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While we each do our part to flatten the COVID-19 curve, tap into your imagination and read some of these essential books.

I have always really loved reading. Nonfiction and fiction; poetry or prose. It doesn’t matter. For me, there is something special about the worlds we get to create in our minds through the words that almost serve as a map on the page. It’s powerful. With fiction books, especially Young Adult (YA) and Dystopian Society books, you literally get to conjure new worlds and picture yourself away from your reality. In first or second grade, when I picked up my very first Harry Potter book—and in turn developed my deep love for reading, it was then that I discovered how important it was for me to reimagine the world; to see the possibility of a reality beyond the one I was currently experiencing. Sometimes what I saw was nothing at all, and that was powerful too. Because it taught me to be comfortable with the idea that, beyond this world, there is nothing else. And that that is okay.

However, while many understand fiction as a genre in which it is easy to be imaginative while reading, not many people believe the same about nonfiction, it seems. For me, though, nonfiction is just as imaginative. When I read bell hooks, or Angela Y. Davis, or Kwame Nkrumah, or Kiese Laymon, I put myself in their words. For me, it comes down to these questions: What does it feel like to be the subject(s) of this book? What would it look like to shift that material reality? What would it look like to exist in a world where this no longer exists? And how do we get there?

That requires a level of imagination only obtainable by those who are committed to actualizing a new future—even if that future is nothing.

So while we are forced to self-isolate, for our own protection and others’, tap into your imagination and read some of these books I’ve compiled. I’ve read most of them, and I’m excited to read the rest while quarantined.

I won’t be writing a blurb to describe the books. I want you to read these titles, and let them take your imagination somewhere special. And then read the books to join in on the fight to carry us all somewhere special.

Recommended: A NEWCOMERS GUIDE TO SOCIAL DISTANCING AND WORKING REMOTELY

Here are 15 books that I am (re)reading while COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, wreaks havoc around the globe. This is the perfect time to imagine something new.

  1. Michel FoucaultDiscipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison
  2. Frantz FanonBlack Skin, White Masks
  3. Frantz FanonThe Wretched of the Earth
  4. Jennifer Nashblack feminism reimagined: after intersectionality
  5. Jennifer Nash The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography
  6. George Jackson Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson
  7. Monique MorrisPushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
  8. Erik McDuffie Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism
  9. Kwame Ture Stokely speaks; Black power back to Pan-Africanism
  10. Daniel Black Perfect Peace
  11. Mireille Miller-Young – A Taste for Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography
  12. bell hooks – All About Love
  13. Kwame Nkrumah – Consciencism
  14. Angela Y. Davis – Are Prisons Obsolete?
  15. Angela Y. Davis  If They Come In The Morning: Voices of Resistance

Da’Shaun Harrison is a nonbinary abolitionist and organizer in Atlanta, GA. They write and speak publicly on race, sexuality, gender, class, religion, disabilities, fatness, and the intersection at which they all meet. Harrison is the author of the forthcoming book, “Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness,” which is expected to be published in July 2021. Their portfolio and other work can be found on their site: dashaunharrison.com.

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