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20 Of The Best Books for Dads

Father’s Day is coming up, and we know that many of you struggle with what to get your dads! Books are always a great idea, but sometimes finding dad books are hard…but you definitely know one when you see it! We’ve rounded up some of the best new and upcoming books for dads so no matter what the father figure in your life likes to read, you’ll find something that’s sure to make him smile!

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

Erik Larson’s books are total dad catnip, and this newest release focuses on Churchill’s efforts to keep moral high during WWII as London was bombed, but also the strain the war had on his immediate family. If your dad has already read this one, then try Churchill & Son by Josh Ireland!

Einstein’s Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe by Paul Sen

For the scientifically minded dad, this is a really great book about how the study of thermodynamics was developed, but written in an accessible way to demonstrate how the human understanding of hot and cold–and being able to control heat–changed our world forever. 

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking by Bill Buford

This is a humorous memoir about how Bill Buford decided to move to Lyon, France to train to be a chef, and what was supposed to be a six-month interlude turned into a five-year detour with his family. It’s a great gift for the chef dad in your life!

Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last by Wright Thompson

Pair this book with a bottle of your dad’s favorite whisky for a great gift! Pappyland reveals the story of Pappy Van Winkle, known as the Bourbon Buddha, and his pursuit of making the best Kentucky bourbon in the business amidst remarkable struggles.

The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest by Mark Synnott

For a high-stakes thrilling true adventure, gift the story of Mark Synnott, a veteran mountain climber who decided to scale Mount Everest with the goal of solving a mystery nearly a century old regarding the disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, two climbers who hoped to be the first to reach the highest point in the world. But Synnott’s own climb was plagued by disaster, too. 

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

If your dad is a fan of Matthew McCounaughey’s work, this is an essential memoir full of his ruiminations on life, love, and success, and how to be a good person. It’s drawn from over thirty-five years of diaries he’s kept about his journey, and contains the wisdom he’s learned.

Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever by Gavin Edwards

For so many, Mr. Rogers is a cultural icon that taught kindness and wonder in equal measure, and left a lasting impression on so many kids. This book explores Mr. Rogers’ legacy and creative visions, and his enduring impact and relevance even now.

American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson

For the dad who enjoys history and crime, this is an incredible true story about the birth of CSI and forensic science on the West coast of the U.S. in the 1930’s, focusing on Edward Oscar Heinrich, a remarkable scientist and one of the nation’s first expert witnesses on forensic science.

A Course Called America: Fifty States, Five Thousand Fairways, and the Search for the Great American Golf Course by Tom Coyne

Part travelogue, part golf memoir, part history, this book is the perfect gift for the golf-loving dad. It follows Tom Coyne’s journey across the U.S. playing at some of the most sought-after courses in the U.S., and some of its best hidden gems from coast to coast.

 The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History by Andy Greene

The Office is one of the most popular and most-referenced shows in American pop culture, and in this book Andy Greene dives into the making of the show and its lasting impact, divulging new details.

Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It by Adam Savage

If your dad is handy, then he might enjoy this book about Savage’s exploration of life through the things he’s made and repaired, the wisdom he’s learned, and how it can be applied to all aspects of life.

North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work by Michael Blanding

Shakespeare fans may be familiar with many scholar theories that Williams Shakespeare isn’t the true author the now legendary plays and sonnets, but this book looks at this theory from a slightly different angle: by examining the lengths that one modern scholar went to prove that Shakespeare was a plagiarist, in between an in-depth history of the Elizabeth literary scene.

Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space by Stephen Walker

For the dad fascinated by space, gift this nonfiction title about the first man to ever orbit Earth. He was launched into the atmosphere in a secret USSR mission, and his 108-minute flight made world history. This is a down-to-the-second report of that amazing flight.

Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West by Blaine Harden

For the dad who is a history buff but also knows that this country was gained in an immoral land grab, gift this book that “[exposes] the hucksterism and self-interest at the root of American myth-making” and follows the first missionaries to cross the Rockies, and how their actions and lies led the U.S. to expand forcefully into the West.

The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything by Michio Kaku

For the dad who loves science and philosophy, Kaku explores how Newton’s law of gravity changed our understanding of science, the heavens and earth, and what it means for religious ideas and scientific proof. 

The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance by Ross King

This history book illuminates the life and times of Vespasiano da Bisticci, a famous bookseller in 15th century Florence who rose to prominence at the same as one of the millennium’s most exciting new technologies: the printed book. This is a book that will make you think more deeply about the Renaissance and the preservation and spread of knowledge.

Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux

If your dad is the fan of travel writer Paul Theroux, gift him Theroux’s new novel about a sixty-something surfer losing his touch on the water when he accidentally kills a man. As the impact of the tragedy causes him to spin out, his girlfriend tries to uncover the dead man’s identity so he can heal.

Terror to the Wicked: America’s First Trial by Jury That Ended a War and Helped to Form a Nation by Tobey Pearl

For the true crime junkie and history buff, this is the story of the first trial by jury in colonial America, involving a runaway indentured servant who stabbed a Pequot man. In this account, readers see traces of a justice system that, for better or worse, would become the foundation of justice in the United States, and whose outcome had a direct influence on the forming of a nation.

Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations by Johnny Sun

In this quirky and slight book Johnny Sun collects essays, observations, personal stories, and illustrations in a charming volume, which also boasts a recipe for scrambled eggs that will make you cry.

Nuclear Folly: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Serhii Plokhy

In a time where nations are re-arming themselves with nuclear weapons, it’s important to revisit the events of the past. This is an international perspective on the Cuban Missile Crisis, the landmark event that nearly brought the world to nuclear war.

Need more recommendations for your hard-to-shop-for dad? We’ve got recommendations for funny book club books, the best mystery recommendations, and history book subscriptions! Or, consider letting us do the work for you and gift a subscription of TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations to your dad for Father’s Day!

TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that offers gift subscriptions for tailored email recommendations, or hand-picked hardcovers in the mail! When you buy a gift subscription for your dad, he’ll receive a survey via email to tell us a bit more about his likes, dislikes, and what he’s already read, and then an expert Bibliolgist will match him with books for dads that he’s sure to love! Learn more and start gifting now!

Audible Plus vs. Premium Plus: Your Guide

Here at TBR, we absolutely believe that audiobooks are real books! We also know that sourcing audiobooks can be a little bit tricky because there are so many different options out there! Audible has offered a subscription-based model for audiobooks for a long time now, but recently they’ve launched Audible Plus and Premium Plus, two different plans that offer different content for different kinds of readers. If you’re wondering which service is right for your reading habits and budget, never fear! We’re going to break it down Audible Plus vs. Premium Plus for you. 

What Is Audible Premium Plus?

If you’re a long-time Audible subscriber, Audible Premium Plus is very similar to the previous basic subscription service. Each month, you receive a credit that may be redeemed for any title in the Audible catalog–a vast array of all audiobooks from major and independent publishers, as well as Audible-exclusive audiobooks that you can’t get anywhere else.

Previously, Audible used to sweeten the subscription by offering members two free Audible Original downloads each month they kept an active subscription. However, with the new Premium Plus account, members receive free access to the entire Premium Plus catalog, a growing collection of free content, mostly Audible originals. The collection includes books, novellas, short stories, and podcasts, and new titles and content are added to the catalog each week. You’ll find many (but not all) Audible exclusive audiobooks in this Premium Plus catalog, plus a robust romance selection (previously available in Audible’s romance-exclusive subscription, which has since been retired). Audible Premium Plus members also receive a 30% discount on additional titles not in the free catalog, and access to members-only sales.

What is Audible Plus?

Audible Plus is a more basic version of Premium Plus, offered at a lower price point. In this subscription, members just get get access to the Premium Plus catalog, and they do not receive one credit per month to redeem on titles not available in Premium Plus catalog. They also do not get to access to discounted audiobooks or the members only sales.

What’s in the Audible Plus Catalog?

The Audible Plus Catalog boasts thousands of audiobooks, podcasts, and Audible Originals at no additional charge. In this catalog you’ll find popular books like The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, performed by Rachel McAdams. You’ll also find a wide array of podcasts in every genre, from spirituality and self help to true crime. Some of these podcasts are produced by Audible, but others, like NBC’s Dateline, are made by other major content creators. You’ll also have access to a huge collection of romance novels, including titles by Susan Mallery and Chanel Cleeton. Just keep in mind that the Audible Plus Catalog does change constantly. As things are added, some things may also cycle out of the Premium Plus Catalog.

Also keep in mind that Audible has really upped their Original content game in recent years, and they even produce series of short stories and novellas by prominent authors such as Rainbow Rowell, Roxane Gay, and Ruth Ware. These stories are only available through Amazon and Audible, and most are available for free via the Audible Plus Catalog.

Audible Plus vs. Premium Plus Price

Of course, the biggest difference between Audible Plus and Premium Plus is price. Because Audible Plus doesn’t include a a credit that can be redeemed for any book on Audible, it’s set at a much lower price point–$7.95 per month. If you’re looking for the full Audible experience, the Premium Plus subscription is available in a few different ways. If you want one credit and you want to be charged monthly, it costs $14.95 per month. If you want two credits and you want to be billed monthly, it costs $22.95 per month. You can also opt in to be charged once annually, in which case Audible will give you access to a year’s worth of credits at once–and a small savings. An annual subscription with 12 credits costs $149.50 per year, and an annual subscription with 24 credits costs $229.50 per year.

Is Audible Premium Plus Worth It?

If you are an avid audiobook reader who reads more than one audiobook per month, then the Audible Premium Plus subscription is definitely a great deal. You might not be interested in every single title offered in the Premium Plus catalog, but it is a robust catalog with many different offerings and lots of exclusive content. It’s an especially great option for mega readers who enjoy podcasts as well.

If you have a really great library system and are merely looking to Audible to fill in the gap between library holds, or you want access to their exclusive content, the Audible Plus option might be a great cost-effective subscription for you. Just keep in mind that not all Audible exclusive content is included in that subscription–Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, for example, is an Audible Exclusive (i.e. not available digitally in libraries or any other retailers) but still requires a credit or cash purchase to access. Ultimately, there’s something amazing to be found in both subscription tiers, so you’ll never go without great books!

Want more Audible tips and tricks? Learn how to cancel your Audible subscription, and what happens to your credits if you do cancel.

And if you’re looking for more great audiobook recommendations, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as great books on audio–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

10 Compelling Books Like A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles has become a book club favorite since it first published, topping bestseller lists and even getting picked up for TV. It’s the compelling story of a Russian count who is brought up before a Bolshevik tribunal for his youthful writing, and sentenced to lifelong house arrest in the Metropol, a famous hotel. There, he lives out his days in both tedium and excitement as he gets to know his fellow residents and watches the world around him change.

Part of the reason why this book is so appealing to audiences is because there’s nothing quite like it! A Gentleman in Moscow has a strong sense of place, a compelling protagonist, and it covers a huge span of time. However, we’ve rounded up ten books like A Gentleman in Moscow that you’ll enjoy for the similarities in story, structure, plot, and settings! Check them out!

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Although this book spans continents, it also follows people over many years whose lives have been greatly affected by political persecution. Roser and Victor are Spanish refugees who flee Spain and Franco’s persecution in the 1930s, and enter into a marriage of convenience as they find passage to Chile on a ship chartered by Pablo Neruda. As they start over in South America, they wait for the day that they can return home, even as they discover the true meaning of the word.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This novel also follows a family during the same long, tumultuous period that A Gentleman in Moscow covers, but in a very different locale: Korea and Japan. When a young Korean woman finds herself pregnant out of wedlock, she quickly marries a kind Korean missionary on his way to Japan. But in Japan, their family faces extreme persecution for being both Christian and Korean, and as WWII breaks out, they struggle to survive. Int he second half to the century, they find relative prosperity…but at what cost?

Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

For a story that follows five friends living in fear and uncertainty under a dictatorship, pick up this novel about five Uruguyan women, all queer, who create their own private retreat in the beachside shack they buy in a small coastal town. Over the decades, they share the place as they retreat with friends and lovers, even as their own relationships shift constantly.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

For a very different novel that also spans a huge length of a time, and lots of cultural and political change, this book about Black twins sisters is just as moving. The Vignes sisters grow up in a small Southern town, as close as can be, before running away as teenagers. Adulthood finds one sister living back in their hometown, raising her daughter, and the other sister living far away, passing as white. Letters connect the two as their daughters must grapple with their mothers’ choices.

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

If you’re interested in the Soviet Russia angle, enjoy this novel about the CIA’s very real plan to smuggle Boris Pasternik’s legendary novel Doctor Zhivago into the USSR, where it had been banned. The book follows Irina, a young Russian-American secretary who is recruited by the CIA for the task, and assigned to work under Sally, a glamorous spy working multiple angles.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchet

For a book about a group of people who kept in one place during a time of serious political unrest, pick up Ann Patchett’s bestselling book about a private party at a South American mansion estate gone horribly awry. A birthday party for a foreign guest is held at a vice president’s home, with a famed opera singer as a guest. When a group of terrorists take everyone hostage, the hostages and their captors forge a remarkable relationship that is doomed from the very beginning.

Lampedusa by Steven Price

If you’re intrigued by the angle of fallen nobility and royalty in a country that is facing rapid change, pick up this novel about Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa. Tomasi is perhaps best known for his only novel, The Leopard, which was written at the end of his life, after was diagnosed with emphysema. This book dives into not only the writing of the legendary novel, but Tomasi’s grappling with his life and legacy.

The Mayakovsky Tapes by Robert Littell

Does the Hotel Metropol setting intrigue you? Here’s a book about four women who meet in a room at the hotel in 1953 to reminisce about Vladimir Mayakovsky, a poet who loomed large in the public’s eye but was a complicated man in his private life. Each woman knew him well enough to call herself a muse, and as they share their stories, they reckon with the legacy of complicated, sometimes dangerous, man.

Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes

This is another novel about real artists living under the Soviet regime. Mikhail Bulgakov’s literary career is threatened on all sides as his friends are arrested and the state closes in on him. Of course, this is the time that he falls in love with Margarita, an outspoken woman who could risk everything for him, and he’s inspired to write The Master and Margarita, one of the most famous books from that time.

The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander

If you enjoy the idea of reading about major cultural and political change from the point of view of someone who witnesses it from the outside, pick up this novel about the fall of the tsar and his family, from the perspective of their kitchen boy. Leonka was just a child when the revolution happened, but now as an old man who claims he is the last living witness of the royal family’s murder, and sets about recounting his tale.

Looking for more books like A Gentleman in Moscow? Sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as A Gentleman in Moscow readalikes–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

THE GIVER OF STARS Book Club Questions

Ever since Jojo Moyes rose to prominence with her novel Me Before You, her books have been favorites among book clubs everywhere. Now her latest novel, The Giver of Stars, is out and it’s the perfect book club pick because it combines history, literacy, and the lives of five unique women in an exciting way. If your book club had picked this book for their meeting, we’ve got a summary and The Giver of Stars discussion questions to help get your meeting off to a great start!

The Giver of Stars Summary

The Giver of Stars follows Alice Wright, a young woman who wants more than her stuffy British life promises, and so she marries an American and heads across the ocean to start her new life. But she doesn’t expect to land in small town Kentucky, where her father-in-law rules the family with an iron fist. Desperately needing an outlet, Alice answers the call for a new initiative started by Eleanor Roosevelt to deliver library books to the poorest, most remote regions of the U.S., and joins the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky.

It’s not long before Alice makes friends with Margery, their fearless and independent leader, and they’re joined by three other women. The five makeshift librarians work hard to deliver books and offer news of the world to hard-to-reach citizens, changing  lives and shaping their own fates along the way.

Reading Guide

Before you read, you might consider looking up Eleanor Roosevelt’s initiate and learning more about it. NPR’st Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky is a great place to start. If your book club hasn’t read a book set in the Depression before, consider perusing a few articles about the Depression for some background knowledge about the social and economic context of the story.

Once you’ve read the book, appoint a bookclub facilitator to bring some questions to get the conversation rolling, and who will help keep members on topic. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the list of questions perfectly–book clubs are the best when conversation flows, so see the questions as a guide!

The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions

  1. Discuss Alice’s motivations for marrying Bennet. Do you think she truly knew what she was getting herself into by marrying him and moving to America?
  2. Discuss the issues of access to literacy during this time period. How did censorship and access differ for different people across gender, race, and class?
  3. What did you think of Alice, Margery, and the women who worked as librarians? Why did they choose this admittedly tough job? How did their motivations change or evolve?
  4. Did you have a favorite character among the women? Who do you think you’re most like? Who do you think you’re the least like? Is there anyone you didn’t like? Why not?
  5. One of the central themes of this book is that knowledge is power. How did you see that play out in this book? Discuss the connection between knowledge, accessibility, and upward mobility.
  6. Discuss the various relationships between the women and the men in their lives. How does Margery manage to have a relationship where she and her partner regard each other as equals in a world where women were expected to subjugate themselves to men? How have things changed since then, and how are they still the same?
  7. Was there ever a moment in your life where your path was shaped by a library or librarian, or a particular book or discovery of a certain type of knowledge?
  8. Discuss the setting–do you think you could have lived in rural Kentucky in the 1930’s? Why does Alice eventually seem to thrive there?
  9. Did you enjoy the historical setting? Did you learn anything about this time period and this place that surprised you?
  10. What are some of the biggest takeaways from this book? Would you recommend it to others?

Bonus: If you’ve read other books by Jojo Moyes, would you recommend any to your group? What would you recommend to members who enjoyed this book and are looking for books with similar themes?

If your book club is looking for more great books to read in 2021, we’ve got you covered with our best book club picks of 2021!

And if you need help finding more great books, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as book club picks or books for fans of Jojo Moyes–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

Queer Books With Happy Endings

Too often throughout literary history, queer characters have been denied happy endings. For years, that was because publishers wouldn’t release a book without queer characters receiving some kind of tragic punishment for what was seen as social deviation. Later, as times changed, queer characters were denied happy endings because society literally couldn’t imagine them. These days, we’re so lucky to live in a world where queer stories and queer joy is given space to thrive, and queer romance is a growing genre full of guaranteed happily every afters! But if you want to explore more happy queer books beyond romance, then we’ve rounded up fifteen recent queer books with happy endings that you’ll enjoy!

Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis

Although this book touches upon some heavy topics, it has a really beautiful, triumphant ending. It follows five queer Uruguayan women who becomes friends under their country’s dictatorship, and pool their resources to buy a shack on the beach in a remote coastal town. Their vacation spot becomes a much needed refuge as they move through the years, finding and losing love but always holding on to one another.

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

In this sci-fi horror novel, Gyre Price has lied her way into a job that she’s sure is going to be pretty plum–and well-paid to boot. But she gets the shock of her life when she’s paired with Em, who is all too happy to manipulate Gyre into getting the job done her way. As the two are forced to work together, Gyre must figure out if she’s losing her mind, or if she’s being cleverly manipulated.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

In this lovely, big-hearted fantasy, Linus is a case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, and he’s tasked with taking on a very special, very secret case. Sent to an orphanage by the ocean, Linus must observe six children and their caretaker, Arthur, for a month in order two determine if Arthur is a fit caregiver. What Linus discovers there is a found family that will challenge his worldview.

Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn

When Patsy leaves Jamaica–and her daughter Tru–behind for life in America with her oldest friend, Cicely, she’s not only looking for a better life, but the freedom to love whomever she wants. But the realities of surviving undocumented are more difficult than Patsy could imagine, and back in Jamaica her daughter grapples with why she was left behind in this novel about identity, selfhood, and the American dream.

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar

This novel follows a Syrian American trans boy who is haunted by the death of his mother and has become the sole caretaker of his grandmother. To escape, he paints murals in his NYC neighborhood, and when he discovers a lost journal from a famed ornithologist, he realizes that he is connected with the queer and trans members from within his own community, allowing him the courage to finally find and claim his new name. This is a magical tale of discovery and belonging.

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Kambirinachi and her twin daughters, Kehinde and Taiye, are at the center of this novel, which follows the three women through the tumultuous years of estrangement. Kambirinachi believes she’s a nonhuman spirit who will one day be punished for staying with her children. When Kehinde faces a trauma and runs away, it’ll be ten years before all three are reunited.

George by Alex Gino

George has a secret: She knows that she’s really a girl. She also knows that not everyone is ready to know this secret, but when she confides in her best friend Kelly, the two concoct a plan to show the world who George really is by having George play the part of Charlotte in their class production of Charlotte’s Web. But what if the other people in George’s life aren’t ready to listen?

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix is an out trans teen attending a new school where being trans shouldn’t be a problem. But when he’s bullied by someone anonymously releasing his dead name and old photos, Felix decides to take matters into his own hands and engages in a cat fishing scheme to unmask the harasser…but things don’t go as planned.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Lily is a seventeen-year-old Chinese American girl in 1953, growing up in the sheltered Chinatown community in San Francisco. When a chance encounter with a white classmate named Kath leads both girls to sneak out and attend a male impersonator show at the local Telegraph Club, what they find there will change their lives forever.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Grace Porter is in Las Vegas to celebrate successfully completing her PhD when she drunkenly marries a woman she just met. They part ways, but back home in Portland, Grace is overwhelmed by the prospect of finding a job and figuring out her life, so she runs away to Brooklyn to get to know the woman she married…except running away from certain problems never solves anything.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

In a world devastated by climate change, where the best quality of life is found within walled cities, Cara works as a traverser of the multiverse. She plays by the rules, only occasionally flirting with her handler Dell for kicks, but mostly she wants to make sure that nothing jeopardizes her application for citizenship. But when she traverses to a world where her doppelgänger has been murdered, Cara realizes she’s at the center of a vast conspiracy.

Girl Serpent Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Soraya is a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and her entire life has been spent in secrecy and seclusion so that she won’t hurt anyone. But on the eve of her brother’s wedding, she breaks free of her boundaries and decides to consult a monster in the dungeon on how to lift her curse. What she finds is that she may have to betray her family in order to earn her freedom.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey 

Rather than face an awful arranged marriage, Esther runs away from home after her best friend was executed for anti-State prpoaganda. She pleads her case to the Librarians, an organization of women who travel the land on horseback distributing State approved materials. But she gets the shock of her life when she discovers that the Librarians are the resistance, and if she’s going to join them, she has to earn her place.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

When Ben came out as nonbinary to their parents, they didn’t react well. Ben is thrown of the house and forced to seek refuge with their estranged older sister and her husband. Now Ben is ready to start a new school, but they don’t want to come out to anyone else. Except, then they make friends with Nathan, and Nathan takes Ben under his wing. As their friendship deepens into something more, Ben must decide if they’re willing to risk coming out to Nathan.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar

Red and Blue are both agents on warring sides of an epic time war. When a chance encounter brings them together, they begin leaving each other correspondence across the vastness of space and time. As they begin to fall for one another, they’re keenly aware of someone creeping ever closer to their super secret relationship. If they’re caught, they won’t just be separated…they could be annihilated.

Looking for more happy queer books? We can help! Check out our recommendations for more cute LGBTQ+ books and some of the best LGBTQ+ book subscription services. We also are all about these queer books with happy endings. And sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as queer books with happy endings–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

The Best Books About Women’s History

March is Women’s History Month, and a great opportunity to pick up a book that illuminates the important contributions that women have made throughout history, from marching for the right to vote to their invaluable work in the sciences, and everything in between! Here are some of the best books about women’s history, written by female historians and authors!

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones

When we learn about women’s suffrage, we tend to focus on Seneca Falls and the 1920 win for women’s votes–but the initial suffragist movement often excluded Black women and other women from marginalized identities. In this book, Jones illuminates the lives and work of the Black women who fought for voting rights for all, before Seneca Falls and beyond 1920.

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion

Batalion tells the little-known story of the Polish Jewish women who organized and became resistance fighters by bribing Nazis, paying off Gestapo, taking grave risks to sabotage, pass messages, smuggle arms, and fight back against their oppressors. Written by the granddaughter of a Polish Holocaust survivor, this book honors the lives and sacrifices these women made.

The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss

Set during the climax of the American suffragist movement, which occurred in Nashville, TN in the summer of 1920, this book highlights the difficulties suffragists faced as they arrived in the city to fight for their rights in the last state needed to ratify the nineteenth amendment, an the fierce opposition they encountered from men, politicians, lobbyists, and even other women.

When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins

Even though this book is ten years old (so “the present” feels slightly outdated, despite a new afterword), this is an excellent account of the local, regional, and national events that sparked the women’s liberation movement in 1960, and covers a tumultuous fifty-year period that saw huge cultural change for women, from the introduction of the Pill to Roe v. Wade, all the way through important Title IX rulings and seeing women take their places in the board room and politics. This is a comprehensive look at multiple facets of female advancement.

Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Annie Boochevar and Roy Peratrovich Jr.

Although not widely known, Alaska Native Tlingit Elizabeth Peratrovich is celebrated in Alaska for being a civil rights advocate who in 1945 delivered an impassioned speech before the Alaska Territorial Legislative Session that moved lawmakers to pass the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act. Although Alaska would not yet become a state for 14 years, it was the first civil rights legislation in the country, and paved the way for more civil rights work in the latter half of the 20th century. This book explores Peratrovich’s amazing life, work, and legacy.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals Saidiya Hartman

Black women in New York and Philadelphia in the early 20th century had a much more profound impact on our culture and society than we realize, and in this book Hartman explores the intimate lives and legacies of Black women who stood up to demeaning wages, redefined values surrounding family and marriages, and built meaningful lives for themselves.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

This is the incredible story of the human computers who helped American get to space. These computers, brilliant Black women who struggled to find jobs worthy of their skills and knowledge, were able to work for NASA when America ended the space race. This is their previously untold story about their vital contributions and accomplishments.

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science–And the World by Rachel Swaby

In this collection, Swaby highlights 52 incredible scientists whose contributions to the scientific community and the world were groundbreaking. Each profile highlights the woman, how they became scientists and their influences, their breakthroughs, and what they became best known for.

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs

Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin are some of the most influential thinkers and leaders of the 20th century, but how did they become the men that we remember today? Tubbs looks at the lives and influences of their mothers, all Black women who grew up at the beginning of the 20th century. She traces their commonalities and experiences to show how they raised their sons to go down in history.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu

In this graphic history, Pénélope Bagieu tells the stories of women both famous and overlooked by history, and how they rebelled and fought for their rights, changed the world, and paved the way for more rebel girls to stake their claims.

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Woman Across the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor

Throughout history, stories of female warriors who were fierce and sexually free have existed, but too many historians have been quick to write them off as myths. In this comprehensive history of female warriors in the ancient world, Mayor looks at the archeological evidence that proves women have always fought, and shows Amazons in a completely new light.

Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Susan Ware

Ware profiles nineteen women in history to offer an intimate and personal account of why they became involved in politics and suffrage, despite the risk to their reputations and relationships. This book makes the political personal as it examines nineteen very different women, getting to the core of why they marched.

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D. Farmer

Farmer explores the role of women in the Black Power movement, moving beyond the basic assumption that sexism kept women from succeeding in the male-dominated space to show that Black women have always pushed for radical inclusivity in their own spheres and in social justice movements. This book draws upon countless sources to reveal how Black women have helped challenge and shape ideas surrounding feminism and social justice.

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez

In this graphic nonfiction book, Hall and Martínez look at the history of women who led revolts against slavery in the Middle Passage and beyond. Hall, a granddaughter of enslaved people, is haunted by the legacy of slavery in her life and in our country, and so this is part history and part memoir as she reconstructs stories that were left out of history books.

Want to explore more history books? We’ve rounded up some of the best history book subscription services around. And if you want to read more of the best books about women’s history, TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as nonfiction about women in history–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

15 New Books with LGBTQ+ Characters

A new year means even more new books with LGBTQ+ characters in the starring role! Although publishing can always do better to publish and promote more books with queer characters, 2021 is already turning out to be a wonderful year for LGBTQ+ readers! From fantasy to YA to graphic novels, there are so many great queer books hitting shelves this year. Let’s dive in!

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Grace Porter takes a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate her newly minted Ph.D but then her night ends in a drunken marriage with a woman she’s just met. When her life back home in Portland falls apart, she takes off to Brooklyn to get to know the wife she barely remembers, and discovers that things don’t always go the way you plan.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Seventeen-year-old Lily lives in Chinatown in San Francisco in 1953, just blocks away from the Telegraph Club, where women gather to watch a male impersonator perform. When Lily learns of the club and sneaks out to visit with a classmate, she discovers a community and words for how she feels and who she is for the first time.

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

In this novel, Reese and Amy were a happy trans couple, until Amy detransitioned and became Ames, devastating Reese. Ames thought life would be better when he detransitioned and he misses Reese terribly, but can’t figure out how to get her back. When his boss reveals that she’s pregnant with Ames’s baby, Ames wonders if there’s a way the three of them can be together and raise the child.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

Samuel and Isaiah live together on a plantation where they find refuge from their enslavement in each other and the space they carve out together. When another enslaved man tries to curry favor with the white men enslaving them, people begin turning on Samuel and Isaiah and their love, but they hold on tight to each other.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

The day after Nora’s ex Wes walks in on her and her new girlfriend, Iris, all three meat at the bank in order to deposit money for a fundraiser. Nora expects it to be an awkward five minute transaction, but when the bank is held up by two robbers, all of Nora’s plans go out the window. What no one knows is that Nora is the daughter of a con artist, and she has more than a few tricks up her sleeve to get them all out alive.

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Dean is a trans guy–he’s sure of it, but just hasn’t come out to anyone, including his girlfriend, who thinks he’s a lesbian. When Dean is cast as Romeo on the school’s non-traditional performance of Romeo and Juliet, Dean must find the confidence and the perfect moment to share his true self with the world.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Patrick is the beloved Gay Uncle (Guncle) to Maisie and Grant, whom he dotes upon. But when a family tragedy means that Patrick needs to take in his niece and nephew for the summer, the formerly famous sitcom star is overwhelmed as he tries to step up to the challenge.

Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore

Carey is a genderfluid teen who loves Broadway and dreams of being a diva like their hero, Mariah Carey. But bullying and issues at home have left them uncertain. When a new friendship encourages Carey to try out for Elphaba in the school production of Wicked, they couldn’t be happier to get the role…even though it emboldens Carey’s bullies, and they must find a way to stand up for themself.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

August is a cynical twenty-something living in New York City, not prepared to believe in anything like love or fate. But then she meets Jane on the subway, and Jane goes from being her subway crush to her full-on crush. But there’s just one problem–Jane is from the 1970’s, stuck in time, hoping to get back home. And August is going to help her.

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

In Cat Sebastian’s debut trade paperback, Kit Webb is a reformed highwayman living out a rather boring life in a coffeehouse. But then an aristocrat enters his life, wanting to hire him to steal a beloved family object, and Kit has a hard time saying no…or resisting falling for the man!

Malice by Heather Walter

In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, an evil sorceress curses a long line of princesses to die. Aurora is the future queen of her kingdom, and she falls under that curse…but when she falls for the sorceress who cast it, no one is more surprised than the sorceress herself.

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Noah writes the popular Meet Cute Diary, a blog that shares stories of trans happily ever afters. But when the blog is exposed as fiction, and not real like Noah has claimed, he has to salvage his reputation and the blog fast. Enter Drew, who agrees to fake date Noah…but then they both catch feelings!

Stone Fruit by Lee Lai

Bron and Ray enjoy spending time with their six-year-old niece, and find joy in their routine playtime and visits. But when Ray and Bron’s own relationship begins to suffer, it’s through what they learned looking after their niece and by reaching out to estranged and complicated family members that they’re able to move forward.

Future Feelings by Joss Lake

In this genre-bending novel, a young trans man is obsessed with an influencer also transitioning (and seeming to do it a lot better than him), and so he enlists his roommates to put a hex on the influencer. But then the hex goes awry and instead lands on another trans guy, our hero must set things right.

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life, delivers another searing book in this collection of short stories about young creative people in the Midwest. The stories are interlinked, exploring the bounds of friendship, love, and family in fascinating and unique ways.If you want more great books with gay characters, be sure to check out our list of new gay romance books! We’ve also got you covered with fantasy books with LGBTQ+ characters, and YA books with LGBTQ+ characters!

If you want even more great LGBTQ+ books, be sure to sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as books with LGBT characters–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

10 of the Best Homesteading Books

If there’s anything that living through a pandemic has taught us, it’s that being a bit more self-sufficient and sustainable can come in handy during a global disaster! All jokes aside, whether you have full-on homesteading dreams or you just want to learn how to grow more of your own food and live more sustainably, here are ten of the best homesteading books to get you started! You can start small or go all in, and these homesteading books will guide you on your way.

The Backyard Homesteader by Carleen Madigan

Perhaps the most popular book on the subject, The Backyard Homesteader is the guide for anyone interested in growing their own food, raising animals (whether that might be chickens, cows, or pigs), and setting up beehives for honey. You don’t need to have a lot of acreage to get started–you just need a backyard!

The Weekend Homesteader: A Twelve-Month Guide to Self-Sufficiency by Anna Hess

Let’s be real: homesteading takes a lot of time. If you’re not ready to go full-time, or you just have the weekend to get started, this monthly guide will help you prioritize projects and figure out what’s best for you budding homestead. Dive into whichever month you’re in, and in a year’s time you’ll be more than sufficient and sustainable!

Iwígara: American Indian Ethnobotanical Traditions and Science by Enrique Salmón

If you’re looking to deepen your knowledge of plant life and nature, then grab this book on iwígara, the Indigenous belief that plants and living things are connected and share the same breath. In this book, you’ll learn more about plant life and science, and the Indigenous wisdom surrounding growing and using those plants that have been passed down for generations.

Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard

If you’re looking for a more holistic approach to your farming and gardening, then grab this book that explores permaculture and shows how the history of relying on annual crops has resulted in collapse of societies. Instead, this book promotes gardening and eating with the seasons, and being adaptable to nature’s changes.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Although this isn’t strictly a homesteading guide or how-to, Braiding Sweetgrass is an important book by an Indigenous woman about nature and plant life can offer us valuable lessons about our earth and life. At the same time, Kimmerer is a botanist who is trained in scientific inquiry. She melds these two backgrounds in order to share the wisdom that plants can offer us.

Homestead Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza

Once you’ve grown all that food, you’re going to need a way to preserve it through the lean times. Varozza not only guides readers through the equipment they’ll need to can and the various ways to can and preserve food, but she also offers advice for stretching your harvest and delicious recipes that you can cook with your bounty to save money in the long run.

Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm by Molly Yeh

For a book that’s more about the farm lifestyle and putting your harvest to use, this is a great cookbook from city food blogger turned farm girl Molly Yeh, who blends her Jewish and Chinese background to create amazing recipes that make use of her farm harvests and honor her adopted Midwestern hometown.

40 Projects For Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-on, Step-by-Step Sustainable-Living Guide to Fences, Chicken Coops, Sheds, Gardening, and More for Becoming Self-Sufficient by David Toht

Not only is homesteading a lot of work, but it comes with plenty of gear and tools. While you could buy many of the structures you need, that adds up, and isn’t exactly in line with the idea of self-sufficiency. This how-to guide teaches you how to construct everything you’ll need, from planters to beehives to sheds!

Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living by Kris Bordessa

If you start down the homesteading path, you’ll quickly realize there is so much more to it than just growing your own food and raising your own chickens. Sustainability is a lifestyle that can touch every aspect of your life, and in this book Bordessa offers guides on quilting, making your own cleaning supplies, baking, and more.

Sustainable Home: Practical Projects, Tips and Advice for Maintaining a More Eco-Friendly Household by Christine Liu

If you want to take your household sustainability to the next level, then check out this guide that reached you to reduce household waste, incorporate home grown or recycles products into your life, and make your own personal care and cleaning products. From indoor herb gardens to tips on converting energy sources, this is a great book to complement your homesteading lifestyle.

If you’re keen on reading more nonfiction books about homesteading and low-waste lifestyles, check out our round up of nonfiction book subscription services–or TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as books about homesteading and sustainability–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

The Best Marketing Books to Help You Up Your Game

Marketing isn’t an exact science, but there are tips and tricks of the trade to help you figure out how to build a brand that works for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business owner, a creative trying to sell your work, or an employee at a company that sells a product you care about, these are the marketing books will help you learn how to market and sell a product you believe in!

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

In this guide, business guru Ryan Holiday explores what makes a perennial seller–something that keeps selling far beyond its launch, making money in the long term. He examines what need to happen in the creation and launch phases, how to build an audience for your product, and what benchmarks to hit to ensure it’ll keep selling long after you move on to your next project.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Written from a tech perspective, Eyal claims that one of the keys to marketing is to create a product that is not only great, but one that consumers will make a part of their habits–after all, if it becomes a habit, there is built-in demand. This book includes actionable steps to help you polish off your project and make it a part of your audience’s everyday lives.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin

In this book, master marketer Godin encourages readers to reframe how they think about marketing to see that it’s a tool for product creators to show consumers that their product can make their lives easier and solve problems in their day-to-day lives. He covers how to position a product, identify audiences, and build trust with your market.

Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media by Brittany Hennessy

If you’re an individual looking to harness the power of marketing on social media, this book is for you! Hennessy is a social media expert and brand manager who studies influencers and their unique role in society to show readers how social media has evolved, where it’s going, and how to build an audience and leverage your expertise to reach your audience and monetize your content.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand method is a form of marketing that relies on one of the most human forms of connection: stories. In this book, Miller addresses the way a great story can reach a wide audience, and how a story can also clarify a brand’s values and mission. This is a marketing book for anyone, from entrepreneur to politician to artist.

Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World by Brendan Kane

So much of marketing is about grabbing people’s attention, which is increasingly hard to do in a busy, digital world–even if you have a killer product and a crystal-clear vision. Here, Kane looks at out of the box methods for businesses and content creators to grab their audience’s attention, and then how to leverage that attention into sales or a following. 

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Have you ever looked at a product or piece of art and wondered why it caught on, when it’s seemingly niche or maybe not even that good? Jonah Berger examines why certain things catch on in a big way, but he looks beyond products and their popularity to also understand why certain stories, news articles, and rumors spread quickly, and he takes what he learned from the nature of viral phenomenon and applies it to marketing principles.

Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew Salesses

Written for creative writers in mind, this book is especially fascinating for any artist or someone who is creating and selling an artistic product because it asks the reader to completely re-evaluate elements of fiction that we’ve taken for granted, and the systems that have been followed for decades to create such art. Salesses asked readers to rethink the lenses that they view fiction through, and come up with different wants of looking at creative writing–and by extension, the world.

Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business by Kindra Hall

You know that the key to making your product memorable to consumers is crafting a narrative that they’ll remember–but how do you go about doing that? In this practical book, Hall guides readers through the different types of narratives that sell, from  value and purpose stories to the founder and customer stories. She proves that storytelling is a skill that you can hone to help sell anything.

The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand out From The Crowd by Allan Dib

We all know that marketing is necessary, but Dib proves that for most businesses, you don’t need a complex plan to be successful. Instead, you should keep things simple and straightforward, with the goal of showing consumers that your product is the only logical choice. Dib walks readers through simple, effective marketing plans that will work better than often-copied strategies from big corporations, which don’t work as well for small businesses.

Need more great reads about business and marketing? Check out our guide to the best leadership books, and for an amazing nonfiction book subscription, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as marketing and business books–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

Between the World and Me Book Club Questions

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a National Book Award winner, bestseller, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It’s a tremendous work of nonfiction that addresses the realities and history of being Black in the United States, and the legacy of white supremacy. If your book group has picked up this book for their next meeting, we have some tips and Between the World and Me book club questions for making your discussion run smoothly.

About the Book

Between the World and Me is written in the epistolary style, as a letter to the author’s teenage son. In his extended letter, Coates discusses the history of slavery and racism that have become permanently tangled in American history and values, and he also shares stories of his own youth in Baltimore and the experiences of power and powerlessness that have affected Black Americans. Coates has stated that he was inspired by the work of James Baldwin and a meeting with President Obama during which Coates criticized Obama’s policies regarding racial disparities between Black people and white people in the healthcare system.

How to Plan Your Meeting

Some book groups might find Between the World and Me to be a challenging text, because it draws upon history, literature, and many current events. Before reading, you might want to acquaint yourself with Coates’s work. Read one of his many articles published on The Atlantic, such as The Case for Considering Reparations, or his series of interviews with President Obama. 

When you meet, it might help to appoint a discussion facilitator whose task is to keep the discussion moving and gently redirect if the conversation gets off track. They can have a set number of questions for starting the discussion, but they should encourage other members to ask questions of the group and propose discussion topics, so the conversation flows organically. The facilitator might also consider writing down other recommended texts that come up in the discussion and sharing with the group afterward.

Book Club Bonus: Consider hosting a viewing of the HBO special of Between the World and Me, a performance of the book and its themes with supplementary footage.

Between the World and Me Book Club Questions

  1. What did you think this book would be about, going into it? If you said race, what do you think of Coates’s argument that race comes from racism, not the other way around? Did reading this book influence your perception of race at all? If so, how?
  2. Has anyone in your book group read the work of James Baldwin? If so, do you see parallels between Coates’s writing and Baldwin’s? Why do you think that Coates chose to structure this book as a letter to his son? What does it accomplish?
  3. Discuss the significance of the title. Are you familiar with the poem that it comes from? If not, share or take a moment to read the poem “Between the World and Me” by Richard Wright, and discuss its influence on Coates.
  4. Why do you think Coates means by “the Dream” and the “Dreamers”? In what way are Black citizens cut off from that Dream? 
  5. Discuss the concept of fear, and how it relates to Coates’s message. What does he fear? At what moments in his life does he fear for his own life? How has that fear impacted him, and what common elements tie his moments of fear together?
  6. Consider when this book was written–in 2015, not long after the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement. How does this book connect to Black Lives Matter? Do you see Coates and this book as being an important element to the BLM movement?
  7. Although this book can oftentimes feel heavy, and it’s full of warnings to his son about the cruelty of the world, discuss the elements of joy and hope in this book. How is that joy and hope found and how is it experienced?
  8. Discuss the role of books and learning in Coates’s life. How does his perspective differ when it comes to each?
  9. Discuss the message hat Coaates has about Black bodies being sacred and worthy of praise and admiration. Why do you think he focuses so much attention and value on physical bodies?
  10. Do you think Coates leaves his son and the reader with hope for Black Americans and for the state of race relations in the U.S.?

Looking for more great books by Ta-Nehisi Coates? Check out our book club guide to his novel, The Water Dancer.

Are you looking for more great book club picks for your group? We have plenty of recommendations for great book club picks for 2021, plus you can sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read.

Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as nonfiction book club picks–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!