Read like my book club!

A typical book club meeting includes lots of food and lots of wine, obviously
A typical book club meeting includes lots of food and lots of wine, obviously

While I make a valiant effort, I don’t review every single book that I read. Sometimes, I have far too many books queued up to take the time, or sometimes life holds my calendar hostage. Unfortunately, the books from my book club are most often the ones I skip reviewing. We read such good stuff, I hate that I overlook them on this blog.
For those of you who aren’t a part of book clubs, I really cannot recommend them enough. They’re a great reason to read new books, or catch up on ones the whole group forgot to read. Really, I’m down to discuss any subject over a bottle of wine (or 2…or 4.) and cupcakes. Normally, someone volunteers to be discussion leader, meaning they read the book to the end and formulate a couple of questions to get the group going. Sometimes they do extra research to see if the author is coming to the area anytime soon, or if they’ve been in the news recently. We rotate hosts as well, to ensure the responsibility doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders. Our book club is pretty academic, since we read mostly non-fiction, but I could imagine that ones featuring any type of book would be fun. What matters most is that you have a good group of people who enjoy each other’s company.

Here’s what we’ve been up to these past few months:

CoatesBtWaMSeptember Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (4 stars): Coates is an amazing (HBCU-bred!) writer and researcher. Everything he publishes is polished and hard-hitting, whether or not you choose to agree with it. Despite certain books rubbing me the wrong way, I enjoyed this book. I’ve also bought The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood to read as well. Hopefully I’ll do a joint review some day.

October Just Mercy: A story of justice and redemption, by Bryan Stevenson (4 stars): Y’all can find my review for Just Mercy here. In short, I thought this book was really well done. Certain aspects were irksome ( I talk about that more in the review), but I can honestly say that Bryan Stevenson is a brilliant man, a great writer, and a steadfast advocate for those on death row. I promise that Just Mercy will inspire deep thought on the justness of death penalty sentences.

November We didn’t have a book this month– instead we put together a collection of essays and articles on mass-incarceration and other related subjects. Combined, the articles amounted to a 171-paged packet with ample material to discuss. Among those articles were “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” “The Ghost of Cornel West,” “Lifting as We Climb,” “Who’s to Blame for Mass Incarceration?,” and a response piece entitled “Historical Method and the Noble Lie.”

December Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, by Melissa Harris Perry (3 stars): I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. However, I see what she was trying to do, and I respect it so much. Melissa Harris Perry is a fantastic journalist and writer, however this book made me question whether she is a social scientist as well. Sister Citizen would have been so much better with additional “meat” to bolster what she was saying– then it would have earned a solid 5 stars.

January Dreams from my Father, by Barack Obama (4.5 stars): I enjoyed this book so much. This gave me a taste of the presidential memoirs that will likely come at the end of the Obama presidency. If his writing skills are anything like they were when this book was written, we’re in for a treat.

February Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, by Derrick Bell: We’re having out book club meeting this week, so I don’t want to throw out a rating quite yet.

Coming up in March: Citizen: An American lyric, by Claudia Rankine

Some of these books are absolute gold mines, so I’m considering retroactively reviewing some of them for the blog. Or maybe I’ll make book club guides for other groups who decide to read these books.

Have y’all read any of these? Are there specific ones for which you’d like to see a full length review? Let me know in the comments! Also feel free to note if you have some other books that we should add to our 2016 book club roster.

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  1. I have to read Citizen: An American Lyric tomorrow night for class!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a great line up of books. I’ve been wanting to read Just Mercy for a while. I’d love to hear what your book club discussions were like. Maybe you could do a summary post each month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We actually record the conversations every month! It’s just a matter of going back through them for a post


  3. Your book club is reading some heavy stuff.


    1. Sometimes I wish we read something lighter, really.


  4. I used to go to one that was a mother-daughter book club that met once a month and was so fun! I want to find another one to get involved in near me but I’m worried about my ever growing TBR list being put on hold…any tips for managing both?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mother would love something like that. I have a feeling she would have trouble mandating both, though. I try to designate the week of my book club meeting to that book. It sucks, but sometimes that has to mean putting another book on hold right in the middle. If I finish the book club book early,then I go back to the other books, but that rarely happens. Also, it helps that the book club books are normally books I’d have put on my list anyway

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You guys are reading some great books!
    I belong to a book club that is only a year old, and none of us have ever been in one before. So, although we have lots of fun, we’re not always very organized and we don’t always have a good system for choosing books. How does your group decide on which books to read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s really no great system. We have a Facebook group where someone will recommend a few books and then we all have to vote by a certain day. There are definitely better ways, but this has worked so far. It helps that we’re mostly college friends, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. alloftheseprompts

    I always wanted to join a book club.


    1. You should! I feel as though I get more from books after discussing them with my club!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks like your book club is legit!
    I recently bought The Beautiful Struggle and hope to review it in the future.

    Please do retroactively review these books, if you have the time. I’d love to read your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once I finish this month’s reads (I’m woefully behind) I’ll probably go back and do a couple in March. Let me know how you feel about The Beautiful Struggle, when you get around to it!


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