Read Harder 2018: Read a Social Sciences Book

It’s a Read Harder double feature today! Our first challenge of the day is to read a book about the social sciences. So what exactly do we mean by social sciences? In a dictionary definition sense, social sciences refer to the study of human society and social relationships, which can include anything from economics, politics, true crime, education, racial relations, gender studies, LGBTQ+ studies, and more. If you’re familiar with the Dewey Decimal system, pretty much any book that you might find in the 300’s of the nonfiction section would be considered a “social sciences” book.

But that’s a really large section to browse through, so we’ve pulled together a few books to get you started. You may already recognize some of these titles as NYT Bestsellers or popular book club books; as society gets more complicated and potentially troubling, readers often turn to these types of books to help them make sense of the world. We hope some of these books can help you make a little more sense of your own world. Click on a cover or a title to place a hold, and visit our online book lists to find even more titles! Just find the Read Harder 2018 tab on the left side and click on “Book About Social Science.”

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
305.8 EDDO-LOD

“In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote on her blog about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own experiences. Galvanised, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge has written a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary examination of what it is to be a person of color in Britain today.”



Not That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay (ed.)
305.42 NOT

“Covering a vast array of topics and experiences, from an exploration of the rape epidemic embedded in the refugee crisis to accounts of child molestation, a series of authors, in this thought-provoking collection of first-person essays edited by the author of Bad Feminist, tackle rape, assault and harassment head on.”





Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
339.46 DESMOND

“A Harvard sociologist examines the challenge of eviction as a formidable cause of poverty in America, revealing how millions of people are wrongly forced from their homes and reduced to cycles of extreme disadvantage that are reinforced by dysfunctional legal systems.”





In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung
362.8808 YEUNG

“Apple orchards in bucolic Washington state. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where female workers have suffered brutal sexual assault and shocking harassment at the hands of their employers, often with little or no official recourse. In this harrowing yet often inspiring tale, investigative journalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against women farmworkers, domestic workers, and janitorial workers and charts their quest for justice in the workplace.”



Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

“Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.”





Happy reading!

—Katie, Adult Reference