Hola, bookish familia! Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.
No lie: this week’s newsletter was almost “Read books and discuss them ok thank you that is all for now bye” because I have a week-old nephew and he occupies, like, 92% of my brain space. But I got it together long enough to bring you some tips on philanthropy, science fiction baddies, phallic soap and more. Shall we?
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WTF Do I Read? Sometimes you just need a quick and easy way to figure out your next book club read. Here’s a quiz that’ll take the guesswork out for you. Boom.
Read Well & Do Good – The past year’s slew of natural disasters and humanitarian crises have forced me to more thoughtfully consider the concept of philanthropy. If you too are thinking more about it – what it means, what it does, and when it’s truly effective – check out these five books on the subject.
- Book Club Bonus: Read up then meet up to discuss what you find the most eye-opening, both the good and the bad. As a group, research and select one cause or project that effectively embodies the essence of good philanthropy. Find a way to contribute or participate as a group – it doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, just whatever is within your means. Be a club of good readers and do gooders.
Star-Studded Book Clubs – Did you know that Oprah’s Book Club ran as a segment of her talk show for the first time in 1996? Skrrrr. Nineteen ninety-QUE?! *buys eye cream* But this segment isn’t about me feeling old as dirt; it’s about the rise of the celebrity book club and how everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Jimmy Fallon has gotten in on the club action.
- Book Club Bonus: It seems to me that folks are either really into the idea of a celebrity book club or are totally turned off by it. If the massive popularity of the Oprah and Reese varieties isn’t your bag, there are other options: Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf; Florence Welch’s Between Two Books; Andrew Luck’s eponymous book club.
- Related: Persist, Book Riot’s own IG book club, will be returning in September!
Cooking & Killing – You’re listening to Read or Dead, yes? Book Riot’s bi-weekly mystery/thriller podcast? On last week’s episode, Katie and Rincey talked about culinary cozy mysteries and their research was pretty hilarious (spoiler: crack is, like, so shocking!). I usually take my cozies classically British but these food-related mysteries are a freaking riot.
- Book Club Bonus: Take a break from your heavier reads, check your bias at the door and pick a fun & silly cozy (no shame here). The plot will provide some necessary levity AND you can make some of the recipes for your meet-up. And now for some suggested titles, and a warning: these authors love a good pun:
- Cheese Shop mysteries by Avery Aames: To Brie or Not to Brie, The Long Quiche Goodbye
- Mack’s Bar mysteries by Allyson K. Abbott: Murder on the Rocks, Shots in the Dark
- Tea Shop mysteries by Laura Childs: Death by Darjeeling, Shades of Earl Grey
- Pancake House mysteries by Sarah Fox: The Crepes of Wrath, Of Spice and Men, Yeast of Eden
So… who’s going to invite me to their cozy cooking club?
Literotica. Get Into It. – Jess Pryde, editor of our Kissing Books newsletter and co-host of the When in Romance podcast) put together this big, beautiful, diverse list of must-read erotic fiction to spice up your reading life.
- Book Club Bonus: I don’t have to tell you to read romance, right? Great. Now: are you reading diversely? Make a concerted effort to read romance by authors of color and/or queer romance. As for your book club meeting… I mean, the world is your oyster here. Pajama party? Passion party? Dick soap for everyone! This is a judgement free zone.
Hugo Hat Trick – The 2018 Hugo Awards were given out over the weekend and if you’re vewy, vewy qwiet, you’ll hear my TBR going to aaaabsolute crap. While all of the winners (so many women, yay!) are fabulous, let us bow down to the incomparable N.K. Jemisin. She took home the award for best novel for the third time in a row, y’all. Third!
- Book Club Bonus: If you’ve been slacking at life (like me, sssh!) and have yet to read the Broken Earth trilogy, now would be the perfect time to dive into this Hugo Award-winning series. Watch Jemisin’s acceptance speech from Sunday’s awards here and use it as a starting point for your chat. There’s lots to unpack, like “what it takes to live, let alone thrive, in a world that seems determined to break you.”
Also: read like Obama. Might I suggest playing “Baby Come Back” in the background?
Thank you for clubbing with me! If you want to be friendly on the innanets, you can find me on el Twitter or on the gram at @buenosdiazsd. Shoot me an email at email@example.com if you have any feedback or just to say hola (and invite me to your cozy cook-off: don’t think I forgot).
Stay bad & bookish, my friends. Hasta luego!