Tag Archives: resistance reading

Gene Luen Yang’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

We asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to name books that bring solace and/or understanding in this age of rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here are the recommendations from the acclaimed graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang, a repeat National Book Award finalist who, by the way, reinvented Superman.

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt

Latest book: Superman and Secret Coders book series
Also known for: American Born Chinese
Reading recommendations: The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt, was a revelation to me when I read it a few years ago. Professor Haidt is a social psychologist. His book helped me understand folks who think differently from me just a little bit better. Silence, by Shusaku Endo, is probably my favorite fiction book of all time. It’s about a Catholic missionary to 17th century Japan who eventually loses his faith. The story reminds me that grace can be found even when things are horribly broken.
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So far in this series: Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, Piper Kerman, Bill McKibben, Rabbi Jack Moline, Karen Russell, Tracy K. Smith, Gene Luen Yang. (New posts daily.)

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Gene Luen Yang’s Resistance Reading

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Bill McKibben’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

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We asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to name books that bring solace or understanding in this age of rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here are picks from the prolific author, environmental crusader, and longtime Mother Jones contributor Bill McKibben.

Latest book: Oil and Honey
Also known for: The End of Nature
Reading recommendations: We’re in an age of protest. So people should read Rules for Revolutionaries, by Becky Bond and Zack Exley, who spearheaded Bernie’s distributed organizing team. They understand the tools that work right now for big change. And for a slightly more timeless take, This Is an Uprising, by Paul and Mark Engler, is the best summary of all that the last 75 years has taught us about nonviolent organizing. It’s the book I wish I’d had a decade ago, because it would have saved a lot of trial-and-error experimentation as we got 350.org up and running.
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So far in this series: Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, Piper Kerman, Bill McKibben, Karen Russell, Tracy K. Smith. (New posts daily.)

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Bill McKibben’s Resistance Reading

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Karen Russell’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

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We asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to name books that bring solace or understanding in this age of rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here are picks from the delightfully evocative wordsmith Karen Russell, whose debut novel was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and whose short-story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, is weird and wonderful.

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt

Latest book: Sleep Donation
Also known for: Swamplandia!
Reading recommendations: Cosmicomics, by Italo Calvino: Because, if everything we write and read becomes dire and reactionary, Trump will have truly won, here’s a book that celebrates the radical freedom of the imagination. A book brimming with recombinatory energy, play and joy. Light by which to see into many different futures.

Some Say, by Maureen McClane—or anything/everything by McClane, whose vitalizing series of “Dawn School” poems was written, she says, out of “a desire to resist apocalyptic anxiety without denying ‘reality.'”

Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals, by Joy Williams: At a time when so many people are feeling impotent, consumed with helpless rage, Williams’ hilarious, furious, and stirring essays remind us rage can be helpful. It can be potent. Let’s put it to use, in the service of our fellow animals.

All Our Names, by Dinaw Mengestu: A book that brings down walls. Overlapping tales of American dislocation and American reinvention.

My last pick would be Late Victorian Holocausts, by Mike Davis. This groundbreaking “political ecology of famines” traces the development of today’s so-called “third world” to wealth inequalities that were shaped in the late 19th century, when non-European peasantries were violently yoked into the world economy. Dozens of examples of “malign interactions between climactic and economic processes” that have a grave resonance with the overlapping crises of our present moment. A challenge to the view of markets as self-regulating automata and an indictment of the human authors of “natural” disasters: “Millions die,” Davis writes, “was ultimately a policy choice.”
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So far in this series: Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, Piper Kerman, Karen Russell, Tracy K. Smith. (New posts daily.)

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Karen Russell’s Resistance Reading

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Jeff Chang’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

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We recently asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to suggest the books that bring them solace or understanding in this age of political rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here’s what the acclaimed hip-hop writer and cultural critic Jeff Chang brought to the table.

Latest book: We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
Also known for: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
Recommended Reading: Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit’s essential collection of essays, written at the darkest moment of our despair amid the Iraq War, was republished last year when it seemed we needed it most—again. Solnit is our angel of hope, always pointing us through the haze of fear and confusion toward faith and trust in our own collective possibility. Every time I read her I’m reminded that “the unimaginable is ordinary.” Then there’s The Next American Revolution, by Grace Lee Boggs with Scott Kurashige. Steve Bannon and the racist right hope to pull the nation into a final, inexorable “clash of the civilizations”—between white Christian Americans and the rest of the world. Working from within the ruins of Detroit, Boggs reframes revolution as not a bloody, destructive process but a set of soulful, creative acts that grow community and consciousness. Her vision of hope, freedom, and sustainability guides us now as we bring together justice movements and build the resistance.
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So far in this series: Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, Piper Kerman, Tracy K. Smith. (New posts daily.)

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Jeff Chang’s Resistance Reading

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Reza Farazmand’s Resistance Reading

Mother Jones

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We asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to suggest the books that bring them solace or understanding in this age of political rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here’s what the culture-critic Reza Farazmand, creator of the twisted and hilarious cult comic Poorly Drawn Lines (also a best-selling book) came up with.

Latest book: Poorly Drawn Lines
Also known for: Trash Bird (web comic)
Recommended reading: Somehow, Cat’s Cradle still manages to present a fictional political setting stranger than the one we’re in now. I can reread Kurt Vonnegut’s absurd parody of Cold War politics and think, “Well, at least things aren’t this weird yet.” Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, by Hunter S. Thompson, is an essential guide to campaigns, politicians, and the creative obscenities needed to describe them. Thompson transmits unfiltered insights on American politics and media from a different era, lending some recent historical perspective to the landscape we see today.
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So far in this series: Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, T Cooper, and Reza Farazmand. (New posts daily.)

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Reza Farazmand’s Resistance Reading

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