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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.
Book club friends! I hope you’re doing well. I finally finished Only Murders in the Building, and I must say that I was a little… underwhelmed. I just felt like the last episode wasn’t as strong as others, and the reveal was kind of *womp*. I guess the penultimate episode made it kind of anticlimatic. What did y’all think?
As we ponder cliffhangers, let’s get to the club!
Nibbles and Sips
Chef Elena Terry of the Ho-Chunk Nation is a founder of Wild Bearies, a nonprofit outreach catering organization. She works to uplift the Indigenous Food Sovereignty movement, and also shows us how to make a dish similar to pumpkin pie that she conceptualized. It’s called sass squash, and it uses ingredients that are local and more sustainable to certain parts of North America.
Now let’s get to the books!
The Space Race
I’m sure you’ve heard of the billionaire space race. They seemed to think the earth is ruined and the future for humanity (or maybe just their future??) lies in the as yet barely explored cosmos…? With it being Native American Heritage month, I can’t help but be reminded of manifest destiny when I think about this, and the idea of exploring with the intent to use the resources of the newly discovered area. If we find life in space, do we have a right to it? Do we have a right to any inanimate resources as well?
The books below, two of which are memoirs, find human beings wrestling with the ills of humanity while looking past it to the cosmos.
The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Prescod-Weinstein talks of how the wonder of the cosmos beckons so many, but because of discrimination, few are allowed to pursue careers in the physics and astronomy fields. She’s the first Black woman to be tenured in a theoretical cosmology faculty position, and as a result, knows all too well the roadblocks in the way of inclusive academic environments. In The Disordered Cosmos, she juxtaposes the exploration of her field— her speciality is finding dark matter— with issues that are more earth-bound, like Indigenous peoples’ land and experiments. She describes a hopeful future where the scientific community is able to benefit from the inclusion of all races and genders.
Bewilderment by Richard Powers
Astrobiologist Theo Byrne looks to the cosmos for life as his own turns to shambles. His wife died, leaving him to raise their nine-year-old son Robin. Robin is a kind boy who likes to draw pictures of animals, no doubt a hobby developed as a result of his recently departed animal rights activist mother. Robin is also neurodivergent and prone to outbursts of violence, the latest of which he faces expulsion from school for. This is a touching novel that explores a father-son relationship alongside their loves of nature and science.
A Quantum Life by Hakeem Oluseyi
Oluseyi tells of the balancing act he had to achieve as someone who was always academically gifted and interested in the sciences, but grew up in rough areas that required a certain exterior for survival. His nomadic childhood saw him in some of the more dangerous areas in Houston, New Orleans, and Los Angeles, where he eventually learned to adapt by doing things like selling weed to get the target off of his back. Although he’s now an astrophysicist at NASA, the road getting there once he became an adult was rife with drug addiction and other challenges, which he explores in this novel of self-reinvention.
Don’t forget to check out our new podcast Adaptation Nation if you haven’t already! The first episode is out already and covers the adaption of Dune.
I hope this newsletter found you well, and as always, thanks for hanging out! If you have any comments or just want to connect, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or holla at me on Twitter @erica_eze_ . You can also catch me talking more mess in the new In Reading Color newsletter as well as choppin’ it up with Kelly Jensen on the Hey YA podcast.
Until next week,
Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at Audiobooks.com with a free trial!