Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Samin Nosrat

Novice cooks will find this book does what it promises: teaches you how to cook well. But as an experienced (if amateur) cook myself, I also found a useful framework for thinking about my own cooking, not to mention a few new best practices.

Bloodchild and Other Stories

Octavia E. Butler

This collection of short stories, many written very early in Octavia Butler’s career, explore a number of themes that recur throughout her novels: societal disintegration, human/alien couplings, and the ways humans may need to evolve in order to survive as a species.

Gnomon

Nick Harkaway

This book has more twists and turns than an actual labyrinth, and short of a few more reads and some dedicated notetaking, I doubt I could speak clearly to what exactly happens between its covers.

Kindred

Octavia E. Butler

Much of Butler’s fiction looks to the future. But Kindred is marked by a fascinating look back.

Ursula Franklin Speaks

Ursula M. Franklin & Sarah Jane Freeman

This collection from the late Ursula Franklin, published just two years before her death, includes an astonishing array of speeches and interviews on technology, pacifism, feminism, education, and more.

Women & Power

Mary Beard

This brief and self-proclaimed manifesto contains two essays: the first, on the voice of women, and the second, on women and power.

Evicted

Matthew Desmond

For months, Matthew Desmond lived in the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee, getting to know the locals and documenting their impossible struggles to find and keep a home.

The Essex Serpent

Sarah Perry

In this Victorian novel, Cora Seagrave’s abusive husband has died, leaving her and her son the best possible gifts: freedom and wealth.

Democracy in Chains

Nancy MacLean

Nancy MacLean unravels the main source of the right’s efforts to reimagine American democracy: the writing and thinking of political economist James Buchanan.

Critical Race Theory

Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller & Kendall Thomas

This anthology gathers core writing on the subject of critical race theory—a movement that looks at how the law is complicit in the creation and maintenance of oppression along the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Twitter and Tear Gas

Zeynep Tufekci

Zeynep Tufekci’s book spans the Zapatista uprisings in Mexico, the Occupy movement, a Turkish coup, Arab Spring, fake news, and more—and provides the most lucid analysis of the ways digital networked media has both enabled social justice movements and been used to thwart them.

Too Much and Not the Mood

Durga Chew-Bose

It’s difficult to describe this collection of essays; I’m not convinced I should even refer to them as essays, exactly, as they often feel more like lyric than prose.

Parable of the Talents

Octavia E. Butler

This sequal to Parable of the Sower follows Lauren Olamina and her Earthseed community as it grows—and then is viciously assaulted.

Parable of the Sower

Octavia E. Butler

Lauren Olamina lives in a walled neighborhood in Southern California; it’s dangerous to venture beyond the walls, where there’s little work, less food, and no law.