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Sat Jun 6, 2020, 12:21 PM

Readers Flock to Books About Race Relations

Books about the history of racism, diversity and race relations are soaring to the top of bestsellers’ lists, a sign of growing interest in racial issues amid nationwide protests against police brutality. As of Friday morning, nine of the top 10 bestselling titles on BarnesandNoble.com explored the core themes underscoring the demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd last week while in police custody in Minneapolis.

The works ranged from Bryan Stevenson’s memoir “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” in which he recounts his legal battles on behalf of the wrongly condemned, to Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” which explores racial justice.

“What the bestseller lists say is that people are watching the protests and feeling compelled to actually order books and read more about this subject to understand what is going on,” said Robert Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University. “It’s a story so big that it was able to knock a global pandemic largely out of the news cycle.”

Amazon’s Top 100 bestseller list as of Friday morning included 2018’s “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo; “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi; and “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo. The print editions of Mr. Kendi’s book and Ms. DiAngelo’s book were out of stock on Amazon on Friday. The list shows that “customers are hungry for books that can educate them on racial inequality in America, as well as help them process or explain what’s happening,” said Sarah Gelman, books editorial director at Amazon.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/readers-flock-to-books-about-race-relations-11591365596 (subscription)




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