Call Them by Their True Names, by Rebecca Solnit

There is no writer on earth like Rebecca Solnit. Some writers can claim the clarity of her thought, others the precision of her language, still others her understanding of the human condition.

But none can combine them all with such empathy and intelligence as to leave the reader feeling lifted, somehow, onto a higher plane of consciousness.

Solnit reminds us what we should be fighting for, largely by telling the stories of those who already are, or were, on the front lines. She is a guide to living like you mean it, to paying due reverence to the sanctity and the fragility of our existence.

She is a reminder, too, of the fierceness and courage of those who are all too aware of that fragility, who have been forced to confront it by those who tend to treat the world as their personal playground, and its inhabitants as a toy collection. Solnit’s subjects are rarely victims as we tend to think of them—vulnerable, affronted, and often helpless. Or, if they are, it is only insomuch as we are all vulnerable, affronted, and often helpless.

Instead, Solnit plucks out their tenacity and their compassion, holding them up as a mirror to ourselves (or is that just me?), as something to strive for.

Each of the essays in this book—which is one of four books that comprise a themed collection—shows us what the world we should be fighting for looks like, the forces that conspire against the realization of that world, and how to confront those forces in all their might without losing hope.

If there is a recipe for surviving what may be the most cognitively demanding and emotionally exhausting times in recent memory, it exists in these books.

Go read Rebecca Solnit. Read whatever you can get your hands on, and heed her lessons well.