood (1960) - An account of a 1948 railway workers' strike. An epic in 240 pages, and a masterpiece. I'm amazed at how much Sembène stuffs into the novel.
*Tribal Scars (1962) - Short stories, some in the village, some in Dakar.
*The Money Order (1966) - A villager receives a money order from his relative in France. Then his troubles begin. Worthy of Chekhov.
White Genesis (1966) - Something horrible happens in a village. Only the griot will speak the truth. Perplexing, but illuminates the role of the griot in Senegalese society.
*Xala (1973) - A bigshot is struck with an impotence curse on the night of his marriage to his third wife. The funniest Sembène I've read, easily.
Also by Sembène: The Last of the Empire (1981), Niiwam & Taaw (1987)
Cheikh Amadou Kane: The Ambiguous Adventure (1961) - A didactic novel on the conflicts between tradition and modernity. I don't pretend to understand it well.
Mariama Bâ: *So Long a Letter (1979) - A reasoned feminist argument for women's autonomy and against multiple wives. A masterpiece of rhetoric, if not of art, and the best-selling novel in West African history.
Also by Mariama Ba: Scarlet Song (1986)
Aminata Sow Fall: *The Beggars' Strike, Or, The Dregs of Society (1981) - The Dakar government wants to get rid of the beggars. The beggars go on strike. Consequences ensue. Ingenious. In Senegal, I actually saw a news report in which a government official said she wanted to crack down on the children who beg as part of their religious schooling. Strike! Strike!
Birago Diop: Tales of Amadou Koumba (1947/1958) - Fine adaptations of traditonal stories, often animal fables. Diop was also a distinguished poet.
Myriam Warner-Vieyra: As the Sorceror Said (1980) - Not actually about Senegal at all. Warner-Vieyra is Gaudeloupan now living in Senegal. This one is a good girl-pushed-to-the-edge story, about a Gaudaloupan girl in France.
Juletane (1982) - A different Guadaloupan girl in France marries a Senegalese man, and goes to Senegal with him. Things don't go well. Another sharp feminist novel, the crazed alternative to Mariama Ba's rationalism.
Ken Bugul: The Abandoned Baobab (1982)
Fatou Diome: The Belly of the Atlantic (2001)
Djibril Niane: Soundjata (1965)
Leopold Senghor: Poems - A Collected Poems has been published, but the 1964 Selected Poems is probably better suited for most of us. Also see the Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry.
Books about Senegal by non-Senegalese authors
Mungo Park: Travels in the Interior of Africa (1799) - An all-time great travel book. One young Scot attempts to be the first European to visit Timbuktu. He doesn't make it on this trip, lucky for him, emerging from the bush with nothing but rags and his enormous hat, stuffed with his notes. The first place to go for a look at pre-colonial West Africa.
Mark Hudson: *The Music in My Head (1998) - See here. A great book about Senegalese music, and about Dakar.
Reginald McKnight: *Moustapha's Eclipse (1988) - A short story collection of high quality. Three of the stories are inspired by McKnight's experiences in Senegal, the others are about American racial complications. I need to read more of his work.
Also by Reginald McKnight: I Get on the Bus (1990), He Sleeps (2002), and others.
Michael Palin: Sahara (2002) - Senegal is passed through. Well-observed and funny, with good photos.
Jean Baptiste Henri Savigny and Alexander Corréaud: Narrative of a Voyage to Senegal in 1816 (1817) - A great account of a famous shipwreck, with some incidental historical information about Senegal.
Peter Biddlecombe: French Lessons in Africa
Akihiro Yamamura: Senegal
Peter Matthiessen: African Silences
Ryszard Kapuscinski: The Shadow of the Sun
Susan Lowerre: Under the Neem (1990)
Katharine Kane: *Lonely Planet Guide to Senegal and The Gambia - The best written Lonely Planet guide I've used. Meine frau had lunch with the author, while I went out looking for a place to buy shampoo. For a city of 3 million people, Dakar is a small place.