3rd Thursdays

Unlimited Book Club

To sign up for the book club, please click here: Unlimited Book Club.

The Unlimited Book Club is a joint venture of the Coos History Museum, Coos Bay Library, and North Bend Library. We formed to encourage awareness and foster community discussions on equity, diversity, and inclusion through reading and thoughtful conversation.

The club will meet every third Thursday at 6:00 PM. The meetings will be an opportunity for members to discuss the month’s book as well as vote on book titles for future meetings and connect with fellow community members. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, August 18th at 6:00 PM and we will be discussing the book, The Healing of Natalie Curtis by Jane Kirkpatrick.

You may also find information about the Unlimited Book Club on our Facebook page or by contacting Ariel Peasley at education@cooshistory.org or at 541-756-6320 x216.

View more information below!

Resources and Discussion Quotes/Questions


Jane Kirkpatrick’s website: Jane Kirkpatrick 

September 8, 2021 – Powell’s Books: Jane Kirkpatrick presents The Healing of Natalie Curtis in conversation with Craig Johnson

Valarie Kaur’s website: Valarie Kaur

Valarie Kaur’s Facebook page: Valarie Kaur

SikhiWiki: Encyclomedia of the Sikhs: SikhiWiki

May 10, 2022 – Global Citizen Year: Valarie Kaur | Leadership in Action | Spring 2022

May 14, 2021 – Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB): The Frontline Interviews: America After 9/11: Valarie Kaur – Civil Rights Activist

Discussion Quotes/Questions

“…the goal of listening is not to feel empathy for our opponents, or validate their ideas, or even change their mind in the moment. Our goal is to understand them. Why would someone believe that not every person is a human being? In understanding the cultural forces that shape such a belief, and the institutions that embolden people to act on it, we can better focus on what we need to fight: not a few bad actors but entire policies, platforms, and echo chambers that perpetuate supremacy. In order to create a safer world for all of us, we must not only defeat such opponents but invite them into transformation.” (156)

“…the inability to love is the central problem, because that inability masks a certain terror, and that terror is the terror of being touched. And if you can’t be touched, you can’t be changed. And if you can’t be changed, you can’t be alive.” – James Baldwin (251)


Pit River Tribe website: Official Home of the Pit River Tribe

March 3, 2011 – EMA Voices of the Earth: Dr. Darryl Babe Wilson Interview Part 1 of 7 

1998 – Oral Tradition Journal: “Wu-ches-erik (Loon Woman) and Ori-aswe (Wildcat)” by Darryl babe Wilson and Susan Brandenstein Park

Discussion Quotes/Questions

Something that the Christians had forgotten to take into consideration is that Mom and Jerry did not go to church. They did not pray to God. They did not intend to go to heaven. They did not even know where it was. They were simply alive, like deer and the wind—until they were killed. The Christian God would have them in hellfire, burning and sizzling. They’d be thirsty, crying for water. In their agony, God would refuse them drink? It says in their Bible that God would not give them one single drop of water. God, if you don’t give water to my mother and baby brother, then you are a son-of-a-bitch!” (132)


Craig Laurance Gidney’s Website: Craig Laurance Gidney

June 18, 2021 – Horror Writers Association: A Point of Pride: Interview with Craig Laurance Gidney

June 14, 2021 – Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction: Fast Forward Live – Interview with Craig L. Gidney

June 25, 2020 – This is Horror: TOD 074 Craig Laurance Gidney: Dreaming a Weird that Shimmers

June 20, 2019 – NPR: This ‘Spectral Hue’ Has a Shimmering Life of it’s Own by Jason Heller

Discussion Quotes/Questions 

“She remembered always cleaning some white people’s messes. Minding their babies, their linens, their lives. The monotonous drudgery. The white folks thought you were barely human, more like a talking mule to be used. She had lived in a house like the Whitby’s once, long ago. She knew that life had been unbearable, full of casual cruelty…. She would not remember that life. That life was gone, over. She forgot her name. It was a willful act….She let her memories evaporate like mist” (103).

“In a broad sense, they are visual artists who have no formal training. In particular, though, they are people who create things because of some compulsion. They often view their work as messages or portals. In other words, what they make has a meaning beyond just being displayed.”

“She still had no name, and no memory. Was she dead, a haint, haunting a place where she lived? Was she an angel, sent to watch over the child? Or was she something else? She decided to put aside the matter of her exact spiritual designation for the time being. She needed a name, a word to place her in time, in space, in context. The gown she wore, that lurid purple-pink mist-like fabric that draped her formless form, must be a clue.” (48)

“Fuchsia was her name. Her name was a color. Color was also a sound, a song. All color was made of other colors, other songs. She added the song of bright red to the gentle blue song of the marsh waters. Red, like a cardinal’s feathers, leaves in autumn, of rage and blood. Red, intertwined with blue, gradually staining the fabric flowers the color of her name.” (107)

“‘The magenta woman, or the Marsh-bell Queen is made manifest by the act of creation. But once you make her manifest, she infests your brain, fills it with color, and the landscape where she lives. I had to sever that connection somehow.'” (192)


Jeanine Cummins Website: Jeanine Cummins

Reading Guide: American Dirt Reading Group Guide

November 20, 2020 – The Book Report Network: Jeanine Cummins: “Bookaccino Live” Book Group Event Discussing American Dirt

January 16, 2020 – New York Times: Writing About the Border Crisis, Hoping to Break Down Walls by Alexandra Alter

Discussion Quotes/Questions

“It’s a queer, vulnerable feeling to sit without armor among nocturnal animals, knowing they can see you and smell you and feel you there. Knowing that you are blind to their presence should they decide to approach.” (324)

“…he’s never really understood the meaning of the word propietario until now. He’s never felt the feeling before. It rumbles through him like a steamroller with a broad, flattening crush. Because who is this woman, crying for Papi? Who is this lady with her quivering features and her leaking eyes and her trembling hands and her need to be consoled?…. Why shouldn’t she weep and lament and exhibit her devastation?” (62)


Robin DiAngelo’s Website: Robin DiAngelo

Reading Guide: “White Fragility” Reader’s Guide

August 3, 2021 – PBS: Amanpour and Company: Are You a “Nice Racist”? Robin DiAngelo on Her New Book

July 13, 2021 – The Washington Post: Robin DiAngelo Explains why White Progressives Have Such a Hard Time Confronting Racism by Jonathan Capehart

June 26, 2021 – CNN: The Author of ‘White Fragility’ Takes on ‘Nice Racism’ by John Blake

June 5, 2020 – CBS: This Morning: Authors Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi on How to Become Aware of Privilege

Discussion Quotes/Questions

“…stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that we don’t have them.” (129)

“Imagine if instead, the story went something like this: ‘Jackie Robinson, the first black man whites allowed to play major-league baseball.'” (26)


Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Website: Robin Wall Kimmerer

January 31, 2022 – Poets.org: February by Tamiko Beyer

January 24, 2022 @ 12:00 PM – University of Oregon: Common Reading 2021-2022: Braiding Sweetgrass

January 26, 2022 @ 7:00 PM – Oregon State University: Women as Change Agents in Forestry

November 24, 2020 – Charter for Compassion: Global Read with Robin Kimmerer discussing her book, Braiding Sweetgrass

November 5, 2020 – The New York Times: Timing, Patience and Wisdom Are the secrets to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Success by Elisabeth Egan

Discussion Quotes/Questions

“The pledge was a puzzlement to me, as I’m sure it is to most students. I had no earthy idea what a republic even was, and was none to sure about God, either. And you didn’t have to be an eight-year-old Indian to know that “liberty and justice for all” was questionable premise.” (106)

“Reciprocity is a matter of keeping the gift in motion through self-perpetuating cycles of giving and receiving.” (165)


Roy Grinker’s Website: Roy Richard Grinker

June 10, 2021 – Commonwealth Club of California: Health Society Series: Nobody’s Normal: The History, Culture, Stigma, and Future of Mental Health 

January 26, 2021 – The New York Times: Does it Make Sense to Call Anyone ‘Normal’? by Virgina Hughes

September 9, 2019 – Tedx Talks: Nobody’s Normal: Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness with Roy Grinker

Discussion Quotes/Questions

“Our dynamic conceptions of mental illness ride on the waves of broader cultural changes, and when science or medicine does appear to lesson the shame of suffering it does so as the servant of culture.” (xxiii)

“…’mental patients can find themselves crushed by the weight of a service ideal that eases life for the rest of us'” (191)

“Culture itself constructed the illusion of innate differences on which so much discrimination is based. If there is anything that truly counts as human nature, it is our unique ability to transcend nature through culture.”

“Whereas schizophrenia had once been a disease of white middle-class men and women, in the civil rights era it became an African American disease. Advertisements in medical journals for another antipsychotic medicine during the 1970s, Stelazine, included images of African masks or figurines, portraying schizophrenia as a primitive condition. Schizophrenia was what, in 1968, psychiatrists Walter Bromberg and Franck Simon termed the “protest psychosis,” a disease of paranoia and delusion caused by civil disobedience and activism. Schizophrenia, a “black disease,” became one of the stigmata of racism.”

“The vast majority of businesses in the United States do not have disability-targeted recruiting methods or supported employment,13 but many of the companies that have invested substantial efforts in this direction are large and influential, and include Walgreens, Bank of America, Marriott, and JPMorgan Chase. In these settings, job coaches help the new employee acclimate to the job and check in frequently to troubleshoot.  . . . For the staff, the coach helps managers and coworkers make accommodations that will facilitate success. The overall strategy, often called “supported employment,” began in the mid-1980s but has only flourished recently.”

JANUARY: Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.


Netflix documentary film – “I am Not Your Negro”: Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book , this visual essay explores racism through the stories of Medgar evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr.

October 7th – PGCMLS (Prince George’s County Memorial Library System): Eddie S. Glaude Jr. on “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for our Own”

November 20th – WDET: Detroit’s NPR Station: Eddie Glaude: Racism We’ve Seen in Trump Era is Not New. It’s Just Louder. 

Upcoming: February 9 at 6:30 PM – Oregon Humanities: The Fire is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., And the Debate over Race in America.

Discussion Quotes 

“We don’t hurt more, we just die faster.”

“We must tell the truth till we can no longer bear it.” (4)

“In our time, with so much hatred and venom in our politics and our culture, we must actively cultivate communities of love that allow us to imagine different ways of being together. That means pulling people we love closer; opening ourselves to the unexpected pleasure of meeting and knowing someone new; and retreating into the comfort of their company as a material counterweight to the ugliness of our politics.” (142-143)

“It is not enough to merely acknowledge these dark moments when the politics of fear threaten to overwhelm, as Jon Meacham does in his brilliant book The Soul of America, but then to move quickly to examples of hope that affirm the country’s sense of its own exceptionalism. We fail to linger in the dark moments at our peril… One has to linger here. Move too quickly, and you set yourself up for another nightmare.”

Interpretation matters: What we do with the facts, the kinds of questions we ask about them, and for what ends, matter.” (78)

FEBRUARY: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong


Ocean Vuong’s website: Ocean Vuong

January 28th – Brooklyn Public Library: Documenting the Uprising: A Panel Discussion on Archiving and Activism

Discussion Quotes

“I am thinking of beauty again, how some things are hunted because we have deemed them beautiful…” (paragraph on 238).

“A new immigrant, within two years, will come to know that the salon is, in the end, a place where dreams become the calcified knowledge of what it means to be awake in American bones—with or without citizenship—aching, toxic, and underpaid.” (80-81)

“Sometimes being offered tenderness feels like the very proof that you’ve been ruined.”

“I am thinking of freedom again, how the calf is most free when the cage opens and it’s led to the truck for slaughter” (216).

MARCH: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano


Julia Serano’s website: Julia Serano

March 11, 2021 – The New Yok Times: How Some States Are Moving to Restrict Transgender Women in Sports

March 8, 2021 – The Crime Report: Anti-Transgender Legislation Boom in 2021 Called a ‘Culture War’

January 28, 2021 – The Hammer Museum: White Feminism with Koa Beck & Julia Serano

Discussion Quotes

“One of the most frustrating aspects about being a transsexual is that I’m frequently asked to explain to other people why I decided to transition. Why did I feel it was necessary to physically change my body? How could I possibly know that I’d be happier as a woman when I had only ever experienced being male? If I don’t believe that women and men are “opposite” sexes, then why change my sex at all? Unfortunately, while these are among the most common questions people ask, they are also the ones to which people are the least open to hearing my answer” (77).

“Similarly, while I understand cissexual culture (as I was raised as, and generally assumed to be, cissexual), most cissexuals tend to have an extraordinarily limited understanding of transsexuality” (290).

“If we truly want to bring an end to all gender-based oppression, then we must begin by taking responsibility for our own perceptions and presumptions. The most radical thing that any of us can do is to stop projecting our beliefs about gender onto other people’s behaviors and bodies” (193).

“So long as we refuse to accept that ‘woman’ is a holistic concept, our concept of womanhood will remain a mere reflection of our own personal experiences and biases rather than something based in the truly diverse world that surrounds us” (227).

APRIL: Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson


Jacqueline Woodson’s website: Jacqueline Woodson

March 16, 2021 at 4:00 PM – Virginia Festival of the Book: An Evening with Jacqueline Woodson 

March 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM – Vernon Area Public Library: One Book, One Community: Author Visit with Jacqueline Woodson

March 23, 2021 at 3:00 PM – Politics and Prose: Parent Like It Matters: How to Raise Joyful, Change-Making Girls with Jacqueline Woodson

Discussion Quotes

“But that morning in September, as we run from the Black Breakfast Table to the television in our homeroom, we blend into a single child crying as newscasters tell us how much we don’t yet know” (122).

“It’s the grown-ups who can’t fathom what they refuse to see” (173).

Maybe this was the moment when I knew I was a part of a long line of almost erased stories” (15).

“She felt red at the bone–like there was something inside of her undone and bleeding” (161).

“We both loved how he wrote. He was truly saying, Can we just be who we are, people? Can we just take off our masks and laugh and dance and eat and talk? But then he has the nerve to have that name Paul Laurence Dunbar—like you need to say it with your pinky pointing out. Hmph. Made me and Po’Boy shake our heads at all that our people are” (179).

MAY: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison


The Toni Morrison Society website: Toni Morrison

The Last Interview Series – Toni Morrison: The Last Interview and Other Conversations by Melville House and Nikki Giovanni

December 7, 1993 – The Nobel Prize: Toni Morrison: Nobel Lecture

Discussion Quotes

“…the aspect of married life that dumbfounded him and rendered him totally dysfunctional was the appearance of children. Having no idea of how to raise children, and having never watched any parent raise himself, he could not even comprehend what such a relationship should be…As it was, he reacted to them, and his reactions were based on what he felt at the moment.” (126)

“His subconscious knew what his conscious mind did not guess–that hating them would have consumed him, burned him up like a piece of soft coal, leaving only flakes of ash and a question mark of smoke.” (151)

Then they had grown…They ran the houses of white people, and knew it. When white men beat their men, they cleaned up the blood and went home to receive abuse from the victim. They beat their children with one hand and stole for them with the other. The hands that felled trees also cut umbilical cords; the hands that wrung the neck of chickens and butchered hogs also nudged African violets into bloom; the arms that loaded sheaves, bales, and sacks rocked babies into sleep. They patted biscuits into flaky ovals of innocence–and shrouded the dead. They plowed all day and came home to nestle like plums under the limbs of their men. The legs that straddled a mule’s back were the same ones that straddled their men’s hips. And the difference was all the difference there was.” (108)

JUNE: Muslim Women Are Everything: Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure by Seema Yasmin and Fahmida Azim


Dr. Seema Yasmin’s website: Dr. Seema Yasmin 

Fahmida Azim’s website: Fahmida Azim

November 23, 2020 – The New York Times: ‘Muslim Women Are Everything’ Turns the Page on Stereotypes

Discussion Quotes

“… the International Skating Union eventually changed its rules to keep with the times, and with Zahra. A sponsorship deal with Nike soon followed and Zahra became one of the faces of the company’s athletic hijab, which was launched in 2018. Her persistence, strength and courage paved the way for Stephanie, who similarly refuses to let other people’s narrow beliefs limit her movements.” (91)

Muslim women are expected to defend Islam, explain their rituals, explain their dress, justify their existence—anything contrary to this is seen as a radical act…Suhaiymah refuses to be “respectable,” to write the words expected of her: “I put my pen down. I will not let that poem force me to write it, because it is not the poem I want to write. It’s the poem I have been reduced to. Reduced to proving my life is human because it is relatable. Valuable because it is recognizable…Because if you need me to prove my humanity, I’m not the one that’s not human.” (37)

JULY: The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea


Luis Alberto Urrea’s website: Luis Alberto Urrea

August 24, 2021 from 6:30-7:30 – Chicago Public Library: Adult Book Discussion: The Hummingbird’s Daughter

April 8, 2021 – URI College of Arts and Sciences: Spring 2021 Humanities Festival: Luis Alberto Urrea

August 2, 2019 – Time: The Shame of the Border Crisis Will Never Leave Us by Luis Alberto Urrea

Discussion Quotes

“The sibs all thought Little Angel was cheating the system somehow. A culture thief. A fake  Mexican. More gringo than anything. He knew that. He had heard his sister call him a “gringo-Mex.“

“He believed he was celebrating them when he shared stories of their foibles. He felt the burden of being there living witness. Somehow the silliest details of their days were, to him, sacred. And he believed that if only the dominant culture could see the small moments, they would see their own human lives reflected in the other.“

And Lalo hears his own voice again, sounding alien, as if it were his father’s voice, saying, “We got to stop. We just running in circles. Payback, payback, payback. You ain’t never gonna pay nothing back.” The pistol drops to his side. The man on the couch opens his eyes, sees the gun has dropped away from his face, and suddenly deflates with disbelief. He is revealed: a middle-aged loser who has disfigured his own face and is not a threat to anyone in the world. Not even worth shooting.” (243)

“…the pallbearers were all in white. Yndio and Lalo at the head of the coffin. Pato and Marco in the middle. Little Angel holding up his back corner, looking across at Minnie. She stood tall. Pants and a satin vest. Nobody was going to tell her women didn’t carry coffins.” (312)

AUGUST: Apeirogon by Colum McCann


Colum McCann’s website: Colum McCann

August 16, 2021 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM ET – Temple Beth Zion–Beth Israel (BZBI) Book Club: Apeirogon by Colum McCann, to be reviewed by Sharon Greis

July 29, 2021 – Hyperallergic: How Watermelon Became a Symbol of Palestinian Resistance by Billy Anania

February 2, 2021 – WAMC Podcasts: #1698: Colum McCann “Aperiogon”

May 29, 2020 – Politics and Prose: Colum McCann, “Apeirogon” – in conversation with Ben Rhodes

February 24, 2020 – The New York Times: Colum McCann Gives Voice to Grieving Fathers, One Israeli and One Palestinian by

Discussion Quotes

“…the Germans killed six million Jews and…now we have an Israeli diplomat in Berlin and we have a German ambassador in Tel Aviv. You see, nothing is impossible. As long as I am not occupied, as long as I have my rights, so long as you allow me to move around, to vote, to be human, than anything is possible.” (242)


“…anything which creates emotional ties between human beings inevitably counteracts war. What had to be sought was a community of feeling, and a mythology of the instincts.” (111)


“It struck him early on that people were afraid of the enemy because they were terrified that their lives might get diluted, that they might lose themselves in the tangle of knowing each other.” (124)


“We may have built up our wall, but the wall is really only in our minds, and every day I try to put a crack in it.” (227)


“Arabs? Really? Going into the same meeting as these Israelis? How could that be? A thinking, feeling breathing Palestinian? And I remember seeing this lady in this black, traditional Palestinian dress, with a headscarf–you know, the sort of woman who I might have thought could be the mother of one of the bombers who took my child. She was slow and elegant, stepping down from the bus, walking in my direction. And then I saw it, she had a picture of her daughter clutched to her chest. She walked past me. I couldn’t move. And this was like an earthquake inside me: this woman had lost her child. It maybe sounds simple, but it was not. I had been in a sort of coffin. This lifted the lid from my eyes. My grief and her grief, the same grief.” (223)

SEPTEMBER: Made in Japan, Settled in Oregon by Mitzi Asai Loftus


February 23, 2016 – McMenamin’s History Pub Talk: Detained by My Country with Mitzi Loftus

May 9, 2012 (updated July 27, 2020) – Columbia Gorge News: ‘I had to give up the Hood River Valley’ by

April 14, 2007 – Oregon State University: Multicultural Voices of Oregon: Mitzi Asai Loftus Oral History Interview

Discussion Quotes & Questions

“It was not until years later, when my mother was in her sixties or seventies, that we learned how she felt about coming to a strange country to marry a strange man. Her answer to her parents had been, “I didn’t want to.” In traditional Japanese culture, a girl did not have a right to express her own feelings in such matters. I learned how liberal her family was back in 1911, for they asked her if she would like to marry this man in America.” (19)

“Having no idea how long we would be contained in camp nor how to appease the neighbor with his invented charges, Pa sadly but with resignation agreed to sell the farm to him. This whole episode was the source of a great deal of bitterness, rancor, and regret for Pa for many years. Pa’s respect for this man diminished, and I do not believe he spoke to him the remaining twenty-five years of his life.” (99)

OCTOBER: The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio


July 15, 2021 – The Nation: In Utopia, I Never Have to Write About Immigration Again by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

April 15, 2021 – Common Reads: Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (author of The Undocumented Americans) at the FYE Conference 2021

October 21, 2020 – New York Times: ‘I Came From Nothing’: An Undocumented Writer Defies the Odds by Concepción de León

Discussion Quotes & Questions

“As an undocumented person, I felt like a hologram. Nothing felt secure. I never felt safe. I didn’t allow myself to feel joy because I was scared to attach myself to anything I’d have to let go of. Being deportable means you have to be ready to go at any moment, ready to go with nothing but the clothes on your body. I’ve learned to develop no relationship to anything, not to photos, not to people, not to jewelry or clothing or ticket stubs or stuffed animals from childhood.” (60)

“Some people choose between the medical and the natural, but we didn’t have the funds for the medical.” (88)

NOVEMBER: The Overstory by Richard Powers


Richard Powers’ website: Richard Powers

September 13, 2021 – New York Times: Richard Powers Speaks for the Trees

October 16, 2019 – OPB: Richard Powers: “The Overstory”

Discussion Quotes & Questions

“The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.” (336)

It occurs to Adam where the word radical came from. Radix. Wrad. Root: The plant’s, the planet’s, brain.”

On his fourth night in the cell, Nick dreams of the Hoel family chestnut. He watches it, sped up thirty-two million times, reveal again its invisible plan. He remembers, in his sleep. On the cot’s thin mattress, the way the time-lapse tree waved its swelling arms. The way those arms tested, explored, aligned in the light, writing messages in the air. In that dream, the trees laugh at them. Save us? What a human thing to do. Even the laugh takes years.”

Once you’ve bought a novel in your pajamas, there’s no turning back.”

DECEMBER: The Cutting Season by Attica Locke


Attica Locke’s website: Attica Locke

September 18, 2012 – NPR: In ‘Season,’ One Plantation’s Double Murder Mystery

August 29, 2019 – The New York Times: Attica Locke, Novelist and TV Writer, Has Some Suggestions for Hollywood by Jillian Tamaki

Discussion Quotes/Questions

“Caren’s reminded that Belle Vie’s “…beauty, was not to be trusted” after the snake incident at beginning of book. “That beneath its loamy topsoil, the manicured grounds and gardens, two centuries of breathtaking wealth and spectacle, lay a land both black and bitter, soft to the touch, but pressing in its power. She should have known that one day it would spit out what it no longer had use for, the secrets it would no longer keep.” (4)


“He was unshaven, his hair in knots, and Caren had the awful thought that they’d kept him in lockup for the past few days for the sole purpose of aging him, curing him like a cut of meat, making him look more like the thug they were here to charge. It was a reminder of the ways an arrest can often work backward, making a criminal of any life it touches.” (764 in eBook)

OCTOBER: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele 


A talk presented by PEN America and Summit: Patrisse Cullors and Joshua Wong in Conversation with Baratunde Thurston 

Interview with Patrisse Cullors hosted by Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show: How to Phase Out the Police 

NYTimes article: Some Protests Against Police Brutality Take a More Confrontational Approach(question for discussion: “How does the BLM movement fit into what is currently happening in Portland?”)

Questions by Hosts

If you had to use one word to describe a major theme running through this book that holds the author together and provides her much needed comfort, what would that word be?

Now having read this book, in a sentence or so, what do you believe is the main purpose and goal of the Black Lives Matter movement?

I want to discuss her beautiful writing style, and her influences, but I think it might be more important to look forward instead, and (borrowing and wrecking a line from Hamilton) discuss her book as a moment in a movement.

NOVEMBER: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi


An interview with Ibram X. Kendi hosted by The Aspen Institute: How to Be an Antiracist

TED talk with Ibram X. Kendi: The Difference Between Being “Not Racist” and Antiracist 

Questions by Hosts

On page 180, Kendi says “To be antiracist is to equate and nurture difference among racial groups.” We often talk about celebrating diversity and differences, but do we need to concentrate harder on equating differences? How do we do this?

In my own interpretation, Kendi says that if we make things equal, fair, and just for Black people, especially for Black transgender women, that we will ultimately make the world, or at least our country, better for everyone. Conversely, he says that groups such as white supremacists and the policies and ideas they promote, are making the world worse for everyone, including White people. What do you think about these ideas?

How does Kendi make you examine your own situation, your own biases?

DECEMBER: Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson 


Jan 21, 2021 – New York Times podcast: America’s Caste System Is 400 Years Old. That Doesn’t Change Overnight

Dec 1, 2020 at 5:00 PM – Oregon Humanities: Can We Get Along? 

2017 TED talk with Isabel Wilkerson: The Great Migration and the Power of a Single Decision

Los Angeles Times Virtual Book Club: Journeys to America: Writings on a Hidden Nation with Karla Cornejo Villavicencio & Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Questions by Hosts

Do you agree with Isabel Wilkerson’s argument(s) that the United States embodies a caste system? On page 352, Wilkerson quotes Taylor saying “if people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?”; what do you think? On page 387, Wilkerson says that we need to be “pro-African-American” among other pro’s; how does this relate to or differ from Kendi’s argument to be “anti-racist” among other anti’s?

Wilkerson often implies or states that we are all performers, playing our racial and/or caste roles that would not exist if we did not act them out. After reading this book and Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, does anyone else feel like they are living in a fictional movie or novel where everyone is ignoring facts or truths in order to keep each other down and elevate themselves on both the local and global stage? I keep hearing the following quote from The Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten at their last performance, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” I do!


People experiencing homelessness are an untouchable as well. I have no problem believing that African-Americans in this situation have it even worse than whites, but as a whole, once people fall into a state of homelessness, they are often written off completely, and they are treated as a threat to the public good. If we are to move from a caste society to one that reflects our better natures, if we can come to celebrate cultures and races, I think we need to keep in mind that we cannot allow an underclass to remain in place.

Book Titles

August 18, 2022: The Healing of Natalie Curtis by Jane Kirkpatrick

September 15, 2022: True Biz: A Novel by Sara Novic

October 20, 2022: Prison Poems by Mahvash Sabet

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown

Conduct Unbecoming: Gays & Lesbians in the U.S. Military by Randy Shilts

The First Oregonians by Laura Berg

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

From a Native Son: Selected Essays on Indigenism, 1985-1995 by Ward Churchill

Go Back to Where You Came From: And other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American by Wajahat Ali

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith

Jump: My Secret Journey from the Streets to the Boardroom by Larry Miller and Laila Lacy

Men we Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

The Night Watchman: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

Oregon Democracy: Asahel Bush, Slavery, and the Statehood Debate by Barbara Mahoney (academic article)

Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940 by Elizabeth McLagan

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope by Albert Woodfox

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Adrienne Maree Brown

Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism by Roy Richard Grinker

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 by Claudio Saunt

What You Should Know about Politics…but Don’t: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues that Matter by Jessamyn Conrad

July 21, 2022: See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur

June 9, 2022: The Morning the Sun Went Down: A Memoir by Darryl Babe Wilson

May 19, 2022: A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney

April 14, 2022: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

March 10, 2022: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

February 10, 2022: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

January 13, 2022: Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness by Richard Grinker

December 9, 2021: The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

November 17th, 2021: The Overstory by Richard Powers

October 14, 2021: The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

September 9, 2021: Made in Japan, Settled in Oregon by Mitzi Asai Loftus

August 12, 2021: Apeirogon by Colum McCann

July 9, 2021: The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

June 10, 2021: Muslim Women Are Everything: Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure by Seema Yasmin and Fahmida Azim

May 13, 2021: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

April 8, 2021: Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

March 11, 2021: Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano

February 11, 2021: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. 

January 14, 2021: Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

December 10, 2020: Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson 

November 12, 2020: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

October 8, 2020: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele