As I mentioned last week, when I listed all 64 books that our book group has read so far, our annual selection meeting was on Thursday. Participants brought in 41 titles for us to consider, from which (after a multiple ballot process) we selected ten to read during our 2015-2016 year.

I’m going to list, first, the ten books that made the cut — our short list. Then, I’ll list the other 31 books that we considered — the long list.

In 2015-2016, these are the books we’ll be reading:

Race, Place, and Suburban Policing

A book we’re reading because it’s our suburb that is mentioned in the title

Race, Place, and Suburban Policing by Andrea S. Boyles. A very local choice — this book resulted from interviews in the historically black neighborhood of Meacham Park which was annexed by Kirkwood, the city where we meet, in 1991.

Red River by Lalita Tademy. A novel based on a historical event in Colfax, Louisiana — near where one of our members grew up.

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine by Damon Tweedy. A memoir by a black doctor.

Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew. A historical novel about the Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Riots. This will be our Black History Month selection.

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. A modern artistic literature approach to race. We’re using this as our Women’s History Month selection.

Soul Catcher by Michael C. White. Another historical novel (we ended up with more than our usual number this year, I think) — this one is about a woman who escaped slavery and the man tasked with her re-capture.

March by John Lewis

An autobiography in graphic novel format

March: Book One and Book Two by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell. The autobiography of Civil Rights activist and Congressman, John Lewis, told in graphic-novel format (a first for our book club!)

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A novel about lovers separated by post-9/11 politics, set in Nigeria, the US, and Great Britain.

Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman’s Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones by Connie Rice. Memoir by a Civil Rights attorney, including her work with the LAPD to address many of the same problems that we’re looking at now in the St. Louis area.

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat. A novel set in Haiti about a missing child and the community that misses her.

Okay. Now for the long list. I’ll just give titles and authors for these — check Goodreads for descriptions and reviews.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics by by George Lipsitz

Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing by Joy Degruy Leary (a re-read)

Because of the Kids: Facing Racial and Cultural Differences in Schools by Jennifer E. Obidah and Karen Manheim Teel

Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City by Colin Gordon

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era by Michael Kimmel

Freeman: A Novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

It’s the Little Things: The Everyday Interactions that Get under the Skin of Blacks and Whites by Lena Williams

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Stranger at the Gates: A Summer in Mississippi by Tracy Sugarman with a foreword by Fannie Lou Hamer

Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley

The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen

Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund

Brown Girl Dreaming by by Jacqueline Woodson

Tomlinson Hill: Sons of Slaves, Sons of Slaveholders by Chris Tomlinson

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs

Mom and Me and Mom by Maya Angelou

We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program by Richard Paul and Steven Moss

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson

Betsey Brown by Ntozake Shange

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Black and White: The Way I See It by Richard Williams

It’s so hard that we had to leave some of these on the table! Do you think we ended up with good choices for the ten books we’ll be able to read and discuss?


The Long and Short of Book Club #SundaySalon #WeNeedDiverseBooks — 8 Comments

  1. Those look good to me. When I skimmed your list last week, I thought you didn’t have many novels, but this time it looks like you have quite a few novels in there, including in the final 10. Sad to say, but I’m not much of a nonfiction reader, but it looks like you have a good selection there.

  2. Wow! There are so many books that you considered. How many suggestions could each member make?

    I might pick up March for the upcoming readathon. I finally figured out last time that graphic novels are the ways to go!

  3. That looks like a really good list. I have been in groups that pick them all at once and groups that pick one at a time. I prefer the second approach. It feels better to choose based on how I feel at that time.

  4. Wow. Great list with lots of diversity (on several levels!) I highly recommend the graphic novel March Vol 1 and Vol 2. I’m waiting for Vol 3 rather impatiently! Anyway, just found your blog and am finding it hard to stop digging around. Thanks for doing such a good job!

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