My Social Justice Bookshelf:Volume 2

As promised, here is the second edition of my social justice bookshelf with the addition of your recommendations!

Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A master of storytelling, Chimamanda’s Americanah is the story of two young Africans leaving their home country of Nigeria for the West. Ifemelu learns what it means to be “black” for the first time when she moves to America and Obinze ends up in London as an undocumented immigrant, struggling with the dangerous life of those circumstances. As in all her books, Chimamanda writes with both power and tenderness, and a clarity of understanding in what it means to love, live, and find one’s identity in the greater picture of our world. *As a bonus, I HIGHLY recommend her book, Purple Hibiscus as well*

Just Mercy: Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is the founder of EJI (Equal Justice Initiative). His non-profit primarily provides legal services to prisoners on death row. In his book, he highlights some of his earliest cases and the stories of people he has met and worked with. Unlike a lot of other social justice literature related to legal services, Bryan writes in a storytelling style that everyone can understand and absorb. This book is pretty gripping, so be prepared to commit to following it through.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: Sherman Alexie

This book is a comical, quick read about a young boy who lives on a reservation but attends high school at a primarily all-white school. The story line is fairly simple; the writing is geared to a younger audience, but there were a lot of profound components within the story. There has been a lot of headlining about African Americans and Latinos, but this book will draw your attention back to Native Americans, the very first culture of people in this country who were oppressed by misguided white supremacy.

Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness: Susannah Cahalan

This is the true story of a successful journalist whose life was decimated by a descent into mental illness, and her journey to fight her way back out again. Written with eerie insight and clear prose, Susannah Cahalan challenges the way we look at mental illness with the realization that it does not discriminate. This book is both reassuring and jolting, and will forever change the way you think about mental illness.

Man’s Search For Meaning: Viktor E. Frankl

This book is a deep and meaningful discussion of one man’s first hand account of the Holocaust and how he used intentional introspection to overcome great suffering. And because I found his words to be so richly inspiring, I’m including a few of my favorite passages as a preview. Reading this book will enrich and change the way you look at suffering and overcoming whatever life may send your way. 

To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

-Viktor E. Frankl


Your recommendations! Check out these books too!

Trouble I’ve Seen: Drew Hart

The New Jim Crow: Michelle Alexander

Making All Things New: Henry Nouwen

Tuesdays With Morrie: Mitch Albom

The Invisible Man: Ralph Ellison

Toxic Charity: Robert D. Lupton

The Ultimate Gift: Jim Stovall


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