These days, the times can feel dark. Literally, possibly, depending on what latitude you live on, but also figuratively. Feeling discouraged? These books will help keep you informed, knowledgeable, and invested in the things that matter most in today’s fast-paced, vitriolic, newsy world—and help keep the negativity to a minimum by doing so.
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen
This collection of essays, playlists, Q&As, and drawings invites people of all genders and sexes to join the feminist cause. Whether you’re already an avowed feminist or you’re just getting your feet wet, this book has chapters on bodies, sex, love, activism, and more.
Unslut: A Diary and a Memoir, by Emily Lindin
I won’t say the thing about sticks and stones, because words really can hurt. In this book, a writer looks back at her diaries from her teen years and reflects on the damage that bullying can do. Also featuring advice and insight from experts, this book should encourage you to be thoughtful and to stand up—or seek help—when you see people being mistreated, whether it’s you or someone else.
They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Forewarned is forearmed. History repeats itself. You’ve heard these phrases? Good. Now read up on this part of America’s history (and present). It’s hard to speak out against something if you don’t know what it is you’re speaking out against.
Audacity, by Melanie Crowder
This novel in verse honors one real figure and some composite characters representing the many members of the labor movement of the early 20th century. If you find yourself RSVPing to a march and then doubting whether it’s worth your time, remember that your family, your friends, and maybe you have the people in this story to thank for things like paid sick leave and 40-hour work weeks. Protest may seem futile, but a lot of people coming together really can make things happen.
Yes, this is quite the tome (or set of, actually), and it’s not exactly light or quick. But for anyone who wants to learn how to filter through the noise of news on your social media feeds each morning, or who simply wants to fare better during dinner conversations with your family, it’s important to know about your civic rights and responsibilities. The publisher of this text has a reputation for being fair and balanced, with citations and documentation to prove that they are only telling you the factual facts, which will allow you the freedom and tools to come to your own opinion.
Hardcover $16.19 | $17.99
The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves, edited by Sarah Moon and James Lecesne
Whether one of the above letters applies to you or not, you can’t help but be inspired by at least one of the authors featured in this book. Their fiction and nonfiction already helps many readers feel less alone, and these letters serve as further proof that all gender and sexual identities matter.
Letters to My Future Self
Did The Letter Q inspire you? Those writers had to look back on their teen lives to write those letters. Why don’t you write to yourself now, while you’re still in your teen life (or as close as you’ll ever be)? This novelty book includes 12 letters to rip out, fill in, and seal in an envelope to be read at a later time. You are living history right now, and it’s imperative that you take the time to record how you feel, what you’re doing, and how the world is changing around you.