65 Books That Shaped American Life: Today in Critical Linking

This recent list is a random sampling from the public, which voted on and suggested books via the internet. There’s no other way to explain three books by Ayn Rand — or the fact that only two of the 65 books were written by authors who aren’t white.

Hm, maybe systemic racism could have something to do with the unbearable whiteness of a list of books that have shaped American life?


As the only journalist to live undercover in North Korea, I had risked imprisonment to tell a story of international importance by the only means possible. By casting my book as personal rather than professional—by marketing me as a woman on a journey of self-discovery, rather than a reporter on a groundbreaking assignment—I was effectively being stripped of my expertise on the subject I knew best.

Suki Kim’s essay about how categorizing her work of journalism as a memoir was not just a marketing move, but erasure, is this week’s must-read.


The new cafés will be about twice the size of existing ones and feature table-side service. A new expanded menu is being overseen by an executive chef that will feature “American-style” fare, as well as wine and beer. 

I remain deeply confused about how in-store restaurants are supposed to help make Barnes & Noble more profitable.


Netflix’s most-watched series was inspired by a book—Piper Kerman’s memoir. But that’s not the only book about women’s incarceration. While waiting for the next season, check out these five books that take a deeper dive into women, criminalization and incarceration.

A great jumping-off point for anyone who wants to read more–and more diverse–perspectives on the prison system. I would add Baz Dreisinger’s Incarceration Nations to the list.

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