Hola, friends! Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed.
It’s April! That means it’s Cuba month for me and I’m starting to get giddy about it! In the meantime, this week I’ll share a rodent-insect romance, muse on memoirs, drop new podcast news on the people, and more, all while wondering whether I am indeed a cusp millennial or solidly in that generational classification.
To the club!
Sponsored by A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian from Algonquin Books.
The eagerly anticipated A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian centers on a circle of friends in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes and the city that does not care. A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. “This is a book to give your little sister, your mother, your best friend, yourself, so together you can celebrate the strength of women and girls, the tenacity it takes to survive in a world that would rather have you disappear.” ─Nylon
Question for the Club
Last week I asked whether your book club actively chooses books written by women and what percentage of your reading fits the bill.
- Several responses came from members of book clubs made up entirely of women who specifically read books written by women. For them it was a yes and 100%!
- The majority of responders said that while they don’t actively choose books written by women, 70% or more of their selection end up being by women. Not bad!
Most of you are reading tons of books by women and that is something to celebrate! If this question were instead about authors of color or reads by LGBTQIA writers: would our reading rank as highly on the inclusivity scale? (For some of you, it already does!) I challenge you all to track your reading more mindfully and see what gaps there might be in your habits. I personally find this a really fun endeavor: I love me a reading challenge!
On to the next one! As always, send your responses to email@example.com.
Kidlit These Days
Cue the airhorns, folks: we have a new podcast! Hosted by New York Times bestselling author Karina Yan Glaser and children’s librarian and host of The Children’s Book Podcast Matthew Winner, Kidlit These Days will pair the best of children’s literature with what’s going on in the world today. Get into it!
Book Club Bonus: The show’s inaugural episode touched on an incident that absolutely incensed me last fall involving Idaho elementary school teachers and some racist costume choices (I just CANNOT). The conversation focused on the importance of inclusive children’s literature to combat a grossly misinformed and increasingly pervasive narrative surrounding Latinx immigrants. The books that Karina and Matt suggest are all ones that I’d love to see in a book club for children. Parents and guardians: gather your littles during playdates for story time and incorporate these beautiful reads to broaden their young perspectives.
Related: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré taught me about a Puerto Rican folktale involving a mouse and a cockroach who are in love and I’m still not over it! Illustrator Paola Escobar managed to make one of the creatures that freaks me out most in this world cute! The whole scene in the book is just *chef’s kiss.* Seriously – read it if only to learn about mousekroach romance of Perez and Martinez.
Maybe Try a Memoir
If you’re mostly a fiction reader, you might find yourself a little hesitant to make the leap to nonfiction. Fear not! Here’s a list of fascinating memoirs to get you started; some of these stories are so wild, you’ll forget they aren’t made up.
Book Club Bonus: Many moons ago, I was one of those people who only primarily read fiction because I classed non-fic as one giant snooze fest (I know, I know! I was young and naive but have grown). If your book club has avoided non-fiction for fear of pacing and narrative issues, a page-turner memoir is a great place to start. If your club members are anything like me, they might just have one of those “Holy shitake mushrooms, truth really is stranger than fiction!” moments and seek out more nonfiction post haste.
Related: A couple of quick recs from me: I cosign Educated by Tara Westover on the memoir front. Once you’re ready for more, try Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. At the bookstore, I call these my “what in the actual f*#%?” books, of which there are many, many more.
Millennials Ruin Everything
Lately whenever a news story comes out of Florida, I read it with one eye closed hoping it’s not hot trash (no shade to all my progressive Floridians!). I was rewarded today when I learned of a cool Florida-based book club led by two young librarians at the Mandel Public Library. The club’s name? Millennials Ruin Book Club.
Book Club Bonus: I’ve pitched an idea similar to the structure of Millennials Ruin Book Club where everyone reads a different book and then takes turn sharing their read with the group. This may take a little away from the shared experience, but I appreciate how this looser format takes the pressure off for those with busier schedules. Do any other libraries (or other groups) out there do this sort of thing? It would be kind of cool to just have the option of showing up and talking about whatever the heck I just happened to have read.
Related: I have recently embraced the title of Elder Millennial after watching Iliza Schlesinger’s hilarious comedy special of the same name. Seriously, she took me down when she hunched over and croaked, “Gather round the Snapchat, children. I’ll tell you the tale of… the landline!” Dead.
- Today: Jenna Bush Hager announces April book club pick
- PBS: ‘Brotopia’ is April’s pick for the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club
- Today: Kick book club up a notch with 3 new books and foods to match
- Bustle: Well-Read Black Girl Founder Glory Edim Recommends ‘Queen Bey’ For Bustle Book Club This April
Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.