- Listed in alphabetical order by author last name.
- Descriptions are (mostly) pulled from Goodreads, which is where the links go.
- Voting form is at the bottom! (Or click here to vote on a separate page.)
Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper
“Christian Cooper is a self-described ‘Blerd’ (Black nerd), an avid comics fan and expert birder who devotes every spring to gazing upon the migratory birds that stop to rest in Central Park. While in the park one morning in May 2020, Cooper was engaged in the birdwatching ritual that had been a part of his life since he was ten years old when what might have been a routine encounter with a dog walker exploded age-old racial tensions. Cooper’s viral video of the incident would send shock waves through the nation.
In Better Living Through Birding, Cooper tells the story of his extraordinary life leading up to the now-infamous incident in Central Park and shows how a life spent looking up at the birds prepared him, in the most uncanny of ways, to be a gay, Black man in America today.”
Published: 2023 | Pages: 304 | Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir/Nature)
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
“In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.”
Published: 2012 | Pages: 375 | Genre: Non-Fiction (Psychology)
Erasure by Percival Everett
“Percival Everett’s Erasure is a blistering satire about race and writing. Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison’s writing career has bottomed out: his latest manuscript has been rejected by seventeen publishers, which stings all the more because his previous novels have been ‘critically acclaimed.’ He seethes on the sidelines of the literary establishment as he watches the meteoric success of We’s Lives in Da Ghetto, a first novel by a woman who once visited ‘some relatives in Harlem for a couple of days.’ Meanwhile, Monk struggles with real family tragedies—his aged mother is fast succumbing to Alzheimer’s, and he still grapples with the reverberations of his father’s suicide seven years before.”
Published: 2001 | Pages: 280 | Genre: Fiction
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
“Madame Bovary is a classic novel by Gustave Flaubert that explores the life of Emma Bovary, a young woman who dreams of escaping her mundane provincial existence. Dissatisfied with her marriage and seeking passion and excitement, she embarks on a journey of romantic fantasies and indulgence. The novel delves into the consequences of her pursuit of unattainable ideals, shedding light on the complexities of desire, societal expectations, and the human condition in 19th-century France.”
Published: 1856 | Pages: 329 | Genre: Fiction
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
“This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.
This is how children change…and then change the world.
This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.
When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.”
Published: 2017 | Pages: 338 | Genre: Fiction
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
“Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding.”
Published: 2012 | Pages: 400 | Genre: Non-Fiction (Society)
“From the Academy Award-winning actor and best-selling author: a novel about the making of a star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film . . . and the humble comic books that inspired it. Funny, touching, and wonderfully thought-provoking, while also capturing the changes in America and American culture since World War II.”
Published: 2023 | Pages: 448 | Genre: Fiction (Historical)
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
“Begun in the autumn of 1957 and published posthumously in 1964, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast captures what it meant to be young and poor and writing in Paris during the 1920s. Hemingway arrived in Paris in 1921, three years after the trauma of the Great War and at the beginning of the transformation of Europe’s cultural landscape. It was during these years that the as-of-yet unpublished young writer gathered the material for his first novel The Sun Also Rises, and the subsequent masterpieces that followed.”
Published: 1964 | Pages: 236 | Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
“The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.”
Published: 1998 | Pages: 546 | Genre: Fiction
Fault Lines in the Constitution by Cynthia and Sanford Levinson
“Many of the political issues we struggle with today have their roots in the US Constitution. Husband-and-wife team Cynthia and Sanford Levinson take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced—then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate. Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications.”
Published: 2017 | Pages: 240 | Genre: Non-Fiction (Politics)
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
“In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake.
As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.”
Published: 2023 | Pages: 352 | Genre: Fiction
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
“Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a profoundly moving novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible wrong done to her patients.
Montgomery, Alabama 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.”
Published: 2022 | Pages: 359 | Genre: Fiction (Historical)
Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford
“A thrilling tale of murder and mystery in a city where history has run a little differently. On a snowy night at the end of winter, two detectives find a body on the roof of a skyscraper. It’s 1922, and Americans are drinking in speakeasies, dancing to jazz, stepping quickly to the tempo of modern times. Beside the Mississippi, the ancient city of Cahokia lives on — a teeming industrial metropolis, containing every race and creed. Among them, peace holds. Just about. But that body on the roof is about to spark off a week that will spill the city’s secrets, and bring it, against a soundtrack of wailing clarinets and gunfire, either to destruction or rebirth.”
Published: 2023 | Pages: 496 | Genre: Fiction
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
“This sophisticated and entertaining first novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.”
Published: 2011 | Pages: 335 | Genre: Fiction (Historical)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
“One of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee.”
Published: 1969 | Pages: 275 | Genre: Fiction (Sci-Fi)