Some days, it’s hard not to feel disheartened at the events taking place around us. The news this past week has been especially distressing, from the synagogue shootings to the bomb parcel deliveries targeting a series of high profile public figures. What follows are book recommendations to provide hope in difficult times— books which energize and inspire.
1. Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
The KSBN book of the year is a must-read. It is a heartfelt, important, and gripping novel about the impact of police violence against Blacks. Its nuanced critique of systemic racism is interwoven with an insightful look into a young Black girl’s struggles with identity. The novel is a powerful cry for change that pushes back against cynicism.
2. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, March.
Congressman John Lewis’ story is absolutely inspiring and riveting. This National Book Award winning graphic memoir trilogy not only showcases this icon’s unwavering commitment to the struggle for Black rights, but also encourages readers to envision possibilities for activism in a period defined by the Black Lives Matter movement.
3. Paulo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed
This classic has inspired generations of readers and will probably continue to inspire many more generations with its revolutionary, activist philosophy. The author’s vision of education as an instrument of change is sure to energize both educators and students.
4. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
This complete volume of Langston Hughes’ poetry has something for everyone. It is powerful, searingly honest, moving, and, at times, uplifting.
5. bell hooks, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
bell hooks’ book is, as the title indicates, a passionate primer on feminism. In her engaging and accessible style, hooks encourages us to envisage a different future—one that is not defined by patriarchal domination. hooks includes personal stories and specific solutions to the challenges she outlines, encouraging readers to participate in the struggle of the marginalized.
— Anuja Madan, Assistant Professor