Social Justice Book Club

The Social Justice Book Club meets on Zoom the third Thursday of the month at 6:00 PM to discuss social issues that affect our lives.

We will not meet in December.

Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 6 pm. We will read Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.  Contact Marnie Stein or the church office for the link. 

“As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.” Goodreads

Date Change!!!
The book for October is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  We will meet via Zoom on Thursday, October 26 at 6 pm. Contact Marnie Stein or the church office for the link.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • “An American masterpiece” (NPR) that chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. • The basis for the acclaimed original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where more incredible pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes.

In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.

Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 6 pm. We are reading Nevertheless: American Methodist and Women’s Rights. Contact Marnie Stein or the church office for the link. 

This book tells the story of American Methodist women’s efforts to fight for women’s rights, beginning with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and ending with the #MeToo movement. Each chapter documents particular Methodist women and provides the reader with a basic historic context of the time or situation at hand as it shows how Methodist women engaged and fought for women’s equality or women’s rights in American society and American Methodism.

Thursday, February 16 at 6 pm.  We are reading Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell. Contact Marnie Stein or the office for the link.
What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we’re looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join—and more importantly, stay in—extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell’s argument is that, on some level, it already has . . .
Thursday, January 19 at 6 pm.  We are reading Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh.  Contact Marnie Stein or the office for the link.
For almost a decade, Claudia has counseled patients at Mercy Street, a clinic in the heart of the city. The work is consuming, the unending dramas of women in crisis. For its patients, Mercy Street offers more than health care; for many, it is a second chance.
Thursday, September 22 at 6:00 pm – Misfire, Inside the Downfall of the NRA by Tim Mak
Tim Mak’s Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA might be the final blow in terms of exposing the organization’s rotten core and showing how a boundless love for money and power — as well as nepotism, fraud, and corruption — have been eating away at the NRA’s foundations for a long time. npr
Thursday, July 21 at 6:00 pm – Tastes Like War: A Memoir by Grace M. Cho
Social Justice Themes: Mental Health, War, Colonialism, Immigrants
Part food memoir, part sociological investigation, Tastes Like War is a hybrid text about a daughter’s search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia. In her mother’s final years, Grace learned to cook dishes from her mother’s childhood in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother’s multiple voices at the table. And through careful listening over these shared meals, Grace discovered the things that broke the brilliant, complicated woman who raised her and the things that kept her alive.
Thursday, June 23 at 6:00 pm – Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus
Social Justice Theme – Women’s Equality
A delight for readers of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, this blockbuster debut set in 1960s California features the singular voice of Elizabeth Zott, a scientist whose career takes a detour when she becomes the star of a beloved TV cooking show. (This should be a lighter, funnier read than usual).

Thursday, May 19@ 6 pm – All Boys Aren’t Blue

The Social Justice Book Club is reading a “banned” book for May and will discuss how banning books fit in with social justice.  The book is All Boys Aren’t Blue, a memoir-manifesto by George M. Johnson.  The discussion will be held Thursday, May 19 at 6 pm via Zoom.  Contact Marnie Stein for a copy of the book or the Zoom Link.

Thursday, February 24 at 6 pm—Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against
America’s Dirty Secret by Catherine Coleman
One of Smithsonian magazine’s Ten Best Science Books of 2020

Catherine Coleman Flowers, a 2020 MacArthur “genius”, grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that’s been called “Bloody Lowndes” because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggles, today it’s Ground Zero for a new movement that is also Flowers’s life’s work—a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor, lack an affordable means of disposing cleanly of the waste from their toilets and, as a consequence, live amid filth. Flowers calls this America’s dirty secret. In this “powerful and moving book” (Booklist), she tells the story of systemic class, racial, and geographic prejudice that foster Third World conditions not just in Alabama, but across America, in Appalachia, Central California, coastal Florida, Alaska, the urban Midwest, and on Native American reservations in the West.

Thursday, March 24 at 6 pm-TheFirebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

In 1938, the twenty-eight-year-old Pauli Murray wrote a letter to the President and
First Lady, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, protesting racial segregation in the South.  Eleanor wrote back. So began a friendship that would last for a quarter of a century, as Pauli became a lawyer, principal strategist in the fight to protect Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and a co-founder of the National Organization of Women, and Eleanor became a diplomat and first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.