In The Club

In The Club – October 17

Hey there, word nerds! Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read.

Today on the agenda for book club talk, I’ll start us off with some creepy + cozy reads. I’ve also got some thoughts on Narco Lit, a lot of love for National Coming Out Day, then some fangirling & feminism to bring it on home. I may have even thought up the scariest Halloween costume to rule them all… 


This newsletter is sponsored by Epic Reads.

a gold-hilted dagger is front and center, stabbing into water. coins fly through the air around it, and in the background is a ship sailing against a sunsetThe sequel to Sword and Verse follows Soraya as she attempts to rebuild a nation after the slave rebellion destroyed the capital city. On the new ruling council, she finally holds the political power she always wanted—but over a nation in ruins. When a slave ship arrives in the city, full of Arnathim captured before Qilara fell, the civil unrest that has been bubbling since the rebellion erupts. With the threat of attacks high, Gelti, a former guard captain, trains Soraya in self-defense. As the two grow close, tension within the city ramps up, with danger, betrayal, and deception meeting Soraya everywhere she turns.

I’ll Have the Creepy Read, Hold the Horror – I am such a weenie when it comes to straight-up cue-the-Pyscho-soundtrack horror. If you too are in that weenie tribe, fear not (ha). Tirzah Price had our kind in mind when she put together this sweet list of Atmospheric Non-Horror Novels to read in October.

  • Book Club Bonus + Shameless-but-Related Plug: I filled in for Amanda on last week’s episode of Get Booked where I recommended a non-horror novel that still packs a creepy, unsettling punch. Explore this idea: what is it about quieter, less violent stories that often make them terrifying? Is it the dark side of human nature that’s creepy AF? Do they just feel more real? 
  • Related Weenie Anecdote: The last scary movie I saw was The Ring. I was so #%@& freaked that I screamed when I saw my reflection in the mirror as I toweled off my hair after a shower. That’s right: I thought I was seeing Somara. Nope. nuh-uh. No quiero.

Murder + Machismo – On the last episode of Read or Dead, Katie and Rincey highlighted some Latinx authors writing crime/mystery/thrillers.  

  • Book Club Bonus: One of the books Rincey picked is a piece of Narco Lit, i.e. books whose plots are centered around the drug/cartel culture in Latin America. She discussed how difficult it was to ignore the gross misogyny in the physical descriptions of women. *sighs in Spanish* Let’s talk about whether we have the stomach and/or head space for this kind of talk, even if it “make sense” for the genre.  

Out, Proud, and Well Read – October 11th was National Coming Out Day and we celebrated by featuring all content by LGBTQIA+ Rioters and guests. Here are just a few of those pieces:

Interview with V.E. Schwab –  “Women are not allowed to be ambitious for the sake of ambition. They’re not allowed to want in that way for themselves.” Read Rioter Emily Wenstrom’s interview with V.E. Schwab as she talks female anger, ambition, and lessons from her early career. I am a very jealous heart-eyed emoji.

  • Book Club Bonus: Read both Vicious and Vengeful for book club. Examine the progression in Schwab’s writing of her male and female characters. Discuss women’s anger and ambition. Talk about the villains you couldn’t help but kinda root for. There is SO much to unpack here.

Worse Than What’s Happening in the Handmaid’s Tale and Other Words to Keep You Up At Night– That terrifying line is from this New York Times piece about feminist dystopian fiction channeling women’s anger and anxiety. It gave me many feelings, like anger and anxiety. The buzzkill here: there’s not enough diversity in these books and most of them lean towards the super gender normative. Let’s do better here, people. It’s 2018.

  • Book Club Bonus: I cannot wait to get my hands on The Water Cure. I mean seriously: literal toxic masculinity?! Brilliant! I’m kinda scared! Put this on your lists for it’s January U.S. release and read another of the titles mentioned in this piece in the meantime if you haven’t already. Then compare, contrast, and come with wine; you’re gonna need that shit when you talk about the ways in which this stuff feels a little too real.
  • Related: I am most surely not the first person to come up with this, but someone puh-lease dress up as toxic masculinity for Halloween. I’m envisioning a can or box with a biohazard logo and the word “masculinity” in giant writing. BOOM. Instant horror.

Thanks for hanging with me today! If you want to be friendly on the innanets, you can find me on both el Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Shoot me an email at if you have any feedback or just to say hola.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page