Every January, people from around the world sign up for Veganuary as their New Year's resolution, pledging to go vegan for the first month of the year. Adopting a vegan lifestyle — which aims to exclude animal products from dairy to leather — is one of the best choices we can make for the environment, for animals, and even for our personal health.
If you're participating in Veganuary, we've rounded up some books about veganism that will help you on your journey this month.
Though Veganuary is most heavily promoted each January, anyone can sign up for the free program any day of the year — so feel free to take the pledge whenever you are ready.
And no matter where you are in your voyage to veganism, there's so much to learn from the following books:
72 Reasons to Be Vegan
Written by prominent vegan authors Gene Stone and Kathy Freston, 72 Reasons to Be Vegan is composed of 72 short chapters, each of which details another reason to be vegan. As Stone told Green Matters in a 2021 interview celebrating the book's release, he and Freston wrote 72 Reasons to Be Vegan with people who are vegan-curious and vegan-skeptical in mind, making it a great read for those doing Veganuary.
“We wanted it to be light and fun. We didn’t order it any way specifically — we wanted it so you could pick it up [and just read a random chapter],” Stone told Green Matters in 2021, speaking about this informative and humorous book. “Most nonfiction books, you only learn so much. Nobody reads a book and remembers everything. I think this book is best if it’s read in bits and pieces, rather than the whole meal. It’s just an hors d'oeuvre.”
'Veganism of Color' and 'Veganism in an Oppressive World'
Veganism in an Oppressive World: A Vegans-of-Color Community Project is a compilation of evidence-based essays, personal essays, and poems about building an inclusive and effective animal rights movement, and one that keeps nonhuman animals at the center of that movement.
Edited by Julia Feliz Brueck, the 2017 book is described as an essential read for everyone from new vegans to longtime animal activists, as it explores ways to broaden veganism throughout the world.
Feliz Brueck also edited the 2019 follow-up book Veganism of Color: Decentering Whiteness in Human and Nonhuman Liberation. The collection of writings focuses on working to "achieve true liberation from systems of oppression for ourselves and other marginalized communities."
This Is Vegan Propaganda
Vegan activist and educator Ed Winters, better known on social media as Earthling Ed, This Is Vegan Propaganda (And Other Lies the Meat Industry Tells You) is an illuminating look into what animals go through in the animal agriculture industry, the many benefits of veganism, why so many have biases against veganism, and how a vegan world would benefit each of us.
When writing the book, Winters “always kept the reluctant reader in mind, the skeptic who would need the most convincing," since "that was the person [he] used to be," making This Is Vegan Propaganda a great read for those doing Veganuary.
We Are the Weather
To learn more about how humanity's greed for consuming animal products is hurting the planet — and how to make a difference in this regard — the book We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer is a must-read.
"If we want to stop climate change, we cannot ignore the contributions of animal products," Safran Foer writes in the book. That quote appears in a unique chapter titled Dispute With the Soul, in which Safran Foer writes out a lengthy conversation with "his soul," arguing about the moral imperative to go vegan.
Many aspiring and new vegans are also fans of Safran Foer's previous book Eating Animals, which was made into a documentary.
How Not to Die
Written by vegan physician Dr. Michael Greger along with Gene Stone, How Not to Die focuses on the nutritional benefits of eating a plant-based diet. The book uses scientific evidence to show the ways this diet that can help both prevent and reverse the 15 top causes of premature death in the U.S., including heart disease, Parkinson's, and high blood pressure.
The book also provides actionable advice for optimizing your plant-based diet, including what foods can help with those 15 conditions, as well as Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen, which is a list of the 12 foods he thinks people should strive to eat every day.
The Joyful Vegan
Veteran vegan author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joyful Vegan: How to Stay Vegan in a World That Wants You to Eat Meat, Dairy, and Eggs gives readers help in dealing with the hardest aspect of being vegan. And no, that's not figuring out what to eat: It's the emotional, social, and cultural parts of staying vegan in a non-vegan world.
In the book, Patrick-Goudreau — who is known as the Joyful Vegan on social media — explores how the "desire to feel included and validated by others reaps so many physiological, psychological, social, and emotional rewards that it can blind us to the negative consequences of our actions." She also continually encourages readers to find the joy in veganism, and to bring positivity to conversations surrounding the lifestyle, for the sake of the animals.
"We can speak up for animals without speaking down to humans," Patrick-Goudreau writes in the book. "We can stand up for something we believe in without standing over others."