David van Reybrouk
By award-winning Belgian author David van Reybrouck, first published in Dutch in 2010 but now available in English, Congo is a fantastic addition to the library of any Africa watcher. Over the years I’ve read whatever Congo/Zaire related books I could get my hands on in English, and now I’m thoroughly immersed in this new telling. Super for those looking for an introduction to the country as well as a mini-lesson about much of the African story over the last century.
Science, intellectual history, cultural criticism, all put together in a compelling read: The Shallows is one of my most-recommended books. If you think at all about how the internet is changing us – and you should – then read this work by Nicholas Carr. Our reading habits, our ability to comprehend concepts, our relationships, our very ways of making sense of the world – all are being shaped by our use of this tool. I am a teacher, a parent, a huge reader of books – the shelf and paper kind – and I also love the internet, so this was a must read. Do yourself a favor.
Why your twenties matter, especially in modern America. No, this is not a manifesto recommending a fast-track to working drudgery. It is a statement about the power of those years and how they are especially strong at imprinting a path for the future. If you’re the parent of a twenty-something, give him or her a copy.
Mary Catherine Bateson
In Composing a Further Life, Bateson redefines old age as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves and challenges us to use it to pursue new sources of meaning and ways to contribute to society.
Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
A must-read for anyone taking psychiatric drugs, or anyone who knows someone taking psychiatric drugs: and that’s all of us.
Misogyny is a hot topic, yet it’s often misunderstood. What is misogyny, exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist – or increase – even when sexist gender roles are waning? This book is an exploration of misogyny in public life and politics by the moral philosopher and writer Kate Manne.
“The value in White Fragility lies in its methodical, irrefutable exposure of racism in thought and action, and its call for humility and vigilance.”
—The New Yorker
Rage Becomes Her
A transformative book urging twenty-first century-women to embrace their anger and harness it as a tool for lasting personal and societal change.
Oren Jay Sofer
When someone says “this book changed my life,” I generally take note. So I’m saying that now. Say What You Mean will force you to think about how you communicate and whether or not that communication really brings shared meaning with others. Grounded in mindfulness and nonviolent communication, it will help in any setting. Hell, if you don’t want to read it, buy the audio book.
For many, the story of the 1994 Rwandan genocide when over 800,000 people were killed in the span of 100 days, has receded into distant memory. But this 1998 book exploring what set the stage for the genocide, and how it ended, is worth a fresh look. Apparently, convincing people to take machetes to their friends, neighbors, and family members is a lot easier than you might have thought.
You know about Abby Wambach’s 2018 Barnard Commencement Speech. (Listen here.) You know that Abby lives just down the road from me in Naples, Florida, with her wife and children, so we’re practically neighbors.
And of course you know that Abby is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, FIFA World Cup Champion, six-time US Women’s Soccer Athlete of the Year, and possibly the greatest soccer player ever.
Then she becomes an activist for gender equity too?! How good can it get? Here’s her book. I rest my case. Thanks, Abby.