Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon - Solomon spent years interviewing and recording the stories of a variety of parents who were attempting to parent children who were significantly different from them, including hearing parents with deaf children, straight parents with gay children, and law-abiding parents of children who committed crimes. He speaks to the ability of these parents to love their children no matter what and to find profound meaning in parenting them.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander - Alexander makes the case that mass incarceration is a new manifestation of Jim Crow by providing and examining data around the mass disparities in the way the criminal justice system impacts youth of different racial backgrounds. She argues that by targeting and decimating communities of color, the criminal justice system has create a new caste system which extends the laws and policies of Jim Crow.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi - Drawing from her TED talk of the same name, Adichi uses a mixture of personal experiences and sexual and gender politics to redefine feminism for the 21st century and to explain what it means to be a woman in this moment in history.
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay - A collection of essays by one of the foremost cultural observers and critics of the 21st century that cover an array of topics including feminism, politics, and cultural critiques.
The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison - In this collection of essays, Jamison asks vital questions about our ability to feel and show empathy, including: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another's pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other?
Galileo’s Middle FInger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Dregger - Navigating the space between social justice activism and medical research, Dregger examines scientific controversies that directly impacted the care of groups such as those born intersex. Dregger embraces the complexity of these controversies and grapples with the tension caused by her own ability to empathize both with the social justice advocates trying to protect people from unethical medical care and the medical researchers.