I know it’s been a while from both Kerry and me on the SJBC front. For those of you new here, this was a monthly book club co-hosted by us over on Slack, where we picked and chatted about books that covered several different social issues. Our last selection was Evicted: Poverty And Profit In An American City by Matthew Desmond, which just won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction this year (absolutely well-deserved).
Unfortunately, both Kerry and I have had unexpected things happen in our personal lives which didn’t really allow us to devote the kind of time we wanted to devote to the club, so we decided to skip the months of June and July, brainstorm and figure how we wanted to proceed. We will be going back to a bi-monthly rotation of the book club. It gives us time to actually do things like come up with discussion questions and foster conversations, which was pretty much the intention of putting together the club in the first place. It gives members time to acquire the book selected, and to read over a decent time period. We’re hoping this will be amenable to current and future members of the group.
Our August pick: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano.
From Goodreads: “In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations—both pre- and post-transition—to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.”
We will be kicking off on August 1st with this pick. For those of you who are interested in joining us over on Slack, you can fill out the form below, or drop your email in the comments, and we can add you!
First of all, thank you so much for participating in our edition of Social Justice Book Club. I’m floored by the responses and the discussions that have taken place as a result of our new format, and just the sheer number of people that have joined the group. The internet is constantly amazing me with how it can bring people together.
While Hope In The Dark wasn’t my most favorite SJBC pick, I think it’s one that we all needed in some capacity or the other. This book was a calculated choice for the club, given all of the recent (and ongoing) unrest and radical shifts happening in our current political climate worldwide, and I hope it served up in some capacity to everyone that participated in SJBC. I thought it started off well, felt a little disjointed and repetitive in the middle, and towards the end I was drawn in. Some of her stances felt like it came from a place of white privilege. However, I appreciated the overall message of the book, particularly the part about keeping perspective during the fight for social change. Something I’ve observed in the last few weeks is how easy it is for us to give in to the chaos, which I think is a part of the current administration’s agenda. Panicked people are too distraught to fight back. However, it is safe to say that a lot of things happening in America have been happening for a very long time, and now it’s broadened to impact a significant number of groups. So I’m working on picking out specific actionables, some as an in-group advocate, and some as an ally to other marginalized groups, focusing on those, and trying to remain hopeful and not give in to despair. Like Solnit said, “Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.”
If you enjoyed or were intrigued by Hope In The Dark, here are some titles we suggest for further reading:
A few announcements:
- As mentioned over on Slack, we will be having a Black History Month edition of SJBC in the month of February. We will be reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Haley. Once again, this is completely optional and a low-pressure book club, since all book discussions will be happening in it’s own channel and you are free to mute notifications as needed. For those people that are comfortable with a fairly loose schedule:
Introduction to Chapter 6: Detroit Red
Chapter 7: Hustler to Chapter 13: Minister Malcolm X
Chapter 14: Black Muslims to Epilogue
- If you are new to this space and our interested in joining our Slack discussion, you can sign up here and we’ll add you as soon as possible! Unsure how to use Slack? We’ve got you covered.
- Lastly, we’d love to hear about your experience with SJBC on Slack. Kerry and I are looking to continue honing the club format to provide the best experience for participants, so any feedback you have for us is greatly appreciated.
Thanks for sticking with me till the end, and I look forward to continuing our thoughtful discussions over on Slack!
Sorry guys, I know it’s been a couple of weeks. For those that don’t follow me on Twitter/Snapchat/any other social media, I’ve been packing and moving out of my old apartment to a temporary space for the month of August, so it’s been a tad overwhelming. I have finally moved out, I even managed to get a solid hour of reading last night, and generally in the groove of things.
Continue reading “Social Justice Book Club: The New Jim Crow Intro Check-In”