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 second 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 May 13th at 6:00 PM and we will be discussing the book, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
To sign up for the book club and receive a link to the zoom meetings, please click here: Unlimited Book Club sign-up.
View more information below!
Resources and Discussion Quotes
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
“…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)
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
“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).
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
“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).
Ocean Vuong’s website: Ocean Vuong
January 28th – Brooklyn Public Library: Documenting the Uprising: A Panel Discussion on Archiving and Activism
“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).
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.
“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)
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?
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?
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.
May 13, 2021: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
June 10, 2021: Muslim Women Are Everything: Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure by Seema Yasmin and Fahmida Azim
July 9, 2021: The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Made in Japan, Settled in Oregon by Mitzi Asai Loftus
Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940 by Elizabeth McLagan
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
Apeirogon: A Novel by Colum McCann
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
The Morning the Sun Went Down: A Memoir by Darryl Babe Wilson
The First Oregonians by Laura Berg
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
Oregon Democracy: Asahel Bush, Slavery, and the Statehood Debate by Barbara Mahoney (academic article)
From a Native Son: Selected Essays on Indigenism, 1985-1995 by Ward Churchill
See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur
Men we Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
The Overstory by Richard Powers
What You Should Know about Politics…but Don’t: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues that Matter by Jessamyn Conrad
Muslim Women Are Everything by Seema Yasmin and Fahmida Azim
The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Adrienne Maree Brown
The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
A Spectral Hue by Craig Laurance Gidney
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke
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