With hundreds of political Facebook statuses to wade through each day and opinions growing more heated by the minute, it seems more important than ever to practice empathy, understanding, and connection.

If you’re looking for some way to do just that while making sense of all the noise around you, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of fantastic books that we think will make you a more empathetic person. You’ll find yourself completely captivated by the lives of people you’ve never met — and who knows? You might even change your own.

61bkOz+UVuL “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Jon Ronson
This unbelievably empathetic book takes the time to listen and talk to those who’ve been publicly shamed on the internet — something you might not have even known you were curious about until now.

51f1DbDo8TL “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity” by Katherine Boo
We learn the true, heart-wrenching story of Mumbai families who face tragedy, inequality, and countless other burdens while trying to better themselves and their families.

“The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion
This acclaimed book chronicles the year after the author’s husband’s death, offering an almost distressingly intimate view of grief.

51hyDxgv5uL “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia
A novel about a divided family’s life in exile during the Cuban Revolution, this book has traces of Garcia’s own life (she escaped from Cuba in 1961). Her ethereal, poetic style will keep you enchanted page after page.

411bJ++UXUL “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed
This collection of real advice columns addressed to their once anonymous recipient “Sugar” grants us a peek into the lives of dozens of people…and teaches us that all the answers to all problems, like their owners, are complex.

xx, The FabFitFun Team