“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
– Haruki Murakami
Sometimes it’s fun to read what everyone else is reading.
But other times? Make your own path. Read your niche books. Find a topic that interests you and dive in, whether anyone else is or not.
I like to do a little of both.
Thankfully, many people are reading similar books right now on anti-racism. (Although it makes for a longer wait on my library’s hold list.) I have snagged a few copies—either bought or borrowed—of some informative and helpful books on race this month. I finished three (reviewed below) and am currently reading three others on race.
Here are 8 books I recommend from July. See all my recommended books here.
1. Me and White Supremacy
Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
by Layla F. Saad
This excellent book was first an Instagram challenge, #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, 28 days to uncover white supremacy and start dismantling it. Author Layla Saad turned the challenge into a book after its widespread popularity. I’m glad she did. It helps us see things we need to see so we can make changes we need to make so white people can stop hurting (even if unintentionally) people of color. Topics include tone policing, white apathy, white centering, color blindness, cultural appropriation, and more.
“Continue to show up, even when you are called out, you feel discomfort or fatigue, or you are not rewarded for it (socially or financially).
Antiracism is not about perfectionism. It is about the intention to help create change, to keep learning, keep showing up, and keep doing what is necessary so that BIPOC can live with dignity and equality.”
2. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
by Reni Eddo-Lodge
(But thankfully, she still is.) This began as a blog post in 2014 about racism in Britain. But Reni Eddo-Lodge discovered she’d touched a nerve with it. So she continues to talk about race in this informative book. (The principles are applicable to everybody, but the history section is mainly about the British.)
One of her messages is this:
“White people, you need to talk to other white people about race. Yes, you may be written off as a radical, but you have much less to lose. Talk to other white people who trust you. Talk to white people in the areas of your life where you have influence. If you feel burdened by your unearned privilege, try to use it for something, and use it where it counts.”
3. So You Want to Talk About Race
by Ijeoma Oluo
Many digital libraries are offering this as an audiobook to all right now. I listened and was glad I did. Ijeoma Oluo shares personal stories and touching insights to help us all think more clearly about racial injustices and act more humanely.
“1. It is about race if a person of color thinks it is about race.
2. It is about race if it disproportionately or differently affects people of color.
3. It is about race if it fits into a broader pattern of events that disproportionately or differently affect people of color.”
4. Holy Envy
Finding God in the Faith of Others
by Barbara Brown Taylor
One of my favorite authors, Barbara Brown Taylor, chronicles her journey of teaching a college course on different world religions and what can be gained from each. She writes beautifully and open-mindedly. And even despite having “holy envy” over the beautiful truths found in other religions (every religion has some basic things in common), she still remains rooted in her own faith of Christianity.
“However many other religious languages I learn, I dream in Christian. However much I learn from other spiritual teachers, it is Jesus I come home to at night.”
5. The Stoic Challenge
A Philosopher’s Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient
by William B. Irvine
Why do some people work through obstacles while the same obstacles may devastate other people? William Irvine says it might be because they behave like the ancient Stoics. This is an interesting book for alternate ways to view setbacks.
“When you add up the costs imposed on you by being set back, you will often find that the biggest cost by far is the emotional distress a setback triggers.”
“When the number of options available is limited, it is foolish to fuss and fret. We should instead simply choose the best of them and get on with life.”
6. When Things Fall Apart
Heart Advice for Difficult Times
by Pema Chödrön
Since 2020 seems to falling apart, the title drew me into this older Pema Chödrön book taken from her talks between 1987 and 1994. It’s a helpful book to live in the moment and deal with life as it comes.
“The main point is that we all need to be reminded and encouraged to relax with whatever arises and bring whatever we encounter to the path.”
“We can aspire to be kind right in the moment, to relax and open our heart and mind to what is in front of us right in the moment. Now is the time.”
7. Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire
The Guide to Being Glorious You
by Jen Hatmaker
Jen Hatmaker tells is to us straight: be all God created you to be, no holds barred. This book is your own personal pep rally to follow God’s path for your life, and to enjoy others around you as you go. Very encouraging.
“We must show up truthfully, because it is in the diversity of our souls this world receives all it needs. We do not need you to be like your neighbor; we already have her. We need you, not for what you do but who you are. Please be her.”
8. All the Missing Girls
by Megan Miranda
This mystery is about two women who disappear, and the woman Nic Farrell who needs to figure out why. It’s a novel told in reverse, from Day 15 to Day 1, which is NOT my favorite style to read. But the plot is interesting so it is worth the extra mental work this time.
- Be the Bridge
Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation
by LaTasha Morrison
- Stamped from the Beginning
The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
by Ibram X. Kendi
- The Color of Compromise
The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
by Jemar Tisby
- Holy Troublemakers & Unconventional Saints
by Daneen Akers
- A Way with Words
Using Our Online Conversations for Good
by Daniel Darling
- The Giver of Stars
by Jojo Moyes
What good book are YOU reading this month? Please share in the comments.
sharing with Modern Mrs. Darcy
- Don’t Be Stingy with Your Encouragement
- Even in the Mess, God Still Works