In The Club

Let Me Put On My Surprised Face

Hola, friends! Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. This week we’re talking food, romance, and pregnancy. You’d think the three were related but… nope! Book club is just funny that way.

To the club!

This newsletter is sponsored by Meerkat Press and Smoke City by Keith Rosson.

“Rosson tackles the big life questions in this book, picking apart themes of purpose, redemption, suffering, forgiveness, addiction, passion, talent, guilt, the unknowable nature of life and death, the ways in which we help each other and the ways in which we hinder, the joy of living and the anticipation of death, and the absolute necessity of an examined life. His talent is staggering, his craft is meticulous, and his story is one of the quirkiest but most heartfelt I have ever read. He will clench your heart and drag you through his landscape of horror and bliss. You’ll be so utterly grateful for it.” – Dianah Hughley,

Question for the Club – I asked, you answered: do you only consider a book a “good” pick if everyone liked it? I definitely don’t think so and everyone who wrote in seems to agree! Here are some of your thoughts:

  • One of my core book club beliefs is that people are free to dislike the book–so long as they share why.
  • I find it to be more fun when at least one person DOESN’T like the book! When everyone likes it, the conversation can die quickly.
  • I think that if everyone likes the book it feels like a win, but the discussion is more flavorful if there are some who didn’t like the book and are willing to share why.
  • A good pick for us is one that most of us were interested enough to actually read… some of us will dislike or hate it, and this is when we have the most interesting discussions.

Our next club query is:

Email your answers to!

Let Me Put On My Surprised Face – I briefly mentioned this story in this Sunday’s edition of Today In Books, only under the headline, “Here So White, There So White, Everywhere So White White” because whyyyyyy? As Jess Pryde explains with more precision and finesse, the finalists for the RITA and Golden Heart awards were announced and they’re supes blanche. What’s more, they seem to stay this way year after year after year.

Babies on the Brain – As Rioter Anna puts it, “Advice about pregnancy isn’t hard to find, but good advice about pregnancy may as well be made of gold.” We think these new and upcoming releases are a great place to start.

  • Book Club Bonus: I actually think errbody should read up on pregnancy and would encourage book clubs to do so. It is astounding how little most folks know about even the basics of pregnancy, and how little many of us know because we flat out weren’t ever told. This feels like one small step in improving how we approach everything about parenting: pre- and post-partum care, maternity leave, child care…. Let’s start at the beginning and go from there.

Hunger Games: Book Club Edition – I have some travel coming soon (Cuba!!!) but I’m impatient as hell, so I’ve been choosing books set in faraway places to sort of satiate my wanderlust in the interim. The trouble is so many of them have included mouth-watering descriptions of food! The rose and cardamom-flavored Parsi delights in The Widows of Malabar Hill and the fragrant rice dishes and ALL the coconut things in The Night Tiger??? I’ve been staring at my own basic AF meals with sheer and utter contempt for weeks.

  • Book Club Bonus: You do not want to know how much time I spent on the internet trying to find Parsi and Malaysian food near me. Not easy since the dishes I want come from books set in the 1920s! I’ve suggested book/food pairings plenty of times, but this might be a tall order when the cuisine isn’t widely available. Have a go at preparing the foods yourself if you can find some good recipes and ingredients. You could also find a local or online market and at least buy some treats from whatever region you’re looking for; I sure as sh*t ordered some Malaysian pandan layer cakes from an online store and I have no regrets.

Suggestion Section – For those that missed last week’s trial run, Suggestion Section is where I’ll drop links to news, celeb book clubs, online book club announcements, lists for book groups, etc. Basically related content not otherwise talked discussed in the “meat” of the newsletter. Enjoy!

Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at with your burning book club questions or find me on Twitter and the gram @buenosdiazsd. Sign up for the Audiobooks newsletter, get it on the Read Harder podcast, and watch me booktube every Friday too.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.