11 Stirring Books Every Activist Should Read
As one sign that really spoke to us at the Women’s March proclaimed, protesting is the new brunching. With rallies breaking out across the country on issues ranging from women’s rights to immigration, it’s safe to say that many Americans have started to take an active role in politics. That’s why we’re stocking our bookshelves with reads for the activist, from firsthand accounts of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement to the inspirational memoir of Gloria Steinem herself. Read on to empower yourself with knowledge. We bet you’ll have lots more #WhyIMarch motivations than you ever knew.
1. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem ($18): When most people think of modern day feminism they think of Gloria Steinem, and for good reason. In her latest memoir, the full-time activist shares a candid account of her life on the road fighting for equality.
2. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ($8): Adapted from the mega-popular TEDx talk with the same name, Chimamanda’s 21st century take on feminism is a must-read.
3. No-No Boy by John Okada ($20): Okada’s now classic novel tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a young man who answers “no” twice in a compulsory questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the US (a country that interned him and his family). It’s a harrowing look at a historical non-violent protest that will both break your heart and inspire you.
4. West of Kabul, East of New York by Tamim Ansary ($17): If you want to better understand the human components of the conflict between Islam and the West, Tamim Ansary’s acclaimed memoir is a great place to start. The son of an Afghan man and the first American woman to live as an Afghan, Tamim’s voice will resonate with you long after you turn the last page.
5. Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin ($18): There’s a reason Suzette Haden Elgin’s feminist trilogy is a cult classic. Set in the 22nd century, the novel reveals a world where women are once again property and are denied civil rights.
6. Citizen by Claudia Rankine ($20): Recounting the mounting racial aggressions in the US, Claudia Rankin’s award-winning book of poetry is fodder for every modern day activist. Seriously, this is one of those books you’ll want to tell *everyone* about.
7. Shrill by Lindy West ($16): This hilarious, politically motivated and inspirational book definitely deserves to be binge-read. Breaking out of the shy lady mold, Lindy West shatters the female narrative with her own outspoken opinions on body image and feminism.
8. Rules for Revolutionaries by Becky Bond and Zack Exley ($18): Telling the story of the breakthrough experiment that helped make Bernie Sanders’s campaign legendary, Bond and Exley identify 22 rules for seriously successful organizing that everyone needs in their arsenal.
9. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit ($16): It can be easy to admit defeat in the wake of so many social justice tragedies. But Rebecca Solnit’s encouraging essay begs us to remain hopeful and politically vigilant in times of cynicism.
10. This Is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler ($27): From Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March on Washington, strategic nonviolent protests are one of the cornerstones of affecting lasting political change. Here, the Englers look at the core principles of such movements to further dissect transformative unrest. It’s a heavy read, but one definitely worth investing in.
11. Walking With the Wind by John Lewis and Michael D’Orso ($18): If you’ve ever wanted to read a firsthand account of the Civil Rights Movement, this is it. Told from the perspective of John Lewis, the now US Senator, the book traces his role in the Selma marches, Bloody Sunday, and the Freedom Rides with moving honesty.
Are any of these books on your to-read list? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
(Featured photo via Getty)