W. Kamau Bell’s Resistance Reading

Authors pick books that bring solace and understanding in a time of rancor.

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We asked a range of authors and creative types to name books that bring solace or understanding in this age of rancor. More than two dozen responded. Here’s what the political comedian, podcaster, CNN personality, and debut author W. Kamau Bell had to recommend.

Latest book: The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell (May 2017)
Also known for: United Shades of America (TV series)
Recommended reading: I find that no book explains America as well as The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley. It’s a classic American tale of a person lifting themselves up by their bootstraps to find success—it just happens that Malcolm’s version of success is the liberation of oppressed people. And Lindy West, the author of Shrill, is a critical voice. If we all want to have any hope of not just surviving but thriving in the next four years to eight years and beyond, then we need to listen to her. Also, she’s funnier than probably everybody you know—unless you know her.
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The complete series: Daniel Alarcón, Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Ana Castillo, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Michael Eric Dyson, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, William Gibson, Mohsin Hamid, Piper Kerman, Phil Klay, Alex Kotlowitz, Bill McKibbenRabbi Jack Moline, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Peggy Orenstein, Wendy C. Ortiz, Darryl Pinckney, Joe Romm, Karen Russell, George Saunders, Tracy K. Smith, Ayelet WaldmanJesmyn Ward, and Gene Luen Yang.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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