Book clubs have a long history of attracting people wanting to connect with others to discuss books and the ideas within their pages. While fiction dominates book club selections, more and more people are using book clubs as a way to explore issues such as systemic racism or Truth and Reconciliation. These clubs also seek to pick books written by writers whose identities intersect across cultures, sexual orientations, and genders. While not a substitution for allyship, book clubs, if done right, enables the difficult conversations about race and privilege as a catalyst to true inclusion within society. This leaves two questions:
- Where to start?
- What are some good recommendations?
Assembling the Book club
Looking to start a book club amongst your friends or colleagues? There are a number of places to learn how to assemble people for an Anti-Racism Book. Indigo has a section on how to start a book club with some simple tips and made for the video chatting in mind. Libraries have not only hosted book clubs but also provides details on matters like logistics and book choice. Edmonton Public Library has 8 things to think about when starting a book a club, while our own Winnipeg Public Library also has tips for starting and sustaining book clubs as well as book club kits for those wanting to stay with fiction and read more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) authors.
The Diversity Training Team within Library and Academic Services has conducted its own Book Club with books either within Red River’s own collection or through Winnipeg Public Library. Below is a list of titles discussed for anyone looking for ideas:
- So You Want to Talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo
- White Fragility – Robin DiAngelo
- Policing Black Lives – Robyn Maynard
- 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act – Bob Joseph
- In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation – Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail (Editor)
- Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning – Cathy Park Hong
Even without a book group, each of the titles is worth reading on your own or if you want more on this topic, check out the Anti-Racism Learning Toolkit.
Written by Fatima DeMelo – Reference Technician, Information and Program Delivery