Past NYU Reads Selections
Fall 2020: Just Mercy
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014) was 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.)
NYU Libraries 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.
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.
Fall 2019: Educated
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
Selected for NYU's Fall 2019 common reading, Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House, 2018) is the story of a woman who was raised in a survivalist family in rural Idaho and whose early instruction was not only informal but, in her own words, “erratic and incomplete.” Isolated from mainstream society, she stepped foot into a classroom for the first time at age seventeen and thereafter embarked on a quest for knowledge, teaching herself enough to be admitted to Brigham Young University. Though her first year of college was a challenge on several fronts, Westover succeeded in overcoming the gaps in her education and the difficulties of adapting to a starkly different environment: not only did she graduate magna cum laude from Brigham Young but she went on to earn a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. This remarkable and beautifully written memoir explores the transformative power of education; the impact of knowledge on an individual’s search for identity and self-expression; the experience of learning about difference, home, and the world; the pull of family ties; and the value of determination and resilience.
November 18, 2019
An evening showcasing the world-class authors of the NYU Creative Writing Program. Jonathan Safran Foer, Terrance Hayes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Nick Laird, Sharon Olds, and Zadie Smith read from recent works of poetry and prose. Hosted by program director Deborah Landau.
Panel on Inequality and Bias
November 25, 2019
This year’s NYU Reads selection raises compelling questions about access and belonging. Questions explored by a panel of distinguished NYU faculty who work in the areas of bias, poverty, and inequality in relation to education, health care, social policy, and diversity and inclusion.