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Happy Holidays from all of us at CTJ and ITEP! As the weather gets colder, our thoughts turn to warm chili and cuddling up with a good book. Our staff enjoyed these books this year and we hope you will too! If you have books to recommend to us, send them along to Kelly@itep.org


Wonder by R J Palacio ($11.95 at Powell’s) – This smart, fast-paced book should be required reading for all humans. Don’t let the fact that this is a young adult book fool you – chances are you’ll be a better, kinder person for having read this gem. – Kelly Davis

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine ($13.32 at Powell’s) – This searing book of poetry is a reflection of the black lived experience in America. Rankine weaves personal experience, celebrity and pop culture references, and contemporary media tragedies into a genre-bending meditation on racism and prejudice in our society. A hard read, but well worth it. – Sebastian Johnson

Showdown at Gucci Gulch by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Alan S. Murray ($18.00 at Powell’s) – This work is both a riveting story of political intrigue and a must-read for anyone interested in reforming our tax code. The book tells the unlikely story of how the 1986 tax reform was enacted despite the opposition of DC’s many Gucci-clad lobbyists. The book even discusses the critical role of Citizens for Tax Justice in spurring on the push for reform with its blockbuster corporate tax reports.  – Richard Phillips

Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ($24.00 at Powell’s) – Here’s a description from an October 25, 2015 Daily Beast article by Felice Leon: “The piece is a raw account of Coates’s trying experiences as a black man living in America—from his father’s heavy-handed approach toward parenting (i.e. whippings) to the pain and rage caused by losing a close college friend at the hands of the police. The theme of the black body—protecting it, fearing its loss, and its destruction (which in his book, Coates describes as ‘traditional’ in America)—is woven throughout.” – Ed Meyers

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert ($24.95 at Powell’s) – Looking for a book to get your creative juices flowing or just want to feel inspired? This is the book for you. Reading this book is a great way to begin 2016. – Kelly Davis

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn ($45.00 at Powell’s) – Almost a quarter century ago, producer Mark Lewisohn wrote this fascinating look at the details of how the Fab Four cranked out some of the most influential pop music in history in seven short years at Abbey Road studios. The book is a labor of love, with a day-by-day chronology of every recording session from “Please Please Me” to “Let It Be.” Music-making technology moved light-years ahead in the 1960s, and the Beatles were not simply riding this wave—they were helping to push it forward by constantly demanding more and more of their sound engineers. But you don’t have to be a gearhead to appreciate this book: above all, Lewisohn puts us in the studio alongside Lennon and McCartney as observers of the creative (and usually collaborative) process that generated music their fans will always carry with them.  If I lost this book today, I’d go out and buy another copy tomorrow. No serious fan should be without it. – Matt Gardner

The Hidden Wealth of Nations by Gabriel Zucman ($20.00 at Powell’s) – This book may be a quick read at just 130 pages, but it still provides a deep dive into the lurid underworld of tax havens. Zucman weaves together history and hard data to tell the story of the rise of tax havens and to approximate just how much damage they are doing to the world. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned with economic inequality and tax equity. – Richard Phillips

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez ($8.50 at Powell’s) – This classic from the Colombian author and innovator of magical realism recounts the story of Santiago Nasar, a man murdered in the beginning of the novel. The story explores themes of morality, collective responsibility, gender relations and purity, and is presented in a quasi-journalistic collection of testimonials. Marquez captures the rich beauty and timeless complexity of Colombian culture, deftly employing irony and mystery to draw the reader into the narrative. – Sebastian Johnson