Ep. 251 The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey — The Stacks Book Club (Chelsea Devantez)

Chelsea Devantez, host of the Celebrity Book Club podcast, returns to discuss our January Book Club pick The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey with Michaela Angela Davis. In breaking down her memoir, we get into Mariah’s relationships, her experience of race and her dynamic with her parents. We also couldn’t help but compare aspects of Mariah’s story to what Prince Harry shares in his new memoir Spare.

Be sure to listen to then end of today’s episode to find out what our book club pick will be in February 2023.

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 and on Bookshop.org and Amazon.

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

Connect with Chelsea: Instagram | Twitter | Website | Celebrity Book Club
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.

The Stacks Book Club – January 2023

Our first Stacks Book Club selection of the year is the 2020 autobiography The Meaning of Mariah Carey, by Mariah Carey written along with Michaela Angela Davis. Mariah is a global icon in pop and R&B music. In this memoir, the artist and legendary vocalist recounts the many highs and lows of her personal and professional struggles – the triumphs and traumas that had thus far been reported on by everyone but Mariah herself, on her own terms. Mariah on her book: “I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side. Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.”

We will discuss The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey on Wednesday, January 25th. You can find out who our guest will be by listening to the podcast on January 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 January book on Bookshop.org and Amazon, or listen to the audiobook.


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. 247 True Biz by Sara Nović — The Stacks Book Club (Greta Johnsen)

For our final book club pick of 2022, Greta Johnsen is back to discuss True Biz by Sara Nović, a novel about the teachers and students of a boarding school for the Deaf. We ask who the audience is for this book, and whether the Deaf community should have to teach hearing people about themselves. We also get into the topic of consent with children and parents, especially when it comes to medical decisions.

Be sure to listen to then end of today’s episode to find out what our book club pick will be in January 2023.

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 and on Bookshop.org and Amazon.

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

Connect with Greta: Instagram | Twitter | Nerdette
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.

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 – December 2022

Our Stacks Book Club selection for December is the novel True Biz by Sara Nović. The New York Times Bestseller centers around a diverse trio of students at River Valley, a boarding school for the Deaf. As they seek normal teenage experiences, academic success and bodily autonomy, each must confront the personal, political and family challenges which intertwine and throw their lives into chaos. The engaging, immersive story explores the culture of sign language and lip-reading alongside themes from civil rights and injustice to young love, grief and resilience. True Biz has been named one of the best books of 2022 by The Washington Post, NPR and Publishers Weekly. It is the second novel from translator and creative writing professor Nović, following 2016’s Girl at War.

We will discuss True Biz by Sara Nović on Wednesday, December 28th. You can find out who our guest will be by listening to the podcast on December 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 December book on Bookshop.org and Amazon, or listen to the audiobook through 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. 243 Prison by Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law — The Stacks Book Club (Mariame Kaba)

Today anti-violence activist and author Mariame Kaba returns to discuss Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law for The Stacks Book Club. We highlight the depth of knowledge that this book provides about the history and current state of criminalization, and unpack the idea that prison is something that ties us all together. We ask why so many so-called reforms look like prison and policing, and what solutions might work in their place.

Be sure to listen to the end of today’s episode to find out what our December 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 and on Bookshop.org and Amazon.

Connect with Mariame: 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.

The Stacks Book Club – November 2022

Our Stacks Book Club selection for November is Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms, co-authored by journalists Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law, with a foreword by author and civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander. The book is a searing exposé of the state-sanctioned violence and social control engineered by so-called alternative solutions to incarceration, from surveillance and house arrest to mandated psyche and drug treatments. It peels away the deceptively kind narrative around reform which actually obscures an oppressive and self-perpetuating status quo in crime and punishment. Prison By Any Other Name argues for real change and seeks to inspire a more humane and empowered approach to justice.

We will discuss Prison By Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law on Wednesday, November 30th. You can find out who our guest will be by listening to the podcast on November 2nd. 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 and Amazon, or listen to the audiobook through 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. 238 Fairest by Meredith Talusan — The Stacks Book Club (Anthony Christian Ocampo)

Today professor and author Anthony Christian Ocampo returns to unpack the memoir Fairest by Meredith Talusan. The book is about Talusan’s childhood in the Philippines, immigration to the US, experiences at Harvard, and eventual transition. Traci and Anthony discuss the subjective nature of beauty, and what it means to have an author reckon with their past in a memoir. They differ considerably on their opinions of the book, and lean into a conversation about critique, representation, and responsibility.

Be sure to listen all the way to end of the episode to find out what our November 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 and on Bookshop.org and Amazon.

Connect with Anthony: 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.

The Stacks Book Club – October 2022

Our Stacks Book Club selection for October is Fairest, a memoir by Meredith Talusan. The author’s powerful story spans from her experience of neglect while being raised as a boy with albinism in the Philippines to her transition into womanhood upon immigrating to America. Often passing as white in privileged spaces, Talusan survives the culture shock of racial and sexual politics while adjusting to her newly affirmed identity and the loss of a great love. Her journey challenges our own assumptions about identity, gender and the concept of fairness . Fairest has been likened to a love story in the vein of Austen classics and was a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction.

We will discuss Fairest by Meredith Talusan on Wednesday, October 26th. You can find out who our guest will be by listening to the podcast on October 5th. 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 and Amazon, or listen to the audiobook through 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. 234 The Trees by Percival Everett — The Stacks Book Club (Lisa Lucas)

Today, publisher Lisa Lucas returns to help us break down the 2021 crime novel The Trees by Percival Everett. In discussing the page-turning thriller, we admire the brilliance of the humor and history on every page, and the mastery Percival Everett himself. We also ask questions around the future, past, and present of the United States in the face of palpable political tensions.There are spoilers on this episode.

Be sure to listen all the way to end of the episode to find out what our October 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 and on Bookshop.org and Amazon.

Connect with Lisa: 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.