“The Book of Hope” by Jane Goodall

Looking at the headlines — a global pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, political upheaval — it can be hard to feel optimistic. And yet hope has never been more desperately needed. In this urgent book Goodall, the world’s most famous living naturalist, and Doug Abrams, internationally-bestselling author, explore — through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue — one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope.

“Every Day is Earth Day” by Harriet Dyer

Don’t just worry about climate change — take action against climate change! There are many simple things you can do today to make a difference. The book is full of simple ways to reduce your environmental impact. From tips on creating a more eco-friendly home and ways to reduce your plastic use, to advice on shopping sustainably, within these pages you will discover everything you need to know to help you make planet-friendly choices and live a more sustainable life.

“Finding the Mother Tree’’ by Suzanne Simard

Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron’s “Avatar”) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths — that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complex, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.


“A Molecule Away from Madness: Tales of the Hijacked Brian” by Sara Manning Peskin

Our brains are complex organs, powerful and yet prone to bewildering illness. Through accounts of illnesses like acute psychosis, mass dementia among farmers, and a college student unable to remember if she’s had breakfast, Peskin takes the reader on a human-centered tale of the deepest mysteries of our brains.

“The Nazis Knew My Name” by Magda Hellinger and Maya Lee

Magda Hellinger was one of the first Jews sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp — where she was put in charge of hundreds of women in Experimental Block 10. While avoiding the suspicion of the SS, Magda worked to save the lives of her fellow prisoners living through unimaginable evil.

“The Stonewall Reader,” edited by the New York Public Library

A collection of stories from before, during, and after the Stonewall riots, this library-edited anthology traces the history of queer organizing and mutual aid in the 20th Century. Featuring a wide variety of voices and perspectives, this anthology paints a broad picture of the resilient human spirit.


“The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig

For anyone who has ever grappled with the right words for each feeling that might linger or just be a fleeting moment, this is the book that captures and poetically defines the emotions we all feel but don’t know what to call them. For lovers of language and its etymologies, here is an ineffable collection of the human experience that you may just find yourself incorporating into your daily lingo. Available in: print, ebook, eaudio

“The Tobacco Wives” by Adele Myers

A smoky mystery set in post war North Carolina in 1947. Seamstress Maddie Sykes arrives to work for her aunt’s thriving sewing business and soon realizes nothing is as it seems. The disparity between the dressmakers and wearers in this town depends on the big money tobacco provides, but at what cost. A story of strong women, this is a satisfying and deeply human dramatic novel. Available in: print

“The Black Joke: The True Story of One Ship’s Battle Against the Slave Trade” by A.E. Rooks

Rooks tells the story of one ship, the Black Joke and its role in subverting the slave trade. Adrenaline high-seas storytelling and gripping and groundbreaking history revealed in this book that speaks to early abolitionism and political rebellion against the enslavement of Africans.

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