Uncomfortable Reads Book Club

Since November, bookstores across the country are forming book clubs to tackle uncomfortable topics – we’re proud to announce that here at BookPeople, we’re launching one of our own! Our aim for the Uncomfortable Reads Book Club is to bridge the gap between knowledge and application, and to help ourselves and our community have productive conversations about complex, difficult, and relevant topics. We’ll have our first meeting Tuesday, March 28th, at 7 PM, where we’ll be discussing Why I Am Not A Feminist by Jessa Crispin, who rose to literary fame with her blog Bookslut.

Jessa Crispin’s new work of feminist literature, WHY I AM NOT A FEMINIST: A FEMINIST MANIFESTO, is short, uncompromising, and devastating – it seems as if her editor got rid of every word that fails to pack a punch. She casts a critical eye on big-tent modern feminism, refusing to accept a watered-down vision of female liberation wherein women can claim any personal choice as an act of feminism. Instead, she argues for a wider embrace of intersectionality in feminist discourse, asserting that when women measure their success as feminists based on their personal success, we lose sight of the wider patriarchal mechanisms that continue to send out ripple effects of gendered suffering across vulnerable communities.

Her freshest critique – it seems to me – was a rejection of the sex-positive, capitalism-heavy friendly feminism of today. Crisipin writes that modern feminists have, for the most part, rejected the radical feminists of the 60s and 70s as too aggressive, and instead embrace a kind of feminism-lite, wherein men must be coddled, bras must be worn, legs must be shaved, and rhetoric must be toned down. Crispin sees something topsy turvy in a world where feminists must continually assert that they are not personally attacking any men, whereas many men still do the bare minimum in researching feminism. Her book is not so much aimed at men, however, as at the women who work too hard to please them and work too little for the causes of our gender, yet still claim the title “feminist.” Those familiar with feminist academic literature may recognize many of the book’s concepts, but the popularity of Crispin’s words and the power of her fiery critique should keep the crucial set of conversations surrounding modern feminism going strong.
-Molly O.

Also mark your calendars for our upcoming meetings in April and May!

And remember that BookClubers get 10% off the price of the book

Evicted – Matthew Desmond 

Tuesday April 25th at 7pm
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In Evicted, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. Through the stories of eight families, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.
Austin, Texas, is renowned as a high-tech, fast-growing city for the young and creative, a cool place to live, and the scene of internationally famous events such as SXSW and Formula 1. But as in many American cities, poverty and penury are booming along with wealth and material abundance in contemporary Austin. Rich and poor residents lead increasingly separate lives as growing socioeconomic inequality underscores residential, class, racial, and ethnic segregation.

In “Invisible in Austin,” the award-winning sociologist Javier Auyero and a team of graduate students explore the lives of those working at the bottom of the social order: house cleaners, office-machine repairers, cab drivers, restaurant cooks and dishwashers, exotic dancers, musicians, and roofers, among others. Recounting their subjects life stories with empathy and sociological insight, the authors show us how these lives are driven by a complex mix of individual and social forces. These poignant stories compel us to see how poor people who provide indispensable services for all city residents struggle daily with substandard housing, inadequate public services and schools, and environmental risks. Timely and essential reading, “Invisible in Austin” makes visible the growing gap between rich and poor that is reconfiguring the cityscape of one of America’s most dynamic places, as low-wage workers are forced to the social and symbolic margins.

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