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Our Book Club Books #WeNeedDiverseBooks

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

The third Thursday in September is the annual potluck and book selection meeting for our book club. The Community for Understanding and Hope Book Group has been meeting since the summer of 2008, following the tragic Kirkwood City Hall shooting earlier that year. We specialize in books about race in America. We've read 111 books together!

In the time of coronavirus, we had to forgo our potluck last night, but we still managed to have a fun virtual meeting where we proposed book titles and then voted on them to choose the books that we'll read in 2020-2021. I'll share the winners list, first, and, then, the long list of other books we considered. At the end, I'll link to posts with lists from previous years.

Our 2020-2021 Selections

Two books about St. Louis
  • The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States by Walter Johnson
  • The Last Children of Mill Creek by Vivian Gibson
Two novels
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
Two books to break us out of our black and white habit into more intersectionality
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valeria Luiselli
A current bestseller, a classic, and a psychology book
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
  • My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts by Resmaa Menakem

Other Proposed Books

Here are the other books we considered. It was very hard to choose because we had so many books that we wanted to read!

  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  • Grant Park by Leonard Pitts Jr.
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
  • Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America by Erik Nielson and Andrea Dennis
  • Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
  • A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
Contemporary Issues
  • One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Leah Daughtry, Yolanda Caraway, Minyon Moore, Donna Brazile, and Veronica Chambers
  • The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes and Racism in America's Law Enforcement and the Search for Change by Matthew Horace
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow
  • Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs by Colin Gordon
  • The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
  • Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
  • Faces Of Environmental Racism: Confronting Issues Of Global Justice by Laura Westra (Editor)
  • Seeing in the Dark: Wisdom Works by Black Women in Depth Psychology by Sharon D. Johnson (Editor)
  • The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity by Lewis Raven Wallace
  • The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
  • Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
  • Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
  • Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir by Deborah A. Miranda
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama
  • The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Previous book lists

Here are posts about our annual potluck and book selections meetings for the last few years:

Our Book Club Books #WeNeedDiverseBooks

About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books

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