The Return of Book Club

Hey y’all! It’s been a while. I fell off of facilitating Book Club at the end of summer/early fall while my life was messy. Thank you to @Jolie_Ze and @Harold for working to keep that torch aloft when I dropped it. There have been attempts (mostly by Ryeder) to rekindle Book Club, but it petered out in the past few months.

I want to relight the torch.

This conviction brings questions:

  1. Do y’all want Book Club back?
  2. Where would we start?
  3. Where would we go?
  4. When would we do it?

Only you can answer number 1. I have some thoughts on the others.

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What is Book Club?

For those of you who haven’t experienced Book Club: we don’t follow the typical “book club” format. In other book clubs, people have to read a specific section of the book before the meeting time, and then the club discusses that section.

That’s way too much work (and specifically, executive function) for most of us.

For our Book Club, all you have to do is get the book and show up. We read through the book together, aloud, in real-time. Whenever someone wants to talk about something we just read, or wants let something sink in, or just wants to breathe for a minute, they call “pause” and we pause. We discuss. We consider. We wiggle. We breathe.

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2. Where would we start?

We’ve been reading Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown. When we stopped, we were in the middle of the second-to-last chapter, Tools for Emergent Strategy Facilitation. It’s a really wonderful and insigtful chapter, but I’d like to wind us back to a slightly jucier chapter to get us started. I want to restart at the top of Spells and Practices for Emergent Strategy.

What do y’all think? What do you want?

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3. Where would we go?

What will we read after Emergent Strategy? I got stuck on this question pretty hard, and that was a big part of me not reviving Book Club sooner.

Many people made wonderful suggestions, such as @AL0YSI0USAMAZING and comprehensive book list. I’m especialy interested in We Will Not Cancel Us (adrienne maree brown), My Grandmother’s Hands (Resmaa Marnakem), and Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment (Leticia Nieto et al).

Other suggestions include The Next American Revolution (Grace Lee Boggs), Holding Change (adrienne maree brown), and Race After Technology (Ruha Benjamin).

That’s a lot of books!!

If you feel overwhelmed (like I have) looking at this list of amazing books, take a few breaths. This is all for fun and expanding our minds.

I propose that once we finish Emergent Strategy, we read We Will Not Cancel Us. After that, we could:

  • continue in the vein of adrienne maree brown, or
  • pick from the list. (Should I make a separate Discourse post just for keeping track of book suggestions for Book Club? It seems like it might be the most centralised and easily-updated method.)

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4. When would we meet?

It looks like Monday & Tuesday after 1PM PST and Wednesday after 2PM PST are pretty open. Book Club meetings have typically been an hour and a half. I propose 1:30 - 3 PM PST on Mondays. Does that sound good to y’all? If not, I’ve spun up a poll to see when would be good. (I recommend switching it from “Table” view to “Calendar” view.)

In closing,

I miss Book Club. I specifically miss spending chill, insightful time discussing thoughts and feelings with all of you. I’m sorry it took me this long to spin back up. As/if it returns, I want to find at least one other person who is comfortable facilitating so Book Club’s existence isn’t quite so tied to my well-being.

So yeah, wanna read some books together?

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I would SOOPER love to do this! @MorganicMovement, @Rachel and I had been talking about reading “Holding Change” together so maybe we wait on that and do it as a group! I really love that we read aloud together because the myriad ways im situated to NOT follow through and therefore feel outside of traditional book clubs is no joke and this feels so accessible. pumped. love it. yes and more please! has anyone ever looked into buying a small wholesale lot of books at a discounted price direct from publisher and disseminating them? Ive done that a few times with some communities I was in pre-covid times! just wondering if that would make it more financially accessible to some folx too. If we decided on the title to start with I could do some research and see what wholesale options exist <3

to clarify, is emergent strategy being read in a book club at present? When do you imagine a new round would start up? I did just buy holding change so im eager to crack it open but if I needed to vote on another book my top choices are: We will not cancel us and Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment.

Thanks for bringing this in, @ezraU! @AL0YSI0US is the book list specifically only books you’ve read or are you looking to add to that as a general resource?

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Hell yeah! Very glad to hear your interest!

HELL yes. I also got Holding Change a couple weeks ago, and I would love to read that with a group.

Book Club has been reading Emergent Strategy for a little over a year at this point, including the 6ish months the club has been in flux / dormant. We are almost to the end, but that being said: it does take us a while to get through a book together. I think we’d finish Emergent Strategy within 2 months, but I’m not sure of the specifics. We Will Not Cancel Us is short but juicy – only 86 pages to Emergent Strategy’s 274.

I’m very open to the idea of doing two simultaneous Book Clubs, so long as there’s interest in both! (People could totally do more, but my bandwidth is limited to 2.)

That sounds super rad! Historically we’ve had 5-10 members at a time (tho it’s always been open to anyone who wants to drop in) and some of our members live outside of the US, if that is useful in your calculations.

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To answer your question, that was a reading list I had going for books I had read…

  • Do I think an internal list could be made for SC >> You bet, could be a contribution :person_shrugging:t6:

HOLDING CHANGE

I’m a kinda to holding change // Have read it 2x’s but can read again.

Beyond Inclusion Beyond Empowerment

  • is less accessible as the book is 60$-ish
  • Do I think it’s the MOST potent and thorough literature? yes // it translates oppression into gentle coder terminology that is decolonized and adoptable without headache even if you don’t speak computer {Leticia doesn’t that I am aware of, she just understands decolonizing language}, and its neuroplasticity work as is integrating new ideology. I love that she tends shame when she speaks // no one gets attacked in thier ignorance. We don’t know what we don’t know.

B U T a l s o . . .

I have a desire to consider this book as Tyson pulls up some of the REAL WORLD STUFF // climate change, genocide etc. We can do more work here in my opinion integrating our collective wisdom around this text and working with Longhouse. My HEARTS full blown activism outside of the SC server and I have capacity for it here too.

  • Sand Talk [@Ellie offered to reach for Tyson Yunkaporta to come talk, she reached out to me just before we returned, So if folx wanted more context for that talk it could make it more rich for everyone if we all read ahead together {i know some people have read his book} // It’s available on Audible too.]

Also my reading list has evolved / is a work in progress / still documenting my heaps I’m leaving a bunch of books I own out of this but here’s what has made the cut so far. . . :books: click here :books:

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Long live book club!

Thanks for picking this back up @ezraU. Lots of great suggestions. I like We Will Not Cancel us. Sand Talk is so good too, could be nice and generative.

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Dang, I’m impressed to hear you’ve already made it through twice! I would love to hear your thoughts on it sometime. I definitely hear that you’ve already read it plenty.

omg YES, I forgot about this book in my scrambly brain!! Hell yes. This sounds like a great choice and very timely with our current connections.

Bless, thank you for the updated reading list! I have a BUNCH of these books on my shelf but haven’t yet read them. Many juicy choices. And I appreciate your categories and descriptions! Thank you for sharing!

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:books: Recap :

we will not cancel us / holding change / Race After Technology / Sand Talk / Beyond Inclusion Beyond Empowerment…

// a simple poll could be used to vote in the server

Could be a teachable moment. :robot:

I missed @Jolie_Ze 's book …a visual reminder here that its still in the mix for books to consider as a group. Apologies for not carrying its imagery and desire forward with the culmination of bookclub thoughts.

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

by Ruha Benjamin

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity. Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life. This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold but also the ones we ourselves manufacture.

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