We agree, to the best of our ability, that racism is still a problem in the world. We have raised awareness, taken stands, and we have composed Tweets and posts and essays about the evil of it all. There will always be a need for that. As long as racism exists, there will be a need for us to say it’s not okay for conferences and churches and schools and restaurants and neighborhoods and others to overlook or mistreat or prefer or exclude.
And, we agree about words. We love them. We write them. We read them. We memorize them. We forsake the laundry and the dishes and the lawnmower for the exquisite turns of phrase and the great expanse of wonder and imagination they invoke. We have been changed by the reading of a single book. We have changed the way we live our lives because of the words we’ve read between the covers of a book.
We also agree, when it comes to racism, we can do better. And so, we search for ways to elevate the conversation and broaden our horizons and pick up a hammer to build a bridge. There are protesters and organizers and speakers and pastors who help us find the way through the fog. And, maybe you’ve been wondering what difference you can make with your ordinary life and its regular kitchen with the windows that rattle when the weather grows windy.
So, we return to the words.
It’s been a while since I asked you to share with me some of the books you’ve read and loved. Books that were written by people whose culture or race or ethnicity is not like yours. You did not disappoint. You filled the comment section with titles and authors and summaries and links.
Things are changing. Maybe you’ve noticed it for itself. We aren’t content to let things stay the way they’ve been. We’re not ready to settle for less than, when we know we can do better—we can be better. And, what we know is words. We know the power of story and the way a book can change the world. So, we do what we can and we seek what we know.
That’s why we built a book list. I haven’t read all the books on the list, so I’m not vouching for them as much as I am trusting the people who read and comment. Not all of the books made my list, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading. I wanted the list to be heavy on books I hadn’t heard about, or that I wouldn’t have necessarily found on my own. Some of the books on the list are classics, or best-sellers, and a lot of them aren’t. You can read the full conversation by clicking over to this post. And, you can download my curated version of the list (sans authors) right here.
In January, we’ll start a low-key, no-stress book club, using one of the books on this list. So, take a peek at the list and then let us know, in the comments, which book you might be willing to read together. In December, I’ll let you know which book was chosen, and I’ll share more details about the book club.