There is a lot of news right now. And a lot of it probably makes most people want to hide, on a good day. I’ve found that looking for ways to be active as part of the solution (donating, volunteering, etc.) and reading on the topic beyond the headlines and news cycle really helps me. And since being informed is always beneficial–hence #TheMoreYouKnow and #KnowingIsHalfTheBattle–I have for you a great list of books related to current events. From #metoo to drug companies and addiction, there are a lot of important topics to take a deeper dive into.
There’s been a lot of talk about white privilege, race, marginalized voices, and income inequality, and here Washington uses scientific research to explain and show environmental racism: how people of color are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards. She also explores cognitive damage that can be traced to environmental hazards that disproportionately affect African-Americans.
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If you felt whiplash between presidencies when Trump took office after Obama, this may be the book for you. Souza, the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Barack Obama, has been vocal throughout the current administration on his Instagram account posting images from Obama’s time in office in a throwing-shade type of way. Now in this book, Souza continues using photography as commentary, using juxtaposed images to illustrate the contrast between presidents.
This is a really informative and horrifying look at the opioid epidemic and its far-reaching effects. Looking into the communities and people affected–from those using, their families, and first responders–Macy traces the epidemic back to OxyContin’s 1996 introduction. A tough and important read on a current crisis.
In 2017, Ronan Farrow’s exposé on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse and misconduct was part of the #metoo movement (founded by Tarana Burke in 2006) breaking out to the mainstream. This book takes a look at Weinstein's alleged tactics to silence Farrow and keep the story from coming out, including the tactic "catch and kill," which is a media-used tactic to stop stories. If you’re interested in journalism and how predators get away with their acts for so long, this is the book for you.
With so many crises, it almost feels like the Syrian War happened in another lifetime, but it didn’t. It happened in this decade. And more importantly and devastatingly, it’s still ongoing. This book focuses on what started in 2011 as a response to Arab Spring-inspired protests and led to an eight-years-and-counting war, almost half a million deaths, and a refugee crisis.
Another thing we’re hearing about on a daily basis is the Supreme Court--from historic cases to who will take future seats. Here, Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, talks about his upbringing, life, and many years on the Supreme Court. For fans of laws and procedure, Stevens served, witnessed, and was an integral part of landmark cases over thirty-five years.
This was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and is a look at the 26 men who, in May of 2001, attempted to cross the border desert of southern Arizona. Only 12 men would make it across safely. Urrea looks at the selling of the dream of a better life, human smugglers, cruelty, immigrants, border patrol, and the Devil’s Highway.
And now for the economy. Or rather, how economists rose to power and prominence in public life. Prior to the 1960s, economists weren’t something American politicians paid much attention to, but as we know now, this is no longer true. Appelbaum takes a look at how economists became influential in the U.S. and around the world and the effect it’s had on the modern world.
Malcolm Gladwell, Revisionist History podcast host, believes there’s something deeply wrong with the strategies and tools we use in understanding people we don’t know. This lack of understanding in how to communicate with strangers is creating misunderstandings and conflicts with far-reaching harmful impacts. Gladwell uses real cases, both high-profile and relatively unknown, to question why this happens and how we can do better at understanding and communicating with strangers.
With talks of poor worker conditions and unionizing saturating social media and news headlines, Guendelsberger offers a look at how workers went from being “expensive” to “cheap” and the cost to humanity that it has created. From her own personal job experiences across the country, she’s able to take us into the jobs that half of Americans have to take in order to try to make a living and explores the conditions and toll they take.
And finally, if you’re up for a humorous and quick read, this parody may be for you! Instead of saying goodnight to the moon, you’ll be helping Trump say goodnight to things like a Russian nesting doll and a drawer full of subpoenas… Illustrations and rhyming text included!
Here’s to learning about the world we currently live in and finding ways to do our part to be a helper.
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Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor and Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.