Recommended by Jalyn Cox
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach: “Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering. This suffering emerges in crippling self-judgements and conflicts in our relationships, in addictions and perfectionism, in loneliness and overwork— all the forces that keep our lives constricted and unfulfilled.” I have recommended this illuminating book to so many people because it seriously had an amazing impact on me. Brach is a psychiatrist who implements meditation within her therapy practices. This book helped me not only realize, but break down and work on a lot of my own toxic thought patterns. Each chapter tackles a topic and ends with a guided meditation that can be found on her website. In all honesty, when I first began reading the book, I ignored the meditations of the first half of the book. Once I began to grasp the concepts from the reading, I began to give the meditations a try; I’ve been meditating daily ever since.
- Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown: “Inspired by Octavia Butler’s explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical, self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns.” Adrienne Maree Brown is hands down my favorite author of today. This book helps put in perspective the world in which we live in. It also teaches us how to live in a way that helps us grow, change and evolve to a better collective and loving future.
- Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Ownes, with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD: “With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed Black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Dharma demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked.” This book is written by three incredibly brilliant individuals who offer their own experiences as queer, Black dharma paractioers and teachers. They question how teachings transcended color, class, and sexual orientation, and how they have been hindered by discrimintation and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance. Their three different perspectives contribute to the conversation about healing, social justice, and liberation. This book is beautifully written, and it weaves multiple perspectives and conversations together.
- Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine: “You take in things you don’t want all the time. The second you hear or see some ordinary moment, all its intended targets, all the meanings behind the retreating seconds, as far as you are able to see, come into focus. Hold up, did you just hear, did you just say, did you just see, did you just do that? Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn’t be an ambition.” Claudia Rankine, where do I begin? This book is incredible, and I was fortunate enough to see Rankine’s play, The White Card, which “organically grew” from Citizen. This book opens a conversation about the collective portrait of racial relations within the U.S.
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: “A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay.” Roxane Gay is just an incredibly powerful author that just made me feel valid. Her book is filled with essays commenting on feminism and culture today.
- Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler: “When global climate change and economic crisis leads to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day.” I just couldn’t make a book list without adding our QUEEN, Octavia Butler. She is the first African American woman to gain popularity and critical acclaim as a science fiction writer! This book is all too relevant now seeing she wrote this book in 1993 about 2020, but it holds so many topics worth discussion. Along with Butler’s other books, this inspired many of the books on this reading list.
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently…” Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie is both an amazing speaker and author. Within her feminist manifesto, she creates a modified version of her TEDx talk that focused on Africa and the danger of a single story. This book discusses how feminism, the word and the idea, are both limited by stereotypes.
- Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by Adrienne Maree Brown: “How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than fulfilling life?” I love Adrienne Maree Brown so much, I had to add two of her books to this list. If you are thinking about this book, and you need a little more of a push to read it, check out Man Repeller’s article about it!
- You Were Born For This by Chani Nicholas: “Your weekly horoscope is merely one crumb of astrology’s cake.” In her first book, Nicholas shows how your birth chart— a snapshot of the sky at the moment you took your first breath— reveals your unique talents, challenges, and opportunities. Fortified with this knowledge, you can live out the life you were born. Marrying the historic traditions of astrology with a modern approach, this book explains the key components of your birth chart in an easy-to-use manner. Nicholas takes each reader on an adventure to discover their own chart and the deeper meaning behind it. I have always been super interested in astrology, but I always felt a disconnect behind the why and how; how do you even read your Costar chart? This book teaches you how to read your own chart, and then takes you on a journey to learn more about yourself!