All posts filed under: December & January

A Fitting End

I sat down Tuesday morning to read Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How it Ends, the final book in our 2020 line up, and I finished by early afternoon. I sat for a few hours taking in Luiselli’s words and questions one at a time. As she addresses America’s current child refugee crisis rooted at the Mexico border, Luiselli asks herself and the reader many questions … Why? How? For how long? Where does it begin? Where does it end? She highlights a cruel cycle that our country and our neighbors hold blame for, proving that it’s not until they (we) take responsibility that we can rectify and steer away from this crisis. “It would surely be a step forward for our governments to officially acknowledge the hemispheric dimensions of the problem, acknowledge the connection between such phenomena as the drug wars, gangs in Central America and the United States, the consumption of drugs, and the massive migration of children from the Northern Triangle to the United States through Mexico. No one, or almost no one, from …

Tell Me How It Ends: A Call to Action

In Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends, the child migrant crisis in the United States is laid bare. Without going into tremendous detail of individual stories, Luiselli manages to make it clear that all of these children are running from, and the running to is merely a consequence. Relatives in the United States are going into debt and spending their life savings to bring children to safety – to save them from gang violence that the United States helped to, directly or indirectly, foster and fund. They spend their life savings and then cross their fingers that these children are able to make the treacherous journey – survive the elements, the people hunting them, the journey itself. Luiselli writes that “The children who cross Mexico at the U.S. border are not ‘immigrants,’ not ‘illegals,’ not merely ‘undocumented minors.’ Those children are refugees of a war, and, as such, they should all have the right to asylum. But not all of them have it.” That we as a country cannot agree that these children (let me …

Dec & Jan Book

How did we get here?? This year (disaster? reformation? apocalypse?) 2020 is finally coming to its end. And let’s hope whatever cloud has been hanging over us these last several months (4 years? 300 years?) starts to dissipate. That being said, 2020 has taught us a lot. Many of us learned what we’re capable of, who we can lean on, what family means, who we are in this world and our roles as allies and citizens. It’s been a journey. Lots of conversations, revelations, and reading. And I like to think there are a lot of us out there better off, more aware, than when we started this year. But let’s not stop there… We’re seasonal readers at The Bookly Club. And this time of year we like to learn something new by looking outside our own world views to hear new voices. And this year we’ve chosen Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and spent her childhood in different countries around …

Food for Thought

I feel like a broken record mentioning that The Book of Joy has been on my list for awhile, but one thing I really love about this bookclub is that we often read backlist titles (aka older books, not newly published titles). So yet again, I’m so glad to have checked another book off my long list of books to read. But on to the good stuff… Besides feedback like, “this book is amazing!” I didn’t really know what to expect from The Book of Joy. Outside of having watched Seven Years in Tibet decades ago, and being able to put a face to the name Desmond Tutu, I could have told you very little about the book’s co-authors. And still this book surprised me in many ways. First was its humor. The Book of Joy is the product of a week of conversations between Reverend Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama around joy, and moderated by author and collaborator Douglas Abrams. Maybe I expected it to be a little dry and overly …

December & January Book

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. Two spiritual giants; his Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Five days and one timeless question: How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? In April 2015 Archbishop Desmond Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama’s home in India to celebrate his Holiness’s 80th birthday. In honor of this event, they wanted to create a gift they could share with the world. Over the course of a week, the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama were interviewed by co-writer Douglas Abrams to discuss what it is to live a joyful life. “We are sharing what two friends, from very different worlds, have witnessed and learned in our long lives. We hope you will discover whether what is included here is true by applying it in your own life. Every day is a new opportunity to begin again. Every day is your birthday. May this book be a blessing for all sentient beings, and for all of God’s children—including you.” Both men …

A Classic Power-house of Women’s History

Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis has been on my list for a few years. I’d heard the name Angela Davis before, but it wasn’t until Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary 13th that I gained better context as to the living legend that she truly is. As someone who believes in the pursuit of equal rights and social justice, and that we’ve been failing at both for a long time, I also know that my part in that includes continuing my education. As a privileged white female my pursuit of equality and justice comes much more easily than it does to most. But as it’s said, “until we are all free, we are none of us free” (Emma Lazarus). To achieve these goals reading a book won’t do the job. But book after book, and year after year, if we can strive to know more and do more with what we know maybe we’ll get a little bit closer in this lifetime. Don’t you think? Angela Davis has been a memorable part of my continuing education, and …

An Important History Lesson in Feminism

Angela Y. Davis’ work is historically honest and somehow succinct but incredibly expansive at the same time. Unwrapping the complicated nuances of race and gender narratives and their gross entanglement with societal class structure both historically and in more modern ways, Davis evaluates several dark corners of our country’s past ranging from slavery, education, rape, and reproductive rights. She details how women’s empowerment movement has been dissected internally by complicating issues of race and class. Her book is, in many ways, a love song to the fight for equality but sharply draws into focus the consistent impedance to success. Historians not only inform our pasts but, when doing their job correctly, should guide our future. By informing our past failings, perhaps we can alter how we choose to proceed going forward. My innate response to historical themes of race and gender had generally been “yep, I know its bad.” That’s not because I don’t care but because I don’t know how to help or admittedly really understand the scope. Davis’ work has given me a …

A Booklover’s Gift Guide

After years of book gifting, we have a long list of ideas saved up. And since book lovers like us seem to own most books, it’s good to have a stock of book-related ideas on hand. So, welcome to our complete book lover’s gift guide! Whether you love books and want to share the wealth, or you need the perfect gift for a book lover, we’ve probably got something for you and yours on this list… B O O K R E L A T E D Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany A beautifully illustrated love letter to all things books by Jane Mount. From bookstores and their resident pets to gorgeous curated stacks we immediately added to our TBR (to-be-read) list, this book’s the perfect gift for any bibliophile. Also, Mount just released a 2019 Planner that’s equally as swoon-worthy! Ideal Bookshelf Jane Mount’s shop of book spine illustrations (and more). There are themed prints to choose from, or you can customize one with your favorites. Out of Print They have endless clothes, accessories and …

December + January Book

The new year calls for us to learn something new. Our selection this time of year is always a nonfiction book that encourages its readers to see things in a new light. That’s exactly why we’ve chosen Angela Y. Davis‘ early 1980’s classic Women, Race and Class. After watching Ava DuVernay’s award-winning Netflix documentary 13th (WATCH THIS if you haven’t already), which features a strong presence by Davis, we were inspired to add her keystone work to our list. Davis is a prominent activist who was thrust into the spotlight in 1970 when she was labeled a “terrorist” by President Reagan for a loose connection to the crimes of Jonathan Jackson.  Although one can assume her only “crime” was an association with the Communist Party, Black Panther Party, and Civil Rights Movement. Ultimately she was found not guilty by an all-white jury. Davis later went on to use her strength and intellect on speaking tours, further political activism, and professorships at esteemed universities. She’s led (and is leading) a critical and fascinating life with a deep …

book on lap

A Worldwide Tour of Health Care

“On September 11, 2001, some three thousand Americans were killed by terrorists; our country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But that same year, and every year since then, some twenty thousand Americans died because they couldn’t get health care. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country. Hundreds of thousands of Americans go bankrupt every year because of medical bills. That doesn’t happen in any other developed country either.” As someone with a chronic illness, health care is a necessity. My life depends on medications that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year, not to mention doctors appointments, hospital stays, lab tests, bloodwork, etc. The issue of access to affordable health care has been on my mind for years, particularly during the past 12 months as the current administration tried to repeal the Affordable Car Act. It’s a fraught issue that has become entrenched in politics. But, in my opinion, being able to get the care one needs isn’t political, it’s personal. And …