Summer Reading

Third Thursdays  |  Buzz Bakeshop, Ballston  |  7:30-8:30pm

Read up and dive in this summer! Join Arlington Commons as we read and discuss a series of books that help us orient ourselves to the common good. Come for one, two, or all three. Enjoy coffee, tea, cupcakes, wine and beer at Buzz in Ballston. Find us at a table in the back.

JUne 21

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

July 19

The Common Good by Robert B. Reich

With the warmth and lucidity that have made him one of our most important public voices, Robert B. Reich makes the case for a generous, inclusive understanding of the American project, centering on the moral obligations of citizenship. Rooting his argument in everyday reality and common sense, Reich demonstrates the existence of a common good, and argues that it is this that defines a society or a nation. Societies and nations undergo virtuous cycles that reinforce and build the common good, as well as vicious cycles that undermine it. Over the course of the past five decades, Reich contends, America has been in a slowly accelerating vicious cycle--one that can and must be reversed. But first we need to weigh what really matters, and how we as a country should relate to honor, shame, patriotism, truth, and the meaning of leadership.

Powerful, urgent, and utterly vital, this is a heartfelt missive from one of our foremost political thinkers: a fundamental statement about the purpose of society and a cri de coeur to save America's soul.

August 23

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone By Brene Brown

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.” Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.