As 45 spreads his orange dust of terror in the age of “alternative facts,” we need to arm ourselves with the one thing no one can take from us—knowledge. It is important that we take action in our own communities (e.g. canvassing, marching, donating) but we also need to make ourselves aware of struggles besides our own. We hope that this resistance reading list will serve as a beginning for readers to examine truths outside of their own.
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Should All Be Feminists is really a beginner’s guide to feminism. The pocket-sized book, which was originally a Ted Talk by Adichie, succinctly explains the plight of modern women and demonstrates the ways so many people can remain blithely unaware of these struggles. Without alienating anyone, Adichie details how feminism is an issue for everyone and how equality will better serve us all.
By Michelle Alexander
Michelle Alexander offers a critical look at the racism of the prison industrial complex in allegedly “post-racial” America. This informative book explains how these discriminatory policies rose to prominent, and outlines the ways that the disproportionate numbers of African Americans who are imprisoned suffer are denied many basic civil rights, even after they have been released.
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me is written as a letter from a father to his son where the author details the many ways his black son will have to fight for for the simple right of controlling his own body. Coates’s book details America’s history of exploiting the black body and how modern institutions are continuing that disrespect based on the foolish notion that the melanin in our body determines anything more than the color of our skin.
By Mona Eltahawy
Eltahawy has spent the majority of her life living in Muslim-majority countries and has plenty of first-hand experience with the misogyny that controls certain ultra-conservative governments. She is unapologetic about her criticism and goes into devastating detail about the practices that have kept women in the Middle East and North Africa from having autonomy over their own bodies including rampant Female Genital Mutilation.
By bell hooks
Feminist and social activist bell hooks reevaluates society’s definition of love and argues for the importance of using it as a verb rather than a noun. Uplifting, emotional, and redemptive, All About Love reads is perfect blend of memoir, feminist theory, and material for personal growth.
By Elaine Kahn
Published by City Lights Books, this collection of stark, intense, and biting poetry from Elaine Kahn explores the mind, the body, the private, and the public aspects of female experience.
By Rupi Kaur
Self-care is extremely important during times of resistance. Rupi Kaur’s poems are like a warm bath for your soul. There is something both deeply rooting and incredibly renewing about Milk and Honey.
By Maggie Nelson
In The Argonauts, Nelson navigates her pregnancy as a queer woman with plenty of citation from feminist theorists. Most striking about the book is how honestly Nelson addresses her privilege as a white woman who can go about her day without being labeled “other,” while her trans partner is unable to do the same.
By Claudia Rankine
Citizen is poetry, criticism, artwork, storytelling and everything in between. The book is small and segmented into seven chapters, but be prepared for frequent stops as you absorb the heaviness of her content. She has a way of dissecting our thoughts and actions and then confronting us with them.
By Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem tends to veer away from her personal life when writing and though My Life on the Road touches on her childhood, the collection of essays is primarily about her work as a feminist for the last 50 years. In her book she details her long history of fighting for women’s rights and emphasizes over and over again for the importance of intersectionality in feminism.
By Luis Alberto Urrea
The Devil’s Highway is a devastating and incredibly important piece of investigative reporting, in which Urrea writes about twenty-six men who cross the Mexican/American border and traverse a deadly desert in an attempt to secure better lives for themselves and their families. It’s an eye opening look at immigration policy, and one that is sorely needed today more than ever.
By Jesmyn Ward
The Fire This Time is a collection of essays and poems about race broken into three sections: past, present, and the future. Using James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time as her jumping off point, Ward accumulated some of the most prominent voices of our generation to discuss their views on race in America. Contributors include poet Jericho Brown and one of our previously mentioned authors Claudia Rankine.
This is only a starter kit and we’re aware there are holes in our list. We’d love to hear from you what other books we should be reading for resistance.
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list compiled by Julia Gibson and Taylor Mims
Julia Gibson: Originally from the Bay Area, Julia came to Southern California for the Elliott Smith wall and stayed for the friends. She graduated from CSU Long Beach with degrees in Literature and Creative Writing. She likes eating ramen, doing Vinyasa yoga, and building her perfume collection.
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