Below are a list of books I have read and highly recommend, many of which have shaped who I am as a writer, citizen, and human being. Though the book recommendations are linked to their listings on Amazon, I have only done this so that you can access information about the book and reader reviews all in one place (and also as a way of preventing the problem of "dead links"). But please— please, please, please— do not purchase these books on Amazon. Instead, support your local independent bookstore. Independent bookstores are not just places to buy books. They're places that bring communities together, they host readings by up-and-coming writers, and very often they are places where the employees develop friendships with their customers. More importantly, however, to support independent bookstores over corporate giants like Amazon is to take a stand against the centralization of cultural power. (Full disclosure, I've self-published through Amazon before, but will not do so again.) If you have difficulty finding a specific book in a brick-and-mortar indie store, fear not! There are plenty of independent bookstores which sell online. A few of my favorites are Shakespeare & Company (out of Paris), Green Brothers (out of Tel Aviv), Politics & Prose (out of Washington DC), Powell's (out of Portland), Parnassus (out of Nashville), and London Review Bookshop (out of... well, London). I would also like to encourage fellow authors to join the National Writers Union, which promotes and protects the rights, interests, and economic advancement of American writers both well-known and beginning.