What To Read To Prepare Yourself For The Midterm Elections

by Melissa Ragsdale

The 2018 Midterm Elections have been on my mind — and the mind of many Americans — for two years. On November 6, voters will have the chance to usher in some real change. Now, the elections are just weeks away, and it's time to get serious about who and what you're going to vote for.

Voting is a great way to fire the senators and representatives who have not been working for your needs, and elect congresspeople who will actually represent you. This year, there are some seriously exciting candidates running, and a lot of hard work has gone into building their campaigns. With the country in such political turmoil, it seems like the midterms couldn't get here soon enough. This election, many feel, could be a turning point.

The midterms are about putting people in office — on both a local and national level — who will do good on behalf of everyone who calls this country their home. The midterms are about raising your voice, and using the power that you have to stand up for what you believe in.

So, you definitely want to be informed before you go into the voting booth. Here are 10 new political books that you have just enough time to read before hitting the polls on Nov. 6.

'Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)' by Rebecca Solnit

In her new collection of essays, political essayist Rebecca Solnit excavates what she calls "the war at home" and examines the crisis America is currently experiencing.

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'One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy' by Carol Anderson

Voter suppression and disenfranchisement might be the most serious issue in American politics today. In this vastly important read, White Rage author Carol Anderson unpacks how the 2013 Supreme Court decision to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to a storm of government-led racial discrimination and voter suppression.

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'Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America' edited by Amy Reed

Some of your favorite YA authors have banded together in this stunning anthology, each contributing essays about what it is like to be a woman in today's America. Our Stories, Our Voices features Maurene Goo, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, and many others.

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'Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements' by Charlene A. Carruthers

Activist Charlene A. Carruthers was named one of The Roots' most influential young African Americans in 2017. In this book, Carruthers sets out a radically inclusive path to liberation, exploring the traditions of grassroots organizing from a black, queer, feminist lens.

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'Leadership: In Turbulent Times' by Doris Kearns Goodwin

At the heart of this (and perhaps every election) is one question: what makes a good leader? Pulitzer Prize-winning powerhouse historian Doris Kearns Goodwin takes at four presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson—and explores their approaches to leadership.

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'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics' by Leah Daughtry, Yolanda Caraway, Minyon Moore, Donna Brazile, and Veronica Chambers

Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, and Minyon Moore are four of the most powerful black women in American politics today. In this remarkable book, they take readers through their careers in public service, taking you behind-the-scenes to everything from political campaigns to historical moments.

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'Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change' by Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia, is the first black female major party gubernatorial candidate in U.S. history. In this fascinating book, Abrams takes readers through the ups-and-downs of her dynamic career, and dispenses hard-won, real-world insights into how to navigate worlds that have traditionally been dominated by white men.

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'Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger' by Soraya Chemaly

If you're a woman, the last few years (or perhaps the last few centuries), you have likely built up a lot of rage in you. In this searing book, Soraya Chemaly explores how women can use that rage to make lasting personal and societal change. This is definitely a book to read if you're fired up and want to make a difference in this election.

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'Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth' by Sarah Smarsh

At the heart of many of the questions plaguing the U.S. today is the economic class divide. In this memoir, Smarsh details her experience living in working class poverty in Kansas. Smarsh unpacks the corrosive effects of intergenerational poverty and the myths surrounding poverty in a way that will certainly have an impact on your thinking.

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'Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution' by Ben Fountain

In this powerful book, Ben Fountain asserts that the United States has twice before been faced with crises so severe it was forced to reinvent itself (the struggle over slavery, culminating in the Civil War, and the the Great Depression). Now, he argues, the country is in its third existential crisis.

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