All posts tagged: nonfiction

Hope in a Critical World

First let me say, if you haven’t read anything by Rebecca Solnit yet please put her on your list! Even if it’s just googling one of her articles or essays. I feel a bit redundant saying this, because I feel like I’m always prosthelytizing her work. But I mean it! Our July book Call Them by Their True Names is the third book of hers I’ve read (in addition to Men Explain Things to Me and The Mother of All Questions which I loved). Call Them by Their True Names is her most recent published collection of essays. The subtitle being American Crises (and Essays), is exactly what she delivers. From immigration, to mass incarceration and wrongful imprisonment, gentrification, voter suppression, freedom of the press, misogyny, racism, climate change, healthcare, gun violence, the oppression of native peoples, Donald Trump… she covers it all! And I’m here for it. “We are all rowing past on another, and it behooves us to know how the tides move and who’s being floated along and who’s being dragged down and who …

July Book

Welcome, welcome! Hopefully you’re a return member, but if not, welcome to The Bookly Club  🙂 We hope you’ll read with us! Each month (or two) we select a book to read together based on a seasonal theme. Since we can’t all be in the same place, luckily we have the internet so we can all talk books, anytime, from wherever we are. In July our theme is The Patriot. With 4th of July right around the corner, we like to take this month to read something about Americana. And we don’t shy away from ugly truths. It’s important to push the boundaries of how we see our country, our patriotism, who we are, and who we should be as Americans. Who we are and who we should be is different for everyone. So we like to read as much as we can of what different people think that means. That’s why we’ve selected Rebecca Solnit’s most recent essay collection Call Them by Their True Names, American Crises (and Essays). If you don’t know of …

April Book

We’re so glad to finally have a taste of spring! This winter felt much too long, don’t you think? Now it’s time to bring a little life and laughter back into our reading lives for Spring. In April we like to read something with humor and wit to break down any remnants of that dreary winter mood. And this year we’ve selected Michael Arceneaux’s I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyonce. Arceneaux is a Houston-born, Howard University-educated writer who started his career writing for various news media like The Guardian, Teen Vogue, Essence, The Washington Post, etc. And this collection of essays, published in July of 2018, is the first book published by Arceneaux (he’s currently writing his second, titled I Don’t Want to Die Poor addressing private student loan debt). “There are stories that simply demand to be told and Michael Arceneaux’s is one such story. Arceneaux writes from his life as a black gay man with an uncanny strength of conviction and such fine …

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 …

Unburying the Osage

It is wild to me that I had never heard even a peep about the Osage murders until I picked Killers of the Flower Moon. And I guess, in some ways, that’s the point of the book. An entire group of people targeted and being systematically murdered for money and it’s been completely washed out of our history for everyone but those personally touched by it. The story told in this book is almost so wild that it’s unbelievable, and the craziest part is that what has been told is probably not even the half of it! I feel gross using the word “fascinating” to describe it, but… It’s truly fascinating that 1) all of this actually happened, 2) basically everyone got away with it, and 3) there are probably hundreds more victims that we will never even know about. Aside from the story itself, I also really enjoyed how Grann laid it out, unfolding it bit by bit, seemingly allowing us to discover the webs and cover-ups the same way he did. I won’t lie …

July Book

Announcing our July book pick! David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. In July we like to throw it back to a good nonfiction read to teach us a little bit more about who we are (for better or worse). And ever since this one came out we’ve been hearing nothing but good things. Released just over a year ago, this true-life murder mystery investigates a series of murders that took place in Osage County, Oklahoma in the early 1920’s. During that time the Osage Nation were among the wealthiest people in the world after large oil deposits are found under their land. But slowly family members ended up shot or poisoned. Numerous Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances. Even those who investigated the crimes were murdered. As the numbers rose the case was investigated by the newly developed FBI, director J. Edgar Hoover, and Texas Ranger Tom White. Along with the help of members of the Osage themselves, one of the greatest conspiracies in American …

Phone on table

A Dog is a Bicycle with Emotions

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.” First things first, I loved this book. After hearing people rave about the audiobook version, I decided to give it a shot. (I mean, who doesn’t want to list to Trevor Noah on their way to work and while making dinner?) I’m fairly new to audiobooks, but this one might be my favorite so far. Noah was able to convey his story as only he can, with perfect inflection, comedic timing, and emotion in his voice. The story kept me engaged the entire time, and my mind tends to wander easily. Noah’s story is an incredible one, and he did a phenomenal job of injecting just the right amount of humor to lighten up even the most intense situations. In fact, (if you’ve read it, you’ll know just the scene I’m talking about) one particular story toward the beginning of the book had me laughing …

A Heavy Kind of Funny

When I read and review a book that I love, one of the most common compliments I give is “I read this in one sitting” or something similar. Born a Crime was quite the opposite. It’s a book that I love that took me forrrevvvverrrrr (in my world) to read. My husband actually commented about how few pages I was able to read in one sitting each night. So why did it take me so long? I think that, for a humorous book, it was heavy and it felt too dense to read quickly. I wanted to take it one chapter at a time and really sit with what I’d read. Obviously, apartheid and racism are not new to me, but South African history is certainly not my area of expertise and a lot of the details were new. I just needed time. {Spoiler alert: this paragraph has them!} Noah’s story is simply incredible. That one person lived all of those stories is almost mind-boggling. And even more so when you think about the fact that there …

Humor and Heart

Our April book Born a Crime was just what I was in the mood for! After lots of dark and cloudy months and some intense books (i.e. Birdbox, The Hate U Give, The Healing of America), Trevor Noah’s ability to make anything into a joke was just what I needed. He covers some really dark subjects to say the least (attempted murders, carjacking, domestic abuse, apartheid, racism, etc), but manages to tell his stories with humor and heart. “One day as a young man I was walking down the street, and a group of Zulu guys was walking behind me, closing in on me, and I could hear them talking to one another about how they were going to mug me. ‘Let’s get this white guy. You go to his left, and I’ll come up behind him.’ I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t run, so I just spun around real quick and said, ‘Yo, guys, why don’t we just mug someone together? I’m ready. Let’s do it.’ They looked shocked for a moment, …