What to Read When the President Cuts Funding for Everything Good


Yesterday morning, Trump’s administration released their proposed budget. While additional programs may also be on the chopping block, programs specifically named in the proposal include after-school programs for children in high-poverty areas, a program that invests in rural areas in the Appalachian region, the board responsible for investigating industrial chemical accidents, AmeriCorps, pretty much everything that has to do with climate change and preventing and/or reversing it, the agency that coordinates federal response to homelessness in America, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and yes, the National Endowment for the Arts.

What follows is a list of books suggested by our editorial staff. The list includes books written by past NEA grant recipients, as well as books that inspire protest and remind us that we can make a different reality than the one we’re in today. These are books that you can give to your stubborn relatives and friends who still don’t understand why this is all so very terrible, or why creative writing is so very important.


There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker


The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle by T.V. Reed


We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge


The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson


A People’s History of Chicago by Kevin Coval


The Art of Recklessness by Dean Young


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall


Demand the Impossible!: A Radical Manifesto by Bill Ayers


We Show What We Have Learned and Other Stories by Claire Beams


Incorrect Merciful Impulses by Camille Rankine


Discontent and Its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid


On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss


The Lord of the Flies by William Golding


Federalizing the Muse: United States Arts Policy and the National Endowment for the Arts, 1965-1980 by Donna Binkiewicz