Though time spent reading by the beach may be limited this summer, lounging outdoors with the smell of a book and the feeling of the sun beating down remains a seasonal staple. Mercifully, a joy that even a pandemic can’t ruin.
Below, find book recommendations from Penn faculty and staff, ranging from works that touch on racial justice to ones that explore stories of the “scientist hero.”
Brian Peterson, director of Makuu Black Cultural Center
Why I Picked It: Now a decade old, this is a timeless classic providing a wonderful mix of narrative and history, describing some of the ways that the Great Migration transformed America. For people who are questioning what’s happening in the U.S. now, this book is a reminder that it’s not just about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and the much-too-long contemporary list of lives tragically cut short by law enforcement. It’s also very much about the terror that was daily life for Blacks in the South, only to find, after fleeing, a new kind of struggle and discrimination in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson constructs the story in a way that holds your full attention, makes you feel, and helps you see America with new eyes.