Tuesday Tip: 5 Books for Summer Reading

Tuesday Tip: 5 Books for Summer Reading

Summer will be here soon. Days will be longer and, magically, you’ll have a lot more time to do stuff – like surf the internet or binge watch that Netflix series you missed.

Or read a good book. Yes, that’s more like it. Relax with a cool drink and a book and improve your mind. It’s true. Research shows that reading is excellent for your thinking and memory and maintains brain health as you age.

Here are five of our favorite books for summer reading.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
This is the emotional and inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother and a small-town American family’s journey from discovery to understanding to fierce advocacy for transgender rights. Ellis Nutt, Pulitzer Prize–winning science reporter for the Washington Post, delivers a luminous account of the Maines family, as parents Kelly and Wayne rise above their preconceptions, learn to love both their children equally and launch a landmark legal fight that forces a town to confront its prejudices and a school to rewrite its rules. It was also named one of the best books of the year in 2015 by the New York Times Book Review.

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
From land of the free, home of the brave to toxic Trumpscape. How did we get here? Investigative journalist Mayer shows us how, revealing the small group of immensely wealthy, extremely conservative plutocrats who have made America the bastion of inequality, tribalism and scorched-earth capitalism it is today. For decades, a secretive group of oligarchs – including the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins and the Bradleys – have spent billions to design and deliver a plan that has fundamentally altered our society, culture and politics. An eye-opening and frankly frightening account of how the United States has been made what it is today by a faction of right-wing families with entirely their own interests in mind.

Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards
Cecile Richards is the daughter of the late, great, straight-talking Texas Gov. Ann Richards. She served as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade. In this highly personal and instructive memoir, she describes how she learned to lead and make change and fight for women’s rights and social justice, starting when she was sent to the principal’s office in 7th grade for protesting the Vietnam War. Richards tells a powerful story of the prejudice, fake news and threats of violence that face those who challenge the status quo – and she urges us to fight through it all to take risks, make trouble and create a better world along the way.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
A longtime civil rights advocate and litigator, Alexander makes the case that the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a system of racial control, imprisoning Black men by the millions, relegating them to permanent second-class status and repressing communities of color. The rate of incarceration for African Americans nearly tripled from 1968 to 2016, and Black boys now face a 32 percent probability of incarceration in their lifetime. This is a system designed to maintain African Americans as a permanent underclass, Alexander argues convincingly. Her book is a must-read for all people of conscience.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
What does an extinction look like? It looks like a massive asteroid impact. Like an enormous volcanic eruption. And it looks like now. In the past half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions in which the diversity of life on earth decreased suddenly and dramatically. We are now seeing a sixth extinction and the cause of the cataclysm is not asteroid or megavolcano but us people. In prose candid, entertaining and, yes, discouraging, New Yorker writer Kolbert explains how we are changing the planet’s environment as no species ever has and she compels us to rethink the fundamental meaning of what it is to be human.