At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance -- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power is one of the best books I've read recently. I get that it's not practical to teach students every detail of every historic event, but I'm consistently frustrated about how the Civil Rights Movement is reduced to "Dr. King had a dream and Rosa Parks sat on a bus." And maybe if your teacher is progressive enough and has a spare five minutes, they'll tell you that Malcolm X was angry.
This book tells many stories from the Civil Rights Movement that you don't hear as much about--both in terms of the atrocities faced by black women, and the ways that they organized and spoke up about them, and it makes the movement even more impressive.
*which I'm always tempted to specify as the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans in the U.S. in the mid-twentieth century
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins was a very different read, but also a good one. Even though the story didn't especially grab me, the writing was so good that I definitely had days when I would rush home to read it.
The Goldfinch had some really beautiful moments and a few really lovely characters, but by the end of the book I was tired of seeing the main character make poor choices and have to deal with the consequences. If it had been shorter, I might have been less overwhelmed by the quantity of poor choices and better able to appreciate the story, but it was a long book that followed the character through a large part of his life, so not only did I read about a lot of mistakes, but I also invested a lot of my time in reading about them and it wasn't worth it for me.
Another Country by James Baldwin was oddly similar in that I felt like I was just reading about people making poor choices over and over again. The characters were actually even less endearing, but Baldwin makes up for it by diving into concepts of race, gender, and privilege, so you have more context for how the characters end up in the way that they do.
In other news, I read some of these on a houseboat with my friend and her family and it was glorious: