Our March Pick: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

Our book club pick for March is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Angie Thomas grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. When she was six, she was at the park when she was caught in a shootout between two drug dealers. The next day, her mother brought her to the library. This visit to the library proved to be an important one: it led her to pursue a writing career. 

In 2009, she was a senior at Bellhaven University, also in Jackson, MS, when news spread of Oscar Grant. Grant, a 22-year-old unarmed black man, was shot in Oakland, California by police while he was handcuffed and lying face down. In years to come, the public would hear of similar killings of other young black men: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner, to name a few. 

Angered and inspired by these events, Thomas began to write The Hate U Give, which follows 16-year-old Starr Carter after she witnesses a police officer shoot and kill her best friend Khalil. As Starr begins to realize the injustice within the justice system, she is drawn towards activism and joins the Black Lives Matter movement. This book may be categorized as YA, or Young Adult, fiction, but it is certainly also an important and timely read for those beyond that age group. 

On writing for young adult readers: "I wanted to show them the world that may be around them, or the world that they might not know, and show all of the beauty of it and all of the flaws that exist. I didn't want to hold back because the fact of the matter is that life isn't going to hold back when it finally reveals itself. So I felt it was my job to be raw and to be honest."

What she hopes people will get from the book: "That empathy is more powerful than sympathy."

On the importance of having a voice: "It's scary sometimes, but the scariest part is not making yourself heard, it's correcting the people in your life you think you're closest to."

Our April Pick: We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler

Our April Pick: We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler

For the month of April, our book club pick is We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler, cultural critic and cofounder of Bitch Media. We Were Feminists Once explores capitalism's co-optation of feminism and the depoliticized, decontextualized nature of marketplace feminism. 

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Our November Pick: The Diary of Frida Kahlo by Carlos Fuentes

Our November Pick: The Diary of Frida Kahlo by Carlos Fuentes

For the month of November, our book club pick is The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait by Carlos Fuentes. The book is, indeed, an intimate self-portrait. The journal is filled with illustrations, poems, and thoughts that allow readers a peek into her mind and the inspiration behind her art. This "free-form arrangement of the diary," writes Kathryn Hughes of The Telegraph, "allowed Kahlo to play and comment on ideas in a way that was not possible in her finished pictures. In these pages nothing is at stake as the images are for her eyes only."

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Our October Pick: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Our October Pick: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

For the month of October, our book club pick is The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minnesota to parents who taught at a boarding school set up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Wahpeton, North Dakota. She is of Chippewa descent and is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; her background and childhood have been hugely influential in her writing. Erdrich was one of the first women admitted to Dartmouth College, where she earned an English degree. After Dartmouth, she pursued and graduated with a Masters of Arts in Writing from John Hopkins University in 1979. Erdrich is the owner of the independent bookstore Birchbark Books in Minnesota, which specializes in Native American literature and arts. 

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Our September Pick: Shrill by Lindy West

Our September Pick: Shrill by Lindy West

For the month of September, our book club pick is Shrill by Lindy West. West is a writer and performer based in Seattle. She is currently a columnist at The Guardian and has written for the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, The Stranger, among many other publications. Her first book, Shrill, is a laugh-out-loud funny memoir that makes us want to "gush at anyone who will listen about how accomplished it is, about how West further demonstrates her unparalleled intelligence, humour and empathy throughout."

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Our June Picks: milk and honey + Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth

Our June Picks: milk and honey + Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth

For the month of June, we are reading not one, but two books: Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire and milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. Both are poetry collections that touch on the traumas of love, loss, and family. The poems are raw and intimate; they provide readers a glimpse into the hardships that women often have no choice but to face.

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Our May Pick: Whipping Girl by Julia Serano

Our May Pick: Whipping Girl by Julia Serano

For the month of May, we are reading Whipping Girl by Julia Serano, a writer, poet, performance artist, activist, and biologist. From 2003 to 2012, she was a research specialist at the University of California Berkeley. Whipping Girl is a collection of essays detailing "Serano's own experiences as a trans dyke in the first decade of the new millennium," many involving trans-misogyny, a term she coined to describe what happens when transphobia and misogyny meet. Serano writes, "When a trans person is ridiculed or dismissed not merely for failing to live up to gender norms, but for their expression of femaleness or femininity, they become the victim of of a specific form of discrimination: trans-misogny."

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Our April Pick: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Our April Pick: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Our pick for April is The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. The book won the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award in 1985 and has sold over five million copies to date. Cisneros is a Chicago-born writer who is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico. She has received numerous literary and cultural honours and grants, including the American Book Award. 

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Our March Pick: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Our March Pick: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

From Goodreads:

Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi's best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips.


Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

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Our November Pick: Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

Our November Pick: Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

For the month of November, we are kicking off the book club with Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks. Whether you are new to or familiar with feminist theory, Feminism is for Everybody is a great starting point to gender, sexuality, and the patriarchy. hooks' sharp critical analysis provides readers with "an excellent introduction to the idea of interlocking systems of oppression... such as racism, classicism, imperialism, homophobia-systems in which one group dominates over and seeks to control another." 

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