13 Books You Should Read This Fall

YWCA Central Alabama’s Fall Reading List: dive into these great reads this October for National Book Month

In addition to several other monthly recognitions, including Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), October is also National Book Month. If you are looking for a reading list to educate and inspire you, look no further than YWCA Central Alabama’s Fall Reading List of 13 books you should read. This list will take you on a journey to deepen your understanding of race, women empowerment, and self-discovery. 

We demand a world with human decency, and education is a great first step in eliminating racism and empowering women! 

Each title has a link to where you can purchase the book locally in Birmingham, Alabama, or online through a distributor that supports independent bookstores.

13 Books You Should Read to Educate and Inspire Your Journey of Understanding Race, Women Empowerment, and Self-Discovery

  • What happened to you? – Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
    • Today, people are often judged by their behaviors without any regard of how traumatic experiences may affect their actions. We believe you should read this book if you work with people and want to shift your thought process from “what’s wrong with you?” to an informed care focus “what happened to you.”
    • Find the book
  • The Sum of Us – Heather McGhee
    • Racism exists within our politics and policymaking. Heather McGhee utilizes her specialization in the American economy to address how racism has a cost in everyone’s lives. McGhee leaves us with a new future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.
  • Reparations Now! – Ashley M Jones
    • The Birmingham native, Ashley Jones calls for the long overdue reparations for Black descendants of enslaved people in the United States. Her book Reparations Now! explores the long history of Black oppression. Read it!
    • Find the book
  • Nice Racism – Robin DiAngelo
    • If you want to self-examine and increase your anti-racist action, then read this book! Robin DiAngelo captivated the unintentional strategies that white progressives often utilize to avoid self-examination to confront their own unrecognized racism.
  • Atlas of the Heart – Brené Brown
    • In order to foster a sense of community, we must grow as people. Brené Brown shares the experiences that make us who we are and shape cultural conversations that allow us to live with courage. Learning and growing is a part of life, and this book addresses the tools everyone needs to navigate life. So let this book “be an atlas for us all!”
  • Of Women and Salt – Gabriela Garcia
    • Women are silenced when expressing their opinions and stories. Gabriela Garcia tells a story that explores the rejuvenating powers of women’s stories while discussing the lives of Cuban women in a world which they refuse to surrender.
  • You Are Your Best Thing – Tarana Burke and Brené Brown
    • Finding a place to be vulnerable is hard; Tarana Burke and Brené Brown discuss their experience with vulnerability that affirms the fullness of Black love and Black life. Through their collection of essays, they tell a story on Black shame and healing. Read this book to educate yourself on the Black experience in the United States.
  • Black Fatigue – Mary-Frances Winters
    • Social justice work is an uphill battle, especially when change is dragging its feet. Black Fatigue awakens activism in those who truly care about equity and justice. The book highlights the Black experience and the intergenerational fatigue that is tearing at the core of a whole race of people who are just after equity.
  • The Moment of Lift – Melinda Gates
    • Here at YWCA, part of our mission is empowering women. Part of empowering women is lifting women up. In order to progress in society, we need to start lifting women up just like Melinda Gates talks about in The Moment of Lift. If you want to empower women and progress society, then read this book.
  • So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
    • Read this book if you want to have an honest talk about racism and how it pertains to you. So You Want to Talk About Race divulges into topics such as police brutality and the model minority myth. Dive in for honest conversations about race and how racism affects every aspect of American Life.
  • Atomic Habits – James Clear
    • Want to grow out of your bad habits? James Clear discusses how bad habits occur frequently because of a bad system of change. Reading this book will give you a proven system that will teach you how to form good habits, break bad habits, and master tiny behaviors that lead to new heights.
  • The Color of Law – Richard Rothstein
    • Racism is a systemic issue that is embedded into policies and politics. The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposes residential segregation. Read this book to learn the racism that is embedded in the system. 
  • Grit – Angela Duckworth
    • Intelligence is not the only thing that matters. Angela Duckworth discusses her special breed of passion and persistence in her book called Grit. Strive for success through grit and give this book a read!!

Tell us your thoughts on these must reads! What book(s) would you add to the list?

books you should read
13 books you should read this fall