It’s no secret that there are a fair number of folks out there that are depressed. The year is turning out to be fairly contentious right from the get go and it’s only (checks watch) February. Oog. We look out the windows and spring seems an awful long ways away, both literally and metaphorically. Fortunately the library’s got your back. Here’s a booklist to pluck up spirits and make you feel, if not cheery, then at least engaged.
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories. Wild Possibilities. by Rebecca Solnit
Do our actions always have immediate positive results? Nope. And what better way to grasp this than with a book that, “traces the rise of a sophisticated, supple, nonviolent new movement that unites all the diverse and fragmentary issues of the eighties and nineties in our new century.”
Says Solnit of the book, “Coming back to the text more than a dozen tumultuous years later, I believe its premises hold up. Progressive, populist and grassroots constituencies have had many victories. Popular power has continued to be a profound force for change. And the changes we have undergone, both wonderful and terrible, are astonishing.”
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today’s struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that “Freedom is a constant struggle.”
Splinterlands by John Feffer
A dystopian novel with something to say. Author John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. In this novel the European Union no longer exists, the United States is barely scraping by, and Russia and China have lost their influence. Intrigued?
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.
Howard Zinn has illuminated American history like none other. Before and during his tenure as a political science professor at Boston University, he wrote more than 20 books, including A People’s History of the United States. He was also a known anti-war and civil rights activist. Now, for the first time ever, Howard Zinn’s speeches have been collected in book form. The book includes speeches on protest movements, racism, war and American democracy. It will be an invaluable resource for a new generation of students discovering his work, as well as those Zinn moved during his lifetime.