| By Thorndike Staff |
2020 – it’s been something. A year that asked us to mask up and isolate while simultaneously demanding we open ourselves up to long-simmering issues in urgent need of attention and action. Rather than become weary with the contrasts from isolation to involvement, readers seek insightful resources that will both inform and educate. Our December recommended titles explore race and identity and two perspectives on living, and dying, with a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, by Emmanuel Acho
May 2020, George Floyd was murdered as the entire world watched. Memorials, protests, and raw reactions followed. Former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho responded by creating a viral hit video series of “uncomfortable conversations.” He’s welcomed Matthew McConaughey, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Chip and Joanna Gaines (and their five children), among others, for frank discussions in a nonjudgmental environment. Now, his book continues important conversations about race relations and racism.
“This is must listen. It’s long and worth every second. I am now following @thEMANacho and can’t wait for his second conversation with a black man.”
– Jill Wine-Banks, MSNBC legal analyst
“The American dream has not been yet. @thEMANacho.”
– Matthew McConaughey
The Address Book What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power, by Deirdre Mask
Your address. Chances are you’ve paid it little attention except when placing a Grubhub order. Deirdre Mask travels through history and around the world, sharing insights that illuminate the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and what they reveal about class, race, power, and identity. She explores the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany, and much more.
“Mask’s fluid narration and impressive research uncover the importance of an aspect of daily life that most people take for granted … This evocative history casts its subject in a whole new light.”
– Publishers Weekly
“This fascinating book explores both the rich history of addresses and their surprising and vital role in society.”
– The Times
No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, by Michael J. Fox
Nearly 60 years old, Michael J. Fox has now lived more than half his life with Parkinson’s disease, having been diagnosed at age 29. In his bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man (2002) and Always Looking Up (2009), Fox shared the struggle to accept and then come to terms with his diagnosis. Now, still exhibiting his iconic optimism, Fox shares personal stories and observations on illness and health, aging, and how our perceptions of time influence the way we approach mortality.
“Only Michael J. Fox could write about such difficult subjects with such warmth, wisdom and humor. We’re so proud to publish this book, a book that will add meaning to the lives of everyone who reads it.”
– Flatiron Books president and publisher Bob Miller
“He’s a heroic fellow in an age where heroes are hard to come by. Not because he’s fought his disease bravely, but because he is a better man because of it.”
– Bookreporter.com on Lucky Man
When My Time Comes: Conversations about Whether Those Who Are Dying Should Have the Right to Determine When Life Should End, by Diane Rehm
Diane watched her husband John progressively weaken with the debilitating pain of Parkinson’s disease, eventually advising his doctor he wanted to die. State laws prohibited the doctor’s involvement, so John deliberately died by dehydration, an unthinkable nine-day process. An inspiring champion of the Right-to-Die movement, Diane’s book gives voice to a broad range of people who are personally linked to the realities of medical aid in dying, presenting arguments both for and against the controversial issue.
“Rehm and her subjects offer practical information, nuanced perspectives, and poignant stories of peaceful final moments achieved through end-of-life care.”
– Publishers Weekly
“In the gently probing … the author discusses the pros and cons with people who have seen the effects at close range: patients, relatives, physicians, clergy, hospice administrators, and others.”
– Kirkus Reviews