Historical fiction, human interest, a sprinkling of memoirs, some personal development, and a craving to view the world through as many different eyes as possible.
This is my summer reading list: to offer my mind new worlds to wander, thoughts to chew on, challenges to grow toward, inspiration to glean, and ideas to percolate. I’m incorporating books for learning and practicing anti-racism to make this work part of a regular practice. And I like to alternate between fiction and nonfiction as I read.
Is 10 books biting off a lot for a slower-than-average reader? Maybe. Will I throw myself the requisite pizza and ice cream party of past youth summer reading programs when I complete the list? Definitely.
What’s on your summer reading list? Have you read any of these books yourself?
As always, shop your local independent bookstore! Or find these books on bookshop.org – a website that sources books from independent sellers (not Amazon!!)
The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates:
Magical realism and historical fiction in a novel about American slaves escaping to the north. (currently reading/loving)
The Overstory, by Richard Powers
A sweeping love letter to and story of trees and humans and all the ways in which they interconnect. (also currently reading/loving)
A Woman is No Man, Etaf Rum
The story of three generations of Palestinian-American women struggling to express their individual desires within the confines of their Arab culture in the wake of shocking intimate violence in their community--a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence.
Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel
Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad
Layla teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too
The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir, Ernestine Hayes
Using the story of Raven and the Box of Daylight (and relating it to Sun Tzu's equally timeless Art of War) to deepen her narration and reflection, Hayes expresses an ongoing frustration and anger at the obstacles and prejudices still facing Alaska Natives in their own land, but also recounts her own story of attending and completing college in her fifties and becoming a professor and a writer
Untamed, Glennon Doyle
In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, bestselling author, explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others' expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.
Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot
A powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma.
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Adrienne Maree Brown
How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Author and editor Adrienne Maree Brown finds the answer in something she calls "pleasure activism," a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work.
Dream More, Dolly Parton
A deeper and richer exploration of the personal philosophy Dolly has forged over the course of her astonishing career as a singer, songwriter, performer, and philanthropist. (Who doesn’t love Dolly?!)