This Unabridged features audio from our first stop on the Stacks tour in Oakland with Leila Mottley. We talk about her book Nightcrawling and reality TV as an example. We also give audience book recommendations with a special guest. This is an edited version of the live show, so if you want more, come join us on tour! Get your tickets here.
*This episode is exclusive to members of The Stacks Pack on patreon. To join this community, get inside access to the show, and listen now, click the link below.
*Due to the nature of podcast advertising, these timestamps are not 100% accurate and will vary.
Traci Thomas 0:00
Hi everybody, it’s me Traci, checking in with you letting you know what you’re about to hear on today’s episode of The Stacks Unabridged, it is in fact an abridged version of the live in the Stacks tour stop in Oakland, California back on July 22. I’m talking to the amazing Leila Mottley, who you might have heard on previous episodes of the Stacks. We’re talking about her incredible book, Nightcrawling, pop culture and so much more. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek of the tour. And if you like what you hear, be sure to grab your tickets to get the full experience for our shows in Chicago in August or shows in New York and DC in September and our final show in Los Angeles, California in October. I cannot wait to see you all in The Stacks.
Everybody, welcome. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Hi. Yeah, it’s my fucking birthday. It’s chaos. So hi, everyone. Welcome. For those of you who don’t know me who were dragged here by your girlfriend, your wife, your cousin, your husband. I’m Traci Thomas. I’m the creator and host of a podcast called The Stacks where we talk about books. Yeah, that’s it. It’s a book show tonight, nominally a book show. Thank you all for coming. I’m really nervous. I’m so glad you’re all are here. When I decided to do the show in 2018. And the whole back corner back there. That’s like my friends and family. They were all like, Okay. And now here we are doing a tour starting in Oakland, my hometown. So thank you all for coming. For those of you who did not know me before 2018. I’d like to thank you extra for coming because you weren’t forced to be here getting aggressive text messages like did you buy your ticket? But now we’ll bring out Leila. Leila Motley. She wrote this book, it’s called Knight crawling. My copy does not have the Oprah Winfrey book club sticker on it. But this was a fucking Oprah Winfrey book club pet. Leila was 17 years old when she wrote this book. 17. She’s 21. Now as of last month. She’s an Oakland native. This book was a fun was a long list for the Booker Prize, which is a very important book prize. For those of you who don’t know, you can tell it’s important because it’s called the Booker and it’s her books. She also was the youth Poet Laureate of Oakland. She’s literally done more in her 21 years of life than the rest of us. And I know nobody else here is even close to 21. So without further ado, I’m gonna bring out Leila Mottley. Come on out Leila A. Okay, let’s dive in. So Leila was on the Stacks podcast in June 2021 When your book came out, but when I talked to you, it was the week before the book had been released. And I had done some detective work, though you did not tell me. I was like, this is going to be one of those book club picks. I didn’t know it was Oprah. So I didn’t get to ask you about Oprah. So we’re going to talk about Oprah but for now. It’s been a year. You’re meeting audiences. You’re in the world. What’s it like now?
Leila Mottley 3:35
What’s it like now? I mean, it is quiet right now.
Traci Thomas 3:42
The book people.
Leila Mottley 3:44
I have spent the past year traveling more than I have in my entire life. And it’s been great and it’s been horrible.
Traci Thomas 3:54
Leila Mottley 3:57
Traci Thomas 3:59
Do you have a specific horrible Airport? The worst?
Leila Mottley 4:02
Traci Thomas 4:05
Leila Mottley 4:07
America baby -wooo. That’s how they feel about us.
Traci Thomas 4:13
It’s just that’s my World Cup energy. I’m going full USA vibes. Favorite airport. Oakland. No brainer. It’s a homer so much better. Oakland is a fantastic airport.
Leila Mottley 4:29
They always fly me through SFO and I’m so mad. The publisher huh?
Traci Thomas 4:34
Send a letter to Mr. Cannon off and be like, I want to I have sold enough copies of this book for you to fly me out of Oakland. Figure it out produce flights just for me. Yeah, get a private jet publishing has that kind of money, right?
Leila Mottley 4:48
Traci Thomas 4:50
not one does. We’re very pro union around here. Also, just FYI. Shout out to the SOG set out to WGA. Shout out to you. PS shout out to the teamsters teacher Are all of you we love you? Okay. I have to know about Oprah. Is this is my only question run on my only question. My most important question. Oprah Winfrey. Did you meet her?
Leila Mottley 5:13
No. Not in person. No.
Traci Thomas 5:19
Well she can take a fucking fly private jet to meet you.
Leila Mottley 5:22
For context. Stedman and Gayle got COVID right when my book came out. So she was about to be out here like that.
Traci Thomas 5:31
What were Stedman and Gayle doing?
Leila Mottley 5:34
She says that Steadman has to stay in the other house if he wants to go out.
Traci Thomas 5:41
More Oprah to hotdogs. Hotdogs which is fair, wait, if he wants to go out were
Leila Mottley 5:55
like, wonder what he’s doing.
Traci Thomas 5:57
Like if he wants to, like if he wants to be led out or like it’s big.
Leila Mottley 6:02
There’s just like 400 acres. She’s fine.
Traci Thomas 6:06
Okay, she is fine as always he Yeah. He’s like a kept man and the other house. I was like, two pools. Have you seen the house?
Leila Mottley 6:18
No, but they have like 10 of them. He could go to the Hawaii house.
Traci Thomas 6:21
They do have a Hawaii house. Did you see that? She was like giving out copies? Have you seen her social recently? Have you guys seen her Oprah book club social media recently? Yes, yes. Yes, it is. My obsession. She’s like going to regular places be killer. Like she’s went to the beach. She went to the beach, two copies of the book. And literally everyone. She’s like, Hey, do you want this book? And everyone behind her is like, oh, yeah, I’d love the book. Can you just smile? There’s like, 30 people behind her and she’s like, you want a picture? And like hands it to her assist. It’s just, it’s like, oh, Oprah. She’s just like us like No, Oprah. Literally nothing like us. You have Stedman locked and the other.
Leila Mottley 7:05
Did you see that? Trevor Noah interview where he’s like, do you ever, like run out of toilet paper? Like, does it ever just like get to the end of the roll? And she’s like, No, no.
Traci Thomas 7:17
And honestly, more black women need to live in a world where we do not get to the end of the fucking raw. She’s the hero. She’s the blueprint. Okay, but I do have serious open questions. You never released a book before, obviously. So you don’t know what it could have been like, or what it might have been like, but you are 20 years old. You released this book into the world with a fucking Oprah sticker right on top of it. What does that do for you? What does that mean to you? What does that look like? I just what is that?
Leila Mottley 7:49
Um, I didn’t I didn’t process it for about four months before because when I heard about it was like February and then the book came out in June. And normally, like I’d been prepared for the pub date to be kind of an anticlimactic process. You know, like, people tell you pub, nothing happens on pub day. But then with Oprah, everything happens on pub day. So I woke up at 3am and went on CBS. And it’s very bright in there. Just so you know, like, it’s so bright in there that it wakes you right up. And then I had interviews and events throughout the day. And I think I gained like 5000 followers on Instagram in one like hour. And so I everything changed. And then nothing changed because I turned my phone off and I gave it to my partner. And then nothing happened because the real world is actually really quiet. And books don’t matter to most people
Traci Thomas 8:53
not these people would tell these people I literally built a brand on their books matter you guys you’re doing a great job. Matter. Looks matter looks matter.
Leila Mottley 9:06
But like some people have, like never picked up a book. Or at least not in the past 10 years. And so walking down the street, it’s really normal at first and then I got home and it was not normal again. Back to
Traci Thomas 9:20
Oakland. Yeah. Because people recognized you.
Leila Mottley 9:23
Yeah. And and I was used to like Poet Laureate like, Oh, are you the poet laureate, but it wouldn’t happen only sometimes. And it was like low key, but then having people like stop and ask for pictures when you’re in the grocery store and you like don’t want to be seen is is like the
Traci Thomas 9:43
I would totally hate that to please people come up to you know, it’s only happened once Actually, she’s here. This is a you want to hear the fucking This is a great story. So, in 2019 I was pregnant with my two winds, and I was having a secret pregnancy like I didn’t want people to know. So like a lot of my friends didn’t know. Nobody knew I came home from my baby shower. And I was pregnant. And I went with my mom to Emeryville. And I was like, I got my nails done and I had gotten a party nail. Do you guys know what that is? I got like a sparkly pink ring finger like little kid, but I don’t know. I was just like, I want to feel like a kid again. And I’m like, Mom, I need maternity clothes. Let’s go to Old Navy in Emeryville.
Leila Mottley 10:27
Shout out. Shout out to Emeryville,
Traci Thomas 10:30
to Emeryville. And I’m walking through the store with my mom. And someone’s like, are you Tracy from the stacks? And I was like, yes. And she’s like, Oh my god, I love you. I love you, like, so nice to meet you, whatever. And the whole time. I’m like, I’m so fucking pregnant. This bitch is gonna know that I’m fucking. So I’m standing there pregnant with twins. And I’m like, it is so nice to meet you. No, seriously. It’s so great. I’m loving this moment. And she didn’t say anything to your credit. Thank you. But I and then I went back to my brother’s house. And I was like, I was recognized and I’m fucking pregnant. And now everybody’s gonna know that I’m pregnant. Well, you didn’t tell anyone. Shout out Oh, you could stand up Stand up. My first real fan literally happened one other time. But anyway, so I’m famous to people come up to me in an Old Navy all the time. And also Old Navy does not stock maternity clothes in the store. So don’t waste your time. Just order them online. Anyways, helpful. Life tips that nobody asked for life tips, but you’ve got them. Okay, I want to ask you this question. i This might be weird. But do you feel like there’s anything that was maybe like, limited, or that held you back? Because of being picked by Oprah?
Deesha Philyaw 11:54
Um, yeah, it’s a different. It’s a different experience. It’s automatically more commercial. Which means I get asked questions about Oprah. And my age.
Traci Thomas 12:10
These are fucking questions. Okay, relax. It’s an attack on my birthday.
Leila Mottley 12:16
And, and sometimes, like no one even mentions the book.
Traci Thomas 12:21
It’s called Night crawling. Should we tell them what it’s about? Okay, let’s tell you what it’s about. I just assume since you’re all here, you’ve read the book, but obviously not. So the book is so Do you all remember 2017? Is that when that start
Leila Mottley 12:35
25th 2016 2015 2016,
Traci Thomas 12:39
a little bit of 2017. There were the Oakland Police Department that was propositioning under age, sex workers, and abusing them. Well, Leila took that in fictionalized it and wrote this fantastic book. So the book is about the lovely law enforcement of Oakland that has been doing an awesome job and not abusing their power ever. And she fixed she fictionalized it you made them awful. I can’t believe how did you do that? Did you get pushback? Did you hear from the Op Ed? Did anybody say anything about it?
Leila Mottley 13:18
I don’t think you directly here from well, but
Traci Thomas 13:20
did you hear from them but like they have their ways or whatever?
Leila Mottley 13:23
No, not yet, but it’s not even banned yet. So it’s not I don’t think it’s even banned. But I know they gotta get on my
Traci Thomas 13:31
see these. Yes. I don’t even know what to ban. Yeah, and I don’t know.
Leila Mottley 13:34
To be fair again. The internet is where most most things happen. Just not on the internet. I’m not I’m not really on the internet. No, but I
Traci Thomas 13:43
thought that you guys were on Tik Tok you young people as that’s where people told me to go to connect with a young listener.
Leila Mottley 13:50
I lurk on Tik Tok. Okay, thank God. But I I stay away from book things. And like, I basically just learn like how to do my laundry and like roll the Dubay which is a great, you don’t know it.
Traci Thomas 14:07
You learn at 21 Like how to fold the fitted sheet. So know that I so badly wish I had one to make you show us that you’d learn. I do
Leila Mottley 14:16
know how to do the debate. I don’t. My partner does the
Traci Thomas 14:20
shout out to Mo Mo also cross stitch cross stitches and cross stitched me a bookmark to one that says my name and one that says live in the stacks with today’s date on it. So she’s the MVP. Yes, one mil Come on. Um, did you get haters? Do you have haters? That’s how you know when you really make it. Um, so they tell me I mean
Leila Mottley 14:43
have you read good reads? Yeah. I don’t know I supposed to read No, you’re not I made the mistake in the very beginning. And then and then I I read one comment. I said I’m done. You I mean, you kind of have to like turn the intern Get off if you want to, like be a normal, grounded person. And so I don’t look at, I don’t I wouldn’t know. Sometimes I’ll my partner she like does the email, She monitors it. And so sometimes she’ll like, tell me when certain emails or DMS come in
Traci Thomas 15:18
like really mean ones are really nice ones.
Leila Mottley 15:21
Both some weird ones, say more, I get contacted by some incarcerated people, okay. And like, I’m down, but then I look at the message. And I’m like, that’s really creepy. So sometimes, sometimes it gets a little sketchy, but
Traci Thomas 15:45
this is incredible information. I guess my next question is what has interacting with fans been like for you?
Leila Mottley 15:52
Um, it’s great sometimes. Almost sometimes. People are either like, they make my day or they really rock my whole world. I think sometimes, people don’t think of me as a person and assume they know me for my book, but also that like, I’m kind of impenetrable. And so I get people like coming to me, and then like, unloading their lives on me. And sometimes I like really appreciate it. And other times, I don’t other times, I like, I don’t really want to hear what what you thought about it,
Traci Thomas 16:35
right? Like people will give you like constructive criticism.
Leila Mottley 16:38
It’s like, weirder than that. I had this like, older British lady, which again, the Brits, um, and she luck. She like stands up during the q&a to ask a question. And she goes, like, I’m just shocked.
Traci Thomas 16:56
Please do a British accent. Damn.
Leila Mottley 16:58
I am not going to try. She goes, I don’t understand how this is happening. It’s surprising. I’m shocked. And there’s never any question. She
Traci Thomas 17:12
just wanted to let you know, she couldn’t believe that the Oakland Police Department was she’s
Leila Mottley 17:15
like, this doesn’t happen. And I’m like, I don’t know what you’re doing in Britain by
Traci Thomas 17:21
here. She’s full of shit. They’re doing the same bullshit in Britain.
Leila Mottley 17:24
They are they don’t know. British lady.
Traci Thomas 17:28
How are you on this season of The Bachelorette?
Leila Mottley 17:31
Braden irked me, okay.
Traci Thomas 17:33
And Braden was the villain. Yeah, if you guys don’t know the Bachelorette, the data person 25. Guys, if you don’t know that, that’s right. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a 20th
Deesha Philyaw 17:43
Brayden was a villain. That was also her top choice, which doesn’t usually happen. I like some of her black men. But I know she’s not going to choose that. You
Traci Thomas 17:53
don’t think so? I think that just never
Leila Mottley 17:55
happened. I mean,
Traci Thomas 17:57
Rachel assailant? I’m not Rachel, Michelle and Nate.
Leila Mottley 18:00
Exactly. That was the light skinned season. That’s true. That all of her men.
Traci Thomas 18:06
Yeah, she did have a plethora of light she had she’s so beautifully
Leila Mottley 18:11
well lived weirdly like her brother. Lee they they looked a little weirdly like her brother.
Traci Thomas 18:17
Oh, I don’t remember that. I did not like Brandon on her season.
Leila Mottley 18:21
You’re kidding me. He was my favorite.
Traci Thomas 18:27
Because you’re young and I’m old. But for his sweet. He was so sweet. Like, the sweetest person ever. In that way where it was like, oh my god, like can I hold your microphone for you? Like it was like she can fucking do it like back off you asshole. But he was getting big. He was giving big 22,002 junior prom, white sort of long suit, shiny vest. All of your friends took a picture together. Larry, I know. You know what I’m talking about? You guys, if you’re of a certain age, it’s very 112. But it’s 20 Yeah, he’s giving that vibe it’s giving 112 album cover.
Leila Mottley 19:12
But But Nate the guy she shows. He was as they say there for the wrong reasons.
Traci Thomas 19:19
Leila Mottley 19:20
he what? She was never gonna be with her. He chose the perfect time to leave her because he saw what happened with Dale who left too soon. And then everyone was hating on him.
Traci Thomas 19:31
It’s true. Dale and Claire, you guys Claire and Dale. Literally, if you’re not watching The Bachelor or the Bachelorette, you’re wrong. It is so fucking good, though.
Leila Mottley 19:40
I have a huge time suck. It’s a huge two hours and it’s a week
Traci Thomas 19:45
I’m watching this season. So here’s my hot take on this season. The show has to be completely revamped. It’s it is no longer they don’t have sex. They don’t have social media. So it’s all like a manufactured drama at this point. So it’s sort of like is boring and sucks like it can’t compete with the Vanderpump or whatever the cheating the scans of all
Leila Mottley 20:06
right and you have like love is blind and too hot to handle all of the other we’re having
Traci Thomas 20:11
sex and they’re texting each other and they’re like, like fucking Lexi and what’s her name? It’s like she texts me that you hadn’t sex with her how far where your fingers are like tomato. You guys have parents? It was
Leila Mottley 20:24
so good, though.
Traci Thomas 20:26
So good. Love is wind. And then that was ultimatum. Yeah, specifically the queer season. The straight season was weird. Yeah, the queer season of ultimatum was both incredibly good and also incredibly cringe churning. Yes,
Leila Mottley 20:41
it was very deeply concerning. They were unwell. But this is
Traci Thomas 20:44
my thing about reality TV. I feel like reality TV is talking about a lot of things really well that other mediums and other forms of entertainment like simply cannot. If you watch that season of ultimate queer ultimatum you’re gonna understand the whole like weaponization of therapy speak like it becomes so crystal clear in a way that no scripted no news story, like ever. Could you just see it? And you’re like, holy shit boundaries can also be weapons like, yeah, for sure.
Deesha Philyaw 21:17
Yeah, I grew up on the black Real Housewives. And when Real Housewives of Potomac came out which, great, watch it. There. There’s this like, whole whole season. That’s mostly about like the two light skinned black women going like, I’m not biracial. Because they like have green eyes, blonde hair, and they’re like, both my parents are black. And everyone else is like, but you’re lighter than me, like the biracial girl says, and like, they’re all going back and forth about like, what is race? And what is mixed SNESs and if that isn’t like the most complex conversation ever happened on TV, I don’t know what it is.
Traci Thomas 22:00
Yeah, no, it’s true. I feel like reality TV doesn’t get credit for and like, also Real Housewives. Like a fucking Ramona. If you want to know what a Karen is, or like the weaponization of whiteness, watch the Real Housewives like it’s incredibly clear. And that’s why I’m saying it’s great storytelling. Like they really take these people and they’re like, You are this archetype and you’re gonna tell this story, and we’re gonna love it. Okay, what are you reading right now?
Leila Mottley 22:29
Traci Thomas 22:31
Deesha Philyaw 22:33
And then what’s the what’s the other one? I’m reading fiction book two. And then I just finished my friend’s book, which is like literary ya called? Shut up. This is serious, which is Oakland book.
Traci Thomas 22:46
Oh limit when it came out? January, January 2024. What’s her name?
Leila Mottley 22:52
Gotta Lena exteme.
Traci Thomas 22:55
More to come. Stay tuned. Oakland author, please support her. I should say this right now, while we’re talking about Oakland. I know you all saw the bookstore in the front Marcus books. It’s the oldest black owned bookstore in the country. They showed up today with a whole bunch of books. They got a bunch of laylaz books, really good signs, really good books. They also have a bunch of my favorite books. They have a handful of books about Oakland specifically. So please, support independent bookstores. I am reading a romance novel. What? I know this is so not like me, but I have Do you guys know about the statspack? If you’re in the stacks pack, raise your hands. That’s fucking right. That’s right. That’s right. So the stacks fuck is the Patreon community of the stacks. I’m gonna do a quick plug. $5 a month you get bonus episodes. You get our Discord community. You get shout outs on the show, you get our virtual book club. And right now we have a summer book challenge that the statspack created. They like these great prompts and one of them is to read a romance novel. So I’m reading my romance novel. I’m reading a book from 2021 That’s getting rereleased by Jason who Selena Montgomery is speaking Stacey Abrams, that’s her pen name. Selena Montgomery is her pen name and she used to write a bunch of like thriller, romance novels. Yeah. And so she is rereleasing. It’s called Art of desire. And I gotta be honest, because I’ve been working on this but on stressful busy. I have read about 20 pages. In the last eight days. I have no clue what the books about it’s a romance thriller. There’s like a CIA kind of element going on. But I’m sort of into it because I never read romance and so it for a man
Leila Mottley 24:47
it’s fun. It’s so good. Yeah. I mean, it gives you the same feeling as the Bachelorette.
Traci Thomas 24:52
It’s exactly right. This is getting me Olivia Pope. He He’s like some sort of a spy and some like made up the ITA or Something I don’t know.
Leila Mottley 25:00
I love a complicated romance like or literary romance. They really get me a favor a quick a magazine. Oh, you made it made him full of Ethiopian beauty.
Traci Thomas 25:12
Okay, do you guys want to know? Can I tell you a secret? That’s our August book club pick. You made a fool of death with your beauty.
Leila Mottley 25:22
But all of their work is like it pushes pushes the boundaries, just
Traci Thomas 25:26
the boundaries. I’m told this is a very contentious, like it’s very polarizing romance. People like it half people hate it. So we’re gonna do that. Okay, what about So Obama just released his list of the books you’ve read so far this year? If you’re gonna give us an Obama esque reading list, like three to five books that you would like these people to read that I read this year? Yeah. Or recently? It doesn’t have they don’t have to have come out this year.
Leila Mottley 25:52
Okay. I’m Sillitoe by hobby.
Traci Thomas 25:57
Okay, it’s a memoir. Such a
Leila Mottley 25:59
good memoir. I love a memoir. I read 1000 Splendid Suns. Oh, last year.
Traci Thomas 26:04
Yeah. So same author as The Kite Runner. Yeah,
Deesha Philyaw 26:08
yeah. Um, let’s see what else. Uh, I just reread suit lab. Iconic. Yeah. Well, it was on residency. And it was good as always,
Traci Thomas 26:21
did you do tin house? dowel? There all fancy. There are these writer residencies where all of your new favorite writers that you’ll learn about in like a year or two go to learn and be in community? Houses? Yeah, that’s what 10 houses. We have a tin house professor here. We have a tin house student here. Fellow. I don’t know what they call you all. Yes. So you’ll get to read their books in the future. But it’s basically just like a place a safe place to go and write and be in community because writing is solitary for a lot of people. And writers like to learn continuing education, all of those things, right.
Deesha Philyaw 26:58
Yeah. And there, there are different presidencies. I went to McDowell which is one of like the artists residency so they’re like filmmakers, and photographers and visual artists there too. And basically, they give you a cabin in the woods and you stay there and you don’t leave and you just have to show up for dinner and otherwise, so you’re
Traci Thomas 27:18
living your best Stedman life. Exact locked in the back house,
Leila Mottley 27:23
and it’s a good life.
Traci Thomas 27:24
Promises Stedman wait. Okay, so I want to know anything else on the list. And we have Sula, we have solito. We have already forgot 1000
Deesha Philyaw 27:37
sons. I read a lot of poetry shout out to match magical negros Morgan Parker. I love all things. Morgan Parker. Sonia Sanchez is a collection which got under a soprano sky. I think I just reread No,
Traci Thomas 27:58
I don’t know. Okay, great poetry. Fantastic. I’m gonna give you my Obama list. There’s a book called We were once a family. That is my A one. Everybody listens to the show. You know, everybody doesn’t listen to the show. You’re on the outs. Do you guys remember the Hart family murders, this is gonna get dark. There was a couple two white women, they adopted six black kids, then they drove them off a cliff and like 2018. So it’s a reported journalism book about this story. But it has done so well. She focuses on the birth families and the families that were separated from their children and then also does investigative journalism into child separation in America. And if you want to rage, that’s a different kind of rage. In a good way. That’s a book that’s definitely on my list. I would say. I would say chain gang All Stars by Nan Kwame RJ branya. It is death, death row and people who are incarcerated for 25 years or more. It’s fiction put into a battle for the death for three years. If you survive for three. If you win, you move on if you lose, you’re dead. And if you make it for three years, you are released. You’re free. You’re freed, exonerated of your crimes. Wild book so good. I will say poverty by America by Matthew Desmond. He’s the guy who wrote evicted he’s a Pulitzer Prize winner. It’s all about how poverty in America is by design. If you want to rage again, I guess a lot of books make me rage is what I’ve realized. I guess I need one more. Well, let’s do poetry. For me. Well do promises of gold by Jose Oliver’s. And it’s such a good collection collection. It’s an English if you read it one direction. It’s in Spanish if you read it the other direction. It is so good. There’s a poem about Cheetos. There’s a poem about he calls it a love letter to his homies and it he’s from Chicago, but I feel like Jose has Oakland San It’s ability. Chicago and Oakland have a little thing going they have a vibe. So it’s very Oakland vibes. Okay, those of you who filled out book recommendation cards we’re about to do that. But before we do that, I do have something special a surprise guest for all of you. I know. You all know Leila, fantastic author, she has been sitting with us. But I also have one of my other favorite authors who just moved to Oakland. Her name is de Shafilea, and she wrote this book. It’s called The Secret Lives of church. Ladies come on up Disha Tisha is going to come up to this stage. And we’re gonna do for the last like, 234 minutes. I don’t know a little bit. We’re gonna do book live book recommendations. A lot of you submitted what you’re looking for in a book, we’re gonna pull them from this little bucket and we’re just going to free flow. This is the Shafilea this Mike’s for you. Welcome to the stage. So this book, I also have without the sticker. The sticker is National Book Award finalist. That’s right. It’s a big looming. Wow. And we should thank you, sir. Um, it’s a big fucking deal. For those of you who don’t know a lot about publishing there are. They call them the big five. They’re the big publishing houses, they publish, like, basically all the books. And then there’s smaller presses, academic presses. And those books don’t have big budgets. They don’t have, you know, they’re not giving you bucket hats and shit, like in the mail and dishes book. I mean, you can tell them a little bit, but it took her years to get it published. Well, it took you a long time to get it sold,
Deesha Philyaw 31:36
right? No, it was short. It’s just that because everybody said no. Because everybody said no quicker, all the big. I only got one offer. And that was from West Virginia University Press.
Traci Thomas 31:44
And that’s who published it. This book went on to fucking be a National Book Award finalist, which is basically it’s like that in the Pulitzer. Right. Those are to me, those are the two those are the two I care about. So this is a collection of short stories. They’re sexy. They’re funny. It’s my favorite short story collection. I promise you if you get it and read, it’s also small. So if you’re nervous, you’ll be fine. But I promise you if you read it, you will find at least one story that you love but who’s read it?
Deesha Philyaw 32:17
Oh my god. Shout.
Traci Thomas 32:19
Thank you. Yeah, so welcome to Isha. So glad you’re here for the gram. Okay. I want to learn something but on accident. I don’t know what that means. But I love it. This person is looking for a fiction book. They books they love 1491. And they’re there shout out Oakland, Tommy orange and other Oakland author. Books you hate boring biographies and memoirs. Who wants to fight Who is this? Raise your hand? Just Liam shout out. Want to learn something but not know that you’re learning something?
Deesha Philyaw 33:02
Oh, okay. I know exactly. Okay. The novel for you. It’s
Traci Thomas 33:06
your mic up. Oh, okay.
Deesha Philyaw 33:09
It is called the profits by Robert Jones Jr. is about to enslaved men in Mississippi who fall in love. Like it’s like, and it also there’s ancestors and Africa and women kings and you learn a lot while you’re just engrossed in this amazing love story that’s also about the horrors of American chattel slavery. Sorry to bring the mood down but slavery does that
Traci Thomas 33:38
sit down positive book?
Deesha Philyaw 33:41
I am pretty sure this is the title but I might have got this wrong. Take my hand. Oh, Mike Perkins. And it’s about the forced sterilization of black girls in the south
Traci Thomas 33:57
it’s an upper tonight everyone. If you listen to the podcast you’re like this is not a surprise if you don’t listen to the podcast or like what is happening with the stacks join the stacks back and find out okay, I’m gonna go I just am so aware when I’m learning Liam I’m just my eyes are open my heart is open to the word I just am always learning I the only book that as I’m like just thinking Chang gang it’s just stuck in my head because it’s right on the front there because it has such their their vibes like it has that darkness to it. I’m gonna stick with changing that’s the right answer. I was gonna try to like search for something but that is the correct answer. Okay, pick one. I mean not correct. The correct for you.
Leila Mottley 34:39
Less than 350 pages, really less than 300 pregnancies. Okay, fiction, and based on these comp titles, oh my god black cake. The swimmers we were once a family all about Love fell hooks The House on Mango Street
Traci Thomas 35:04
That’s an insane calm
Leila Mottley 35:07
so and less than 300 pages
Traci Thomas 35:11
less than 300 pages fictionally from 5350 to 300 Sounds like it’s just has to be like one of the best books ever.
Leila Mottley 35:18
So but kind of like um in in vignettes or okay hmm
Deesha Philyaw 35:26
I got one okay, you’re good it’s a short story collection called Milk blood heat oh yeah by dawn till WMO nice who was my Jacksonville home girl and their stories of girlhood and womanhood set in Duvall.
Leila Mottley 35:41
Okay, good one.
Traci Thomas 35:43
I want to go with your book secret legs with church ladies, because that’s also going to give you less than 350 vignettes is already on there. Is it a comp? Oh, I thought you were double checking my work. Check, but it’s just so good. Which I feel like all of those books are just really good. Yeah. Okay. Do you have anything, Leila?
Leila Mottley 36:04
I know I’m drawing a blank on this one. Oh, we read at the bone. Oh.
Traci Thomas 36:11
Good. Pass dance club.
Deesha Philyaw 36:14
Yeah, amazing. Or many juggling?
Traci Thomas 36:16
Yeah, another Brooklyn Jacqueline Woodson to whose question was that? Oh my gosh. What No. Wait, wait, wait,
Deesha Philyaw 36:24
what about walking on cowrie shells by Nana and Kuwaiti. So it’s a short story collection written by a Cameroonian American writer. They’re funny. They’re sexy. Smart. Katniss. No skips in this collection.
Traci Thomas 36:41
That’s good. Did you read Friday black? Okay. You just read with the stack. So yes. sounds impossible recommend. Okay, here’s the book I haven’t read yet. But I want to read and hit your criteria. It’s called Big Swiss. Have you heard about this one? Okay. Big Swiss, you know, Elijah shadow. It’s a woman who is transcribing a her boss is a sex therapist, and she’s transcribing the sex therapy sessions and becomes obsessed with one of the people who she’s nicknamed big Swiss. And it’s sort of like comedy funny. And she like, stalks her, like becomes friends with her because she knows what the woman’s into. So she like knows how to, like meets up with her at the playground or like sees her at the coffee shop. So yeah, you pull on? Yeah, sounds good. Right. Thanks, Jen began to think okay did not was our last one.
Deesha Philyaw 37:36
All right, something beyond my every day. Books you love CGAS can chain gang stars, books you hate cold mountain fiction or nonfiction? So we read the first line again? Something beyond my everyday like science
Leila Mottley 37:52
Traci Thomas 37:54
Is that what whose question is that? You want sci fi fantasy? Something different? Okay. Well, the book I’m obsessed with right now is called country of the blind. Have I told you about this one yet? Have you read it? Okay, country of the blind memoir and research. The man who wrote it has RP which is read in retinitis pigmentosa, which means he’s slowly going blind over time. So he wrote a book about himself going blind, but also researched and talked to a bunch of other people who have been blinded at different parts of their life. And it’s like all about the blind culture blind community blind thought it is so incredibly good. It’s really thoughtful, really smart. And it made me think about like my eyes differently and like seeing the world differently and all of that stuff and I just think if you’re looking for something outside of how you take in the world, this is definitely one of those books the country of the blind and it’s by Andrew Leland, I would
Deesha Philyaw 38:57
say wayward lives beautiful experiments by Cydia Hartman a different way to look at what nonfiction even is and nonfiction kind of combined with narrative and looking at like the archive and all of its gaps beautifully written to
I would recommend a book that’s just out called temple folk by Alia below and it’s just a collection of short stories about Black Muslim women.
Traci Thomas 39:24
Love it. Alright everybody, we’re done. We did it. We made it to the end. Thank you guys so much. Again, thank you Happy Birthday against your cake. Get this literally a bar full of cake. Get your cake. Thank you to Leila. Thank you to Deesha thank you guys so much for coming here. I would drop the mic but I don’t want to go Amber rallies here. I would drop the mic but I don’t want to get yelled at. Thank you. I don’t know I think we just walked off David. Turn up the playlist.
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