Book Reviews & Recommendations

Conversations with People Who Hate Me: 12 Things I Learned from Talking to Internet Strangers
— Dylan Marron (March 29, 2022)

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I imagine my guests as trees, and their respective ideologies as the forests to which they belong. From a distance we can only see the forest, and up close we can only see the tree. Social media makes that distance especially large. The digital public square only allows us to see the bigger picture, largely due to the sheer volume of trees we pass by every day; because of this, we miss the complexity of each individual tree. Intimate, one-on-one conversation is the antidote to social media because it allows us to see the bark up close. The intricate root systems, the interwoven canopies of leaves. Of course, then the opposite can happen: We can get caught up in the hyperspecificity of each tree and miss out on the larger patterns of the forest.

I’m now realizing that my biggest job in this project is to not lose sight of either. To hold both at the same time. To remember that the person I’m speaking to is not the harmful ideology they subscribe to, just as a tree is not the entire forest. It is part of it, yes, but not all of it.

My real problem isn’t with Josh or Chris or E or Adam. My real problem is with the woods of homophobia, the forest of conservatism. I really, really liked the trees I was talking to. But I really, really didn’t like the forest. Of course you can’t have a conversation with a problematic interpretation of a religion. I couldn’t call up homophobia, nor could I sit down with conservatism. Instead, I was left only with the tree. The representative. The person.

Bring Back the Poll Tax!: The GOP War on Voting Rights
Earl Ofari Hutchinson (August 2021)

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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
— Isabel Wilkerson (August 2020)

Buy on Book of the Month (Referral Link), Amazon, or Barnes & Noble

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