Top Ten Tuesday-I Have Issues...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

...or rather, these books tackle tough issues.  That's the theme this week over at The Broke and the Bookish, the lovely bloggers who host Top Ten Tuesday.  I have a while theory of reading as social justice, and have been meaning to get back to building my Social Justice Books page here at Book Addict Reviews, so coming up with ten is a cakewalk.  I'll put the adult titles here, but if you ware interested in social justice-themed books for children, check out my post at Second Childhood Reviews.

1.  A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini:  I have a friend who has told me she is glad that I was around on 9-1 so I could explain who the Taliban were and what was happening in Afghanistan, since she had never heard of them.  I think that this book does the best job of describing what life was like under Taliban rule.

 2.  The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien:  I just read this book of short stories/vignettes from O'Brien's experience in the Viet Nam War, and I think that it has important things to say about war in general and what it does to the young people we send into it.

3.  The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood:  Patriarchal, tyrannical theocracy based on biological control of women anyone?  Oh, wait, that's right, we aren't that far away from that it some parts of our country, where a woman's right to choose is being eroded more and more every day.

4.  Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison:  Amazingly powerful book about child sexual abuse and domestic violence.  And on a related note...

5.  The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison:  All of the above, only adding racial identity and racism to the mix.

6.  Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean:  When horrible people do horrible things it is in our nature to dehumanize them and turn them into monsters who deserve death.  What Sr. Prejean's work does is remind the readers vividly that people on death row are as human as you or me, and that if we as a society want to continue executing them, we need to do it with an understanding of our shared humanity.

7.  Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg:  This roman a clef details Feinberg's life as a butch lesbian in New York in the years directly before and after the Stonewall Riot in 1969.  Feinberg has since identified as transgendered, and wrote another book about the historical treatment of transgendered people called Transgender Warriors that is really fascinating.

8.  Zeitoun, Dave Eggers:  This true story details what happened to an Islamic immigrant named Zeitoun and his family in the days after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  Zeitoun stayed in New Orleans, and after the storm spent his days rowing around his neighborhood rescuing people and feeding pets left-behind-that is, until the US army arrested him as a terrorist...

9.  And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts:  Shilts' book recounts the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and how homophobia and bigotry kept doctors and scientists from recognizing, researching, and treating the disease more quickly and efficiently.

 10.  The Abstinence Teacher, Tom Perotta:  Perotta gives us a thoughtful look at the abstinence-only vs. comprehensive sex education debate.  But guess which one still leads to fewer unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases?  Knowledge is power, people!


  1. I definitely need to read Zeitoun! The Bluest Eye and The Handmaid's Tale are great choices!

  2. I also chose A Thousand Splendid Suns. A lot of these are TBR list items for me - great list!

  3. I thought about putting a Hosseini title on my list as they're both excellent and fit the topic, for sure.

  4. Some great choices here. I forgot about And The Band Played On.

  5. There are so many great books on this list that I completely forgot about! 'Dead Man Walking' is a perfect choice.

  6. Impressive different list. I forgot some of these even though I haven't read them.

    My Top Ten

  7. Oh, great list. I finally read "The Handmaid's Tale" back in April. It was so good, and sooooo scary when you think about what's happening right now. I've read the first three on your list, and judging from that, and what I know about the others, I think I'll read my way through the whole thing.

    And if you're interested, my list is here:

  8. Great list. I really enjoyed Dead Man Walking. I felt like the book felt real. The movie was so different. It was disappointing.

  9. You listed some very tough reads. A few of those are on my tbr list...

    Here is my Top Ten post!


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