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. 165 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy — The Stacks Book Club (Jenny Lee)

Today is The Stacks Book Club day and we’re finally discussing Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy with author Jenny Lee. Jenny’s books Anna K and Anna K Away are modern day retellings of Anna Karenina which makes her the perfect person to do a deep dive into this mega-novel. Please be warned there are a lot of spoilers in the episode. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who read along with us, it’s no small feat, and we’re honored you took the time to read along with us!
There are spoilers in this episode.

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

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | PodcastOne | Google | Android

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 IMG_2296-683x1024.jpg

Connect with Jenny: Instagram | Website

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Apple Podcasts | The Stacks on PodcastOne | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads

Support The Stacks

Plum Deluxe – get 10% off your purchase when you go to plumdeluxe.com and 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. 156 Pursuing a Passion with Brandon Hobson

Brandon Hobson is a National Book Award Finalist, and the author of a brand new novel called The Removed. The book is about one family and the lasting impacts from the murder of  their son at the hands of a police officer. Today we talk about how The Removed challenges stereotypes around Native Americans, creating a career from passions, and the writers who inspire Brandon.
There are no spoilers on this episode.

The Stacks Book Club selection for March is Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh, we will discuss the book with Nic Stone on March 31st.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | PodcastOne | Google | Android

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 Brandon: Twitter | Instagram | Website

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Apple Podcasts | The Stacks on PodcastOne | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads

Support The Stacks

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

Libro.FM – get two audiobooks for the price of one when you use code THE STACKS 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. 152 The New Wilderness by Diane Cook — The Stacks Book Club (Vann Newkirk)

It’s The Stacks Book Club day and we’re discussing The New Wilderness by Diane Cook with senior editor at The Atlantic and host of the Floodlines podcast, Vann Newkirk. Our conversation looks at the impact of humans on nature, biblical allegories, and the nuance in relationships between parent and child.
There are spoilers on this episode.

Be sure to listen until the end of today’s episode to find out our book club pick for March!

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | PodcastOne | Google | Android

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 Vann: The Atlantic

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram| Twitter | Facebook | Apple Podcasts |The Stacks on PodcastOne | Shop | Patreon | Goodreads

Support The Stacks

Care/of – for 50% off your first Care/of order, go to takecareof.com and enter code STACKS50.

Libro.FM – get two audiobooks for the price of one when you use code THE STACKS 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.

The Stacks Book Club — February 2021

Another month, another pick for The Stacks Book Club. This month we’re dipping our toe into speculative literary fiction, with The New Wilderness by Diane Cook.

The New Wilderness, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize, is an imaginative novel about a mother, Bea, who uproots her life in an attempt to save her daughter, Agnes, in world that is ravaged by the repercussions of climate change. Cook looks at both the big picture of humanity’s relationship with nature, and at an intimate story of a mother and daughter.

We will be discussing The New Wilderness on Wednesday, February 24th. You can find out who our guest will be by listening to the podcast on February 3rd. 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 January 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. 137 Specificity in Storytelling with Yaa Gyasi

Our guest today is award winning novelist Yaa Gyasi. here to discuss her new novel Transcendent Kingdom. Our conversation touches on the challenges to writing a follow up to her critically acclaimed debut Homegoing, how she gave herself permission to write about small intimate stories this time around, and the ways research has factored into her process as a storyteller.

The Stacks Book Club selection for November is The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America by Marcus J. Moore, we will discuss the book with Cole Cuchna on November 25th.

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | PodcastOne | Google | Android

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 Yaa: Facebook

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram| Twitter | Facebook | Apple Podcasts |The Stacks on PodcastOne | Goodreads | Patreon

Support The Stacks

Hello Fresh – get $90 off your order and free shipping with the code STACKS90

Libro.FM – get two audiobooks for the price of one when you use code THE STACKS at checkout.

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 — April 2020

April marks the start of our third season of The Stacks. What a joy! Thank you all who have read along with The Stacks over these past two years, the show and the book club wouldn’t be what it is with out all of your enthusiasm and support.

Starting this month, we will have one book club book per month. The discussion of the book will be on the episode that falls on the last Wednesday of the month. This month that will be April 29th. Its a small change that will allow for more people to keep up with reading with The Stacks.

The Stacks will announce the book club selection on the first of the month, but you can find out a week early but tuning into the book club episode of the podcast. For example, we announced the April book on the March 25th episode of the podcast, and are announcing it now here, on April first!

So without further adieu, The Stacks Book Club pick for April 2020 is National Book Award winning novel, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. The book looks at fiction and truth as it ventures back to a 1980’s performing arts high school. Trust Exercise is sure to inspire conversation about responsibility and desire and the ways we tell our stories.

Be sure to tune into The Stacks on April 29th for our deep dive into this book. There will be spoilers.

As always, we want to hear from you, so please reach out with your thoughts, questions, and things you want to hear discussed on the podcast. You can email us at thestackswithtraci@gmail.com, comment on this post, or reach out through Instagram @thestackspod.

Order your copies of our February books on Amazon or IndieBound.


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. 98 The Hating Game by Sally Thorne — The Stacks Book Club (Leah Koch)

We’re tackling our first ever romance novel for The Stacks Book Club, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Today we discuss The Hating Game by Sally Thorne with co-owner of The Ripped Bodice, Leah Koch. Get ready for a conversation about tropes, therapy, and diversity in publishing. How romantic.
There are spoilers on this episode.
SHOP AT THE RIPPED BODICE

LISTEN NOW

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | PodcastOne | Google | Android

Everything we talk about on today’s episode can be found below in the show notes. If you’d like to support your local indie, you can shop through IndieBound.

Connect with Leah: The Ripped Bodice | The Ripped Bodice Instagram | The Ripped Bodice Twitter

Connect with The Stacks: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |Apple Podcasts |The Stacks on PodcastOne | Goodreads | Patreon

Support The Stacks

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.

Audible– to get your FREE audiobook download and FREE 30 day trial go to audibletrial.com/thestacks.


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.

My 10 Favorite Reads of 2019

Putting together a list of favorite reads is always so fun and so tough for me. I read over 100 books this year, so narrowing it all down is a great way to reflect on what I learned and how I’ve changed in the last 365 days.

I did keep track of everything I read. Mostly because I’m a huge nerd and love a good spreadsheet, but also because I like to stay accountable to my reading goals.

Before I dive into my top 10 books, here is a little breakdown of what I read in 2018. I read a total of 101 books, exactly ONE book over my goal.

  • 49 were by authors of color (49%)
  • 54 books were by women (54%)
  • 31 books were by women of color (31%)
  • 40 books were published in 2019 (40%)
  • 62 books were acquired by me in 2019 (62%)
  • 61 books were nonfiction (61%)

Of the 101 books I read here is how the star ratings shook out

  • 17 books received five stars (17%)
  • 23 books received four stars (23%)
  • 45 books received three stars (45%)
  • 14 books received two stars (14%)
  • 2 books received one star (2%)

I love a good stat, and I could break down my reading even more, but I won’t. Instead here are my top 10 favorite reads of 2019 (in alphabetical order), though they weren’t all published this year.


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (2016)

The story of August, a twelve year old Black girl navigating a new life in Brooklyn. She moves north, with her father and brother, after her mother’s death. It’s the story of August growing up, finding new friends, and creating space her own space in the world.

This is one of the best coming of age stories I’ve ever read. The characters as vibrant and live in the space of confidence and insecurity that is so common for teenagers. She understands what it means to be lost and then found. She captures so much in this book, and does it all in less than 200 pages. That kind of brevity is rare, and a sign of true mastery.

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur (1987)

In the story of her life, Assata Shakur lets her reader in on her childhood, her relationship with the Black Liberation Movement, and her arrest and imprisonment. The prose are conversational and the content is enraging and devastating. Not only is this book a look back at the past, it is also a very clear indictment on the current state of affairs in The United States.

I loved that Shakur wasn’t presenting an objective history, but rather a deeply personal and emotionally charged retelling of her life. You can feel her passion and her rage in every sentence, and it is beautiful.


How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

The books is part memoir and part guide to identifying and combatting racist ideas in ourselves and in our culture. Kendi’s main premise is that there is no such thing as a “not racist” person, instead there are only racists thoughts and actions, and antiracist thoughts and actions, and these two things can live simultaneously in any human, even Kendi himself.

This was one of my most anticipated books for 2019, and it did not disappoint. Kendi is able to make combatting racism approachable. Most Americans can read this book and find ways to reflect on their own contributions to racism and their own role in changing the system. I also loved getting to see a more personal side of Kendi, a man I admire greatly.


How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

A stunning memoir about finding ones self at the intersection of sexuality and race. Saeed Jones shares his coming of age and his questioning of his identity and belonging and it is incredible to read. Jones’ use of prose and poetry is effortless and serves the story and creates a piece that is as enjoyable to read as it is painful.

I learned a lot about the ways we get in the way of young queer people’s, especially of color, exploration of their identities. In How We Fight for Our Lives I was able to understand the types of violence both physical and emotional, that often accompany the shame and fear about living as one’s true self. I loved this book. Saeed Jones is a force.


Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 51s2kRh7iOL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

A collection of short stories of middle school kids walking home from school. The stories are all unique and individual, but they intersect with the other stories in one way or another. It is a beautiful book about the few minutes a day kids are left unsupervised and get to experience the world on their own.

This book was the biggest surprise for me this year. Admittedly middle grade short stories isn’t a genre I’d think I’d like, and yet here we are. Something that Jason Reynolds is able to do with Look Both Ways is see the humanity in his characters. These kids have all had experiences that have shaped them, some more traumatic than others, but he finds a way to present this without making the kids into their trauma. The characters are full of life and joy and they are impossible to forget. Its also worth noting, Reynolds can write!


Lot by Bryan Washington

A collection of short stories about Black and Brown life in a neighborhood in Houston, told all in the first person with differing narrators, this book is a work of creativity and true craft. Unlike most short story collections where there is no sense of progress or growth over time, in Lot, Washington uses one family as our anchor and we get to watch as their lives unfold through alternating stories. That is supplemented with a cast of characters from the”lot” and their lives.

Washington’s perspective on life and sex and family and gentrification are subtle and smart and really beautiful. The stories are small and intimate. He centers queerness and cultural homophobia in a way that is honest and not preachy. Some standout stories for me were “Lot”, “Waugh”, and “Congress”, but I would say each story enhances the next.


Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 51oEv7qO4rL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

A collection of essays on things that are difficult to say. This book is not what it seems. Corrigan wrote Tell Me More after the passing of her father and dear friend, Lisa. The book ends up being more a response to the loss of her loved ones, an understanding of her own grief, and way to help her (and the reader) move on when things feel devastating.

I loved this book. I got so much out of it and wept openly in sections. While the grief is ever present through out, there are also conversations about knowing your own worth, finding ways to be truly empathetic, and seeking out true love and joy that were valuable.


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 41cFc108RGL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Historical fiction at its best. The Nickel Boys is inspired by a real life nightmare of a reform school, and follows two fictional characters who grapple with the horrors they experience, the friendships they create, and the prejudice they face as young Black men in Jim Crow Florida.

Colson Whitehead is a professional writer of the finest caliber. He is exacting and precise. There is not a word wasted in this book. You get to know the characters and feel for them deeply. The way this story unfolds is near perfection.


The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff

A beautifully told oral history of the events of September 11, 2001 as told by the people who lived the day. The accounts range from employees who went to work in the World Trade Center to the Vice President tucked away in a bunker, to a mother who gave birth on that fateful day, to worried family members whose loved ones were aboard hijacked planes. This book encapsulates the emotions and voices of a nation in fear, and without any answers.

What this book does best is connect the reader to the anxiety of that day. It is an extremely emotional book and there were times in my reading where I could feel my heart rate quicken as I turned each page. More than any event this book is about the feelings. We all know what happened that day, but this book will live on as a document of what it felt like to live through this historic event.


Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 31xu90fbaVL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

A collection of essays that are at once smart, funny, and truly thought provoking. Cottom is one of the most critical and nuanced thinkers on race and gender, and she centers the experience of Black women consistently in her work. Thick is effortless in its ability to move between ideas of intersectionality, the art of “the turn” is perfected in these pages.

I loved how I felt challenged in reading this book. I didn’t always understand what Cottom was saying on the first read, and was forced to go back and grapple with the work. I applaud Cottom for not making her work small to accommodate her reader. Her writing is too important for that. Go read Thick. You will learn things, you will connect dots you never knew you could. It is powerful and empowering.


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.

The Stacks Book Club — January 2020

A brand new year (and decade) is just around the corner, and we’re looking forward to reading some fantastic books to kick the year off right. January 2020, is one of those rare three book months around here and we’re celebrating with three books that are completely different from one another. Variety is the spice of life, so let’s live a little!

First up, on the first day of the year, January 1st, we’re reading Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li. This novel tells the story of the inner workings of a family run Chinese restaurant and all the people who make the Duck Palace run, that is until disaster strikes. Li’s novel is a little fun, a little who-done-it, and a whole lot about what it means to be family.

Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool is economist Emily Oster’s look into the studies that inform parenting decisions and fuel “mommy wars”. Oster challenges conventional wisdom using data points and cost-benefit analysis, and gives parents the freedom to decide what is best for their families. This is certainly a book about parenting, but more than that it is a book about how we can make better decisions for our lives. We will read this book on January 15th.

Our final book for the month will be Jia Tolentino’s essay collection Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion. The book is a series of essays that get at what it is to be alive right now. It is questions, contradictions, observations, and insights into the moment as explained by one of this generation’s greatest thinkers. The essays examine life on the internet, “difficult women”, and the art of the scam. It is a challenging and insightful read that we’re discussing on January 29th.

As always, we want to hear from you, so please reach out with your thoughts, questions, and things you want to hear discussed on the podcast. You can email us at thestackswithtraci@gmail.com, comment on this post, or reach out through Instagram @thestackspod.

Order your copies of our January books on Amazon or IndieBound:


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 received a copy of Cribsheet and Trick Mirror from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. For more information click here.

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.