For today, I wanted to do something a bit lighter, and since when I’m tired, I read, I thought I would include some of the books that I’ve read/am reading/want to read that I recommend. Please use this as an opportunity to share your reading list too; I’m always looking for new and interesting books to read, and I’m sure I’m not alone. (And if you’re an author yourself, please feel free to share links to your books!)
Short, easy, but thought-provoking
The Third Reconstruction (The Rev. Dr William J. Barber II with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove): I’ve mentioned this book more than once, and I will always, always recommend anything by Dr. Barber. Part autobiography and part how-to guide, Dr. Barber shows us how to build coalitions and #resist.
Shouldn’t be shocking, but it is
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (James W. Loewen) I first became aware of this book because of Sis Dee and purchased it immediately after she wrote about it. As a history major, I thought it would have a few new insights mixed in with what I already knew. I was stunned to discover just how much I hadn’t learned, and that was despite having excellent, non-traditional history teachers in high school and college. This has become the book I buy most often as a gift for friends who are just starting to “get woke.”
If you want a quick read, this isn’t it.
Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (Eric Foner) This is another book I’ve mentioned endlessly, in part because at 900+ pages, I’m still reading it. It’s a deep dive into an often-misunderstood period of U.S. history, but if you want to learn more about some of the roots of what we’re seeing in today’s politics, this is a place to start.
This is likely to become my next “book-to-give.”
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America (Michael Eric Dyson) If you’ve been paying attention to BLM or Black Twitter or even Black Kos, a lot of what Dyson writes will not be a newsflash to you. However, he manages to present a lot of information in one slim volume, and his voice is honest, blunt, and seering while also imbued with love. It’s a remarkable book.
Recent headlines make this 2008 book notable again.
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Annette Gordon-Reed) Another book recommended by Sis Dee (seriously, she’s like a Book Whisperer that everyone should listen to!), I’ve had this one on my wishlist since it came out. Unfortunately, I’ve never moved it into my shopping cart, but it won a Pulitzer, so I doubt my personal recommendation matters much after that.
Did I mention I was a history major back in the day?
The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry (Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette) This is another one that is on my wishlist but not yet read. From the reviews I’ve read, one of their key points is that slavery was an industry, and slave-breeding was effectively the industry of capitalized wombs. This is a perspective that is not often discussed, much less considered, in white America…but should be.
I actually do read fiction now and then.
The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell) This is one of my daughter’s all-time favorite books, and I’m embarrassed to admit that despite having it on my bookshelf for over 5 years, I haven’t finished it. The fault lies with me, not the book; when I read fiction, I generally want fluff, and there’s nothing fluffy about this book. Having said that, I recommend it based on The Kiddo’s excellent taste in reading material…and have moved it to the top of the pile.
Recently released and intriguing
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (David Grann) True crime, Native American history, and a conspiracy all rolled into one book pushed this one onto my wishlist; being the Amazon Best Book of April 2017 helped with the push. Like so much of our whitewashed history, this is a story with lasting implications that I’ve never heard about.
Young adult reading (or for the young at heart)
Murder Most Unladylike (US title: Murder is Bad Manners) (Robin Stevens) I love nothing more than a cozy mystery, and Ms. Steven’s has written a series of cozies for the younger reader. Set in an English boarding school in the 1930s, this is about two students who solve mysteries together. The mysteries are strong; the fact that one of the protagonists is a young woman from Hong Kong who makes unsparing observations about life as a “foreigner” in England adds unexpected depth to the stories. These are great gifts if you have a young reader in your life (but read them first yourself; you’ll enjoy them).
What are you reading these days?
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