The We the People Book Club, sponsored by The Practicing Democracy Project, uses American literature to explore the values and visions of American life. The selections for the year-long program (September 2018 - August 2019) chronicle the last century of American thought and explore such themes as individualism and communalism, difference and unity, law and justice, the "stranger," and the spiritual values of resilience, compassion, hospitality, freedom, equality, and civility. There are two ways to participate:
1. Join an online discussion of the books. Each week you will receive an email covering approximately 1/4th of that month's selection. For more information on how this works and to sign up, go to this page:
2. Download free Reading Guides to the selections. These will become available from links on this page each month.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (September 2018)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (October 2018)
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor (November 2018)
Selected Poems of Walt Whitman and Maya Angelou (December 2018)
Tenth of December by George Saunders (January 2019)
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (February 2019)
Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (March 2019)
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (April 2019)
Available in Coming Months:
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (May 2019)
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (June 2019)
The Partly-Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell (July 2019)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (August 2019)
Julia Davis, who is creating the guides and leading the online discussion, explains her criteria in choosing the books for the We the People Book Club: "Some of these are my favorite books because they are so very honest about where we are in relation to our ideals. They hold up tough love as a form of patriotism and, hopefully, inspire in their readers compassionate action as an alternative to a feeling of powerlessness."
Davis, a fellow with The Practicing Democracy Project, holds an M.A. and C. Phil. in English and American Literatures and Cultures from Brown University and has 17 years experience teaching American literature at the college and high school level.