Books, articles, writers, and thinkers who have influenced my work and my life
This is an incomplete and ever-growing, cross discipline, cross genre, cross topic bibliography of pieces of work that have influenced me over the years. I have loosely organized it by topic and form to make browsing it easier. I will keep adding to it so check back if you’re curious.
People often ask me for a list of my influences, particularly for my stance that no one is disposable and everyone deserves compassion. The truth is that my stubborn compassion grows out of my lived experience, my socialist politics, my knowledge of trauma, my love of addicts, my lifetime of reading fiction, my animist spirituality, and my solidarity with nonhuman animals, to name only a few sources. None of the works listed here gave me my politics or my principles; all of them played some role.
I like to move through levels, zooming in and zooming out to produce a holistic way of thinking and being. That means that my politics are as interested in the personal and the interpersonal as they are the economic and the global.
It should go without saying but my listing these works does not mean a total endorsement or agreement with the ideas therein. These works moved me. They changed me somehow. Some of them match my current thinking quite well. Others are things that I have moved on from but that still played a generative role in the development of my ideas. Still others compel me without my being in total agreement with them. And so on.
I want to encourage people to read and think widely and deeply. Don’t limit yourself to any particular genre, style, form, or framework. You don’t need a formal education. You don’t need permission. You don’t need to wait for some other time. Let your mind wander and hone your own capacity for critical thinking, connection making, discernment, and integrity. Make your own list of beloved thinkers.
I’m not here to tell you what to think. Neither are these thinkers. These ideas are just here for your consideration. Maybe you can make something entirely new with them.
I have done my best to link to places where you can access or buy the work that is not Amazon. If at all possible, I recommend taking the time to find places to buy that aren’t Amazon. Amazon has atrocious labour practices and is actively working to put independent bookstores out of business. If you are looking for audiobooks, Libro.fm is a non-Amazon option that supports small bookstores. If you want to track what you’re reading, StoryGraph is an alternative to the Amazon-owned Goodreads.
Trauma, Addiction, Healing, Recovery
Dissociation: An Insufficiently Recognized Major Feature of Complex PTSD by Onno van der Hart, Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis, and Kathy Steele
When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Maté
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker
Relationships, Attachment, Sexuality
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel
The Power of Attachment: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships by Diane Poole Heller
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson
Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
All About Love by bell hooks
Anxious Obsessing Makes You Unavailable (Insecure Attachment) by Alan Robarge
Socialism, Anti-Capitalism, The Left
Nonsite.org is an online, open access, peer-reviewed quarterly journal of scholarship in the arts and humanities.
Jacobin is a leading voice of the American left, offering socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.
Catalyst is a peer-reviewed journal with the focus to develop a theory and strategy with capitalism as its target — both in the North and in the Global South.
The Breach is an independent media outlet producing critical journalism to help map a just, viable future.
Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by Mark Fisher
Against the Web: A Cosmopolitan Answer to the New Right by Michael Brooks
Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici
Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons by Silvia Federici
Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber
Understanding Capitalism with Vivek Chibber
Capitalism and the State with Vivek Chibber
Capitalism and Class Struggle with Vivek Chibber
Race, Racism, Anti-Racism
Afro-Pessimism and the (Un)Logic of Anti-Blackness by Annie Olaloku-Teriba
Afropessimism, or Black Studies as a Class Project by Adolph Reed Jr.
The Trouble with Disparity by Walter Benn Michaels and Adolph Reed Jr.
Unions Are Essential for Eliminating Racism by Meagan Day
Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in America by Karen Fields and Barbara Fields
The South: Jim Crow and Its Afterlives by Adolph Reed Jr.
No Politics but Class Politics by Adolph Reed Jr. and Walter Benn Michaels
After Black Lives Matter: Policing and Anti-Capitalist Struggle by Cedric Johnson
Toward Freedom:The Case Against Race Reductionism by Touré Reed
What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri
The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality by Walter Benn Michaels
Why Liberals Make Everything About Race with Touré Reed
In Conversation: Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields with Adolph Reed Jr.
“Social Justice” Orthodoxy, Cancel Culture
Exiting the Vampire Castle by Mark Fisher
Planet of Cops by Freddie deBoer
When Good Political Arguments Go Bad: On “Critique Drift” by Freddie deBoer
Are Social Justice Politics Serious or Not? by Freddie deBoer
An open letter: why I'm leaving the cult of wokeness by Africa Brooke
How Elites Ate the Social Justice Movement by Fredrik (Freddie) deBoer
Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times by Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery
I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World by Kai Cheng Thom
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Canceling by ContraPoints
Log the Fuck Off with Amber Frost, Matt Christman, and Ben Fong
Out of the Woods: Shame, punishment & social justice culture with Kira Rosen
Creativity, Focus, Personal Growth
The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
Human Vulnerability and the Experience of Being Prey by Val Plumwood
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
Metazoa: Animal Life and the Birth of the Mind by Peter Godfrey-Smith
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women by Sylvia Brinton Perera
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich
Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe by Yumi Sakugawa
Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle by Carl Jung
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
Red Enlightenment by Graham Jones
Memoir, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry
The Chronology of Water: A Memoir by Lidia Yuknavitch
Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver
A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings From The Girl Zine Revolution edited by Tristan Taormino and Karen Green
Nothing Will Be Different: A Memoir by Tara McGowan-Ross
You Better Be Lightning by Andrea Gibson
My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home by Amber L. Hollibaugh
Doris Book: an anthology 1991-2001 by Cindy Crabb
Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir by Amber Dawn
Shame is An Ocean I Swim Across by Mary Lambert
Sugarblood by Liz Bowen
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
A Long Sound by Joan Larkin
Witchbody by Sabrina Scott
This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
Piranesi by Susanna Clark
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Clay’s Ark by Octavia Butler
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Bloodchild by Octavia Butler
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
The Word for World is Forest by Ursula Le Guin
The Three Body Problem Trilogy by Liu Cixin
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
To Be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers
Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
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