WATCH: 5 summer reads that could change your life

"Salon 5" celebrates the power of storytelling and how it can solve complex problems

D. Watkins
June 27, 2017 10:45PM (UTC)

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free” is a quote by Frederick Douglass — made in reference to the power of reading, a force so strong that even a person in servitude like him could slip into a book and forget the harsh realities that came with slavery. Over 150 years have passed since the end of slavery yet it still feels like many of us are enslaved in this country­­ — slaves to debt, racism and our ever-growing prison industrial complex. People ask me how do I deal with that madness that accompanies black skin, and I simply reply, “I read books.”

Reading has transformed my life over and over again and continues to challenge me, enhance my creativity and help find out new things about myself. I think that reading can do these amazing things for everyone, so for this episode of "Salon 5" I am recommending some summer reads to get you on your path toward critical thinking and self-discovery.


One of the books is "The Hate You Give" by Angie Thomas. In this New York Times bestselling novel, Thomas humanizes a victim of police brutality giving a perspective that the media rarely gets right. Another selection is "Decoded" by JAY- Z — the book is a beautiful collection of essays and photos that documents the rapper's rise from the Marcy housing developments to becoming the biggest rap star ever. Some of his best verses or poems are broken down in this book to give readers more clarity on the multiple meanings of the lines he spits.

Click play to see to my whole list of life-changing books that you can quickly read over the summer just in time to be a new person by fall.

D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir." His latest book, "We Speak For Ourselves: A Word From Forgotten Black America," is out now.

MORE FROM D. WatkinsFOLLOW @dwatkinsworld

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Angie Thomas Decoded Frederick Douglass Jay-z Salon 5 Summer Reading The Hate You Give

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