In The Club

Books That Give Year of the Rabbit Energy 🐇

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

This past weekend brought in the Lunar New Year, which means it’s officially the Year of the Rabbit. In contrast to last year’s take-charge Tiger energy, a rabbit year brings introspection, quiet, and an overall chill atmosphere. In other words, this is the year for immaculate vibes. I’m all about vibes and all about a Rabbit Year, so today I’m recommending books that are on the quiet side and that come with a slice of introspection.

Before we get to the books, though, if you’re looking for a Valentine’s gift, make sure to check out our Tailored Book Recommendations service (TBR). Gift your bookish boo TBR and our professional booknerds will help them achieve their reading goals. Go to

Now for ze club!

Nibbles and Sips

These crispy potato cheese quesadillas sound so good I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of them before. This recipe has ham, but it’s optional, of course.

Now for some books!

Books That Pass the Vibe Check

Cover for A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Psalm for Wild Built by Becky Chambers

Chambers’ chill world opens us up with nonbinary tea monk Sibling Dex, who doesn’t quite know what they want out of life. For now, they just try their best to serve tea in their traveling wagon and provide a listening ear to anyone who wanders in. One day during their travels, they meet a robot named Mosscap, who appears so long after humans agreed to free the robots that their existence was thought to be mythical. Now that robots are ready to mingle with humans again — on their own terms, of course — they want to know what humans need. This novella offers up the most comforting and cozy existential crisis.

Barakamon cover

Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino

In this manga, Seishuu Handa is a calligrapher who has achieved great acclaim for being so young. But when a veteran calligrapher judges his work to be uninspired, Seishuu’s hubris leads him to punching the old man in the face. He gets unofficially exiled to an island by his dad to cool off and think about things. As a lifelong city boy, Seishuu takes a little time to adjust to country life, but he’s got a rambunctious teacher in the form of adorable first-grader Naru. Being in the countryside, and with such kind neighbors, changes Seishuu in ways even his family don’t see coming. There’s also an anime out for this that is seriously so sweet and chill to watch.

Sweet Bean Paste cover

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa, translated by Alison Watts 

Sentaro is a young man living in Japan who has baggage — he feels scarred by his criminal record, and he has dreams of becoming a writer, which may be getting squandered by his drinking habit. So what does he do? He just keeps on making dorayaki, a Japanese confection that is a pancake filled with sweet bean paste. He meets Tokue, an elderly woman, and she starts to teach him how to make the best ever sweet bean paste. But she has a past, too — one that has been wrought with ableism and disease.

cover of An Immense World

Immense World by Ed Yong

These last two books are contemplative to me because reading them requires us to situate ourselves within the larger framework of the world (Immense World) and the universe (The Milky Way). In Immense World, Ed Yong expands how we perceive the world by explaining how animals perceive it. He brings in German biology and philosophy to show how truly vast our world is if you think of it in terms of perception. It’s really interesting learning about how other animals have not only more honed senses, but totally different senses that allow them a completely different reality compared to ours.

The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy cover

The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy by Moiya McTier

The Milky Way has seen it all — literally — and is ready to spill, honey. Astrophysicist and folklorist Dr. Moiya McTier writes an autobiography of the Milky Way in its own voice — covering everything we know of its existence, from its start as clouds of gas scattered through primordial plasma 13 billion years ago to when humans gave it a name.

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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,