Ep. 195 The Best Books of 2021 with Lupita Aquino Morgan Hoit

It’s time for The Stacks’ annual Best Books of 2021 episode. To help put together this list, we’re joined by professional readers Lupita Aquino (@lupita.reads) and Morgan Hoit (@nycbookgirl). In addition to sharing our top 10 books of the year, we also discuss the trends we saw in 2021, reading for work, and the books we’re excited about in 2022.

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.

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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 Lupita: Instagram | Twitter | Website
Connect with Morgan: Instagram | Twitter | Website
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The 2021 Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books

Its back! The 4th Annual The Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books!

We did it in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and honestly, its the best tradition and I hope you’re all as thrilled for round four as I am.

To refresh your memory, The Battle of The Books is a March Madness style bracket where you vote to pick the book club book of the year. You also get a chance to win one of TSBC books by predicting the most accurate bracket over on https://challonge.com/thestacks2021 or click here. You create your account put your predictions in for who you think will win. Then on The Stacks Instagram Stories, you’ll vote (starting 12/23) for your favorite books in head to head battles, until we crown one winner, The Stacks Book Club Book of the Year. The results of each round will be updated over on Challonge (our bracket site) and on our Instagram @thestackspod.

You have until Thursday, December 23nd at 8:00am PST to put in your predictions. The winner will be whoever has the most accurate bracket, and they will win one of our TSBC books from 2021 (winner’s choice). Be sure your bracket name is your IG handle, email, or name, so you are easy to find upon completion of the tournament. We will announce the winner of the tournament and the winner of the giveaway on Friday, December 31st once all the results are in.

Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Thursday December 23rd . All voting on Instagram!
  4. Spread the word!

If you want all the nerdy details of how the seeding was figure out, you’ve come to the right place. Mostly I created a bunch of my own calculations to rank the books based on many factors. The rankings are full of biases and assumptions, and honestly, thats what makes this fun. You all ultimately get to vote, which means you get to decide. Here is how I ranked these books, and below find a more detailed description of what that means. 

  • Podcast Downloads– Raw number of downloads that episode received according to my data (I know older episodes will be at a disadvantage as the podcast grew over time, but also newer episodes suffer because they haven’t been up as long, I’m hoping it all evens out). It is worth noting that I excluded A Little Devil in America from this calculation since that episode is not out yet.
  • iTunes Episode Popularity– iTunes lets me see how popular each episode is. Its slight different than raw downloads, because they take into account listeners at the time of recording, but they also only include people listening through iTunes. Again, A Little Devil in America was excluded from this category, see above.
  • Goodreads Scores– I looked up each book on Goodreads and took that score.
  • Goodreads Reviews– I took the raw number of Goodreads reviews for each book.
  • Test of Time– The older a book is, the more credit it got, because it has withstood the test of time. 
  • Social Media Input– I’ve asked The Stacks Instagram followers to tell me their favorite book we read this year, and those responses are incorporated.
  • Traci’s Personal Ranking– Thats right, I’m influencing this competition a little. Its my podcast, so why not?

There are 12 books in the competition, so in each of those categories the books are rated on a scale of 1-12. Each book received a score from each category, 1 being the best, 12 the worst. I then tallied all the scores and divided by 7 (in the case of

I know that sounds like a lot, but just trust me, it makes sense. Here are the rankings based on these calculations, and their total overall raw scores, remember lower is better. Where there was a tie, I broke the tie.

  1. Blood in the Water – 4
  2. Song of Solomon – 4.42
  3. The Best We Could Do – 4.57
  4. The Office of Historical Corrections – 4.85
  5. Anna Karenina – 4.85
  6. A Little Devil in America – 6
  7. Emergency Contact – 6.42
  8. Waiting to Exhale – 6.85
  9. The New Wilderness – 7.14
  10. The Undying – 8
  11. The Tradition – 8.42
  12. Every Body Looking – 10

Voting begins Thursday December 23rd, shortly after 8:00am PST for the first round, and will follow the schedule below. Remember you vote on The Stacks Instagram stories. You just click your favorite book in each round’s head to head matchup. Once the results are in, I’ll share the winners with you and we get ready for the next round. The schedule is below.

Round 1 – December 23nd – Play in Games

Round 2 – December 26th – Elite 8

Round 3 – December 28th – Final 4

Round 4 – December 30th – Championship

That feels like a lot, trust me, it’ll be fun and worth it.
Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket (with a recognizable name) if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Thursday December 23.
  4. Spread the word!

For those of you curious who won in previous years, 2018 was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, 2019 was Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, 2020 was The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. Who will ascend the throne in 2021?


To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do 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. 194 How We Understand Loneliness with Kristen Radtke

Kristen Radkte is the author of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, a work of graphic nonfiction that uses prose and images to explore the experience and portrayal of loneliness. It is spectacular. Kristen talks to us about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our collective understanding of loneliness, what she wishes more people knew about graphic books, and how to connect with the lonely in our lives.

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

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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 Kristen: Twitter | Instagram | Website
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Support The Stacks

getAbstract: Use code THESTACKS to get a free month of nonfiction books and article summaries from getAbstact, or head to getab.li/THESTACKS.

Bombas: Get 20% off your first purchase by going to bombas.com/THESTACKS or use 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.

Ep. 179 Imagining Better with Derecka Purnell

Our guest today is lawyer, writer, activist, organizer, and author Derecka Purnell. Derecka joins us to discuss her forthcoming debut book, Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom out October 5th. Our conversation is an inspiring discussion of the questions surrounding police abolition, the power of our imagination, and the books that have informed much of Derecka’s thinking.

The Stacks Book Club selection for September is Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson. We will discuss the book with Derecka Purnell on Wednesday September 29th.

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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 Derecka: Twitter | Instagram | Website

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Support The Stacks

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. 176 Leaving a Record of History with Adam Serwer

Today we welcome Adam Serwer to the podcast. Adam is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of The New York Times bestseller The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump’s America. We talk about the historical record, Democracy as a means of managing conflict, running as creative routine, and much more.

The Stacks Book Club selection for August is Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi. We will discuss the book with Juliet Litman on Wednesday August 25th.

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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 Adam: Twitter

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.

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. 173 Living with Less with Christine Platt

Today we welcome author and decluttering expert Chirstine Platt, also known as The Afrominimalist. We talk today about Christine’s latest book The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less. We discuss mistakes, embracing our own unique aesthetics and culture while practicing minimalism, and how the language around minimalism doesn’t have to be so scary.

The Stacks Book Club selection for July is The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. We will discuss the book with Mira Jacob on Wednesday July 28th.

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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 Christine: Instagram | Twitter | Website

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

Support The Stacks

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. 172 The Art vs. The Artist with Quentin Tarantino

Our guest today is Academy Award winning screenwriter and director Quentin Tarantino, yes, that Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained). He joins us to talk about his debut novel, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a novelization of his film with the same title. We discuss the art versus the artist debate, the challenges of writing a novel, and if Tarantino really plans to retire from filmmaking after his next film.

The Stacks Book Club selection for July is The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. We will discuss the book with Mira Jacob on Wednesday July 28th.

LISTEN NOW

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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.

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Page1 Books – get a monthly book subscription box that’s personalized just for you at page1books.com

Care/Of – to get 50% off your first order head to takecareof.com and use the code STACKS50

Hello Fresh – go to hellofresh.com/stacks14 and use the code STACKS14 to get up to 14 free meals plus free shipping

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.

The Stacks Book Club – July 2021

We are trying something new on The Stacks for July, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. This month we’re reading a gorgeous graphic memoir called The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui.

In her debut book, Thi Bui combines stunning illustrations with the story of her family’s immigration to The United States from Vietnam in the aftermath of The Vietnam War. The books spans generations of Bui’s family and ultimately settles in on Bui’s relationship with her parents and the country of her birth. The Best We Could Do is a book that functions both in a global political capacity and in the minutiae of our most interpersonal relationships.

We will be discussing The Best We Could Do on Wednesday, July 28th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on July 7th. 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 June book on Bookshop.org or Amazon.


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. 170 The Undying by Anne Boyer — The Stacks Book Club (Mychal Denzel Smith)

It’s time for another installment of The Stacks Book Club. This month we’re discussing The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness by Anne Boyer with Mychal Denzel Smith (Stakes is High). Our conversation explores the commodification of cancer, the ways sexism is entrenched in the language of breast cancer, and how form and content can work together and fight against one another in the same text.
There are no spoilers in this episode.

Be sure to listen until the end of the podcast to find out The Stacks Book Club pick for July!

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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 Mychal: Twitter | Instagram | Website | Open Form Podcast
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.

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. 169 Allowing Anger to Drive Passion with Ashley C. Ford

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Ashley C. Ford is a host, podcaster, writer, and now author. Her debut book, Somebody’s Daughter, was an instant New York Times bestseller, and tells the story of her childhood as it relates to her coming of age and her father’s incarceration. Today we discuss therapy as part of her writing process, the ways anger can fuel passion, and what it means to be published by Oprah Winfrey’s imprint.

The Stacks Book Club selection for June is The Undying by Anne Boyer. We will discuss the book with Mychal Denzel Smith on Wednesday June 30th.

LISTEN NOW

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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 Ashley: Twitter | Instagram | Website
CConnect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

Support The Stacks

Canva – get a free 45-day extended trial of Canva Pro when you go to canva.me/stacks

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.