Wendy C. Ortiz’s Resistance Reading

Authors pick books that bring solace and understanding in an age of rancor.


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 are picks from the critically acclaimed memoirist Wendy C. Ortiz.

Latest book: Bruja
Also known for: Excavation: A Memoir
Reading recommendations: Handwriting, by Michael Ondaatje, lives in the drawer of my night table—it’s my antidote to despair of all kinds. The fragmentary nature and white space allow for breaths. I’ve memorized lines from this book over the years and consider it an influence on my prose, poetry, and my psyche.

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, by Masha Gessen: I’m currently inhaling Gessen’s work, having begun with The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy. The current political climate has awakened the dormant political-economy student in me—in 1993 this student only had books, but in 2017 she has Twitter, e-books, and close friends who are trained as historians and journalists. The Man Without a Face is an absolutely chilling and a foreboding playbook for the destruction of democracy and its ideals, making it required reading for everyone in this country who values democracy.

Illustration by Allegra Lockstadt
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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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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