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Your Recommended Reading for September

  • Posted by: Daniella Snyder
  • Posted Date: September 5, 2018
  • Filed Under: Library News

I’m Daniella Snyder, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your newest ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics– from research to study habits and everything in between– and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Hey there, Wildcats!

By now, you’ve definitely heard the buzz about Villanova’s One Book, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

You should:

1) Read the book!

2) Attend the author’s visit on September 14th.

3) Plan on attending at least some (or hopefully all) of the related events Villanova is hosting on campus all semester long.

However, there are so many other ways to learn more about topics of justice, economics, race, and all of their various intersections.

That’s why I’m here to provide you a list of recommended reading, watching, and listening! Feel free to comment below and offer other suggestions that work in conversation with Just Mercy.


The 2016 documentary is spot on and totally worth a watch, especially if you were riveted by Just Mercy. The film offers an in depth look into the prison system and its complicated racial inequalities. Critics have said the documentary has the power to rewrite American history.

Lucky for you, the Falvey Library is hosting a screening of the film on September 12th. Don’t miss it. Stay updated with the Falvey Library on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more details.



The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Just Mercy is a book that tells really mature, heavy narratives. But what happens when you take the same topics, but craft it for a young adult audience?

Angie Thomas does just that in The Hate U Give. The female protagonist, Starr, witnesses a very traumatizing instance of police brutality, and she ends up in the courtroom fighting for justice, just like Stevenson.

Thomas also gets at topics like code-switching, micro-aggressions, and being a POC (person of color) at a PWI (predominantly white institution).

Thomas’ novel is an absolute page-turner, and I consider it one of my Top 5 “must-read” books of all time.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, you’re making a mistake. If you absolutely love this novel, and want to read more YA novels that addresses topics of race and inequality, click here. Listen to Thomas’ interview with NPR here.


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness 

by Michelle Alexander

This book is like the cool, older sister to Just Mercy: published in 2010, The New Jim Crow urges the civil rights community to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

Alexander’s book is– like Stevenson’s– very thought provoking, engaging, and powerful. The book was actually cited in the legal decisions of prison reform. #literatureispower

Check out her TED Talk here. To read the New York Times article about the book, click here.

Want to know more about the criminal justice system? Listen to this NPR podcast series, or this podcast that tells real stories of incarcerated people,


Don’t Call us Dead by Danez Smith

Looking for something more creative? Danez Smith’s poetry collections are your answer. Smith speaks to serious issues of queerness, racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and much, much more. Check out their PBS interview about their newest poetry collection here.

Smith, as a spoken word poet, makes their poems come alive. Click on the following links to see the poems spoken aloud:

“Alternate Heaven for Black Boys”

“Dear White America”

And, if you just can’t get enough of Bryan Stevenson and the great work he does, check out his podcast with the Ezra Klein Show, his TED Talk, his interview with Pacific Standard, or pick up a copy of his most recent book.

Want to do more than read? Click here to find out how you can get involved with the Equal Justice Initiative.



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Last Modified: September 5, 2018

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