Social Science Audiobooks

Researching sociologists, psychologists, and interested members of society are often captivated by the social sciences. For anyone intrigued by the habits of human beings, the effects of culture, and our societies’ history and evolution, the best social science audiobooks offer it all. To better understand the world we live in, take your pick from these influential listens.

Researching sociologists, psychologists, and interested members of society are often captivated by the social sciences. For anyone intrigued by the habits of human beings, the effects of culture, and our societies’ history and evolution, the best social science audiobooks offer it all. To better understand the world we live in, take your pick from these influential listens.

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  • My Life: Growing Up Asian in America
    My Life: Growing Up Asian in America
    My Life: Growing Up Asian in America

    Audiobook

    My Life: Growing Up Asian in America

    byCAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)

    A collection of thirty heartfelt, witty, and hopeful thought pieces on the experience of growing up Asian American, for fans of Minor Feelings. There are 23 million people, representing more than twenty countries, each with unique languages, histories, and cultures, clumped under one banner: Asian American. Though their experiences are individual, certain commonalities appear. -The pressure to perform and the weight of the model minority myth. -The proximity to whiteness (for many) and the resulting privileges. -The desexualizing, exoticizing, and fetishizing of their bodies. -The microaggressions. -The erasure and overt racism. Through a series of essays and poems, thirty creators give voice to moments that defined them and shed light on the immense diversity and complexity of the Asian American identity. Edited by CAPE and with an introduction by renowned journalist SuChin Pak, My Life: Growing Up Asian in America is a celebration of community, a call to action, and a road map for a brighter future. Featuring contributions from bestselling authors Melissa de la Cruz, Marie Lu, and Tanaïs; journalists Amna Nawaz, Edmund Lee, and Aisha Sultan; TV and film writers Teresa Hsiao, Heather Jeng Bladt, and Nathan Ramos-Park; and industry leaders Ellen K. Pao and Aneesh Raman, among many more.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change
    Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change
    Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change

    Audiobook

    Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change

    byFindaway

    From the acclaimed author of Like a Mother comes a reflection on the state of caregiving in America, and an exploration of mothering as a means of social change. The Covid-19 pandemic shed fresh light on a long-overlooked truth: mothering is among the only essential work humans do. In response to the increasing weight placed on mothers and caregivers—and the lack of a social safety net to support them—writer Angela Garbes found herself pondering a vital question: How, under our current circumstances that leave us lonely, exhausted, and financially strained, might we demand more from American family life?  In Essential Labor, Garbes explores assumptions about care, work, and deservedness, offering a deeply personal and rigorously reported look at what mothering is, and can be. A first-generation Filipino-American, Garbes shares the perspective of her family's complicated relationship to care work, placing mothering in a global context—the invisible economic engine that has been historically demanded of women of color.  Garbes contends that while the labor of raising children is devalued in America, the act of mothering offers the radical potential to create a more equitable society. In Essential Labor, Garbes reframes the physically and mentally draining work of meeting a child's bodily and emotional needs as opportunities to find meaning, to nurture a deeper sense of self, pleasure, and belonging. This is highly skilled labor, work that impacts society at its most foundational level. Part galvanizing manifesto, part poignant narrative, Essential Labor is a beautifully rendered reflection on care that reminds us of the irrefutable power and beauty of mothering.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole
    My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole
    My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole

    Audiobook

    My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole

    byWill Jawando

    This program is read by the author, Will Jawando, who has been called “the progressive leader we need” by the late congressman John Lewis. "Will Jawando's account of mentorship, service, and healing lays waste to the racist stereotype of the absent Black father. By arguing that Black fathers are not just found in individual families, but are indeed the treasure of entire Black communities, Will makes the case for a bold idea: that Black men can counter racist ideas and policies by virtue of their presence in the lives of Black boys and young men. This is a story we need to hear." —Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times–bestselling author of How to be an Antiracist Will Jawando tells a deeply affirmative story of hope and respect for men of color at a time when Black men are routinely stigmatized. As a boy growing up outside DC, Will, who went by his Nigerian name, Yemi, was shunted from school to school, never quite fitting in. He was a Black kid with a divorced white mother, a frayed relationship with his biological father, and teachers who scolded him for being disruptive in class and on the playground. Eventually, he became close to Kalfani, a kid he looked up to on the basketball court. Years after he got the call telling him that Kalfani was dead, another sickening casualty of gun violence, Will looks back on the relationships with an extraordinary series of mentors that enabled him to thrive. Among them were Mr. Williams, the rare Black male grade school teacher, who found a way to bolster Will’s self-esteem when he discovered he was being bullied; Jay Fletcher, the openly gay colleague of his mother who got him off junk food and took him to his first play; Mr. Holmes, the high school coach and chorus director who saw him through a crushing disappointment; Deen Sanwoola, the businessman who helped him bridge the gap between his American upbringing and his Nigerian heritage, eventually leading to a dramatic reconciliation with his biological father; and President Barack Obama, who made Will his associate director of public engagement at the White House—and who invited him to play basketball on more than one occasion. Without the influence of these men, Will knows he would not be who he is today: a civil rights and education policy attorney, a civic leader, a husband, and a father. Drawing on Will’s inspiring personal story and involvement in My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s national initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color, My Seven Black Fathers offers a transformative way for Black men to shape the next generation. A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice
    Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice
    Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice

    Audiobook

    Seen and Unseen: Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice

    byMarc Lamont Hill

    A riveting exploration of how the power of visual media over the last few years has shifted the narrative on race and reignited the push towards justice by the author of the “worthy and necessary” (The New York Times) Nobody Marc Lamont Hill and the bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Todd Brewster. With his signature “clear and courageous” (Cornel West) voice Marc Lamont Hill and New York Times bestselling author Todd Brewster weave four recent pivotal moments in America’s racial divide into their disturbing historical context—starting with the killing of George Floyd—Seen and Unseen reveals the connections between our current news headlines and social media feeds and the country’s long struggle against racism. For most of American history, our media has reinforced and promoted racism. But with the immediacy of modern technology—the ubiquity of smartphones, social media, and the internet—that long history is now in flux. From the teenager who caught George Floyd’s killing on camera to the citizens who held prosecutors accountable for properly investigating the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, ordinary people are now able to reveal injustice in a more immediate way. As broad movements to overhaul policing, housing, and schooling gain new vitality, Seen and Unseen demonstrates that change starts with the raw evidence of those recording history on the front lines. In the vein of The New Jim Crow and Caste, Seen and Unseen incisively explores what connects our moment to the history of race in America but also what makes today different from the civil rights movements of the past and what it will ultimately take to push social justice forward.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service
    Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service
    Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service

    Audiobook

    Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service

    byTajja Isen

    A fearless and darkly comic essay collection about race, justice, and the limits of good intentions. In this stunning debut collection, Catapult editor-in-chief and award-winning voice actor Tajja Isen explores the absurdity of living in a world that has grown fluent in the language of social justice but doesn’t always follow through. These nine daring essays explore the sometimes troubling and often awkward nature of that discord. Some of My Best Friends takes on the cartoon industry’s pivot away from colorblind casting, the pursuit of diverse representation in the literary world, the law’s refusal to see inequality, and the cozy fictions of nationalism. Isen deftly examines the quick, cosmetic fixes society makes to address systemic problems, and reveals the unexpected ways they can misfire. In the spirit of Zadie Smith, Cathy Park Hong, and Jia Tolentino, Isen interlaces cultural criticism with her lived experience to explore the gaps between what we say and what we do, what we do and what we value, what we value and what we demand.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Different: Gender and Our Primate Heritage
    Different: Gender and Our Primate Heritage
    Different: Gender and Our Primate Heritage

    Audiobook

    Different: Gender and Our Primate Heritage

    byFrans de Waal

    In Different, world-renowned primatologist Frans de Waal draws on decades of observation and studies of both human and animal behavior to argue that despite the linkage between gender and biological sex, biology does not automatically support the traditional gender roles in human societies. While humans and other primates do share some behavioral differences, biology offers no justification for existing gender inequalities. Using chimpanzees and bonobos to illustrate this point—two ape relatives that are genetically equally close to humans—de Waal challenges widely held beliefs about masculinity and femininity, and common assumptions about authority, leadership, cooperation, competition, filial bonds, and sexual behavior. Chimpanzees are maledominated and violent, while bonobos are female-dominated and peaceful. In both species, political power needs to be distinguished from physical dominance. Power is not limited to the males, and both sexes show true leadership capacities. Different is a fresh and thought-provoking approach to the long-running debate about the balance between nature and nurture, and where sex and gender roles fit in. De Waal peppers his discussion with details from his own life—a Dutch childhood in a family of six boys, his marriage to a French woman with a different orientation toward gender, and decades of academic turf wars over outdated scientific theories that have proven hard to dislodge from public discourse. He discusses sexual orientation, gender identity, and the limitations of the gender binary, exceptions to which are also found in other primates. With humor, clarity, and compassion, Different seeks to broaden the conversation about human gender dynamics by promoting an inclusive model that embraces differences, rather than negating them.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Invention of Whiteness: The Long History of a Dangerous Idea
    The Invention of Whiteness: The Long History of a Dangerous Idea
    The Invention of Whiteness: The Long History of a Dangerous Idea

    Audiobook

    The Invention of Whiteness: The Long History of a Dangerous Idea

    byRobert P. Baird

    Before the 17th century, people did not think of themselves as belonging to something called the white race. But once the idea was invented, it quickly began to reshape the modern world.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Slice of Life: The Narrative Experience
    The Slice of Life: The Narrative Experience
    The Slice of Life: The Narrative Experience

    Audiobook

    The Slice of Life: The Narrative Experience

    byThe Millions

    As the age old saying goes, "put yourself in someone else's shoes". Step into someone's life for a brief moment and see the world through their eyes. Experience things from a different perspective as you put down your worries and troubles.

    Rating: 0 out of 5 stars
    0 ratings
  • You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation
    You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation
    You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

    Audiobook

    You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

    byJulissa Arce

    This program is read by the author and includes a bonus conversation with the author and Paola Ramos, a Vice News journalist, MSNBC Contributor, and author of Finding Latinx. “A love letter to our people—full of fury and passion." — José Olivarez, award-winning poet and author of Citizen Illegal "If you could take Rodolfo Gonzales epic poem 'I Am Joaquin' and explain it through compelling, personal narrative in twenty-first century America, You Sound Like A White Girl would be it.” — Joaquin Castro Bestselling author Julissa Arce brings readers a powerful polemic against the myth that assimilation leads to happiness and belonging for immigrants in America. Instead, she calls for a celebration of our uniqueness, our origins, our heritage, and the beauty of the differences that make us Americans. “You sound like a white girl.” These were the words spoken to Julissa by a high school crush as she struggled to find her place in America. As a brown immigrant from Mexico, assimilation had been demanded of her since the moment she set foot in San Antonio, Texas, in 1994. She’d spent so much time getting rid of her accent so no one could tell English was her second language that in that moment she felt those words—you sound like a white girl?—were a compliment. As a child, she didn’t yet understand that assimilating to “American” culture really meant imitating “white” America—that sounding like a white girl was a racist idea meant to tame her, change her, and make her small. She ran the race, completing each stage, but never quite fit in, until she stopped running altogether. In this dual polemic and manifesto, Julissa dives into and tears apart the lie that assimilation leads to belonging. She combs through history and her own story to break down this myth, arguing that assimilation is a moving finish line designed to keep Black and brown Americans and immigrants chasing racist American ideals. She talks about the Lie of Success, the Lie of Legality, the Lie of Whiteness, and the Lie of English—each promising that if you obtain these things, you will reach acceptance and won’t be an outsider anymore. Julissa deftly argues that these demands leave her and those like her in a purgatory—neither able to secure the power and belonging within whiteness nor find it in the community and cultures whiteness demands immigrants and people of color leave behind. In You Sound Like a White Girl, Julissa offers a bold new promise: Belonging only comes through celebrating yourself, your history, your culture, and everything that makes you uniquely you. Only in turning away from the white gaze can we truly make America beautiful. An America where difference is celebrated, heritage is shared and embraced, and belonging is for everyone. Through unearthing veiled history and reclaiming her own identity, Julissa shows us how to do this.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • You're Cute When You're Mad: Simple Steps for Confronting Sexism
    You're Cute When You're Mad: Simple Steps for Confronting Sexism
    You're Cute When You're Mad: Simple Steps for Confronting Sexism

    Audiobook

    You're Cute When You're Mad: Simple Steps for Confronting Sexism

    byScribd Originals Audio

    As she admits in the first salvo of her enlightening new guide to battling gender discrimination, award-winning author and radio journalist Celeste Headlee is herself … a sexist. But aren’t we all? Indeed we are, no matter the strength of our convictions otherwise, and herein lies the crux of Headlee’s examination of inherent—and often unconscious—cultural biases: Whether we can admit it or not, we all bring instinctive and learned prejudices to our interactions and conversations, to the detriment of everyone. Fortunately, Headlee presents a thoughtful, practical, and cogent manual on becoming aware of, and reversing, the sometimes subtle sexism with which we all struggle, actively or not. With the same empathetic and circumspect approach seen in her 2017 book We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter, Headlee lays out the fundamentals of creating allies, rather than alienating those who may simply be playing prescribed cultural roles. But deprogramming people without making them defensive (and dismissive) is easier said than done. The culprit? “Benevolent sexism.” As Headlee writes, this pervasive daily frustration for at least half the population is “hard to address because people often fail to recognize so-called friendly sexism as harmful.” To combat this, the author walks us through an often surprising and always illuminating three-step process, drawing on human psychology and refreshing common sense. In the end, we’re rewarded with a compelling take on one of our most insidious problems—and, happily, a way to bring people together in these divided times.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It's Different Than You Think)
    Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It's Different Than You Think)
    Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It's Different Than You Think)

    Audiobook

    Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It's Different Than You Think)

    byReshma Saujani

    INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER The founder of Girls Who Code and bestselling author of Brave, Not Perfect confronts the “big lie” of corporate feminism and presents a bold plan to address the burnout and inequity harming America’s working women today. We told women that to break glass ceilings and succeed in their careers, all they needed to do is dream big, raise their hands, and lean in. But data tells a different story. Historic numbers of women left their jobs in 2021, resulting in their lowest workforce participation since 1988. Women’s unemployment rose to nearly fifteen percent, and globally women lost over $800 billion in wages. Fifty-one percent of women say that their mental health has declined, while anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed. In this urgent and rousing call to arms, Reshma Saujani dismantles the myth of “having it all” and lifts the burden we place on individual women to be primary caregivers, and to work around a system built for and by men. The time has come, she argues, for innovative corporate leadership, government intervention, and sweeping culture shift; it’s time to Pay Up. Through powerful data and personal narrative, Saujani shows that the cost of inaction—for families, for our nation’s economy, and for women themselves—is too great to ignore. She lays out four key steps for creating lasting change: empower working women, educate corporate leaders, revise our narratives about what it means to be successful, and advocate for policy reform. Both a direct call to action for business leaders and a pragmatic set of tools for women themselves, Pay Up offers a bold vision for change as America defines the future of work.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial
    In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial
    In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial

    Audiobook

    In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial

    byMona Chollet

    Mona Chollet's In Defense of Witches is a “brilliant, well-documented” celebration (Le Monde) by an acclaimed French feminist of the witch as a symbol of female rebellion and independence in the face of misogyny and persecution. Centuries after the infamous witch hunts that swept through Europe and America, witches continue to hold a unique fascination for many: as fairy tale villains, practitioners of pagan religion, as well as feminist icons. Witches are both the ultimate victim and the stubborn, elusive rebel. But who were the women who were accused and often killed for witchcraft? What types of women have centuries of terror censored, eliminated, and repressed? Celebrated feminist writer Mona Chollet explores three types of women who were accused of witchcraft and persecuted: the independent woman, since widows and celibates were particularly targeted; the childless woman, since the time of the hunts marked the end of tolerance for those who claimed to control their fertility; and the elderly woman, who has always been an object of at best, pity, and at worst, horror. Examining modern society, Chollet concludes that these women continue to be harassed and oppressed. Rather than being a brief moment in history, the persecution of witches is an example of society’s seemingly eternal misogyny, while women today are direct heirs to those who were hunted down and killed for their thoughts and actions. With fiery prose and arguments that range from the scholarly to the cultural, In Defense of Witches seeks to unite the mythic image of the witch with modern women who seek to live their lives on their own terms.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times
    Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times
    Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times

    Audiobook

    Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times

    byAzar Nafisi

    The New York Times bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran returns with a guide to the power of literature in turbulent times, arming readers with a resistance reading list, ranging from James Baldwin to Zora Neale Hurston to Margaret Atwood. "[A] stunning look at the power of reading. ... Provokes and inspires at every turn." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) What is the role of literature in an era when one political party wages continual war on writers and the press? What is the connection between political strife in our daily lives, and the way we meet our enemies on the page in fiction? How can literature, through its free exchange, affect politics? In this galvanizing guide to literature as resistance, Nafisi seeks to answer these questions. Drawing on her experiences as a woman and voracious reader living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, her life as an immigrant in the United States, and her role as literature professor in both countries, she crafts an argument for why, in a genuine democracy, we must engage with the enemy, and how literature can be a vehicle for doing so. Structured as a series of letters to her father, who taught her as a child about how literature can rescue us in times of trauma, Nafisi explores the most probing questions of our time through the works of Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and more.  Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays
    Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays
    Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays

    Audiobook

    Girls Can Kiss Now: Essays

    byJill Gutowitz

    Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2022 by Vogue, BuzzFeed, Bustle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Electric Lit, Thrillist, Glamour, CNN, and Shondaland “Wickedly funny and heartstoppingly vulnerable…every page twinkles with brilliance.” —Refinery29 Perfect for fans of Samantha Irby and Trick Mirror, a funny, whip-smart collection of personal essays exploring the intersection of queerness, relationships, pop culture, the internet, and identity, introducing one of the most undeniably original new voices today. Jill Gutowitz’s life—for better and worse—has always been on a collision course with pop culture. There’s the time the FBI showed up at her door because of something she tweeted about Game of Thrones. The pop songs that have been the soundtrack to the worst moments of her life. And of course, the pivotal day when Orange Is the New Black hit the airwaves and broke down the door to Jill’s own sexuality. In these honest examinations of identity, desire, and self-worth, Jill explores perhaps the most monumental cultural shift of our lifetimes: the mainstreaming of lesbian culture. Dusting off her own personal traumas and artifacts of her not-so-distant youth she examines how pop culture acts as a fun house mirror reflecting and refracting our values—always teaching, distracting, disappointing, and revealing us. Girls Can Kiss Now is a fresh and intoxicating blend of personal stories, sharp observations, and laugh-out-loud humor. This timely collection of essays helps us make sense of our collective pop-culture past even as it points the way toward a joyous, uproarious, near—and very queer—future.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Student and the Algorithm
    The Student and the Algorithm
    The Student and the Algorithm

    Audiobook

    The Student and the Algorithm

    byTom Lamont

    Josiah Elleston-Burrell had done everything to make his dream of studying architecture a reality. But, suddenly, in the summer of 2020, he found his fate was no longer in his hand.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything
    Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything
    Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything

    Audiobook

    Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything

    byKelly Weill

    Since 2015, there has been a spectacular boom in a nearly two-hundred-year-old delusion—the idea that we all live on a flat plane, under a glass dome, ringed by an impossible wall of ice. It is the ultimate in conspiracy theories, a wholesale rejection of everything we know to be true about the world in which we live. Where did this idea come from? Weill draws a straight line from today’s conspiratorial moment back to the early days of Flat Earth theory in the 1830s, showing the human impulses behind divergences in belief. Faced with a complicated world out of our individual control, we naturally seek patterns to explain the inexplicable. The only difference between then and now? Social media. And, powered by Facebook and YouTube algorithms, the Flat Earth movement is growing.   At once a definitive history of the movement and a readable look at its expansive, absurd, and dangerous present, Off the Edge introduces us to a cast of larger-than-life characters, from 19th-century grifters to 20th-century small-town tyrants to the provocateurs of Alex Jones’ early-aughts internet, whose rancor sowed the early seeds of our modern division. We accompany Weill to Flat Earther conferences, where we meet moms on vacation, hard-line creationists, scammy YouTube celebrities and their victims, Neo-Nazi rappers, and even a man determined to fly into space in a homemade rocket-powered balloon—whose tragic death proves as senseless and absurd as the theory he set out to prove.   Incisive and clear-eyed, Off the Edge tells a powerful story about belief, exploring how we arrived at this moment of polarized realities and explaining what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us
    True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us
    True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us

    Audiobook

    True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us

    byDanielle J. Lindemann

    What do we see when we watch reality television? In True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us, the sociologist and TV lover Danielle J. Lindemann takes a long, hard look in the “funhouse mirror” of this genre, from countless rose ceremonies on The Bachelor to the White House and more (so much more!). Beginning with the first episodes of The Real World, reality TV has not only remade our entertainment and cultural landscape—it also uniquely refracts our everyday experiences and social topography. By taking reality TV seriously, we can better understand key institutions (such as families, schools, and prisons) and broad social categories (such as gender, race, class, and sexuality). These shows have the ability to unveil the major circuits of power that organize our lives and the extent to which our own realities are, in fact, socially constructed. Whether we’re watching conniving Survivor contestants or three-year-old beauty queens, these “guilty pleasures” underscore how conservative our society remains, and how steadfastly we cling to our notions about what counts as legitimate or “real.” At once an entertaining chronicle of reality TV obsession and a pioneering work of sociology, True Story reflects our society back to us: what we see in the looking glass may not always be pretty, but we can’t stop watching.

    Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
  • Walking the Bowl: A True Story of Murder and Survival Among the Street Children of Lusaka
    Walking the Bowl: A True Story of Murder and Survival Among the Street Children of Lusaka
    Walking the Bowl: A True Story of Murder and Survival Among the Street Children of Lusaka

    Audiobook

    Walking the Bowl: A True Story of Murder and Survival Among the Street Children of Lusaka

    byChris Lockhart

    For readers of Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Nothing to Envy, this is a breathtaking real-life story of four street children in contemporary Zambia whose lives are drawn together and forever altered by the mysterious murder of a fellow street child. Based on years of investigative reporting and unprecedented fieldwork, Walking the Bowl immerses readers in the daily lives of four unforgettable characters: Lusabilo, a determined waste picker; Kapula, a burned-out brothel worker; Moonga, a former rock crusher turned beggar; and Timo, an ambitious gang leader. These children navigate the violent and poverty-stricken underworld of Lusaka, one of Africa’s fastest growing cities. When the dead body of a ten-year-old boy is discovered under a heap of garbage in Lusaka’s largest landfill, a murder investigation quickly heats up due to the influence of the victim’s mother and her far-reaching political connections. The children’s lives become more closely intertwined as each child engages in a desperate bid for survival against forces they could never have imagined. Gripping and fast-paced, the book exposes the perilous aspects of street life through the eyes of the children who survive, endure and dream there, and what emerges is an ultimately hopeful story about human kindness and how one small good deed, passed on to others, can make a difference in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage
    Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage
    Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage

    Audiobook

    Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage

    byHeather Havrilesky

    “Full of razor-sharp, big-hearted wisdom…. Couples should read this book aloud to each other instead of writing vows. People who never want to get married should read this book anyway.” —Leslie Jamison An illuminating, poignant, and savagely funny examination of modern marriage from Ask Polly advice columnist Heather Havrilesky If falling in love is the peak of human experience, then marriage is the slow descent down that mountain, on a trail built from conflict, compromise, and nagging doubts. Considering the limited economic advantages to marriage, the deluge of other mate options a swipe away, and the fact that almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce anyway, why do so many of us still chain ourselves to one human being for life? In Foreverland, Heather Havrilesky illustrates the delights, aggravations, and sublime calamities of her marriage over the span of fifteen years, charting an unpredictable course from meeting her one true love to slowly learning just how much energy is required to keep that love aflame. This refreshingly honest portrait of a marriage reveals that our relationships are not simply “happy” or “unhappy,” but something much murkier—at once unsavory, taxing, and deeply satisfying. With tales of fumbled proposals, harrowing suburban migrations, external temptations, and the bewildering insults of growing older, Foreverland is a work of rare candor and insight. Havrilesky traces a path from daydreaming about forever for the first time to understanding what a tedious, glorious drag forever can be.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • God Is a Black Woman
    God Is a Black Woman
    God Is a Black Woman

    Audiobook

    God Is a Black Woman

    byChristena Cleveland

    In this timely, much-needed book, theologian, social psychologist, and activist Christena Cleveland recounts her personal journey to dismantle the cultural “whitemalegod” and uncover the Sacred Black Feminine, introducing a Black Female God who imbues us with hope, healing, and liberating presence. For years, Christena Cleveland spoke about racial reconciliation to congregations, justice organizations, and colleges. But she increasingly felt she could no longer trust in the God she’d been implicitly taught to worship—a white male God who preferentially empowered white men despite his claim to love all people. A God who clearly did not relate to, advocate for, or affirm a Black woman like Christena.  Her crisis of faith sent her on an intellectual and spiritual journey through history and across France, on a 400-mile walking pilgrimage to the ancient shrines of Black Madonnas to find healing in the Sacred Black Feminine. God Is a Black Woman is the chronicle of her liberating transformation and a critique of a society shaped  by white patriarchal Christianity and culture. Christena reveals how America’s collective idea of God as a white man has perpetuated hurt, hopelessness, and racial and gender oppression. Integrating her powerful personal story, womanist ideology, as well as theological, historical, and social science research, she invites us to take seriously the truth that God is not white nor male and gives us a new and hopeful path for connecting with the divine and honoring the sacredness of all Black people.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • Tired as F*ck: Burnout at the Hands of Diet, Self-Help, and Hustle Culture
    Tired as F*ck: Burnout at the Hands of Diet, Self-Help, and Hustle Culture
    Tired as F*ck: Burnout at the Hands of Diet, Self-Help, and Hustle Culture

    Audiobook

    Tired as F*ck: Burnout at the Hands of Diet, Self-Help, and Hustle Culture

    byFindaway

    Blending memoir and blistering social observations, the author of The F*ck It Diet looks back at her desperate attempts to heal her hunger, anxiety, and imperfections through extreme diets, culty self-help methods, and melodramatic bargains with the universe.  Offering a frank and funny critique of the cultural forces that are driving us mad, Caroline Dooner examines how treating ourselves like never ending self-improvement projects is a recipe for burnout. We have become unknowingly complicit in perpetuating our own exhaustion because we are treating ourselves like machines. But even phones need to f*cking recharge. Caroline takes a good hard look at the dark side of self-help, and explains how she eventually used a radical period of rest to push back against cultural expectations and reclaim some peace. Tired As F*ck empowers us to say no to the things that exhaust us. It inspires us to carve out time to slow down, feel okay about doing less, and honor our humanity.  This is not a self-help book, it’s a cautionary tale. It’s an honest look at the dogma of wellness and spiritual self-improvement culture and revels in the healing power of rest and letting shit go.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System
    The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System
    The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System

    Audiobook

    The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System

    byAnna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

    The first book of its kind, a collection bringing together leading Black scholars and experts for a policy-oriented approach to the fight for racial justice in America. From ongoing reports of police brutality to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Black Americans, the year 2020 brought a renewed awareness to the deep-rootedness of racism and white supremacy in every facet of American life. As people have looked both inward and to their communities to understand the impact of systemic oppression, they have turned in droves to books for guidance in working toward a more just and equitable world. Until now, however, there has yet to be a book published for a general audience from the perspective of Black scholars and experts proposing ideas from a policy-oriented standpoint. The Black Agenda: Bold Solutions for a Broken System features Black voices across economics, education, health, climate, and technology, speaking to the question "What's next?" as it pertains to centering Black people in policy matters in our country. Essayists including Dr. Sandy Darity, Dr. Hedwig Lee, Mary Heglar, and Janelle Jones present groundbreaking ideas ranging from Black maternal and infant health to reparations to AI bias to inclusive economic policy, with the potential to uplift and heal not only Black America, but the entire country. A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Black Joy
    Black Joy
    Black Joy

    With deeply personal and uplifting essays in the vein of Black Girls Rock, You Are Your Best Thing, and I Really Needed This Today, this is “a necessary testimony on the magic and beauty of our capacity to live and love fully and out loud” (Kerry Washington). When Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts wrote an essay on Black joy for The Washington Post, she had no idea just how deeply it would resonate. But the outpouring of positive responses affirmed her own lived experience: that Black joy is not just a weapon of resistance, it is a tool for resilience. With this book, Tracey aims to gift her community with a collection of lyrical essays about the way joy has evolved, even in the midst of trauma, in her own life. Detailing these instances of joy in the context of Black culture allows us to recognize the power of Black joy as a resource to draw upon, and to challenge the one-note narratives of Black life as solely comprised of trauma and hardship. “Lewis-Giggetts etches a stunning personal map that follows in her ancestors’ footsteps and highlights their ability to take control of situational heartbreak and tragedy and make something better out of it….A simultaneously gorgeous and heartbreaking read” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
    South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
    South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

    Audiobook

    South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

    byFindaway

    “An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South—and thus of America—by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration.” —Isabel Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South—and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole. This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life. Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line.  

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • This Is Life: 10 Writers on Love, Fear, and Hope in the Age of Disasters
    This Is Life: 10 Writers on Love, Fear, and Hope in the Age of Disasters
    This Is Life: 10 Writers on Love, Fear, and Hope in the Age of Disasters

    Audiobook

    This Is Life: 10 Writers on Love, Fear, and Hope in the Age of Disasters

    byGarrett M. Graff

    It’s been a long, long couple of years. A global pandemic, an economic crisis, racial and political strife brought to the boiling point, the climate not far behind. As we nervously embark on yet another uncertain trip around the sun, we wonder: How’s everyone doing? Ten of America’s finest writers tell us in This Is Life. Drawing on their wisdom and lived experience, they share bold, occasionally comic, occasionally biting insights on the past two years and offer possible ways forward, both for the country and for us as individuals. They articulate the anxiety of these inarguably lousy times yet also remind us that there remain plenty of reasons to be hopeful despite it all. In this collection: NPR’s Weekend Edition host Scott Simon on the hard-won lessons that will inform our lives going forward National Book Award winner and MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson on savoring today to better cope with tomorrow’s perils Climate activist Bill McKibben on a reimagined infrastructure that could finally save the planet New York Times bestselling author and national security expert Garrett M. Graff on the precarious fate of American democracy National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado on the impulse to love harder in the face of calamity Bethany McLean, bestselling author of The Smartest Guys in the Room, on where to go now that the free-market economy has failed us Kiese Laymon, author of the bestselling memoir Heavy, on the poisonous influence of nonstop news Former Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on the bridge-building power of sports R. Eric Thomas, playwright and bestselling author of Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, on the thrill and anxiety of reconnecting with people in person Bonnie Tsui, author of the 2020 bestseller Why We Swim, on how to find joy in the smallest of life’s moments Candid and empathetic, timely and timeless, This Is Life is a much-needed literary compass for navigating 2022 and beyond.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays
    You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays
    You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

    Audiobook

    You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

    byZora Neale Hurston

    Introduction by New York Times bestselling author Henry Louis Gates Jr.  Spanning more than 35 years of work, the first comprehensive collection of essays, criticism, and articles by the legendary author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an archivist and author. “One of the greatest writers of our time.”—Toni Morrison You Don’t Know Us Negroes is the quintessential gathering of provocative essays from one of the world’s most celebrated writers, Zora Neale Hurston. Spanning more than three decades and penned during the backdrop of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the military, and school integration, Hurston’s writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life as only she could. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black people’s inner lives and culture rather than destroying it. She argues that in the process of surviving, Black people re-interpreted every aspect of American culture—"modif[ying] the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion.” White supremacy prevents the world from seeing or completely recognizing Black people in their full humanity and Hurston made it her job to lift the veil and reveal the heart and soul of the race. These pages reflect Hurston as the controversial figure she was—someone who stated that feminism is a mirage and that the integration of schools did not necessarily improve the education of Black students. Also covered is the sensational trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy Black woman convicted in 1952 for killing her lover, a white doctor. Demonstrating the breadth of this revered and influential writer’s work, You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is an invaluable chronicle of a writer’s development and a window into her world and mind. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America
    Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America
    Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America

    Audiobook

    Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America

    byAl Sharpton

    “This is the time. We won’t stop until we change the whole system of justice.” —Reverend Al Sharpton In the summer of 2020, Reverend Al Sharpton stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, preparing to give the keynote address of theGet Your Knee Off Our NecksCommitment March. He noticed an older man in the crowd wearing a button from Dr. King’s 1963 march. The man told Sharpton that he had, in fact, been to the original March on Washington. “And,” he said, “I’ll keep coming back until we see justice.” While the mainstream media may know the major names of the movement, there are countless lesser-known heroes like this man who “keep coming back,” fighting the good fight to advance equal justice for all. Whether working in civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, or in environmental justice, they heed the call when no one else is listening, often risking their lives and livelihoods in the process. Righteous Troublemakers shines a light on everyday people called to do extraordinary things—like Pauli Murray, whose early work inspired Thurgood Marshall, Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus months before Rosa Parks did the same, and Gwen Carr, whose private pain in losing her son Eric Garner stoked her public activism against police brutality. Sharpton also gives his personal take on more widely known individuals, revealing overlooked details, historical connections, and a perspective informed by years of working in the social justice movement. At the same time, this book details the tumultuous year following George Floyd’s murder, with Sharpton delivering an up close and personal look at the behind-the-scenes work that forced today’s national reckoning on race. Here, he reveals his relationship with the Floyd family, the emotional moments that impacted him most, and why his work—and ours—isn’t finished, all while offering timeless lessons about the enduring strength and moral courage of the American people. For anyone who wants to be a changemaker or believes that truth and justice are worthwhile pursuits, Righteous Troublemakers is as inspirational as it is essential. Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook. Also, don't miss Reverend Sharpton's previous book, Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads. Michael Eric Dyson calls it "a gift from Al Sharpton to us.”

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
  • Resilient Black Girl: 52 Weeks of Anti-Racist Activities for Black Joy and Resilience
    Resilient Black Girl: 52 Weeks of Anti-Racist Activities for Black Joy and Resilience
    Resilient Black Girl: 52 Weeks of Anti-Racist Activities for Black Joy and Resilience

    Audiobook

    Resilient Black Girl: 52 Weeks of Anti-Racist Activities for Black Joy and Resilience

    byM.J. Fievre

    Resilient Black Girl is a must-read in young adult nonfiction books for Black girls. As a social justice book for teens and a book about racism, it provides Black teen girls a better understanding of the effects of racism and equips them with skills for navigating spaces in their daily lives.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology
    The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology
    The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology

    Audiobook

    The Myths of Meritocracy: A Revisionist History Anthology

    byMalcolm Gladwell

    From Pushkin Industries, The Myths of Meritocracy is a compendium of audio essays focusing on one of Malcolm Gladwell's obsessions --- education. From the LSAT to student council elections, Gladwell explores why we often reward the wrong people and upends traditional thinking around how education should work.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
  • This Is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America
    This Is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America
    This Is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America

    Audiobook

    This Is Ohio: The Overdose Crisis and the Front Lines of a New America

    byJack Shuler

    For readers of Dopesick and Dreamland, journalist Jack Shuler explores the current addiction crisis as a human rights problem fostered by poverty and inadequate health care in this “insightful look at how the issues in Ohio affect the rest of the country” (Cosmopolitan, A Best Nonfiction Book of the Year). Tainted drug supplies, inadequate civic responses, and prevailing negative opinions about people who use drugs, the poor, and those struggling with mental health issues lead to thousands of preventable deaths each year while politicians are slow to adopt effective policies. Putting themselves at great personal risk (and often breaking the law to do so), the brave men and women profiled in This Is Ohio are mounting a grassroots effort to combat ineffective and often incorrect ideas about addiction and instead focus on saving lives through commonsense harm reduction policies. Opioids are the current face of addiction, but as Shuler shows, the crisis in our midst is one that has long been fostered by income inequality, the loss of manufacturing jobs across the Rust Belt, and lack of access to health care. What is playing out in Ohio today isn’t only about opioids, but rather a decades–long economic and sociological shift in small towns all across the United States. It’s also about a larger culture of stigma at the heart of how we talk about addiction. What happens in Ohio will have ramifications felt across the nation and for decades to come.

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
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