A great book accomplishes many things: It should tell a powerful story, make you reflect on the subject at hand and maybe even start a thoughtful conversation with other people in our lives. Around the holidays, especially leading up to the New Year, is a great time to kick back and treat our minds to some thoughtful and engaging prose. Modern American literature is rich with a diverse set of stories from men and women across the political spectrum, sharing their takes on the art of living. And if you want to go deeper, our shared human history has a nearly endless abundance of tomes on how to live our best lives, in the most meaningful sense that transcends frivolous trends in popular culture.

But a great book, especially one with a socially conscious edge, should challenge our ways of thinking, not just reaffirm that which we already know and believe. So, here is a list of 8 of our favorite books that meet this criteria. No one will be entirely satisfied by our list, and that's the idea! These books are meant to educate, provoke, inspire and even cause debate. If you're thinking of starting a book club this year, put down the Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and pick up one of these. You'll be thankful for it and can proudly display any one of these on your bookshelf or around the office water cooler.

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Words like "freedom" and "democracy" get thrown around so much that it's easy to forgot how much they really mean. Anyone following the ongoing protests inside Hong Kong is seeing firsthand what real bravery looks like in the face of fear. Yes, there is some nuance in the overall debate about China'a role in governing Hong Kong. But there can be no debating the freedom, dignity and human rights every person on this planet is entitled to.

If you believe in freedom of expression, and if you care about the ongoing struggles in Hong Kong, then it's important to make your voice heard. After all, even in the United States there has been an embarrassing willingness on the part of some organizations like the National Basketball Association to stifle freedom of speech when it comes to fans sharing their support for those brave souls making their voices heard thousands of miles away from the safety of a NBA arena.

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The Planet

The best thing about social media is also the worst: These days everyone has a voice. Democracy is alive on the Internet but it's not always the same as making a statement. Before Twitter, millions of Americans shared their political and folksy wisdom through the analog power of the bumper sticker. Sure, sometimes those bumper stickers go a bit far or are in bad taste, but there's something delightful about the power of communicating pithy statements on the back of our cars.

The bumper sticker has had a bit of a comeback in the age of Trump and there is no shortage of pro and anti-Trump bumper stickers out there. That said, most of our favorite political bumper stickers are timeless in their deep and often snarky wisdom. Here are 12 of our favorites:

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Five Awesome April Fools Day Stories to Keep You Guessing

From the National Debt to colleges taken over by cats, here are five awesome April Fools Day stories we loved.

Is that headline you're reading real or is it an April Fools Day hoax? Some April Fools Day tricks are a little too obvious—bacon flavored mouthwash, we're talking to you—and then there are those stories that leave you wondering if they're real or if they're just a clever prank. Here are five of the best we found around the web:

1. One Publisher to Rule Them All:

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