Let’s Read Together: Actually, Let’s Listen Together (Audiobooks)

I finally broke down and downloaded my first audiobook! For years I have been rebelling against the idea of an audiobook because it just doesn’t seem like reading to me. I decided to stop being so stubborn and give in because my list of must-reads is growing much faster than the time that I have to get it all done. Audiobooks give me the ability to listen while I am driving or walking or doing mundane chores around the house. So, here are 5 audiobooks I am adding to my list.

How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Publisher’s Summary

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism – and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes listeners through a widening circle of antiracist ideas – from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities – that will help listeners see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

White Fragility: Why It Is So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo

Publisher’s Summary

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people'” (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. 

In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.


Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight For A Fair America by Stacey Abrams

Publisher’s Summary

“This is a narrative that describes the urgency that compels me and millions more to push for a different American story than the one being told today. It’s a story that is one part danger, one part action, and all true. It’s a story about how and why we fight for our democracy and win.”

This program is read by the author.

Celebrated national leader and best-selling author Stacey Abrams offers a blueprint to end voter suppression, empower our citizens, and take back our country. A recognized expert on fair voting and civic engagement, Abrams chronicles a chilling account of how the right to vote and the principle of democracy have been and continue to be under attack. Abrams would have been the first African American woman governor but experienced these effects firsthand, despite running the most innovative race in modern politics as the Democratic nominee in Georgia. Abrams didn’t win, but she has not conceded. The audiobook compellingly argues for the importance of robust voter protections, an elevation of identity politics, engagement in the census, and a return to moral international leadership.

Our Time Is Now draws on extensive research from national organizations and renowned scholars, as well as anecdotes from her life and others’ who have fought throughout our country’s history for the power to be heard. The stakes could not be higher. Here are concrete solutions and inspiration to stand up for who we are – now. 

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Publisher’s Summary

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her – but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.

This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children – the violent and capricious separation of families – and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.


Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim

Publisher’s Summary

An inspiring collection of essays by black women writers, curated by the founder of the popular book club Well-Read Black Girl, on the importance of recognizing ourselves in literature.

Remember that moment when you first encountered a character who seemed to be written just for you? That feeling of belonging remains with readers the rest of their lives – but not everyone regularly sees themselves on the pages of a book. In this timely anthology, Glory Edim brings together original essays by some of our best black women writers to shine a light on how important it is that we all – regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability – have the opportunity to find ourselves in literature.

Contributors include Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Jacqueline Woodson (Another Brooklyn), Gabourey Sidibe (This Is Just My Face), Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing), Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), Rebecca Walker (Black, White and Jewish), and Barbara Smith (Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology).

Whether it’s learning about the complexities of femalehood from Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, finding a new type of love in The Color Purple, or using mythology to craft an alternative black future, the subjects of each essay remind us why we turn to books in times of both struggle and relaxation. As she has done with her book club-turned-Online community Well-Read Black Girl, in this anthology Glory Edim has created a space in which black women’s writing and knowledge and life experiences are lifted up, to be shared with all fans who value the power of a story to help us understand the world and ourselves.

So, there are my recommendations! What are yours?

Much Love,

Tonza

Author: Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

3 thoughts

  1. Thanx for sharing Councilor….. I read SO MUCH as an instructor of Real Estate, I don’t read for Pleasure too much anymore….. Thanx for your insight…..

  2. Revisit the books of James Baldwin

    In recent years, there has been no shortage of ways to experience James Baldwin’s work: There are Barry Jenkins’s film adaptation of “If Beale Street Could Talk” and the documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” for starters. Now, a new book on Baldwin by Eddie S. Glaude Jr., “Begin Again,” blends biography, criticism and memoir to make sense of America today.

    “Even if you don’t agree with Glaude’s interpretations, you’ll find yourself productively arguing with them,” writes Jennifer Szalai, The Times’s nonfiction book critic, in a review. “He parses, he pronounces, he cajoles. He spurs you to revisit Baldwin’s work yourself.”

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