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Liw's Reading Year 2018

Ate Liw, human rights lawyer and advocate, certified world peregrinator, once an English major and a dear friend, shares the most memorable reads she has had for 2018. Her global humanitarian work inspires me, but so does her travels, her book choices, and love for Jesus. She's one of the coolest, bravest, most elegant people I know, taking the road less traveled to champion the rights of the oppressed. She has has been a blessing to me and our family.

Three books with lasting effects on me

1. An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

My work allows me to witness the humanitarian consequences of overcrowded jails on persons deprived of liberty while on trial so I immediately connected with this novel. The way the story unfolds shows how each one of us can easily get caught up in a flawed justice system and how incarceration dehumanises. It is life changing to those incarcerated and alters their relationships with those outside, often in tragic ways. This novel should force us to start having conversations about punitive criminal justice systems and the lack of genuine restoration, reconciliation and rehabilitation.

2. Educated, Tara Westover

This fascinating memoir offers readers a door inside a life and world view dominated by extreme religious beliefs and how learning—culture, history, beliefs, travel—shines a light in a dark world. Definitely outstanding.

3. Last Girl, Nadia Murad

Another memoir about how holding on to extremist religious beliefs can destroy not only a single life but in the case of ISIL, trigger a genocide of the Yazidi race in Iraq. Having worked with young victims of sexual slavery and abuse, Nadia’s personal harrowing experience sadly wasn’t new to me- but the magnitude and how the entire world watched without intervention was truly shameful to read. Her resilience and her incessant quest for justice on what was done to her, her family, her community and her race will inspire if not rebuke us all from our inability to empathise and our propensity to dehumanise real tragedies happening in the world. Nadia’s extremely remarkable story should make advocates of us all against sexual violence, religious intolerance, armed conflict and injustice. Her 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Award is well deserved.

Books that gave me vicarious experiences

1. The Witch Elm, Tana French

What drives a person to kill someone and how violence and abuse affects a victim.

2 The Woman in the Window, A.J. Finn

Because we need to talk about mental health more.

3. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly

What populism brought Poland during World War II.

On worldview, perspectives and faith

1. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
2. ISIS: inside the Army of Terror, Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan
3. Scott Sauls on suffering (and his books)
4. The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi Kaur


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