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The New York Public Library is urging people to read before they vote. To help with that task, librarians have compiled a 2020 Election Reading List, with nearly 200 nonfiction and fiction titles for adults, kids, and teens. The Library’s expert librarians have broken down the key issues at the top of both campaigns and compiled reading recommendations to help inform and prepare readers to vote.
Elevating issues such as health care, gender equality, climate change, and foreign policy, among other issues top of mind among voters, the 2020 Election Reading List is another way the NYPL says it is continuing its commitment to making these resources accessible to all. Compiling the list took three weeks to complete. This is the NYPL’s first reading list dedicated to the U.S. presidential election.
“With the upcoming election rapidly approaching, the library wanted to produce a list that would help patrons—and beyond—understand the important issues in our society and prepare them to cast an informed
vote,” Julie Golia, one of the list’s curators as well as curator of history, social sciences, and government information at the NYPL, tells Fortune. “For more than a century, New York City’s public libraries have supported and strengthened New Yorkers, our nation’s democratic foundation, and our world by welcoming all and employing values of trust, inclusion, respect, and free and open access to information, knowledge, and opportunity.”
The NYPL is also putting voting and getting informed front and center—literally outside the front doors of the most famous branch at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The library is installing props in front of its beloved lion statues, named Patience and Fortitude, depicting them as holding books encouraging New Yorkers to vote, along with banners reading “Read. Think. Vote.” flanking the entrance.
Here are a selection of books to consider reading before November 3, which you can find with your local independent booksellers via Bookshop.org or your own local library.
A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor by Steven Greenhouse
Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education by Noliwe Rooks
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris
The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism edited by Daisy Hernández and Bushra Rehman
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
See Jane Win: The Inspiring Story of the Women Changing American Politics by Caitlin Moscatello
Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney
Sand and Blood: America’s Stealth War on the Mexico Border by John Carlos Frey
Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices by Toby Beauchamp
Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States by Samantha Allen
Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene A. Carruthers
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley
Polarization: Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein
The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court in the Age of Trump by David A. Kaplan
Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams
Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population Is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation by Matt Barreto and Gary M. Segura
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Blackballed: The Black Vote and U.S. Democracy by Darryl Pinckney
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson
Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy by David Daley
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