My book club is officially the “Community for Understanding and Hope Book Group co-sponsored by the Kirkwood Public Library.” We tend to shorten that to CFUH Book Group. But people outside of my suburb (and most people in it) don’t understand what that is, so at the suggestion of one of our members, I’ve taken to calling it the Diversity Book Club on my blog. We began in the aftermath of  a tragic shooting at our city hall that made race issues hard to continue ignoring. We mostly read books about race in America.

Our annual potluck and book selection meeting was last night — our most fun and energetic meeting all year!

Here are the books we selected for the coming year:

  • How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
  • A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
  • Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick
  • Wake of the Wind by J. California Cooper
  • American Tapestry: The Story of Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama by Rachel L. Swarns
  • No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen
  • Telling Memories Among Southern Women by Susan Tucker

We had a hard time choosing. Here are the books we left on the table — maybe next year!

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • The Children by David Halberstam
  • Black Women in White America edited by Gerda Lerner
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
  • Rethinking Uncle Tom: The Political Thought of Harriet Beecher Stowe by W.B. Allen
  • We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools by Gary R. Howard
  • The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege by Robert Jensen
  • White Awareness: Handbook for Anti-Racism Training by Judith H. Katz
  • Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves by China Galland

If you like these lists, check my post with our lists from last year: Book Club Selections, the long and short of it.


Diversity Book Club book lists — 9 Comments

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  2. Your group sounds amazing! I wish you guys were out here! 🙂 How to be Black is such a good book. I was thinking about rereading it. It’s funny, inspiring, and even a little heartbreaking.

  3. What a great way to heal your community! A Lesson Before Dying is the most powerful and moving book I have ever read (and I was an English Literature major at college) – I hope you enjoy it, too.

    • A couple of people in our group had read it and thought it was going to be an excellent basis for discussion. I’m looking forward to it!

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  5. I discussed Eddy Harris’s book “Native Stranger” with your group last year.
    Just FYI, Barr Branch Library will be discussing his “Mississippi Solo” on Thursday evening, Nov. 1 at a nearby restaurant. Call (314) 771-7040 for more information.

  6. So excited to have discovered your blog, Joy. I worked in the diversity field for 15 years at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. I did diversity training for professionals. I think it fantastic that you have this book club. Continue your good work!

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