What should we read?


This is a collective project, which means that it will be shaped collectively by the people who are participating in it. Our first task is to choose the books we want to read and talk about together.

Please take our survey to give your input.

What we’re choosing from

We’ve assembled a selection of books to help us better understand the experiences of all Americans. These are sorted into groups, but we want to say upfront that we had a hard time with the sorting. While we’re sure you’ll see commonalities in each group, issues of intersectionality means some decisions about where to place a book might seem arbitrary or wrong. That’s why we haven’t given a label to any group.

We had an even harder time with choosing which books to include. At one point we had 83 books on our list. We cut ruthlessly to have no more than 44. Here’s what we considered when making our list:

  • Setting: All stories are set in the US or chronicle American experience
  • Time: All books were written after 1990 and are set in the present day
  • Variety: The list contains a variety of genres (short story, novel, graphic, memoir, novel-in-verse), styles, and target ages
  • Representation: We could not include every kind of American experience, even with 11 months. We focused on those that seemed most relevant in the presidential campaign or in events that have happened in response to it.

We’d like you to choose no more than 15 books you’d like to read this year. 

Things to consider as you choose

Level of challenge for you: Which books will take you out of your comfort zone or be most unfamiliar? What do you want to learn about?

Topics: While we’ve sorted the books into categories and want to make sure we have a variety of perspectives over the course of the year, you might really want more than one title in a group. Maybe the stories in some of these groups aren’t the ones you feel you need to hear right now. Feel free to choose the books you are most interested in reading, regardless of group.

To learn about the books

When you’re in the survey, click on the link below the book cover and it will take you to its page on Amazon where you can read summaries and reviews. (We’re linking to Amazon because it’s a retailer accessible to everyone. If you don’t have any particular reason to use Amazon to buy books, we encourage you to use Powell’s our local, independent bookseller.)

Clicking on the image below will take you to the survey, where we’ll collect your choices. If you’d like to vote, please do so by Friday, January 27th. We’d like to announce our titles for the year by January 30th.







13 thoughts on “What should we read?

  1. As my life has opened in the passed two years, I’d been feeling so optimistic. Until November 8th. I can’t begin to think of the changes that might occur in the coming years (praying for impeachment!)
    I need a lift by reading books that may open even more doors for me. I know Rita and Miss Grace can do it for me!
    Ladies, let’s read!!

    1. At the bottom of each post, there are social media sharing buttons. If you click on those, they will allow you to share the post. If you share this post, it will take your friends/followers back here, where they can access the survey and the rest of the site. Is that what you had in mind?

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