The 2022 Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books

We’re back for the fifth year of The Stacks Battle of the Books. I can confidently say this year, might be our best ever. That matchups are wild!

We did it in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 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/thestacks2022 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 Wednesday, December 21st 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 2022 (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 30th 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. Be sure to pick a winner at the bottom of the page.
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Wednesday December 21st . 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. 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 an 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 True Biz  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, True Biz was excluded from this category, see above.
  • Goodreads Scores– I looked up each book on Goodreads and took that score.
  • Goodreads Ratings– I took the raw number of Goodreads ratings 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 (except in the case of True Biz which was divided by 5).

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 based on my preferences.

  1. Passing – 3.71
  2. The Trees – 4.28
  3. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel – 4.28
  4. White Negroes – 4.57
  5. A Mercy – 5.28
  6. Prison by Any Other Name – 6
  7. Shine Bright – 7
  8. True Biz – 7.6
  9. Season of Migration to the North – 7.85
  10. I Live a Life Like Yours – 8.42
  11. Fairest – 8.57
  12. Doppelgangbanger – 10

Voting begins Wednesday December 21st, 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 21st – Play in Games

Round 2 – December 23rd – Elite 8

Round 3 – December 26th – Final 4

Round 4 – December 29th – 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 Wednesday December 21.
  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, and 2021 was Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Who will ascend the throne in 2022?


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.

The Stacks Book Club – July 2022

July’s Book Club pick is Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih. Written in 1966, this classic book features an unnamed narrator returning to his village in the Sudan following years of study in Europe. Upon his return, the young man is eager to contribute somehow to his country’s emerging postcolonial life. He finds familiar faces from his childhood and soon meets the mysterious Mustafa Sa’eed, who gives a detailed and shocking confession about his own life and career in London before a return to his native land. Our narrator finds himself caught in the tumult between Europe and Africa, tradition and innovation, faith and unholiness. In 2001, a panel of Arab writers and critics selected Season of Migration to the North as the most important Arab novel of the 20th century.

We will be discussing Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih on Wednesday, July 27th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on July 6th. 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 July 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. 221 White Negroes by Lauren Michele Jackson — The Stacks Book Club (David Dennis Jr.)

Journalist and author, David Dennis Jr. returns to discuss our June Book Club pick White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue… And Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation by Lauren Michele Jackson. Together we unpack writing for the white gaze, our feelings about (anti) racism since 2020, and the long tradition of categorizing Black artists as “urban” and white artists as “mainstream” no matter how similar their work. Plus, a peanut butter and jelly taste test to start things off.

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our July book club pick will be!

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Overcast | Stitcher | Transcript

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

To support The Stacks and find out more from this week’s sponsors, click 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.

The Stacks Book Club – May 2022

This month’s Book Club pick is Danyel Smith’s Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop. Shine Bright combines music criticism, memoir and biography to give a detailed and intimate narrative of pop music’s bedrock, as built by Black women. Smith’s history as a music fan, essayist,Vibe and Billboard editor, and host of the Black Girl Songbook podcast has put her in the center of this American story since childhood. She covers everyone from the enslaved singing poet Phillis Wheatley to Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and Gladys Knight, along with under-appreciated artists such as Deniece Williams, Jody Watley and Marilyn McCoo.

We will be discussing Shine Bright by Danyel Smith on Wednesday, May 25th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on May 4th. 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 May book on Bookshop.org or Amazon, or get a copy of the audiobook from 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. 203 I Live a Life Like Yours by Jan Grue — The Stacks Book Club (Tessa Miller)

Today for The Stacks Book Club we’re discussing I Live a Life Like Yours, a memoir by Jan Grue, which explores his experiences as a wheelchair user in Norway. We are joined by author and journalist, Tessa Miller (What Doesn’t Kill You) for this conversation on the importance of community, accessibility, and pushing back against stereotypical depictions of disabled people.
There are no spoilers on today’s episode.

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our March 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 Tessa: Instagram | Twitter | Website
Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

To support The Stacks and find out more from this week’s sponsors, click 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.

Ep. 200 Passing by Nella Larsen — The Stacks Book Club (Cree Myles)

Today on The Stacks Book Club we’re discussing Nella Larsen’s 1929 classic novel Passing. We’re joined again by Cree Myles, the creative force behind Penguin Random House’ All Ways Black, to discuss this story racial passing in the 1920’s. This episode touches on the history of passing, the 2021 film adaptation, and the central question of freedom.
There are spoilers on this episode.

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our February 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 Cree: Twitter | Instagram
Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads | Subscribe

To support The Stacks and find out more from this week’s sponsors, click 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.