Sebene Selassie is an inspiration, as a meditation expert, teacher and author of the upcoming book You Belong: A Call For Connection. She has been working with small non-profit groups for more than 20 years and has overcome breast cancer three times. Selassie is a spectacular, spiritual woman with an astounding accomplishments. Here are the books she recommends we check out next!

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

This book-length poem about race in America is a profound meditation on violence, power and art that beautifully weaves images with Rankine’s exploration of high profile incidents of racism and her own intimate encounters with our country and its white citizens.

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison cannot NOT be on this list but this is not her most well-known novel—I love it for the sensual way her writing mimics the music and draws us into the mood of 1920s Harlem.

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

I first read this book not long after it was published in 1984 and like all of Lorde’s writing (poetry and prose), it pierced me with its clarity and depth—particularly the essay “Uses of the Erotic” which I still reread regularly. 

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

I am deeply appreciative for Mengiste’s historical novel which depicts not only events in time (it’s set during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935) but allows us to feel both the brutal impact of colonial violence and the bravery of the central character, a young maid transformed by the circumstances into an inspiring revolutionary.

Angela Davis: An Autobiography

As a meditation teacher, I focus on personal change but I encourage each of us to uplift the importance of systemic change—Angela Davis is probably our best thinker in this regard and while she has many books of analysis that have helped me see things (including prison abolition) more clearly, this, the first book of hers I read, remains my favorite.

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