Joe Romm’s Resistance Reading

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

Courtesy of Joe Romm

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We asked a range of authors, artists, and poets to name books that bring solace or understanding in this age of rancor. Two dozen or so responded. Here are picks from the climate change expert, editor, and blogger extraordinaire Joe Romm.

Latest book: Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know
Also known for: Founding and editing of ClimateProgress.org
Reading recommendations: As a blogger, I am drawn toward collections of short essays. The last time this country was so divided, the greatest orator and writer ever elected president repeatedly shared his thoughts on what the country needed to do to preserve liberty. Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, edited by Roy Basler and Carl Sandburg, is one of the best collections. It includes classics like the Gettysburg Address alongside lesser-known gems like “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” in which a 28-year-old Lincoln explains the danger to the Republic of a demagogue just like Trump.

A Collection of Essays, by George Orwell: Orwell is so relevant today, 67 years after his death, that he was, as of late, ranked as Amazon’s No. 1 author in both “classics” and “contemporary” literature and fiction! He is also the greatest essayist of the last century, and few essays speak better to our alternative-facts president than 1946’s “Politics and the English Language,” in which Orwell explains why “in our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible.”

Brave New World Revisited, by Aldous Huxley: Brave New World, published in 1932, envisioned a dystopian future for humanity. In 1956, Huxley published a series of essays on the topic that are as relevant today as Orwell’s, with titles like “Propaganda in a democratic society” and “Subconscious persuasion.” A particular must-read is Huxley’s 1949 letter to Orwell about which of their dystopias would turn out to be more prescient.
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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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