Whether your summer plans involve clamming on the beach or clambering into a hammock, chances are they include a book! We asked our members to recommend a book they have devoured to co-create a Humanity Hub Summer Reading list. Which one will you pick?

A woman of no importance – Sonia Purnell

Recommended by Maria Sperling, T.M.C. Asser Instituut

“When you read this incredible story of the spy, Virginia Hall, during the Resistance in France and what she achieved – despite low gender expectations and her physical disability – you can only be inspired to do more in life.”

Klara and the Sun – Kazui Ishiguro

Recommended by Jill Wilkinson, The Hague Humanity Hub

“Latest book from one of my fave authors, a near future science fiction written from the perspective of an AI based artificial friend.”

I, the Divine – Rabih Alameddine

Recommended by Melissa El Hamouch, 510

“Written in chapters of one from a women’s perspective on her expat journey and conflictions with her home country.”

Second Circle; The. Science and Art of Social Impact Assessment, Emery Brusset

Recommended by Marcel Smits, FCS Impact

”It is really a social responsibility to understand how social change can be truly evaluated. Anyone interested in seeking genuine evidences of social change in its programming should read this book.”

The Forgiven, Lawrence Osborne

Recommended by Julian Newman, Environmental Investigation Agency

“Fascinating tale of expats out of their depth in Morocco.”

The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes

Recommended by Marina Antunovic, Mercy Corps

“I would read a dishwasher manual, if written by Barnes, and love it :-). In this book, he chronicles the life of Shostakovich under the Stalin’s and later Khrushchev’s rule, and explores the role of art in society, fear and artistic and personal compromise borne out of fear. It is beautifully told and made me go back and listen to some of the composer’s works with a different appreciation of his genius. “

Peace in the Age of Chaos, Steve Killelea

Recommended by Marcel Smits, Institute for Economics and Peace

“Peace in the Age of Chaos is the debut book by the globally renowned philanthropist and founder of IEP, Steve Killelea, and his quest to understand and measure peace in the world. A good read to understand the drive behind the man and organization.”

You’re Dead To Me Podcast (BBC Radio 4)

Recommended by Lea Scheurer, European Urban Knowledge Network

“This podcast is one of the most entertaining ones in English that I’ve come across – it brings together a researcher and a comedian discussing a historic topic. Very instructive, too!”

Lo-TEK Design by Radical Indigenism, Julia Watson

Recommended by Jessica Immelman, Space4Good

“Climate-resilient infrastructures have always been there! Watson outlines indigenous approaches in infrastructure and planning going back centuries, outlining key considerations for the transition we should all be embracing for resilient and nature-based living. It really gets you feeling hopeful and inspired!”

Sorcières, Mona Chollet

Recommended by Julia Tétrault-Provencher, Parliamentarians for Global Action

“A really strong and powerful essay reflecting on the oppression women have suffered since the witch-hunt and how these beliefs are still affecting modern women (and a good book to practice your French!)”

The Salth Path, Raynor Winn

Recommended by Clara Pietrek, Youth Peace Initiative

“Memoir meets travelogue, this book is the incredibly inspiring and thought-provoking story of a couple that lost everything they owned, packed their backpacks, and started walking.”

The twilight of democracy and the parting of friends, Anne Appelbaum

Recommended by Hans van den Berg, The Young Diplomat

“Absolute gem, Appelbaum takes you with her in trying to understand how her friends from Poland and Hungary turned from staunch liberals in the late 90’s early 00’s to populists today. Easy to read, easy to follow and very insightful.”

The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, Robert Fisk

Recommended by Alexandre Taillandier, Humanity Hub

“A journalist’s memoir spanning 30 years of reporting from the Middle East up until the early 2000s. This is not a story of hope but a deeply personal account from someone who did not look away from the systemic and unending injustice, indifference, meddling, collateral damage.”

The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker

Recommended by Rick Torseth, ImpactBasis

“Priya offers many brilliant ideas for bringing people together and producing stimulating gatherings.”

Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Recommended by Parya Sardari Nia, Mercy Corps Netherlands

“A very impactful and important book to read!”

Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, Microsoft CLO Brad Smith

Recommended by Elena Gkiola, Find Out Why

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, explores the biggest questions that humanity faces about tech.

Ecocide: Kill the corporation before it kills us, David Whyte

Recommended by Anna Matczak, Centre of Expertise on Global Governance, THUAS

The book discusses a topic of a growing significance. It’s an academic read but written in a very accessible language with powerful arguments.

Digital Wildfire of Disinformation in The Netherlands, The London Story

Recommended by Ritumbra Manuvie, Foundation London Story

In this report, Foundation the London Story, a diaspora-led think-tank committed to human rights and transnational issues, presents its findings on how Facebook’s business model is enabling COVID-19 “infodemic” in the Netherlands.

Solaris, Stanisław Lem

Recommended by Noman Ahmed Ashraf, LINKS Europe

“Although a sci-fi novel, it has a very strong humanistic touch”

The E-myth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, Michael E. Gerber

Recommended by Bobby Bahov

Bobby recorded a book review!

Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World, Paul Collier and Alexander Betts

Recommended by Élise Lindron, Windle International

“This book gives a good understanding of the problem of displaced persons affected by conflicts around the world. It reports on the history of UNHCR and the major issues in global politics. It is beautifully written and really engages in considering the subject matter.”

Souvenirs, Ferry Zandvliet

Recommended by Saskia Rademaker, The Hague University of Applied Sciences/Leiden University

“Fantastic book on how a Dutch survivor of the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan in Paris has turned a terrible experience into personal growth and a positive life. (Book ook available in Dutch)”

Wereld in Beweging, Joris Voorhoeve, Saskia Rademaker and Reitse Keizer (editors)

Recommended by Saskia Rademaker, The Hague University of Applied Sciences/Leiden University

“Third edition of our Dutch textbook on international relations. Fully updated, with new material on conspiracy thinkers, the pandemic, the role of China, the EU and Brexit, Trump, and the ‘UN women, peace, and security agenda’. Expected early August.”

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

Recommended by Federica Risi, European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN)

“I could read this novel a 1000 times and every time learn something new, or better unlearn everything I know about beauty and acceptance, all the preconceptions that were transferred to me at birth (those of a white, man-dominated, Eurocentric society). This book takes you on an inward journey of self-challenge!”

The Alternative Hypothesis (La Part de l’Autre), Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Recommended by Appoline Pierson, Mukwege Foundation

“Thought provoking novel in which the author explores what could have happened if Hitler was accepted in the Vienna Academy of Art and how it could have impacted his life, and the course of the world.”

The Choice, Dr. Edith Eva Eger

Recommended by Alex Haas, Haagse Helpers

At the age of sixteen, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Hours after her parents were killed, Nazi officer Dr. Josef Mengele, forced Edie to dance for his amusement and her survival. Edie was pulled from a pile of corpses when the American troops liberated the camps in 1945. Dr. Eger life reveals our capacity to transcend even the greatest of horrors and to use that suffering for the benefit of others. She has found true freedom and forgiveness and shows us how we can as well. Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Michelangelo, Miles Unger

Recommended by Alonso Hernandez-Pinzon, European Lawyers Foundation

“Michelangelo is one of these characters that are only seen every 1.000 years. He has been the most complete artist of all times (Leonardo can be compared with him as Humanist but not as an artist), which mastered sculpture, painting and architecture. But his was a complicated life as the genius had to face the pride of Popes, Princes, etc,., while attacked by jealous “competitors”. He lived in turbulent times but he prevailed over anyone and everything. Today we can still admire the work of this unrepeatable genius that is better understood if we approach the man from a full personal and artistic perspective.”

An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

Recommended by Tanja Dejanova, Penal Reform International

“This book, though not new, is beautifully written but easy to read, it pulls you into the lives of the characters yet makes you reflect on yourself and so many aspects of life, from relationships to identity to fairness and justice.”

Psicomagia, Alejandro Jodorowsky

Recommended by Federico Franciamore, Space4Good

“If you want to explore how with our mind we can heal our body this is the book you need to read!”

Humankind: A Hopeful History (De Meeste Mensen Deugen), Rutger Bregman

Recommended by Wieke Blaauw, Erasmus University: International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

“It changes your mindset when reflecting on public policies; why should a policy be firm and strict and attuned to the small minority who intends to abuse rules. Why should you be suspicious in everyday life: just assume that ‘de meeste mensen deugen'”

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ Culture, Amalia Abrahams

Recommended by Claire Leunissen, The Hague Peace Projects

“We’re reading this book as part of the HPP&Xenolearn Book Club, and it’s great! This book is a fantastic look into the experiences, rights and mainstreamification of the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a quick read told in the first person by a reporter with a lot of humour and feeling, but also well research with historical context. People both inside and outside of the LGBTQIA+ community will have lots to reflect on, like the importance of Queer spaces, the “litmus test” for human rights that Pride Parades offer, and the thin line between the visibility and invisibility of trans and LGBTQIA+ people in society.”

A Savage Order – How the deadliest countries can forge a path to security, Rachel Kleinfeld

Recommended by Kelly Buis, The Hague Academy for Local Governance

“A pageturning investigation of societies, regions and towns in Colombia, Italy, Georgia, The USA and India that were able to move away from crushing violence towards security. Based on 15 years of research by Kleinfeld and many interviews with key players in that transition. A unforgettable analysis!”

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Recommended by Fanny Weicherding, UN Centre for Humanitarian Data

”What would be left of love without truth stretched beyond its limits, without those better versions of ourselves that we present as the only ones that exist?”

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Recommended by Brynn Campbell, Mukwege Foundation

”This book is quite informative about what it was like growing up in South African apartheid, and Trevor Noah tells it in an easy-to-read and engaging way. My book club agreed it is one of our favorite books we’ve read together.”

Flights, Olga Tokarczuk

Recommended by Charlotte de Jong, Municipality The Hague

”A collection of different stories, some short some long, all reflecting on what it means to be a traveler. But not in the way you are expecting it to be explained. When you are looking for something different and ready for some reflecting on what it means to be wandering through life.”

The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

Recommended by Catherine Schulter, Humanity Hub

”That was how she had felt most of her life. Caught in the middle. Struggling, flailing, just trying to survive while not knowing which way to go. Which path to commit to without regret.” The Midnight Library tells a heartwarming story about opportunities in life, our biggest hopes and regrets. It’s thought-provoking, raw, sad and funny (sometimes all at the same time). 10/10 recommend.”