Author’s Note: It feels odd to be putting out a post right now that, while important, feels relatively trivial compared to what is going on in Palestine right now. There is a US-sponsored genocide occurring as I write this. Both the United States and Israel want you to think the “situation” is “too complicated” for you to condemn genocide and apartheid. It is not. Please take the time to learn about the history of Israel and its violent colonization of Palestine. I hope to have blog posts sharing what I learn in these books—some of which are free right now—up in the near future and as a continual part of my blog.
I wanted to like Gregory D. Smithers’ 2022 book Reclaiming Two-Spirits: Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal & Sovereignty in Native America. It was my first Two-Spirit read, so I felt compelled to like the book due to the subject matter. But I found myself plodding through it for over a month, never seeming to have the energy or motivation to keep going.
To be an atheist means to not believe in God. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I just saved you $15.
David G. McAfee’s Hi, I’m an Atheist!: What That Means and How to Talk About It with Others caught my eye as I was wandering my favorite bookstore a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of the book or of McAfee, so for only $15, I gave it a try. I hoped that this pocket-sized guide might fill a gap in atheist literature on how to come out to others.
The Supreme Court has been captured by shadowy right-wing mega-donors. It doesn’t sound like it could be true, but it is. In The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Jennifer Mueller put the Court itself on trial and make an airtight case that the integrity of the Court has been sold. For hundreds of billions of dollars.
I held off on buying and reading Preparing for War until I met Bradley Onishi at my organization’s conference, the Summit for Religious Freedom, in April, because I couldn’t imagine that there could be more to say about Christian Nationalism that hadn’t already been said. Fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it—he proved me wrong.
It is not uncommon in school to learn about women’s suffrage. Most of us are familiar with the names of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton because of it. As far as feminist history, this is often the beginning and the end of the story. If we want to know about the lives of women under slavery, the role that Black men and women played in achieving women’s suffrage, the treatment of working-class women by suffragists, and the stances that Black women took on the abortion and anti-rape movements, then we have to look elsewhere. Angela Davis’s 1981 masterpiece Women, Race & Class is where you can find all this and more. High school and college classrooms around the country would do well to add it to their syllabi.
Gabrielle Blair’s book Ejaculate Responsibly has been praised online as a much-needed shift in the way that we talk about abortion. That seems appropriate, as the book’s subtitle is literally A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion.
Shon Faye’s The Transgender Issue: Trans Justice is Justice for All is the first book I’ve read that is solely dedicated to the trans issue. Only… trans people are not an issue at all. They are millions of people fighting to survive. Faye’s pointed and ironic title is the first way that she flips the mainstream treatment of trans people on its head.
Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom by Derecka Purnell was my first step in my own journey toward abolitionism. I started reading it days after the footage of Tyre Nichols’ murder became public. I’ve known since 2020—embarrassingly late—that policing was a racist institution, and since then I’ve hovered around the “defund the police” area. I didn’t take a hard stance because I didn’t know enough about abolition. But Nichols’ murder, in which five Black cops with body cams used their hands to murder someone, pushed me over the edge. Reform and defunding don’t work. We need abolition.