September 4, 2020

4 Timely Books to Read on National Read a Book Day


What if there was a day dedicated to just … [Pause for dramatic effect] … reading books? Good news: There is. And it’s this Sunday, September 6. If you want to celebrate, all you have to do is pick up a book, find the coziest nook in your house, and turn your phone on Do Not Disturb mode. 

If you’re stumped on what to read, don’t fret. We’ve put together a curated list of exceptional reads for just this occasion. 

4 Timely Books to Read on National Read a Book Day 


How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

“Nothing is harder to do than nothing.” Meet the first sentence of this eye-opening work. This one feels particularly timely. Although most of us are hunkered down at home, an ever-present, menacing cloud looms above us telling us we need to be locked into technology 24/7. So how do we act in defiance to the attention economy and capitalist productivity so we can … truly enjoy the off time?



tl;dr — Read this if you want to deconstruct the time-is-money perspective and understand the value of being alone with one’s thoughts. 



James Baldwin: The Last Interview and other Conversations

As an unapologetic, radical writer known for his many works on the Black experience in America, James Baldwin broke new literary ground with his critical examination of racial and social issues. This publication, in particular, is a collection of remarkable interviews from moments in Baldwin’s extraordinary life.  


tl;dr — Read this if you like intimate interviews and observations on race, sexuality, and society. 



The Climate Report by U.S Global Change Research Program

The government did something kinda shady. (Shocker.) The mandated Climate Assessment Report was released on Black Friday while everyone was out shopping. Melville House rushed the report into print—including all its charts, graphs, and illustrations—to broadcast its findings. The devastating impact of global warming on the environment is real, and it affects everyone. With the impacts of climate change quickly intensifying, the evidence of human-caused climate change is even more prevalent. 


tl;dr —  Read this if you want to educate yourself on climate-related threats. 


Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers by John W. Dean and Bob Altemeyer

In the midst of repeated crises—poor direction during COVID-19, racism in American law enforcement, the focus of Black Lives Matter protests—how has Trump gotten consistent support from his base? The answer: His followers submit. Having been White House Counsel to President Nixon, John Dean knows how to identify an authoritarian when he sees one. Using social science research, this book takes a hard look at Trump’s dangerous authoritarianism and the supporters that keep cheering him on despite his tyrannical behavior. 

tl;dr — News flash: The Presidential Election is fast approaching and authoritarianism is on the ballot. To defeat it, we have to understand it. (Do everyone a favor, and pick up this book.)

Allison Green is the social media manager at Melville House.