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September 2018 Selections

Readers, we are so thrilled to kick off our second season of the Diverse Books Club with our September theme of stories of strong women. 

This month, we're focusing on the perspectives of strong women by reading a variety of source material, both fiction and non-fiction. Our selections this month come in the form of short stories and essays. At first glance, it looks like we're selecting a lot of books. But stay with us, because this month we're giving you optional entry points in the form of free online content. We hope you take the opportunity to engage with these texts in whatever way best suits your reading life, and we can't wait to discuss these stories with you throughout the month of September. Keep an eye on our Calendar for precise discussion dates, which will go up next week.

Let's get to the details, shall we?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you choose to purchase a book through an affiliate link, the DBC is granted a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help to offset the cost of operations. Thank you!

adult non-fiction selections:

Essays by strong women


We should all be feminists by chimamanda ngozi adichie

From the publisher:

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Alternate format: Watch the original TED Talk

Men explain things to me by rebecca solnit

From the publisher:

In her comic, scathing essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

This updated edition with two new essays of this national bestseller book features that now-classic essay as well as "#YesAllWomen," an essay written in response to 2014 Isla Vista killings and the grassroots movement that arose with it to end violence against women and misogyny, and the essay "Cassandra Syndrome."

Alternate format: Read the essay that inspired this collection


Sister Outsider: essays and speeches by audre lorde

From the publisher:

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published. 

These landmark writings are, in Lorde's own words, a call to “never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which is...”

Alternate format: Read the essay Poetry is Not a Luxury by Audre Lorde



Thank you to Candlewick Press for sponsoring the DBC in September!

Candlewick provided copies of The Radical Element to the DBC Moderator Team upon notification that this title had been selected for the DBC.

From the publisher:

To respect yourself, to love yourself, should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced when you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs — whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.

Original stories by: Dahlia Adler, Erin Bowman, Dhonielle Clayton, Sara Farizan, Mackenzi Lee, Stacey Lee, Anna-Marie McLemore, Meg Medina, Marieke, Nijkamp, Megan Shepherd, Jessica Spotswood, Sarvenaz Tash

picture book selections:

Let us know your thoughts on these selections, and which ones you plan to read with us in september

in the comments below!