Social Justice Reading Suggestions

I have always been an avid reader. Despite my appreciation for auto-biographies & other non-fiction, I’ve been reading a lot more fiction since graduating from college. Maybe it’s because I greatly scaled down the amount of reading for pleasure I did while I was in college & felt the need to catch up. I’ve been neglecting the non-fiction world of books though & I’m trying to make amends for that now.

I own tons of books, fiction & non-fiction, that I still haven’t got around to reading. I’m making a point of going through my own library in addition to the local library. Several of those books are non-fiction & most of them I’ve either read sections of when I was writing papers, or began reading before getting distracted by other books. So I’ll be reading the following over the course of 2011:

Triumph: Life After the Cult – A Survivor’s Lessons by Carolyn Jessop

I actually don’t own this book. I had requested it from the library & didn’t have a chance to finish it before it was due back. I read the first book Carolyn Jessop, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), wrote about escaping from the cult. Her second book is about her life after escaping, specifically focusing on her role as a media liaison during the raid of a Texas FLDS compound.

A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl by Mariane Pearl

After seeing the movie A Mighty Heart, I knew I had to read this book. However, I kept putting it down for long periods of time because of the heavy subject matter. I suppose heavy subject matter applies to a lot of the books I read, but something about seeing the story played out in a movie in addition to my morbid curiosity leading me to watch the actual videos of Daniel Pearl, I couldn’t get through the book.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson

A few of my friends got me this book as a gift a while back after Greg Mortenson gave a lecture at their school. They certainly know me well, as I did enjoy the book & find it inspirational. I just haven’t finished it yet. Considering my potential application to Teach For America, I think I’ll appreciate reading it even more now. I’ve also seen a version of the book geared toward the classroom & want to check that out once I finish this book.

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Romeo Dallaire

I’ve read sections of this book for various papers & projects, but haven’t read it in full. It’s also a very long book, but I’m going to make it through the whole thing! The book is written by a leader in the UN peacekeeping mission during the Rwandan genocide.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Holt McDougal

Enough said.

Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen Bin Laden

Written by the ex-wife of Osama Bin Laden’s oldest brother. I am a sucker for books about women’s lives in the Middle East.

I Live Here by Mia Kirshner et al

After Mia Kirshner spoke at an Amnesty conference a couple years ago, I put this on my Christmas list. It’s considered a “paper documentary” & consists of four books: one about Chechnya; one about Mexico; one about Malawi; & one about Burma. Each of those focus on a particular aspect, such as ethnic cleansing in Burma. I’m really interested in reading this series, since it’s geared toward activism.

So that’s the beginning of my non-fiction book list. I’m looking for others to add to this list, so please let me know if you have any suggestions – I have a wide taste, so don’t leave anything out just because it doesn’t sound like any of the books listed above.

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