We the bookstore staff have gone over our inventory and selected four books based on what you, the readers, said your favorite things to read are. Whichever book gets the most votes, will be the subject of our discussion! Join us on Saturday, March 30th from 9-11AM at our Hyattsville location to meet other interested book club members and choose our books!
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The books we’ve selected for the first book club are:
Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, Díaz’ debut novel is a simultaneously heart-wrenching and hilarious tale of a family of Dominican immigrants in New Jersey. All that Oscar de Léon, a scifi obsessed ghetto nerd, wants is to be the Dominican Tolkien, and to find true love. But he may never get what he wants, due to the fukú – a curse which has haunted his family for generations. Oscar’s tragic story reflects the deep and fundamental dislocation of the immigrant experience in the United States, but at the same time Díz reminds us that in the words of poet Derek Walcott, Oscar is “either nobody, or a nation.”
Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Soldier
At the tender age of twelve, Ishmael Beah was separated from his family. After wandering his country of Sierra Leone for months, he was captured by one of the many militias that have torn the country apart in its long civil war. He spent the next few years of his life wielding machine guns and taking drugs as one of Africa’s storied child soldiers, until he was rescued by an UNICEF mission in 1997. Beah’s account is the first book in English to tell us what the life of a child soldier is like – from the perspective of one who lived it and will never entirely escape its memories.
John Carlos with Dave Zirin, The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World
October, 1968: Two American sprinters at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City prepare to receive their medals for the 200-meter dash. The drums roll, “the Star Spangled Banner” plays, but when the lights come up, Tommie Smith and John Carlos have their fists raised in the black power salute. This gesture in solidarity with Afro-American struggles was a shot heard round the world, immediately condemned by the sports establishment and by the Olympic committee, which promptly suspended Smith and Carlos from the American team. The John Carlos Story tells firsthand the steps which led him to make this world-changing statement, and of the consequences for its author and for black civil rights.
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People’s History of the United States
Howard Zinn’s classic work A People’s History of the United States exploded forever the dominant conception of American history as a never-ending narrative of progress guided by the Great Men in the federal government. In Voices of a People’s History, Zinn with Anthony Arnove returns to collect some of the numerous thinkers, leaders, activists, radicals, resistors and revolutionaries who have led the people’s struggles against the oppression, domination and exploitation that this country was built on. Including pieces from voices as diverse as Black Hawk, Angelina Grimké, Frederick Douglass, Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Malcolm X, and numerous other less well-known figures, this volume gives us an idea of the people whose struggles made this country great – in their own words.