In The Club

In the Club – 7/1

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. Summer is officially upon us and thus, for most of us, warmer temperatures. As I began to dig around my closet for bathing suits recently and then panicked over how I’d look in them, I thought this might be a good time to discuss body image in book club. I have a fiction read, some powerful nonfiction, and then a couple of lighter essay collections that tackle this topic from different angles.

Let’s do it to it, mi gente. To the club!!.

Nibbles and Sips

I started watching Nadiya’s Time to Eat on Netflix and now want to try so many of her quick-and-easy recipes! She makes a gorgeous tarte tatin with bananas and tops it with ice cream that she whipped up in a flash and I’m wondering what I’ve been doing with my life all this time to not make my own ice cream more often. As the weather warms up for many of us, why don’t we all indulge and make ourselves this cool, creamy, delicious treat?

All she does is combine a can of sweetened condensed milk (amen) in a bowl with 500 ml of double cream (or 2 cups + a splash of heavy cream for us American folk) and five crushed cardamom pods, then whips it all together with a hand mixer until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Do this, transfer to a freezer-safe container, level off the top, place inside a ziplock bag and freeze.

Other mix-ins I’m interested in trying: chocolate chips, rose petals with a tiny bit of rose syrup, crushed peppermint candies… possibilities!

We’re Talking Body

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha – This story set in contemporary Seoul tells the connected stories of four women: one whose many cosmetic procedures have landed her a job at one of Seoul’s “room salons” where wealthy men seek drink and the entertainment of women; a New York art school graduate who’s returned to Seoul and now has a super rich Korean boyfriend; a hair stylist obsessed with K-pop and her best friend’s plans for extreme cosmetic surgery; and a newlywed trying to conceive who’s unsure if she can actually afford to raise a child. Dive deep into this examination of class, patriarchy, inequality, and crippling beauty standards.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (TW: rape, eating disorders) – Let’s get one thing straight right away: this is not going to be an easy read. Roxane Gay experienced a horrifying act of sexual violence that changed her life when she was twelve years old. This memoir exposes the red, raw wound of that trauma, examining Gay’s subsequent relationship to food, body hyperconsciousness, and tendencies towards shame and self loathing. There is a lot to discuss here about the relationship between not only trauma and body issues, but also diet culture and how our society handles obesity. Whew. Have the tea or whiskey at the ready!

F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me by Chloé Hilliard – I added this to my TBR based on that title alone, as I too have heard similar messaging from my thighs. Chloe was a size 12 shoe and wore size 12 clothes when she was 12 years old, and she stood over six feet tall. Cursed with “the fat trilogy” of “slow metabolism, baby weight, and big bones,” young Chloe went down what too many of us will recognize as the familiar path of dieting, food limitation, and extreme exercise to get her body down to a more “appealing” size. Then one day she woke up and basically said, “eff all that noise!” and decided to love herself in a world constantly telling her she needed to change to be desired. I’ve heard from numerous people that the book is hilarious and insightful, a combo I will take any day of the week.

Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman – I love, love, love this book so hard, it’s so funny and just so damn real! It’s a challenge to find “greatness in our grossness,” holding up a magnifying glass to our twisted beliefs and biases and policing of women’s bodies. Why do we feel like we have to pluck, tweeze, and wax every surface of our skin into smooth submission? Why is boob cleavage hot but a camel toe an embarrasment? Why do we hate sweating like it’s not a completely normal and healthy bodily function? Mara asks all of these questions and then attempts to answer them with hilarious personal anecdotes.

Fun fact: The Russian translation of this book is called “Body Trash” and that fact never ceases to tickle me.

Suggestion Section

Claudia Rankine’s Citizen is PBS’s latest book club pick.

For a laugh, check out this Doubleday Book Club ad from 1999. Who else remembers that 7 books for 99 cents thing!?

The Vox Book Club will discuss Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham in July.

In morning show book club announcements, here are July picks for Good Morning America and Today with Jenna Bush Hager.

Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club has selected two books in one month for the first time. I cynically wonder if one of one of these titles was thrown in there sorta last minute for optics, but Reese does have a decent inclusion track record so I’ll calm myself. I’m also not going to knock the effort if it gets more people to read Austin Channing Brown.

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, catch me once a month on the All the Books podcast, and watch me ramble about even more new books every Tuesday on our YouTube channel.

Stay bad & bookish, my friends.

The Kids Are All Right

Kidlit Deals for July 1, 2020

By now, most kids are done with school and you may be looking for new ways to keep them entertained. Never fear, because we’ve curated a list of some of the best kidlit book deals to be found on the Internet. From picture books to stories about middle school to nonfiction about how to be anti-racist, there’s something for every kid!

These deals were active as of the writing of this newsletter. Get them while they’re hot!

It’s never too early to start talking about anti-racism with your kids! This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell is only $3, and it contains twenty lessons to get you started.

Drum Roll, Please! by Lisa Jenn Bigelow is a stellar story of a girl who gains confidence and a new crush when she picks up drumming at summer camp, and it can be yours for $4.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden is only $2, and it’s a great award-winning novel about a young girl with lots of responsibilities to learns to speak up for herself.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang is one of my favorite recent middle grade releases! Snag it for $5 so you can read it in time for the sequel, Three Keys, out later this year!

For only $2, pick up this sweet story of animal friends in You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée explores a seventh-grader’s political awakening through the Black Lives Matter movement, and is only $2.

For only $2, grab My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder, a moving story about the power of friendship.

Get curious with They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel, a Caldecott finalist that’s only $2!

george by alex ginoPride Month may be over, but it’s always a good time to read George by Alex Gino, and you can get it for $4.

Snag the National Book Award finalist When the Sea Turned Silver by Grace Lin for just $5! It’s the companion to Where the Mountains Meet the Moon.

Happy reading!

True Story

New Releases: Dangerous Theme Parks and Underdog Stories

I am genuinely super excited about these end-of-June releases. A lot of these were spring books that got pushed, and so I’ve been excited about them for a while and they are FINALLY HERE.

A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team by Arshay Cooper. Ok, this is about a group of young men growing up on Chicago’s West Side who formed the first all-Black high school rowing team in the nation. Dangit, I love stories about youths coming together and doing a thing. Author Cooper was the captain of the team and shares their story. There’s also a documentary out about this and I’m super excited about both.


Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century ed. by Alice Wong. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was “a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.” If you’ve heard of people asking whether something is ADA-compliant? That’s why. More than 30 essayists contribute to this compilation that brings to the forefront the fact that one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. And we should be talking about their stories more.


Action Park: Fast Times, Wild Rides, and the Untold Story of America’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park by Andy Mulvihill and Jake Rossen. Y’know how in the 1970s and ’80s no one really paid attention to things like “safety”? Action Park was a “New Jersey-based amusement playland [that] placed no limits on danger or fun” (good lord). Called a “DIY Disneyland,” it was also nicknamed Accident/Class Action Park. I’m interested in if this book veers more towards “remember the good ole days when no one had safety standards?” or is more like “omg how did this happen” à la Bad Blood. I guess we’ll see! One thing I will say is that this cover is extremely fun.


This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope by Shayla Lawson. Ok, speaking of good covers. I love this so much? Lawson is “on a mission to move black girls like herself from best supporting actress to a starring role in the major narrative. Whether she’s taking on workplace microaggressions or upending racist stereotypes about her home state of Kentucky, she looks for the side of the story that isn’t always told, the places where the voices of black girls haven’t been heard.” Lawson is also a poet and a writer-in-residence at Amherst. POETS. Making things happen.

So many new releases, so little space. If you want the full list, don’t forget to sign up for Book Riot Insiders because it has the sweet New Release Index. As always, you can find me on social media @itsalicetime and co-hosting the For Real podcast with Kim here at Book Riot. Until next time, enjoy those facts, fellow nerds.

Today In Books

Bookstore Removes J.K. Rowling’s Books From Shelves: Today In Books

Bookstore Removes J.K. Rowling’s Books From Shelves

Left Banks Books in St. Louis, MO, will no longer have shelf space for J.K. Rowling’s books after her continued verbal attacks on transgender people. “‘It’s a time when there’s so much hate in the world, and she’s using her platform to endorse that,’ Kleindienst said. ‘Transgender people are one of the most vulnerable populations.'”


Brit Bennett’s recent release The Vanishing Half–about identical Black twins who take different paths in life, one passing as white– has sold the rights to HBO for a limited series. HBO won in what is claimed to have been an auction with 17 bidders! And yes, this book–and her previous The Mothers–are totally worth fighting over.

So Fun!

Need some fun activities for the kiddos during July? The Story Pirates and Random House Children’s Books have partnered to create Story Pirates Creator Camp! “Each week of our July camp will feature virtual visits from best-selling children’s book authors and illustrators, interactive livestream activities led by the Story Pirates, and a curated book bundle of select titles from the guest authors!” The lineup is amazing and even includes Winnie Cooper (you have to be an old to know this)!

Unusual Suspects

Best Backlist Mysteries 🔪

Hi mystery fans! As promised I am here this time with my favorite backlist reads this year. Basically, if I would have read these books the year they were released they would have been on that year’s Best Of list. And no amount of time will stop making these great reads!

a gentleman's murderA Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang: Here’s a great read for Agatha Christie mystery fans and historical fiction fans. Set in an exclusive club in 1924 London, a friendly bet ends with a murdered man in a vault. Lieutenant Eric Peterkin, a member of the club, is currently editing mystery novels as his job and thus finds himself qualified to solve this murder…I enjoyed this so much–the setting after WWI and Peterkin’s sister–that I actually want this standalone novel to instead be the start of a series. (Review) (TW PTSD/ addiction/ suicides mentioned, with detail)

Just Mercy cover imageJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson: This was one of those books that is SO good that I was kicking myself while reading it for not having already read it. And if you’ve been reading books from anti-racist lists this should certainly be your next read. It’s also an excellent narrative nonfiction book for fans of Law & Order, legal procedurals, and/or true crime case shows. Bryan Stevenson goes into how he started his legal practice, Equal Justice Initiative, which focused on helping those most in need by talking about the cases, and most importantly the victims he’s worked to help. This really gives you a sense of how our legal system was designed to only work for some and against most. It’s equally frustrating, heartbreaking, but also hopeful and inspiring. The audiobook narration is fantastic and there’s a YA edition of the book, plus a film adaptation that stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. (Review) (TW suicide, attempt/ racism, racial slurs/ accidental child murder/ lynchings/ executions/ domestic and child abuse/ stillbirth/ rape/ ableism)

no exit by taylor adams cover imageNo Exit by Taylor Adams: Here’s a fun, edge-of-your-seat thriller perfect for fans of Die Hard and locked-in/snowed-in type mysteries. Darby Thorne, a young woman with emotional baggage she’s processing, is driving to see her terminally ill mother but instead ends up snowed in at a rest stop. And that’s where things get even worse for her: Thorne sees that there is a young child in a cage in the back of a van while trying to get cell phone reception. With a handful of people inside the rest stop anyone can be the owner of the van, and she realizes that she has to figure out how to get the child out and themselves to freedom while not tipping off whoever the abductor is… I know this sounds harrowing because of the kid in a cage, and it does deal with emotional things, but this is in the fun thriller category that you’ll get so absorbed in you’ll forget about all the real stuff happening in the world. (Review) (TW racial slurs/terminally ill parent not on page/pedophile not on page)

Diamond Doris cover imageDiamond Doris: The True Story of the World’s Most Notorious Jewel Thief by Doris Payne: I want to be best friends with Doris Payne! Her lifelong career has literally been as a jewelry thief: she walks into jewelry stores all over the world and walks right back out with an expensive jewel. Here she recounts her life–with a few stories that had me laughing so hard– as her unapologetic, smart, cunning, and brave personality shines through. If you like to feel like you’re out to lunch with someone telling you a fascinating story go for the audiobook, narrated by Robin Miles. (Review) (TW domestic abuse/ elder abuse)

Remember to tell us more about yourself in our Reader Survey (it’ll only take a few minutes) and potentially win an ereader!

Browse all the books recommended in Unusual Suspects previous newsletters on this shelf. See 2020 upcoming releases. An Unusual Suspects Pinterest board. Get Tailored Book Recommendations!

Until next time, keep investigating! In the meantime, come talk books with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Litsy–you can find me under Jamie Canavés.

If a mystery fan forwarded this newsletter to you and you’d like your very own you can sign up here.

What's Up in YA

YA Book News and New Books This Week

Hey YA Readers!

Cheers to a long weekend if you’ve got one coming, and if you don’t, I hope you carve out some time to settle in with a good book. Here’s what’s going on in the world of YA this week.

YA Book News


New YA Books

Now that the publishing schedules are a little more stable, with fewer books being moved, this should be an accurate representation of this week’s stellar YA releases.

10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

All Eyes on Us by Kit Frick (paperback)

Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson (paperback)

Evil Queen by Gena Showalter (paperback, series)

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

Ms. Gloria Steinem by Winifred Conkling (nonfiction)

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (paperback)

This Might Hurt a Bit by Doogie Horner (paperback)

Truelife by Jay Kristoff (series)

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

YA at Book Riot

Over on Book Riot this week…

Thanks for hanging out, y’all, and we’ll see you on Monday.

— Kelly Jensen, @heykellyjensen on Instagram and editor of Body Talk(Don’t) Call Me Crazy, and Here We Are.

Riot Rundown


The Stack


New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

It’s time for another Tuesday full of books! There are several amazing new books out today. At the top of my list of today’s titles that I want to read are The Empire of Gold, book three of the Daevabad Trilogy by S. A. Chakraborty and Friends and Strangers by J Courtney Sullivan.

You can also hear about some amazing books on this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I discussed Mexican Gothic, Everything is an Emergency, Sex and Vanity, and more great new books.

As always, I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. Please stay safe and wear a mask as we slowly transition out of quarantine. I care about you meeps!

P.S. Don’t forget to fill out our Reader Survey (it’ll only take a few minutes) for a chance to win an ereader!

And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite gameshow: AHHHHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants:

A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team by Arshay Cooper

This is a fantastic memoir and also an in-depth look at the racial and socioeconomic disparities in the United States. Growing up on Chicago’s West side, Cooper joined his high school’s rowing team. He had never rowed before, and most of his team mates had never even been in the water. But they faced the adversity and hardships in their life to overcome the odds and be the first team of their kind. This is an inspirational story about reaching for dreams and working to achieve them. (You can also check out the documentary, narrated by Common.)

Backlist bump: Remember This Titan: The Bill Yoast Story: Lessons Learned from a Celebrated Coach’s Journey As Told to Steve Sullivan by Steve Sullivan

Her Last Flight: A Novel by Beatriz Williams

I am a big fan of the author’s sweeping romantic historical fiction. She’s been doing this for a while now, and I don’t think there’s a single book I haven’t enjoyed. This one is about photographer and war correspondent Janey Everett, who travels to Hawaii, determined to solve the mystery of aviation pioneer Sam Mallory. Janey is certain a resident is actually Mallory’s old flight student, Irene Foster, who disappeared during an around-the-world flight. As Janey digs deeper, readers learn about Foster’s life prior to her disappearance, and follow along as Janey must decide what story she has the right to tell.

Backlist bump: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Self Care by Leigh Stein

And this is a skewering romp through influencer culture and the wellness industry. Maren Gelb, the COO of Richual, an online community that supposedly fosters wellness and the cultivation of self-care, starts a R nightmare for the company with a tweet. But that’s not the only problem headed Richual’s way, with dirty secrets about to be revealed. It’s a very sharp dissection of the aspirations of people looking for an Instagramable life and the reality behind the curtain. Plus THAT COVER WOWOWOWOW.

Backlist bump: Dietland by Sarai Walker

Thanks for subscribing! xx, Liberty

The Kids Are All Right

New Children’s Book Releases for June 30, 2020

Hello readers!

How are you doing? I should have been at my dream conference this week (feminist publishing!) so I am distracting myself with plants and books. I have my eyes on a new edition in the Illustrators series from Abrams – Dick Bruna by Bruce Ingman – but I’m also tempted by everything else in that series! While I work out which one to buy first, here’s your pick of this week’s new releases in the world of children’s literature…

The Amelia Six by Kristin L. Gray

When Amelia Earhart’s legendary flight goggles go missing, it’s down to eleven year old Millie and her band of fellow Amelia-fans to find them and return them to their rightful place. The only problem is that the house is full of suspects, a blizzard’s raging outside, and the clock’s ticking…

I mean, this lovely middle-grade had me at Amelia Earhart, but then there was a mystery, girl power, dastardly doings, a character who collects Nancy Drew, and honestly, what more do you want than that?

Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E, Ali, illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

Ms. Gupta’s class is sharing their favorite day of the year so that everybody can celebrate them together. Musa’s favorite day is Eid and in celebration, he and his mother share foods with his friends. As the year passes, and other favorite days are shared, all of the students become the best of friends.

A lovely introduction to holidays (including Pi Day, Rosh Hashanah, Christmas and Las Posadas), rich and important cultural traditions, and the power of friendships, this is a beautiful book with lovely endpapers (good endpapers rock!).

Beyond Me by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Maya lives in a suburb just outside of Tokyo, but on March 11, 2011, a five minute long earthquake hits and everything changes. This is the story of what happened afterwards, and how Maya coped with it.

Based on real world events, this is an eloquent and subtle exploration of grief, and the impact of trauma. It’s told in free verse and narrated by Maya herself, sharing not only her struggles with coming to terms with what’s happened but also how she learns to find strength in the community and friends around her.

No Longer Alone by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Robyn Wilson-Owen

(Backlist bump!)

Emotions are hard, right? They’re even harder when you feel all alone, just as the little girl at the heart of this story does. But one day when her dad talks with her, she realises that it’s okay to feel the way that she does and that the feelings she has can be felt.

A lyrical, gentle exploration of grief and how to live with big, incomprehensible feelings, this is full of grace. It’s perfect for helping out with those conversations about difficult things, and helping small readers realise that they’re not alone with their feelings.

Specs for Rex by Yasmeen Ismail

(Backlist bump!) Rex has new glasses and he is not a happy lion! He hates them, he doesn’t want to wear them at school, and so the only option he’s got left is to hide them… but it’s not that easy hiding a pair of very big and very round and very red specs!

Funny, charming, and very beautifully put together, this sees Rex figure out that it’s not that bad to be a little bit different from everybody else. It might even result in him finding a new friend…


Okay, that’s it from me this week! I’ll see you in seven days with more gorgeous new books for you to fall in love with. Between then and now, you can stay in touch with me via social media (where I will be sharing pictures of new plants), on my website, or over on the biweekly literary fiction podcast Novel Gazing.

Happy reading!