How to remain calm as we move into a new year, deeper into The Great Turning? A favorite grounding practice at the Law Center is reading! Below is a list of a few of our favorite books from 2020. These books inspired us, fed our spirits, and even made us laugh.
The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics, Book One by Hanzi Freinacht.
2020 was littered with the consequences of postmodernism’s destruction of truth and elevation of irony. The Listening Society’s ironic narrator swept a path through this litter for me and showed me a way to the other side. They outlined a political strategy focused on building a society that allows everyone to develop just a little more psychosocially and morally. I truly believe that these small changes would make the world enormously better.
The tie for me is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century by John Higgs.
As our country comes to terms with its interlocking supremacist histories, particularly patriarchy, whiteness, and settler-colonialism, this startling and beautiful epic vividly captures how the pain and wisdom our ancestors experienced is still in us, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. It is part of the American experience to cut ties with our past. Homegoing reminded me that, if we turn our backs on our ancestors, we can never begin the process of healing individually or collectively.
Tied for 3rd and 4th are The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene and The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love by bell hooks.
Best work book I read — Dare to Lead by Brene' Brown. Much thoughtful encouragement for shared leadership/power. A huge ask for all of us to share our vulnerability and be more real with each other at work. I liked it so much I read the book and listened to the audio book. There's lots of great worksheets included on her website for thoughtful team exercises.
Best fun book— Witchmark by C.L.Polk. A super great read. Queer fantasy/dystopian novel. There's a hunky demigod who of course falls in love with a human. Intense sibling rivalry, and an evil patriarch and and even eviler upper-class. So good I couldn't put it down.
BTW — The Oakland Public Library has a super efficient curbside pickup where you text and they bring your holds outside! And a super good audio borrowing app called Libby. Libraries forever!!
Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type. Written by Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin.
This book magically appeared in my house one day. I expected it to be another farm animal book for toddlers. As I read it to my two year old daughter, I realized it’s actually a book about how to assert your needs, how to leverage collective power, and how to keep a good sense of humor about it all! A great way to teach very young children about power dynamics and labor rights. Plus, it’s funny and has many opportunities to make silly animal noises.
Tia Katrina Taruc-Myers:
Lobizona by Romina Garber.
I can’t even wait for the second book in this series to come out. Lobizona is a Young Adult book about an undocumented teen living in Florida who struggles with I.C.E. and the equivalent of I.C.E. in the magic world where witches and werewolves learn how to hone their powers. It’s a tale of identity, adventure, solidarity, and cooperation between an unlikely team of magical characters.