2017 reading list

Like a lot of people, I was a voracious reader as a kid but have had more difficulty finishing books in recent years. I’m surprised and glad to see that I read 58 books in 2017 (33 comics, 23 new prose books, 2 rereads).

My main goal was to fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of US history and racial justice. Here are a few books that stand out to me with respect to that goal:

California Politics and Government: A Practical Approach by Larry N. Gerston and Terry Christensen. I read this as an introduction to California structures and a refresher on high school civics. I appreciated the frank discussion of the anti-immigrant racism in the Progressive movement. Now I finally understand why we have all those propositions on every ballot.

Kiyo’s Story: A Japanese-American Family’s Quest for the American Dream by Kiyo Sato. This book includes vivid descriptions of daily life for the Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans in WWII camps. It’s a great overall memoir and helps place our country’s crimes in context.

March: Book One, Book Two, and Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. This is a powerfully illustrated comic book trilogy that tells the true story of John Lewis’s leadership in the civil rights movement. Even if your history class was accurate, reading about a hate mob feels different than seeing the white faces contorted with anger drawn on the page.

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