Resistance Reading

Social Justice Fuels New Neighborhood Book Club

It goes without saying that there has been a shift in many of our lives since November 2016. After the election, many Philadelphians felt a need to get involved in our community, learn more, and help inspire positive social change. In September 2017 this exact desire led to the creation of The East Falls Social Justice Book Club. The club has a common goal: to learn more about the complexities of our world with similarly curious community members.

Since the first meeting our small group has met eight times, reading eight different text selections and then discussing them over wine, cheese, and fellowship. So far we have read and dissected:

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan, paired with Because a White Man’ll Never Do It by Kevin Gilbert

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli

Inevitable Revolutions by Walter LaFeber

The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Readings are selected by members of the club on a rotating basis – all social justice topics are on the table. The member that chooses the book to read also provides a few guiding discussion questions for when we meet. Now for a small disclaimer: It is okay if you don’t read the whole book!

Seriously, no pressure. We are all juggling many things in our lives, so the hope and expectation in the group is to read as much as you can and join for the discussion to learn and add in your thoughts. In addition, as a group we challenge ourselves to purchase the book club books from small, local bookstores.

EFSJ Book Club meetings start with mingling with wine and cheese, transition into discussion about the book – writing style, topics, questions and discoveries to hear, and then end with an opportunity to create an action step based on our new learning. As a small community we are able to bounce ideas off of one another to help support our neighborhood, city, country, and world.

The Book Club is open for and seeking out new members with interest in our mission. Currently, by coincidence, all members work within the education field. We know our discussions and conversations could be widened with the addition of new friends with varying backgrounds and occupations – and so, this is our invitation to you. Meetings are from 6:00 to 8:00 on the third Tuesday of the month at various neighborhood locations including, but not limited to, member’s houses, Le Bus, Trolley Car… We hope to see you there!

Our July meeting will center on a discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me on July 17. Please email me if you are interested in joining us and I will share the location! In addition, follow us on Instagram at ef_socialjustice.

 

Sarah Carroll is a Baltimore native who moved to Philadelphia to attend St. Joseph's University 11 years ago. Sarah proudly serves as the Dean of School Culture and English Teacher at St. James School in neighboring Allegheny West. Sarah loves running, yoga, reading, cooking, drinking coffee and teaching. She lives with her partner on Midvale Avenue and loves everything about East Falls.

3 Comments

  • Penny Scott

    What a delicious treat to find this timely invitation. Many thanks. I intend to be wherever you decide on 7/17.
    Am eager to peruse titles so far.
    Waving, with renewed hope.
    Penny Scott

    • Penny Scott

      Hi, Sarah–
      What a delicious treat to find this timely invitation. Many thanks. I intend to be wherever you decide on 7/17.
      Am eager to peruse titles so far.
      Waving, with renewed hope.
      Penny Scott

    • Sarah Carroll

      Penny, due to recent events in our country the book club decided to switch our July read to “The Leavers” by Lisa Ko. This is a fiction story about a young child of a Chinese undocumented immigrant who is torn apart from his mother.

      We are going to meet on July 25 from 6:00-8:00 at my home (I will make sure you get the address!)

      Please let me know if those changes work for you! I am thrilled you reached out.

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