Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed.
It’s May 1st, yo! Since I’m writing this in the last few days of April, I’ve just gotta do it. Whether you’re down with JT or not, one thing remains true:
Now that we’ve all taken a few minutes to sing that lyric aloud in our NSYNCiest voice (you know you did it!), let’s chat complicated histories, city-wide books clubs, and the reasons women stay silent.
To the club!!
This newsletter is sponsored by Cape May by Chip Cheek, published by Celadon Books.
A mesmerizing debut novel by Chip Cheek, Cape May explores the social and sexual mores of 1950s America through the eyes of a newly married couple from the genteel south corrupted by sophisticated urbanites.
Question for the Club
Our QFTCs will be posed in the first newsletter of each month going forward and this one happens to land on May 1st! Here’s this month’s query for you fine people:
This is Why We’re Silent
It never fails: a woman comes forward about her sexual assault and immediately the Why Did You Wait So Long brigade comes through in full force. The pattern is one Rioter Steph Auteri has become all too familiar with in almost two decades of writing about women’s sexuality. She put together a list of books that elucidate the many reasons why women wait to report sexual assault.
Book Club Bonus:
While not everyone who asks “why did you wait?” is necessarily doubting a woman’s account of her attack, it so often feels like the question is an indictment and not one rooted in genuine and compassionate concern. Do the work to read one of these selections at book club and dig in deeply to dissect one another’s understanding of the reasons women wait. This important conversation has the potential to be transformative on so many levels; it could also help those of us who maybe don’t feel like we have the words to explain the concepts to other people.
Just Touched Down in Book Club Town
Forgive me for the Kanye lyric! Estelle’s American Boy still goes so hard, plus that song was from before dude found an affinity for red hats and hair dye. Anyway, focus on this instead: there’s a citywide book club going down in London this month! The festival is called Cityread and it transforms London into one big ol’ interactive book club. This sounds so freakin’ rad!
Book Club Bonus: I was thinking about how fun it would be to take book club on the road and participate in the varied programming available all month long, and then wondered what it might be like to spend a whole year (or half, or a quarter, whatever your comfort level) book-club hopping. Instead of your usual club gathering with your regular crew, switch it up and “crash” a different one every month: one at your local indie, one at your library, maybe an online club or one from a Meetup group. You might find yourself reading outside your comfort zone and meeting some cool new people!
I have been meaning to read Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana since way before I actually went there (yep, stiiiill managing to fit in Cuba talk! #relentless). Now the companion novel When We Left Cuba has hit the shelves and these five reasons to pick up both books are really calling my name. I love that they touch on the diaspora and America’s role in Cuban history.
Book Club Bonus: Speaking of Cuba… It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the allure of the colorful buildings, the music playing in the street, the salty wind blowing through your hair as you drive down the Malecón in a classic car under the warm Caribbean sun. I had to keep reminding myself that so much of Cuba’s complex history – especially the United States’ involvement – has been romanticized for our benefit when it’s decidedly anything but pretty. I’m really into the idea of reading books that explore American contribution to the destabilization of countries that we sort of turn our noses up at now. Hint: our hands aren’t clean. Titles that come to mind (ones I haven’t read but that have piqued my interest: The Killing Zone by Stephen G. Rabe and Inevitable Revolutions by Walter Lafeber.
- Teen Vogue’s Book Club Begins With Sally Rooney’s 2019 Novel Normal People
- G. Willow Wilson’s “The Bird King” Is BuzzFeed Book Club’s May Pick. Here’s A Sneak Peek
Thanks for hanging with me today! Shoot me an email at email@example.com 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.