In The Club

Start the New Year Off With Unputdownable Books

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed.

Friends! It’s a new year and I am already discombobulated. I know it’s 2023, but sometimes I forget that it’s not still 2021…or late 2020. A mess. And I know I’m not the only one. Despite, well, everything, I’m hopeful about what 2023 will bring and am low-key looking forward to it.

I’ve made resolutions like everyone and their mama, and of course, one of them is to read more broadly. For this, I’m definitely going to be consulting our 2023 Read Harder Challenge, which is in its ninth year (!!). If you’d like to participate, click here to sign up to receive a newsletter that has sends tailored to each of the 24 prompts. Special thanks to Thriftbooks for sponsoring it this year!

Now lets get into this club!

Nibbles and Sips

fried potatoes

Cross-hatched Fried Potatoes by @thatdudecancook

These are some bougiely-cut potatoes (yes, I made that word up, but it feels right) that look extra crispy and wonderful. I also like how you can add whatever toppings you like. @thatdudecancook shows the technique here.

Books That’ll Have you Missing Sleep…

cover image of Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn; illustration of a hand holding a big knife, with a bracelet on the wrist

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

This is my first book of the year! Deanna Rayburn used to hold me down on my historical mystery/romance needs back in the day. I hadn’t read her in a while, though, so it was nice to read her writing in a different genre (somewhat, it’s still mystery). In this one, Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie are older ladies who have spent the last 40 years as elite assassins for a secrete organization called The Museum that hunts down people like Nazis and dictators for termination. After the organization sends them on a paid vacay, they soon realize they’re the latest to be put on a hit list. Turns out there’s someone at The Museum who has turned in a report detailing how they’ve been freelancing, and unless they can clear their names, The Museum’s assassins will keep on coming.

This was so unputdownable for me that I didn’t even mind the flashbacks, which are every other chapter. I usually don’t care for flashbacks, even in books I like, because I don’t like being taken out of the present. I may be alone in that, though!

wow no thank you cover

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

In this collection of essays, Irby talks about being 40, moving to a Republican town in Michigan with her wife and step kids, and all the things that come with that. Like, literally, all the things — her stories of everyday life include everything from friend dates to the lack of cartilage in her knees. Reading this feels like sitting down with that one homegirl who always has a funny life story to share.

book cover for the weight of blood

Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

I discussed this book as one of my faves for 2022 in the In Reading Color newsletter, it’s that good. It’s a YA retelling of Carrie, but I couldn’t really tell you how closely it stays to the source material since I haven’t read the original. My guess is that it strays a bit, since it’s about a (mostly) white-passing mixed girl named Maddy who lives in a small Georgia town where high school prom is still segregated in the year of our lord 2014. One day it rains, causing her hair’s natural texture to show. Maddy gets bullied with this revelation, some of which goes viral. To save her school’s reputation — thereby securing her own future at a future college — another student offers up her Black boyfriend to accompany Maddy to the prom to show how “progressive” the school is now. Ish gets real once a couple white students push Maddy too far…I love how this had segments of a podcast discussing the massacre at the high school. We learned more about the incident as we learned more about Maddy, and that narrative structure kept me hooked.

image of in the dream house book cover

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

This is a memoir that is unlike any you’ll ever read. Machado summons fairy tale and horror tropes to tell the story of domestic abuse within a same-sex relationship. I think this is especially affecting — juxtaposing narratives most of us are familiar with will make the details of the abuse she suffered feel all the more familiar and therefore devastating. This is inventive, poetic, and raw, and Machado will have you turning the pages with a quickness.

Want to read books from this newsletter? You can, for free! Get three free audiobooks with a trial to Claim your 3 free audiobooks now!

Suggestion Section

Keep track of your reading with our reading log!

A Texas library has been privatized after a Pride display

Best books of the year according to all the lists

Quiz: which fictional library is your perfect match?

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 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 chattin’ with my new co-host Tirzah Price on the Hey YA podcast.

Until next week,