It’s no secret that we read banned books here at the ACLU of Connecticut. But we’ve also loved books by current and former ACLU clients and colleagues.  And because we spend a lot of time traveling around the state, we’ve also had the chance to listen to some solid podcasts.  

As we start setting our personal 2020 reading lists and playlists, we thought we’d share some ACLU of Connecticut staff members’ favorites from 2019. Some of our colleagues’ picks were published years ago, and some were released in 2019. As it turns out, many of the books we read and pods we listened to dealt with civil rights and civil liberties themes, like racism in the United States, coming of age as an immigrant in Hartford, exposing government spying, HIV and AIDS activism in 1990’s Chicago, intersectional feminism, and mass incarceration – but a few favorites reflect our nerdier or more athletic sides.

In no particular order, here are some of the books and podcasts that made an impact on our staff in 2019:  

Staff favorite books in 2019:

The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Favorited by: policy counsel Kelly Moore

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong, and Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe
Favorited by: development director Laura Brownstein

High Performance Habits, by Brendon Burchard
Favorited by: communications associate Rafael Rosario

Beartown, by Fredrik Backman
Favorited by: paralegal Grace Sinnott

Becoming, by Michelle Obama
Favorited by: donor relations associate Téylor Davis

The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry, by Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette
Favorited by: legal director Dan Barrett

Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer, by Gwendolyn Oxenham
Favorited by: administrative support manager Aubrie Smith

Permanent Record, by Edward Snowden
Favorited by: executive director David McGuire

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
Favorited by: Smart Justice field organizer Gus Marks-Hamilton

Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, by Kate Manne, and We’re Pregnant! The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook, by Adrian Kulp
Favorited by: public policy and advocacy director Melvin Medina

Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, by Ona Judge
Favorited by: field organizer Anderson Curtis

Emergent Strategy, by adrienne maree brown
Favorited by: campaigns manager Claudine Fox

The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
Favorited by: staff attorney Elana Bildner

Felon, by Reginald Dwayne Betts, and America is Not the Heart, by Elaine Castillo
Favorited by: communications director Meghan Holden

A few favorite podcasts that we listened to in 2019:

“On the Media”
Favorited by: legal director Dan Barrett

“Binge Mode: Star Wars”
Favorited by: policy counsel Kelly Moore

“In the Dark” (Season Two)
Favorited by: staff attorney Elana Bildner

“Heal Thy Self with Dr. G”
Favorited by: donor relations associate Téylor Davis

“Heavyweight”
Favorited by: development director Laura Brownstein

“Call Your Girlfriend”
Favorited by: communications director Meghan Holden

“Ginger Runner LIVE”
Favorited by: paralegal Grace Sinnott

“Serial” (Season Three)
Favorited by: Smart Justice field organizer Gus Marks-Hamilton

“The Appeal”
Favorited by: public policy and advocacy director Melvin Medina

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