Books for empathy

01 June 2020

Inspired by Elif Shafak’s forthcoming manifesto How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division and Vivek Murthy’s Together, we’re celebrating the power of literature to unify.

Join us on Twitter & Instagram and let us know what’s going on your TBR list.


 

Together

Loneliness and connection

When Vivek H. Murthy accepted the role of Surgeon General under Obama, he discovered a much larger underlying problem: loneliness.

In Together, Dr Murthy discovers a solution that can be applied to our individual lives. Real human connection is not just nice, he shows, it is essential.

From social support groups in Okinawa, to welcoming sheds for older men in the UK, Murthy looks at efforts to create community around the world. This essential book shows how together we can learn to build a less lonely world.

Pre-order your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon

 


 

People Like us

Social mobility

What does it take to make it in modern Britain?

Raised on benefits and having attended some of the lowest-performing schools in the country, barrister Hashi Mohamed knows something about social mobility. In People Like Us, he shares what he has learned: from the stark statistics that reveal the depth of the problem to the failures of imagination, education and confidence that compound it.

We live in a society where power and privilege are concentrated among the 7% of the population who were privately educated. Where, if your name sounds black or Asian, you’ll need to send out twice as many job applications as your white neighbour.

We have more power than we realise to change things for the better.

 

Buy your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon

 


 

how to stay sane

Optimism and empathy

It feels like the world is falling apart. So how do we keep hold of our optimism?

How do we nurture the parts of ourselves that hope, trust and believe in something better? And how can we stay sane in this world of division?

In this beautifully written and illuminating polemic, Booker Prize nominee Elif Shafak reflects on our age of pessimism, when emotions guide and misguide our politics, and misinformation and fear are the norm. A tender, uplifting plea for optimism, Shafak draws on her own memories and delves into the power of stories to reveal how writing can nurture democracy, tolerance and progress. And in the process, she answers one of the most urgent questions of our time.

Pre-order your copy from:
Waterstones
Amazon


 

minor feelings

Racial consciousness

What happens when an immigrant believes the lies they’re told about their own racial identity? The daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up in America steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these “minor feelings” occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality.

With sly humour and a poet’s searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche – and of a writer’s search to both uncover and speak the truth.

Pre-order your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon


 

kwame anthony appiah

Identity politics

We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by conflict. Religion, he demonstrates, gains power because it isn’t primarily about belief. Our everyday notions of race are the detritus of discarded nineteenth-century science. Our cherished concept of the sovereign nation is incoherent and unstable. Class systems can become entrenched by efforts to reform them. Even the very idea of Western culture is a shimmering mirage.

These “mistaken identities,” Appiah explains, can fuel some of our worst atrocities. And yet, he argues that social identities aren’t something we can simply do away with. They can usher in moral progress and bring significance to our lives by connecting the small scale of our daily existence with larger movements, causes, and concerns.

Buy your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon


 

Breaking and Mending

Working in healthcare

In Breaking and Mending we walk with Joanna, facing extraordinary and daunting moments as she trains to be a doctor. Each moment teaches her that emotional care and compassion can be just as critical as restoring a heartbeat.

It’s an honest, beautifully-written portrayal of the struggle many junior doctors experience as they find their footing in hospital and the strain this can have on their mental health. It’s also a fascinating insight into the workings of a health system all of us have a history with.

Buy your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon

 


 

What our addresses say about us

dierdre mask

From the chronological numbers of Tokyo to the naming of Bobby Sands Street in Iran, she explores how our address – or lack of one – expresses our politics, culture and technology. It affects our health and wealth, and it can even affect the working of our brains.

Filled with fascinating people and histories, this incisive, entertaining book shows how addresses are about identity, class and race. But most of all they are about power: the power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t, and why.

Buy your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon

 


 

what we need to do now

Climate change

Ready for some *positive* climate messaging? We’ve got just the book for you.

The UK has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. So how do we get there?

Drawing on actions, policies and technologies already emerging around the world, Chris Goodall sets out the ways to achieve this. His proposals include:

-Building a huge over-capacity of wind and solar energy, storing the excess as hydrogen.

-Using hydrogen to fuel our trains, shipping, boilers and heavy industry, while electrifying buses, trucks and cars.
-Farming – and eating – differently, encouraging plant-based alternatives to meat
-Making fashion sustainable and aviation pay its way, funding synthetic fuels and genuine offsets.

What We Need To Do Now is an urgent, practical and inspiring book that signals a green new deal for Britain.

Buy your copy from:
Waterstones
Hive
Amazon


 

Play!

We don’t get nearly enough play in our lives. At school, kids are drilled on exams, while at home we’re all glued to our phones and screens. Former children’s laureate and bestselling author, Michael Rosen, is here to show us how to put this right – and why it matters so much for creativity, resilience and much more.

Packed with silliness, activities and prompts for creative indoor and outdoor play for all ages – with specially illustrated pages for everything from doodling to word play and after-dinner games.

Buy your copy from:

Waterstones
Amazon