Ep. 196 A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib — The Stacks Book Club (Andrew Ti)

It’s time for our final episode of The Stacks Book Club of the year, and we’re taking on a favorite book of the year, A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib. We are joined again by podcaster and TV writer Andrew Ti for this conversation which touches on cancel culture, Black cultural stereotypes, the skillful writing of the book, and so much more.

Stay tuned to the end of the episode to find out what our January 2022 Book Club pick will be.

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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 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.

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.

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. 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.

The Stacks Book Club — November 2021

If you’ve been a fan of The Stacks podcast for a while, you know we tackle one Toni Morrison novel every year. This year we’re going with her third novel, 1977’s Song of Solomon. I have to admit, I’m very excited about this one!

Song of Solomon is a coming of age story about Milkman Dead, and his life in the rustbelt in Michigan to his family’s origins in the American South. This book is full of incredibly vivid scenes, adventure, and characters, and ultimately asks questions about what is owed to any of us.

We will be discussing Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison on Wednesday, November 27th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on November 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 November 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.

The Stacks Book Club — October 2021

Last month we read a very serious very heavy book, so this month we’re going in a little bit of a lighter direction. We’re taking on classic romance (ish) novel, Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan.

Waiting to Exhale is novel about four women who rely on each other when the men in their lives prove they really ain’t it. It’s full of humor and heartbreak and a collection of characters you won’t be able to forget. Waiting to Exhale was written in 1992 and changed the ways books and pop culture interacted, especially after the realest of the 1995 film of the same title.

We will be discussing Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan on Wednesday, October 27th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on October 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 October 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. 183 Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson — The Stacks Book Club (Derecka Purnell)

Today on The Stacks we discuss the book that inspired this podcast, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson. We’re joined by Derecka Purnell (activist and author of the forthcoming Becoming Abolitionists) to delve into this Pulitzer Prize winning book; the coverup, the legacy, and the ways we rely on a superficial notion of justice.
There are minor spoilers on this episode.

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

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 Derecka: Twitter | Instagram | 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.

Apostrophe – Go to apostrophe.com/thestacks and use the code THESTACKS for $15 off your dermatologist consultation.

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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. 180 Fifty Years After Attica with Heather Ann Thompson

Today we are joined by Pulitzer Prize winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, Heather Ann Thompson. We discuss her process in researching and writing this epic civil rights story, and the legacy of the uprising 50 years later.

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.

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

Support The Stacks

Kibou Bag – head to kiboubbag.com and use the code THESTACKS for 10% off your minimalist diaper bag.

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 — September 2021

If you’ve been a fan of The Stacks for a while you may know that there was one book that sparked my desire to start the show. I talk about the book all the time, but have never featured it on the show. The timing never seemed right, I never felt like I had the guest to take on such a transformational book. However, September 2021 marks the 50 year anniversary of the uprising at Attica Prison, and so this month, I am proud to say, we are finally reading Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson for The Stacks Book Club.

In her Pulitzer Prize winning book Blood in the Water, Thompson takes the reader through the history of an event that has shaped the criminal legal system over the last 50 years. The book explains the conditions that led to the unrest in the prison, the five days of negotiations, the violent retaking of the prison, and the years of litigation that followed. The book is a master class in research and storytelling. Blood in the Water gives voice to the people who fought for over 45 years for the truth of Attica to be exposed.

We will be discussing Blood in the Water by Heather Ann Thompson on Wednesday, September 29th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on September 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 August 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.

The Stacks Book Club — August 2021

To close out the summer we’re keeping it light around here with a young adult (or maybe new adult) romance novel. Our August pick is Emergency Contact the debut novel from Mary H. K. Choi. If Mary’s name sounds familiar its because she was a guest on The Stacks earlier in 2021, check out our conversation here.

In Emergency Contact we meet Penny and Sam. Penny is a college freshman trying to figure it all out. Sam is a 21 year old feeling stuck and lost which working day and night at the bakery he lives in. They meet in a less than adorable fashion and exchange numbers, they begin to text and then become digitally inseparable, without seeing each other in real life. The characters in Emergency Contact are complex and unlikeable in the most relatable ways. Ultimately this is a story of falling apart and trying to hold on to something or someone until you find your way.

We will be discussing Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi on Wednesday, August 25th. You can find out who our guest will be for that discussion by listening to the podcast on August 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 August 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.