The Stacks Book Club — December 2021

We’ve waited until the end of the year to finally tackle a 2021 release as part of The Stacks Book Club. The good news is the book is well worth the wait, and is arguably one of my favorite books of the year (you can check out my other favorites of the year here).

That’s right, our December book club pick is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib. In this collection of essays that center around the performances of Black people, Abdurraqib examines grief, proximity to whiteness, masculinity, and so much more, all while weaving together generations of Black performances and artists with his own experiences as a Black man in performing his identities in America. This book has layers, y’all. It is not to be missed. Don’t just take my word for it, the collection was a finalist for The National Book Award, and has been on all the major end of year book lists. It is good good.

We will be discussing A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib on Wednesday, December 29th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on December 1st. If you’d like even more discussion around the book consider joining The Stacks Pack on Patreon and participating in The Stacks’ monthly virtual book club.

Order your copy of our December book on Bookshop.org or Amazon. Or listen to it as an audiobook with Libro.FM.


To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/thestacks). We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of The Stacks.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed. For more information click here.

Ep. 192 Yo, Is This Racist with Andrew Ti

Andrew Ti is the creator and co-host of the Yo, Is This Racist podcast, and a comedy and TV writer. He joins the show today to talk about his journey from a neuroscience major at Columbia to the writers room on mixed-ish. We also talk about his relationship to problematic white authors, his aversion to funny books, and more.

The Stacks Book Club selection for December is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib, we will discuss the book on December 29th with Andrew Ti.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Stitcher

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. You can also find everything we talked about on Amazon.

Books

Everything Else

Connect with Andrew: Twitter | Instagram | Website

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

Support The Stacks

Libro.FM – get two audiobooks for the price of one when you use the code THESTACKS at checkout, and you can gift audiobook memberships to someone in your life easily right here!

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. If you prefer to support the show with a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Top of The Stacks — November 2021

I am writing this to you at the end of the month feeling so confused that the month is already over. I feel like I did nothing all month, and yet I went to NYC (where I made my pilgrimage to Books are Magic), was on NPR again, hosted a Thanksgiving, and of course recorded a whole bunch of great episodes. So yeah, what do I know? Anyway, here are a bunch of things I was super into this month.

First off, I dropped a massive gift guide for the book lover in your life. These are all book adjacent gift ideas that are not actual books.

I have been living in this Target bra and legging set. I am obsessed. There is also a bodysuit, that I have, and love.

Today is also Giving Tuesday, so I rereleased this list of literary related nonprofits for you to support.

This endive and blue cheese salad is so good, and I don’t even like salad.

We lost a titan of the theatre this month, Stephen Sondheim, and this obituary was the best I read.

I got invited back to NPR’s It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders, except this time Sam was gone and I got to talk to the incredible Ayesha Rascoe about banning books. I loved this conversation.

The movie of Passing is finally out, what did everyone think?

I know we’re over turkey now, but this year I spatchcocked my bird and used this recipe from Sohla El-Waylly and it was per-fec-tion. Now you’ll be ready for next year. Oh, and I had the butcher at the grocery store do the spatchcocking for me, so it was even easier.

I talked Bachelorette Michelle on the Love to See It podcast with Claire and Emma. It was great.

I also bought these leggings this month. I live in leggings.

I got to co-host on one of my favorite shows, Yo, Is This Racist? again. It was a blast. We talked blackface on Halloween.


WHAT I READ IN NOVEMBER

THE STACKS NOVEMBER EPISODES


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Unabridged: Shakespeare in The Stacks with Ayanna Thompson (Episode 3)

We’re back with another installment of The Stacks Pack exclusive show, The Stacks: Unabridged. Today we are finally talking all things Shakespeare with scholar, author, and dramaturg, Ayanna Thompson. Ayanna’s work focuses on Shakespeare, race, and performance, and she is the author of many books including Blackface and Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America. She shares with us why some plays are her favorite to teach but not to see, which adaptations are particularly good, and the Shakespeare plays she thinks we should be teaching. We also talk about Traci’s favorites after her 37 month read through of all of Shakespeare’s plays.

*This episode is exclusive to members of The Stacks Pack on patreon. To join this community, get inside access to the show, and listen now, click the link below.

JOIN THE STACKS PACK TO LISTEN

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. You can also find what we talked about on Amazon.

Connect with Ayanna: Website | Twitter
Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. If you prefer to support the show with a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Nonprofit Organizations That Support Literacy

This is a rereleased and updated list, it was originally published in December 1, 2020.

Today is Giving Tuesday where folks turn their holiday spending toward nonprofit organizations. I’ve compiled this list of some of my favorite organizations that promote and foster literacy in our communities. I have also included organizations submitted by The Stacks followers on Instagram. I encourage you to use this as a jumping off point and do your own research to find nonprofits that are doing work you wish to support and promote. This list is by no means comprehensive, but its a great place to start if you’re in a place to give! This list is presented in alphabetical order.

  • Athens Books to Prisoners – a volunteer run organization that sends free books to prisoners in Ohio upon request.
  • Behind the Book – inspire New York City public school students to love reading by bringing accomplished authors and their books into classrooms.
  • Blue Stoop – a home for literary Philly, Blue Stoop’s mission is to support writers, foster creativity, and build inclusive literary community.
  • Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) – Assisting Bookstore Employees & Comic Retailers Facing Hardship & Supporting Career Development
  • BookGive – We distribute new and gently used books from our service station to individuals, schools, and nonprofits throughout metro Denver.
  • Books to Prisoners – a Seattle-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster a love of reading behind bars, encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-empowerment, and break the cycle of recidivism.
  • Coaching for Literacy – sports teams, athletes, and businesses take part in the #Fight4Literacy promoting childhood reading in their communities.
  • Ferst Readers – children in their literacy program receive a bookstore-quality, age-specific book and resources mailed to their home every month until their fifth birthday.
  • First Book – matches nonprofit organizations with local classrooms and programs serving children in need.
  • Free Minds Book Club – uses the literary arts, workforce development, and violence prevention to connect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youths and adults to their voices, their purpose, and the wider community.
  • Freedom Reads – This is the organization formerly known as Million Book Project (where The Stacks community donated close to $100,000 in 2021). Founded by friend of The Stacks, poet, and MacArthur genius, Reginald Dwayne Betts. Their mission is to bring books into prisons to combat what incarceration does to the spirit.
  • Imagination Library – Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income.
  • Indigenous Literacy Foundation – Australia based organization that aims to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous families by gifting thousands of new culturally appropriate books – with a focus on early literacy and first language.
  • Inside Books Project – inside Books Project is an Austin-based community service volunteer organization that sends free books and educational materials to prisoners in Texas.
  • Kid’s Book Bank Cleveland – foster improved literacy and a love of reading by providing free books to children in need through collaboration with community partners.
  • Lambda Literary – nurtures and advocates for LGBTQ writers, elevating the impact of their words to create community, preserve our legacies, and affirm the value of our stories and our lives.
  • Liberation Library – provides books to youth in prison to encourage imagination, self-determination and connection to outside worlds of their choosing.
  • Literacy First – makes sure that children in Central Texas develop the reading skills that allow them to realize their full potential with regard to education, economic opportunity, civic engagement, and personal development
  • Make Way for Books – an early literacy nonprofit that provides proven programs, services, and resources to 30,000 young children, parents, and educators throughout southern Arizona each year
  • More Than Words – is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business in Boston, MA.
  • National Book Foundation – to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.
  • Open Books Chicago – Open Books is a nonprofit that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and the creative capitalization of books.
  • Prisoners Lit Project – An all-volunteer grassroots group that sends hundreds of free book packages to needy prisoners in the United States every month.
  • Read to a Child – foster a love of reading, improve literacy skills, and empower underserved children by inspiring adults to read to them regularly.
  • Reading is Fundamental – inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to make an impact and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success
  • Ready Readers – prepares preschool-age children living in low-income communities to become readers by reading aloud to them, providing high quality books, and offering literacy-related experiences.
  • Room to Read – seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
  • Rx for Reading – expand access to high-quality children’s books and support families in reading with their children in Detroit, MI.
  • Smart Reading – literacy nonprofit that serves kids in Oregon’s with two ingredients critical for literacy and learning success: one-on-one reading time and access to books.
  • The Conscious Kid – an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth.
  • The Book Thing of Baltimore – put unwanted books into the hands of those who want them.
  • The Book Truck – give thousands of free books to foster care, homeless, and low-income teens throughout Los Angeles County
  • The Bronx is Reading – promote literacy and foster a love of reading among children, teens, and adults. They are currently doing a drive to bring a Children’s and general interest bookstore to The Bronx. You can support that drive here.
  • The Maryland Book Bank – The Maryland Book Bank is a nonprofit organization committed to cultivating literacy in children from under-resourced neighborhoods.
  • Traveling Stories – empowering kids to outsmart poverty by helpinng them fall in love with reading.
  • We Need Diverse Books – non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
  • Women’s Prison Book Project – providing women and transgender persons in prison with free reading materials covering a wide range of topics, all-volunteer, grassroots organization.

Note: The language for each nonprofit was taken directly for the organization’s website.


To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/thestacks). We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of The Stacks.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Ep. 191 Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison — The Stacks Book Club (Dawie Walton)

It is time for our annual Toni Morrison episode of The Stacks as part of The Stacks Book Club. We are discussing Morrison’s third novel, Song of Solomon, and to help us dissect this sweeping story we’ve brought back author Dawnie Walton (The Final Revival of Opal and Nev). On the show we discuss this book as part of the conversation for “the great American novel”, gush over our favorite characters and scenes, and so much more.
There are spoilers on this episode.

Be sure to listen to the end of the episode to hear what our December book club pick will be.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Stitcher

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. You can also find everything we talked about on Amazon.

Connect with Dawnie: Twitter | Instagram | Website

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

Support The Stacks

Prose – get 15% off your first order of Prose haircare products when you head to prose.com/thestacks.

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. If you prefer to support the show with a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Ep. 190 Getting Cultish with Amanda Montell

On this episode we are joined by author, linguist, and podcast host Amanda Montell. Amanda is the author of Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism and Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language. We use her books as a lens to discuss the relationship of language to power and community, the ways women continue to be at the forefront of language innovation, and to look at cultural normativity.

The Stacks Book Club selection for November is Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, we will discuss the book on November 24th with Dawnie Walton.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Stitcher

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. You can also find everything we talked about on Amazon.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0
Amanda’s cover inspiration mood board.

Connect with Amanda: Instagram | Twitter | Website | Sounds Like a Cult Podcast

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

Support The Stacks

Bombas – get 20% off your first order with Bombas by using code THESTACKS at checkout.

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. If you prefer to support the show with a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Gift Guide for the Book Lovers in Your Life

If you’re anything like my family you’ve got a book lover in your life and you’re too scared to actually buy them any books, because of course they’ve already read everything. I’m here to help you find the right book adjacent gifts for the book lovers in your life. If you’re stubborn and dead set on getting them an *actual* book, check out my favorite books of all time list, and the best books I’ve read this year, plus other curated lists of books I love. Or, you could get really presumptuous and preorder a book coming out in 2022 for them, here are a few 2022 releases I’m excited about.


  1. I love black, gold, and white, so this mug is an obvious, yes please.
  2. Do you need to gift a coffee subscription? Yes, you most certainly do. This is an easy gift for a person close to you or a coworker you barely know.
  3. If it’s a read on the go situation, you’ll need a way to transport your reading beverages, this bottle and mug combo is perfection.
  4. This Stagg electronic kettle is for all you coffee lovers, it allows temperature control and a variety of settings (oh and it’s good for tea lovers too).
  5. I love this Ember Temperature Controlled Mug because it keeps my tea warm while I read and doesn’t get between me and a good book.
  6. A gift Mr. Stacks got me that I loved was a very pretty Royal Albert Tea set, if you’ve got a tea lover in your life, this luxury only ups the reading experience.
  7. Gift a monthly tea subscription from Plum Deluxe, a family owned tea company.
  8. This is my favorite tea, it is a rose flavored black tea and it is perfect.
  9. A monogramed mug? Say no more.
  10. People ask my about my milk frother all the time, so here it is. Also worth noting, it was a holiday gift from my brother a few years back and I still love it!
  1. Are you even a book lover if you don’t have a favorite reading light? I love this light because it is rechargable, has multiple brightness settings, and is super easy to pack for trips.
  2. Mouth is the best snack delivery box, the food is gourmet, and they have so much variety. It is perfect for any book lover because they can graze on the goodies while they read, plus when you finish it, it’s gone, which means its not taking up precious bookshelf space.
  3. I swore I would never read on a Kindle but now I do and I like it a lot. It’s easy to travel with, and I use it to read at night so I don’t have to wake up Mr. Stacks if he’s asleep.
  4. Get this “book people” puzzle for the audiobook lover in your life, then they can do the puzzle while they listen to their new favorite book through Libro.FM.
  5. But did you know you could send ice cream in the mail? Jeni’s ice cream can be delivered and this holiday flavor way is legit.
  6. These noise canceling headphones are perfect for audiobooks, or just reading in peace. 
  7. This sweet treat salted caramel is perfect topping for any reader with a sweet tooth.
  8. Libro.FM is an online audiobook store that allows you to purchase audiobooks through your favorite indie bookstore. You can also give memberships to the readers in your life. They are a great company that cares deeply about supporting bookstores and local communities. 
  9. I do a lot of reading in the bath, and I love to throw these bath bombs in with me to set the mood. They smell great and they aren’t too oily.
  1. What kind of shameless self promoter would I be if I didn’t suggest some The Stacks gear? I mean we have very cute sweatshirts, hats, totes, and if the book lover in your life isn’t listening yet, tell them to check out the show!
  2. You’re not a real book lover if you don’t have a cozy cardigan. This one from Madewell is my most favorite these days, but honestly they have SOOOOO many you can’t go wrong.
  3. If all else fails, pick out some cute merch from your favorite bookworms, favorite indie bookstore.
  4. These slippers from Madewell are so cute and comfy. I love a leopard print, but they do come in other colors too.
  5. Not a book t-shirt that also supports a good cause! That’s exactly what this The 1619 Project tee does. 50% of all sales go to the African American Cultural Heritage Fund.
  6. Reading in bed wrapped up in a snuggly robe is certainly my happy place. This robe from Barefoot Dreams couldn’t be softer and more perfect for a slow morning in bed with a book.
  7. It’s not secret I love my Kibou minimalist diaper bag. It is very cute, functional, and it fits my Kindle. Plus, if you use the code THESTACKS at checkout you can get 10% off your order. Also, this one isn’t just for parents. I take it with me even when The Mini Stacks are nowhere to be found.
  8. Do good and look good in this tee shirt from The 1619 Project. Fifty percent of the sales price of this shirt goes to the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
  9. Simply Literary Co. has the best small batch bookish gear and it is full of personality.This book worm sweatshirt is the best bookish sweatshirt I’ve ever seen.
  10. These are my favorite socks for in the home and out in the world. They are warm, but not hot, they are thick, but fit nicely in sneakers, they are the best. (Use code: THESTACKS for 20% your first order)
  1. Since your favorite book lover needs a little green in their home this planter gift box is perfect.
  2. A candle that smells great and supports the National Park system is a perfect pair.
  3. How will you light all these candles? With the matches in this match cloche of course!
  4. If I’m reading I’m wrapping myself up in a cozy throw blanket, and these faux fur ones are my faves. 
  5. What better way to track reading than with this vibrant oversized planner?
  6. These West Elm coasters are perfect for any warm or cold reading beverage.
  7. This Noir Santal candle from AN Style is the best smell ever. I live for this candle. There are other great scents, but this one if my fave, and it gets me in the mood to relax and read.
  8. I love this cozy oversized chunky knit throw blanket. It is heavy enough for warmth, and moody enough for style.
  9. A gift Mr. Stacks got for me one year was a weekly flower delivery from a local florist, Whit Hazen (If you’re in LA I highly recommend Whit). It was the best five weeks of my life. I loved reading near my flowers and using them for my bookstagram photos. Here is a list of Black owned florists across the United States.

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/thestacks). We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of The Stacks.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed. For more information click here.

Ep. 189 Embracing Rage with Myisha Cherry

Our guest today is Dr. Myisha Cherry, a philosopher, professor, and author, whose work focuses on emotions and attitudes in public life. Her latest book is The Case for Rage: Why Anger is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle. Myisha shares why we must embrace our rage if we want to improve our society, how we’ve been socialized around anger, and how allies can cause harm.

The Stacks Book Club selection for November is Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, we will discuss the book on November 24th with Dawnie Walton.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Stitcher

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. You can also find everything we talked about on Amazon.

Connect with Myisha: Twitter | Instagram | Website

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

Support The Stacks

Libro.Fmuse promo code THESTACKS to get 2 audiobooks for the price of 1 and to support your favorite independent bookstore.

Plum Deluxe – get 10% off your order tea order by going to plumdeluxe.com and using the code THESTACKS at checkout.

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. If you prefer to support the show with a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

Ep. 188 Creating and Icon with Dawnie Walton

Our guest today is journalist and editor Dawnie Walton, she is the debut author behind one of this year’s most talked about novels, The Final Revival of Opal and Nev. Dawnie shares her research process, how oral histories can elevate fictional characters, and the rock stars that inspired her own rock icon.

The Stacks Book Club selection for November is Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, we will discuss the book on November 24th with Dawnie Walton.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Stitcher

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. You can also find everything we talked about on Amazon.

Books

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_7072-768x1024.jpg

Everything Else

Connect with Dawnie: Twitter | Instagram | Website

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

Support The Stacks

Better Help – To enjoy 10% off your first month of Better Help counseling head to betterhelp.com/thestacks.

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. If you prefer to support the show with a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.


The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.