Books that will help you be a better human in 2020

WellRead Founders sitting at a table surrounded by books

By any measure, the first seven months of this year have been monumental. From a climate emergency to a global pandemic to history’s largest ever civil rights movement, you would be forgiven for asking the question: what even is 2020? 

Contour animation Contour
Contour animation Contour

Our friends over at WellRead, believe in the guiding power of books and the very real ways they can make us better people. They’ve curated a list of 10 books for anyone feeling a little overwhelmed, bewildered, confronted, provoked or generally just wanting some direction on how to be a better human in 2020. 

1. Talking To My Country by Stan Grant

An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture, and identity by Wiradjuri man and award-winning journalist Stan Grant. Find it here on Readings. 

2. Living on Stolen Land by Ambelin Kwaymullina

This title speaks to many First Nations’ truths; stolen lands, sovereignties, time, decolonisation, First Nations perspectives, systemic bias and other constructs that inform our present discussions and ever-expanding understanding. A timely, thought-provoking and accessible read. Find on Readings here.

3. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

A searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today. Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. Find on Readings here.

4. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Insightful, incendiary and ultimately hopeful, Hood Feminism is both an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux and also clear-eyed assessment of how to save it. Find on Readings  here.

5. White Tears, Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad

White Tears/Brown Scars blows open the inconvenient truth that when it comes to race, white entitlement is too often masked by victimhood. Find on Readings here.

6. A Zero Waste Life by Anita Vandyke

A guide to radically reducing your waste, without losing your lifestyle. In her thirty-day challenge, Anita provides you with the rules, tips and tricks you need to eliminate plastic and live a cleaner, kinder life. Find on Readings here.

7. How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley

How everyday conversations about the climate can enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action. Find on Readings here.

8. Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

A practical philosophy and plan for a mindful, intentional use of technology that maximises its benefits while minimising its drain on our attention, focus and time. Find on Readings here.

9. Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman

In this major book, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think – and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society. Find it on Readings here.

10. Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which will sustain us even through the darkest times. Find it on Readings here.


Thanks to WellRead for this guest blog on The Compass Journal. WellRead is a book subscription service that delivers the best new literary titles and undiscovered gems to its members. They are redefining what it means to be well read one carefully curated book selection at a time.

Contour animation Contour
Contour animation Contour