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Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. This week I’ve seen a lot of folks on Twitter honoring this week’s celebration of Juneteenth by flooding the timeline with Black joy. I love this so much and want to talk this week about amplifying Black voices while also making time for that joy.
To the club!!
I’m still skipping Nibbles and Sips for now and instead bringing attention to more ways to make an impact. Here are a few organizations doing great work to protect and uplift the LGBTQ community (and all Black-led according to Marie Claire); consider throwing a few dollars their way if you can and/or spreading the word.
The Okra Project sends Black trans chefs to the homes of Black trans people experiencing food insecurity and provides cooking lessons and other resources.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institue was founded in honor of activist and drag queen Marsha P. Johnson. It focuses on the protection and defense of the human rights of Black transgender people and provide fellowships for transgender artists.
The LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund helps post bond for LGBTQ+ people in jail or immigrant detention. They’re also work to raise awareness about LGBTQ over-incarceration in the US.
Joy to the World
You may have seen this image going around (more info here). I love this initiative to amplify Black voices! Two things:
A. Antiracism lit is essential, but don’t forget to supplement that reading with all the rest of the work that Black authors write (i.e. general fiction, kidlit, romance, etc)
B. You can and should support Black authors any ol’ time and not just this week.
That being said, I thought I’d hit you all with three reads full of Black joy.
You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson – Phoebe Robinson is a standup comedian, writer, and actress who you may know from the comedy podcast-turned-HBO-show Two Dope Queens. She is absolutely hilarious and a person you should follow on Instagram for some of the most delightfully ridiculous captions your eyes ever did see! While this collection of essays and observational humor definitely examines issues like racism and misogyny, it’s also full of Bono thirst (yes, that Bono) and gratuitous hashtags. This is one of the few books I can remember making me laugh out loud to the point of tears in the last few years.
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon – Black romance is an obvious choice for readers searching for Black joy; you get some love, maybe some sexy times, and a happily ever! When Samiah’s live Tweets of a terrible date go viral, two other women show up to the date and reveal that this garbage dude was three-timing them all. The three women dump the guy and form an almost immediate sisterhood, making a pact to take a break from dating to focus on themselves. As luck would have it though, there’s a new hottie in the office and Samiah can’t help but look his way. I picked this recent release because on top of being a really fun romance, it also gives us an amazing portrayal of female friendship while also diving into the struggles of being a Black woman in STEM.
Pride by Ibi Zoboi – Remixes of classics are a thing I enjoy very mucho and this reimagining of Pride and Prejudice set in Bushwick with a cast of Black characters is one of my favorites. It gets into some deep stuff, of course–cultural identity, class, gentrification–but it’s just so lovely to see a young Afro-Latina centered in this kind of story. The joy is multiplied exponentially in the audiobook, which is narrated by the so-beautiful-and-talented-it’s-like-how-dare-she Elizabeth Acevedo. She breathes such life into main character Zuri, her four wild sisters, and really the entire cast.
Introducing Tor.com’s Terry Pratchett Book Club!
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, 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.