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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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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