Art Trumps Drumpf – 200 Books and Films To Open Your Heart

How do we fight against racism, xenophobia, and misogyny? How do we teach tolerance and love?

One way is to share our stories.

Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving. ~Madeleine L’Engle

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Some of my well-loved books

Studies show people who read novels are more empathic and I know it’s true. Want to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Read their story and you’ll see the world through their eyes.

Books remain one of the strongest bulwarks we have against tyranny—but only as long as people are free to read all different kinds of books, and only as long as they actually do so. -Will Schwalbe

Ever since the gut-wrenching election, stories keep popping into my head. If only all Americans read The Diary of Anne Frank, and Elie Weisel’s Night. If only we all delve deep into our history, and really feel, and really learn…

 A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one. -George R.R. Martin

If you have family or friends who remain insular and fearful/hateful of other cultures, get them a book from this list for the holidays! Open some minds!

These are all books and movies I’ve personally read, seen, and recommend. Under blankets, by a cozy fire, I lost myself in these stories and writings, fascinated enough that my separate self dissolved and my whole self emerged.

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BOOKS


Jewish:
Night
The Diary of Anne Frank

The Book Thief

African:
The Poisonwood Bible
Unbowed
Nisa
Song from the Forest

African American:
Beloved
The Color Purple
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
To Kill a Mockingbird
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

Latino/South American:
100 Years of Solitude
Love in the Time of Cholera
Tortilla Flat
The Pearl
Daughter of Fortune
The Milagro Beanfield Wars

Muslim/Sufi:
The Kite Runner
The Illuminated Prayer
The Illuminated Rumi
I Heard God Laughing
The Essential Rumi
The Glance
The Prophet
Look. This is Love!

Americana:
The Grapes of Wrath
The Jungle
Caddie Woodlawn
Where the Red Fern Grows
On the Road
Dharma Bums
Anne of Green Gables (Canadian)

Women:
The Mists of Avalon
The Red Tent
The Lovely Bones
The Book of Ruth
She’s Come Undone
Our Bodies, Ourselves
Woman as Healer
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Shakti Woman
Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of
European Witchcraft in the Middle Ages
Religion and the Decline of Magic
The Night Battles
Witchcraft in Europe, 1100-1700: A Documentary History
The Feminine

Wartime/Soldiers:
All’s Quiet on the Western Front
Slaughterhouse-Five
Cold Mountain
Gone with the Wind

Animals/Animal Rights:
The Jungle
A Diet for a New America
Charlotte’s Web
Black Beauty
Stuart Little

Tibetan:
Sky Dancer
8 Verses for Training the Mind
How to Meditate: A Practical Guide
Dzogchen: The Self-Perfected State
Buddhist Masters of Enchantment
Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
Tantra: The Indian Cult of Ecstasy

Indian:
How to Know God
The God of Small Things
Ritual Art of India

Vietnamese Buddhism:
Peace is Every Step
Teachings on Love
Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames
The Heart of Understanding

Japanese:
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
Memoirs of a Geisha
Essential Reiki

Euro:
Middlesex
Angela’s Ashes
Les Miserables
Hildegard of Bingen’s Book of Divine Works

Chinese:
The iChing
The Joy Luck Club
Tao Te Ching

Dystopian warnings:
A Wrinkle in Time
The Madaddam Trilogy
The Handmaiden’s Tale
The Hunger Games
1984
Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Native American:
The Education of Little Tree
Seven Arrows
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
The Young Voyager
The Gaia Atlas of the First Peoples
The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
The Book of the Vision Quest

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FILMS


Jewish/Germany/Holocaust:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Sophie’s Choice
Defiance
Life is Beautiful
The Pianist
Schindler’s List
The Book Thief
Swing Kids
Casablanca
Inglorious Bastards

Valkyrie
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Sound of Music

Latino/SouthAmerican:
Y Tu Mamá También
City of God
Like Water for Chocolate
The Motorcycle Diaries
Maria Full of Grace

Euro:
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Belle Époque
Antonia’s Line
Volver
Amadeus
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Chocolat
The Spanish Apartment
Braveheart
Elizabeth
Run Lola Run
Once
The Secret of Kells
Goya’s Ghosts
Atonement
Trainspotting
Mr. Turner

LGBT:
Milk
Dallas Buyers Club
Brokeback Mountain
The Kids are Alright
The Bubble

African:
Hotel Rwanda
Tsosti
Blood Diamond
Out of Africa
The Gods Must Be Crazy
The Constant Gardener

African American:
12 Years a Slave
Precious
The Color Purple
Roots
Medicine for Melancholy
Selma
Do the Right Thing
Higher Learning
The Butler
Driving Miss Daisy
To Kill a Mockingbird
Jungle Fever
Malcom X
Django Unchained
The Pursuit of Happyness

Americana:
Forrest Gump
Taking Woodstock
Easy Rider
Farenheit 911
Sicko
Trumpland
Bowling for Coloumbine
The Corporation
This is What Democracy Looks Like

Appalachia/The South:
Songcatcher

Quantum Physics:
What the Bleep Do We Know?

Women:
Sleeping with the Enemy
True Grit
Take My Eyes
Fried Green Tomatoes
Frida
Miss Representation
Thelma and Louise

Aboriginal Australia:
10 Canoes
Tracks
Rabbit-Proof Fence

Tibet:
7 years in Tibet
Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion
Kundun
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

Native American:
Smoke Signals
Dances with Wolves
The Last of the Mohicans

Gypsy:
Lotcho Drom
Gadjo Dilo

Japanese:
The Last Samurai
Lost in Translation
Nobody Knows
Memoirs of a Geisha

Wartime/Soldiers:
The Hurt Locker
The Hunt for Red October
Cold Mountain
Gone with the Wind

Chinese:
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Lust, Caution
The Curse of the Golden Flower

Indian:
Gandhi
Slumdog Millionaire
Namesake
Water

Animals:
Gorillas in the Mist
Whale Rider
Project X
Rio 1 and 2
The Book of Life
Ratatouille
The Book of Life
Bambi
101 Dalmatians
Never Cry Wolf
Island of the Blue Dolphins
The Cove

Humanity:
Baraka
Koyansquasti
Samsara

Sustainability:
Erin Brokovich
BBC’s Earth
An Inconvenient Truth
Gasland

Dystopian warnings:
Star Wars
Hunger Games
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Avatar
Harry Potter
Interstellar
Idiocracy
Back to the Future II
2012
Children of Men
Contagion

 A story can make us cry and laugh, break our hearts, or make us angry enough to change the world.”- Grant Morrison

What books and movies open YOUR heart? Do you think if everyone heard more stories, we’d collectively be more open to each other?

♥ ~ Meghan Oona

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this list! I have bookmarked it for ideas in the future. I am a global educator (high school English) and I am always working to expand my own knowledge and empathy in order to do the same for my students. I have been consciously trying to disrupt the colonial Western assumptions about Africa that my students bring into my classroom, specifically that Africa is a disaster comprised merely of blood diamonds, child soldiers, genocide, and AIDS, and that we are the brave Western protagonists who need to save them. Although I have seen/read many of the films/books on your list about the diverse African continent, I have admittedly not read/seen them all and I’m looking forward to exploring what you’ve shared. Check out this book by Dayo Olopade: The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa. It really raised my consciousness about my own assumptions about a diverse continent. Cheers. Tara

    Like

    1. Tara, thanks so much for the work you do! And The Bright Continent sounds wonderful. It reminded me of another uplifting African story that I need to add to the list above – Wangari Maathai’s Unbowed. She won the Noble Peace Prize for planting millions of trees in Africa! Hero! ❤

      Like

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