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Our March Must-Read Books

This month, we’ve changed up the format of our regular reading list, with a communal need for empathy in mind.
Illustration: Samantha Hahn

Illustration: Samantha Hahn

Alice Walker has said, "If literature didn't inspire empathy and compassion, it would be virtually useless. The reason I absolutely do love and treasure literature is that it has taken me out of myself."

And we couldn't agree more. Books are the quickest way to crack ourselves open, shift our perspective and walk in different shoes for a bit. With Ms. Walker's sage words in mind – especially since these present times particularly need empathy and compassion – we've compiled a list of our favorite books that encourage us to learn from another person's experience. These view-shifting, world-expanding narratives unite us through the essential practice of sharing our stories.

In the hand-lettered list above:

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

Released in February, Cantú's memoir has quickly become an essential read and reveals with a keen eye, the truth of the US-Mexico borderlands - not to mention a prose that is beautiful, searing and utterly unforgettable. 

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

A beautiful memoir about a young girl who was denied an education and leaves her survivalist family, ultimately earning a PhD from Cambridge University. Westover is indomitable and gives us a glimpse into a world so close and yet so foreign. 

Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women by Maya Angelou

This small and stunning volume features four of Maya Angelou's most beloved poems: Our Grandmothers, Phenomenal Woman, Still I Rise and Weekend Glory. This is one to carry around and have ready at the hand, as there is no one better than Maya Angelou for a bit of grounding beautiful truth.  

The White Album by Joan Didion

Didion's essays about the 1970s ring remarkably resonant today and she is always worth a reread. Whether she is talking about Charles Manson, the Los Angeles Freeway, water systems or the Reagan's, she IS the observer of our times. 

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