Cascade Alliance

Happy National Reading Month!

In celebration of National Reading Month this March the Cascade Alliance wants to highlight our members operating secondhand book operations. Our partner organizations are finding ways to make the consumption of literature both sustainable, and accessible to all.

The Union Rescue Mission, TAP Books and Opportunity House all operate online book programs that divert discarded books from landfills and create meaningful jobs for people with barriers to employment. Other partners, including the Scrap Exchange, Global Neighborhood, Finger Lakes ReUse and Opportunity House offer secondhand books in their brick-and-mortar retail spaces—book department shoppers are able to purchase affordable items and help support their communities.

We asked are wonderful partner organizations to recommended some of their favorite current reads. Check out these recommendations from our partners!

Clever Octopus: 

Jen Lopez, the Program Director and Cofounder of Clever Octopus, recommended three interesting texts:

 In Praise of Shadows – “This is a short read about the aesthetics of old Japan, by an author acknowledging and lamenting the change of modernization that brings with the glossy perfection of mass-produced goods the loss of the patina that comes with well-worn things.”





Cradle to Cradle – “An odd object in and of itself, “Remaking the Way We Make Things” isn’t just the subtitle but is also embodied in the “thingness” of the tome itself – a hefty plasticky book that can be truly RE-cycled, not downcycled as paper books experienced, as the inks can be removed with a solvent and the pages remade into new books. As a bonus, the waterproofness means you can read in the tub this challenge to cradle-to-grave manufacturing principles.”




Rural Studio – “A beautiful and invigorating visit to the Black Belt of Alabama, where an architecture program reënvisioned architectural education and practice to learn to build innovative modern homes and community spaces using the vernacular design of the area and salvaging discarded materials that are ubiquitous throughout the region in conjunction with and in support of the community.”




Global Neighborhood:

Brent Hendricks, the Executive Director of Global Neighborhood, recommends a book by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard:

Let My People Go Surfing – “It is the story of how someone who hated business started and grew an incredibly successful company based on the principles of treating people and the earth well. It inspires me to think outside the box when it comes to business, and shows how powerful a tool of transformation a business can be.”






St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County: 

Bethany Cartledge, Economic Development Director at St. Vincent de Paul & Cascade Alliance Director, recommends reading to foster personal growth and awareness of crucial issues:

Somebody’s Daughter by Julian Sher – “This book showcases the reality of trafficked children in America, the lack of appropriate response from those in positions of power and a lack of resources.”

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown – “So powerful! If you only read one of her books, this should be the one.”






Know My Name by Chanel Miller – “It’s vital that we recognize how far we have to go, even in 2021, to better support survivors of sexual violence—what she endured after the fact is reprehensible.”







Laura Bennett, Cascade Alliance Member Liaison, recommends diving into our national history:

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson- “This book is a deeply researched account of the Attica prison uprising. Thompson describes how incarcerated men organized against the state of New York to protest violations of their human and civil rights within the American carceral system, how our government deployed heavily armed state police and corrections officers to brutally put down the uprising, how the state covered it up, and how survivors kept fighting to realize justice. Blood in the Water has much to say about the horrifying depths of our nation’s white supremacist, violent, anti-democratic impulses. It is also a profound illustration of the power of solidarity among human beings fighting against oppression for recognition of their humanity. While incredibly difficult to read in some sections, I cannot recommend Blood in the Water enough!”


From the Cascade Alliance and all of our partner organizations, happy National Reading Month!