What is NYU Reads?

NYU Reads brings the NYU community together around a single common reading, chosen by a University committee made up of faculty, student, and administrator representatives. Building on our undergraduate schools’ first-year reading programs, NYU Reads extends this dialogue beyond Welcome Week and opens it up to the entire University community.

In the 2020-21 academic year, NYU Reads programming will span across both semesters and will focus on two books, the first one in Fall 2020 and the second in Spring 2021.

Fall 2020: Just Mercy

Just Mercy cover image

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014) is our NYU Reads selection for Fall 2020. Bryan Stevenson is a professor of criminal justice at NYU School of Law and the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Since 1989 the EJI has provided legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. Stevenson’s memoir Just Mercy, a film version of which was released in 2019, is both an account of his work with the EJI and a testament to the urgent need to challenge racial and economic injustice and to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable members of society. In the words of NYU Journalism Professor Ted Conover, writing for the New York Times Book Review, "The message of this book, hammered home by dramatic examples of one man’s refusal to sit quietly and countenance horror, is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made.” (This New York Times article is also available in NYU Library databases.)

Just Mercy NYU LibGuide

NYU Libraries has developed an NYU LibGuide dedicated to Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and the wider issues of racial discrimination and the criminal justice system, mass incarceration, and the Black Lives Matter movement. This LibGuide applies an intersectional approach to mass incarceration and

anti-black racism, supplying an overview of resources to #BLM, LGBTQ+ issues, and conversations on justice and identity. Since it is hosted within the suite of NYU Division of Libraries subject guides, allowing for direct integration within NYU Classes, it may serve as a tool for faculty who plan to engage students in discussions of Just Mercy.

Upcoming Events

Just Mercy Event Recordings

How can I get copies of Just Mercy from NYU Libraries?

  • Just Mercy Ebook and Audiobook
    • If you are interested in downloading the ebook of Just Mercy via the EBSCO digital collections (click on the link above), please download the Adobe Digital Editions app from the App StoreⓇ or on Google Play™.
    • If you are interested in accessing the audiobook of Just Mercy via the EBSCO digital collections (click on the link above), please download the EBSCO Audio app from the App StoreⓇ or on Google Play™.

How can I get copies of Just Mercy from the NYU Bookstore?

How can I watch the film version of Just Mercy?

  • The film Just Mercy (Dir. Dustin Daniel Cretton, 2020) is available for streaming via the Swank library database. For additional streaming options, and for more information about the film, please visit the Just Mercy website.

Just Mercy is a thoroughly engaging book; it may, however, hit close to home for several readers. It includes accounts of racism, racial injustice, violence against Black people, capital punishment, and violent crimes. If you need emotional support while reading, or if you have concerns about reading a book in which such experiences are depicted, professional counselors are available to talk 24/7 through the Wellness Exchange hotline at 212-443-9999 or to chat through the Wellness Exchange app (available in the Apple App Store or Google Play).

Antiracism Education, Programs, and Resources

For more information on how to engage in advancing equity and social justice at NYU - including opportunities for education and training, events and initiatives, and a summer reading program - please visit this page on the Office of Global Inclusion's website.

For First-Year Students: By when should I have read the book?

Events and discussions will be taking place in the fall semester. We recommend taking time this summer to read Just Mercy, before your school’s orientation.