This winter's recommended reads come from different genres and are intended to address the multitude of literary needs that you may have. Happy reading!
The one education-related book you must read: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates:
Coates' poetic memoir and reflection on what it means to be a black man in the United States, written in the form of a letter to his 15-year-old son, is my top read for the decade. Read it because it's a message you won't hear anywhere else. Read it because it offers a provocative suggestion for how to live with the racial reality of our country. Read it because the questions raised are the questions we must grapple with. This is a book to read multiple times and to be discussed with others, and one that educators, especially, must take the time to read.
Provocative essays that engender courage and empowerment: The Unspeakable, by Meghan Daum:
Ten perfectly written, brilliantly crafted personal essays about the things we don't talk about: about our blind spots, our identities, about the need to find our voices and tell our own stories. There is little that I love more than people speaking their truths without blame or fear, with unsentimental compassion. Read and digest these slowly.
On finding meaning in suffering: Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, by Anne Lamott:
How do we make sense of suffering? How can we manage the sometimes-excruciating curveballs that life throws at us? In this short book, Anne Lamott offers her humble wisdom and sharp humor again. Personally, I need annual doses of Anne Lamott and am grateful that she's a prolific writer. This one is a powerful reminder of how we cultivate resilience in ourselves individually and in communities.
For reflection, inspiration, and self-examination: The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, by Elle Luna:
This is the kind of book that I need to read during a break from work when I'm reflecting on whether I'm doing the right thing. This is a book I'll reread every six or twelve months because in not-too-many words, the author makes me think.
Also know: The paper feels really good to touch. There are beautiful painted watercolor images; this is a perfect gift for so many of us.
To be reminded of the power of art to transform our hearts: Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton:
Brandon Stanton is a story collector who has photographed and interviewed tens of thousands of people in New York -- as well as abroad -- for his blog, which has some 15 million followers. Brandon uses Facebook to share these stories in a way that is truly revolutionary, and now, his stories have been compiled into a beautiful book. Brandon has found a way to take a few lines of text and an image and produce in his followers a quantity of empathy that might just transform the world. Also know: My 11-year-old read this entire book in a couple sittings. It's a page-turner even for kids.
Fiction that makes you forget everything: The Passage, by Justin Cronin:
This is well-written horror, adventure, and science-gone-bad novel -- with characters that you care about in a crafted plot. Warning: Don't start this book unless you're okay with checking out of all your worldly duties for a week or so. It's that kind of book. And also, beware: This is the first in a trilogy. The second book is out, and the third, not yet.
What will you be reading this winter? Please share in the comments section below.