NYPL's 2020 Election Reading List: Accessible Version with BARD & Bookshare Links

By Jill Rothstein, Managing Librarian, Andrew Heiskell Library
October 13, 2020
book covers on a blue background

As New Yorkers prepare for Election Day on November 3, The New York Public Library is proud to present its 2020 Election Reading List. The books on this list illuminate voting issues including healthcare, education, climate change, and foreign policy, and explore subjects including political polarization, the media, and movements toward greater justice and socioeconomic equity. Make an informed decision. Read as if your vote depends on it.

If you find it hard to read standard print, The New York Public Library's Andrew Heiskell Library provides free access to talking books, talking book players, braille, a talkingbook download website and a free talking book and ebraille app for mobile devices. Go to nypl.org/talkingbooks to learn more and to apply.

Most of the books on the 2020 Election Reading List are available in one or more accessible formats. Find links to them below.

Note that DB = available on BARD in talkingbook format and as a mail-able talking book, and BR = available on BARD in braille format and as mail-able physical braille. These formats are available through the links, or call us at 212-206-5400 to order a physical copy through the mail.  Some titles are available through Bookshare and can be found through the Bookshare (BK) link under that title. All Heiskell members can gain access to Bookshare for free. 

DB (digital talkingbook) / BR (braille) / BK (Bookshare)

Climate Change

As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker: DB, BK

The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption by Richard J. Lazarus: DB

The Rule of Five: Making Climate History at the Supreme Court by Richard J. Lazarus: BK

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert: DB, BRBK

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington: DB, BK

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein: DB, BK

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells: DB, BK


Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor by Steven Greenhouse: DB, BK

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein: DB, BK

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder: DB, BRBK


Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth by Victor M. Rios: BK

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique W. Morris: BK

The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind by Justin Driver: DB, BK

Foreign Policy

Clear & Present Safety: The World Has Never Been Better and Why That Matters to Americans by Michael A. Cohen & Micah Zenko: BK

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen: BK

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas: DB, BK

Gun Control

An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz: DB, BK

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge: BK 

Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz: DB, BK


Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney: DB, BK

The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark: DB, BK


America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States by Erika Lee: BK

The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life by Lauren Markham: DB, BK

No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants by Alina Das: BK

Sand and Blood: America's Stealth War on the Mexico Border by John Carlos Frey: DB, BK

Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli: DB, BK

We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future by Deepa Iyer: DB, BK


Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices by Toby Beauchamp: BK

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen: DB, BK

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride: DB, BK

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene A. Carruthers: BK


Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle: BK

A People's Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements by Nicolas Lampert: BK

Political Junkies: From Talk Radio to Twitter, How Alternative Media Hooked Us on Politics and Broke Our Democracy by Claire Bond Potter: BK

Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power by Anna Merlan: BK


Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer: DB, BK 

How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley: DB, BK

Lost in the USA: American Identity from the Promise Keepers to the Million Mom March by Deborah Gray White: BK

Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt by Sarah Jaffe: DB, BK

The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Other Essays by Richard Hofstadter: BK

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right—A Journey to the Heart of Our Political Divide by Arlie Russell Hochschild: DB, BK

What You Should Know About Politics… But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues that Matter by Jessamyn Conrad: BK

What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank: DB, BK

Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein: DB, BK


American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer: DB, BK

Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks: DB, BK

Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration by Emily Bazelon: DB, BK

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton: DB, BK

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: DB, BK


An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz: DB, BRBK

Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.: BK

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson: DB, BK 

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine: DB, BRBK 

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein: DB, BK

Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.: BK

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway et al.: DB, BK

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob: DB, BRBK

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon: DB, BRBK

The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism by Howard Bryant: DB, BK

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope by Jon Meacham: BK

Latino America: How America's Most Dynamic Population Is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation by Matt Barreto & Gary M. Segura: DB, BK

Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture by Ed Morales: BK

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi: DB, BRBK

Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue: DB, BK

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates: DB, BK


Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890–1940 by Melissa R. Klapper: DB, BK

Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876 by Roy Morris, Jr.: DB, BRBK

Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman: DB, BK

The Hidden History of the War on Voting: Who Stole Your Vote—and How to Get It Back by Thom Hartmann: BK

Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College by Jesse Wegman: DB

One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson: DB, BK

Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams: DB, BK

Say It Louder!: Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy by Tiffany D. Cross: BK

Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy by David Daley: BK

Women & Gender

Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism by Daisy Hernández & Bushra Rehman (eds.): BK

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger by Rebecca Traister: DB, BK

Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller: DB, BRBK

Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment by Linda Hirshman: BK

See Jane Win: The Inspiring Story of the Women Changing American Politics by Caitlin Moscatello: DB, BK


The following titles appear in NYPL's original Election Reading list and are available through the catalog or as an e-book or e-audiobook via the Library's free e-reader app, SimplyE.

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni (e-book)

Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education by Noliwe Rooks

Where We Live: A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas by Will Dennis (ed.)

Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah (e-book, e-audiobook)

The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court in the Age of Trump by David A. Kaplan (e-book)

Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney (e-book)

Defining Democracy: Electoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City by Daniel O. Prosterman (e-resource)

Drawing the Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Voting in America by Tommy Jenkins (e-book)

On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights by Lawrence Goldstone (e-book)

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones (e-book)

In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America's Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung (e-book)