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As we close the books on 2020, we asked our editorial staff to reflect on newly published reads that they loved. We also wondered what books, from any year, they turned to for help processing everything that’s happened, from a pandemic to the climate crisis to electoral politics to a renewed push for racial justice—a decade’s worth of content in just 52 weeks, as one Mother Jones engagement editor put it. The resulting list, “The Books That Got Us Through 2020,” is wide-ranging and surprising, with everything from highly publicized picks like Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste and Elena Ferrante’s The Lying Life of Adults to an unconventional “speculative narrative about wayward Black women at the beginning of the 20th century,” Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals. As the coronavirus continues to exert its deadly toll and winter lockdowns descend, our reading list offers an escape hatch.

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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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