Join the ANYR activist book club (if you haven’t already)
If you loved our summer reading lists, you’re going to love today’s #DailyRevolution: Join the ANYR Book Club by starting one of the books listed below, or adding one or all to your To-Read list. Reading is a powerful action that simultaneously incorporates self-care with immersion in the experiences of others. Reading can be escapist, but it can also serve to ground you in reality. Doing it regularly helps to make us all the informed activists we strive to be, and contributes to the dissemination of REAL news. Below are some of our suggestions for your fall literary practice:
1. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The latest from the author of the National Book Award winner Between the World and Me. This essay collection eulogizes the Obama administration, as well as the notion of racial equality as we’ve known it. “We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians when white supremacist rule reclaimed the South, and in these essays, Coates draws striking parallels between then and now. Bonus action: Read Coates’ Atlantic essay “The First White President.”
2. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Whether you’re With Her, a Bernie bro, or still bumping Jill Stein tunes in your car, you’ve got to read this book. Because she was the first female presidential candidate from a major political party. Because women are allowed to write books, have opinions, and make money whenever they choose. Because we as a nation have got to stop telling this woman (and women) what she can and can’t do. Because Republicans and Democrats alike seem to think we shouldn’t, and that should worry you. And because, let’s face it, the cover is frickin’ SHARP.
3. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker
Because this book jacket is a poem in itself, and we couldn’t possibly sell it better:
“The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the intersections of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless, and sequined, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and déjà vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.”
4. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The FBI by David Grann
This book shines a light on one incident (of many) when the U.S. government contributed to (and even instigated) the economic downfall and disenfranchisement of a group of Native Americans. When oil was discovered beneath Osage land in Oklahoma in the 1920s, the tribe became the literal richest people per capita in the world — until one by one, they began dying off, in a series of murders carried out by law enforcement, local business owners, and even “friends” of the Osage. Those who weren’t murdered were forced to enlist white men as “guardians” of their money, much of which was embezzled; the convoluted conspiracy sparked J. Edgar Hoover’s career, and eventually gave birth to the FBI. This is a great read if your interests include social justice and true crime.
5. Evicted: Poverty and Profit In The American City by Matthew Desmond
In his Pulitzer Prize winning book, MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads in the midst of all-too-common poverty and economic exploitation. This book will make you realize how much you take the notion of “home” for granted, how easily a family can slip below middle class, and how few safety nets there are in place to catch them. Luckily, Desmond concludes on an optimistic note, with some fresh ideas for solving this crisis that is swiftly transforming our nation’s politics and social communities.
6. On The Run: Fugitive Life In An American City by Alice Goffman
If you loved Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow or Ava DuVernay’s film 13th, you need to read this book, an illustrative case study that lends human faces to the War on Drugs. In a six-year research project, sociology student Alice Goffman lived on a block in West Philadelphia where racial targeting and arrest quotas have turned the associations that should stabilize communities (family, jobs, relationships) into fraught liabilities. Witnessing the lives (and sometimes deaths) of the people Goffman befriends, we feel the weight of presumed criminality, racialized surveillance, and a system of warrants and court fees designed to keep entire neighborhoods permanently under the thumb of the criminal justice system.
And as a *bonus action,* share your pick with the hashtag #ANYRbookclub on Instagram or Twitter, and tag @anewyearsrevolution.