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What is the Beautiful Struggle Book Club?

The Beautiful Struggle Book Club (BSBC) is a literary community in which members of all races and backgrounds engage in meaningful literary discussion of both classic and contemporary literature written by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) authors with a particular focus on fiction and non-fiction from authors of the African diaspora (African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx), Africa, and Indigenous communities. We also read works from the Latinx and Asian diasporas.

In addition to literary fiction and the classics, we try to include novels from a variety of genres and subgenres, including but not limited to historical fiction, historical romance, contemporary romance, biographies/memoirs, mystery/crime, historical nonfiction, science-fiction, fantasy, folklore, and magical realism.

This book club is for you if:

  • You appreciate great books and seek to decolonize your bookshelf and expand your awareness of civil rights issues, domestic and global racism, and the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and sexuality in BIPOC communities.
  • You love literature and use books as an empathy-building tool to learn about and engage with experiences different than your own.
  • You enjoy enriching conversations about books that go beyond the story's surface elements and delve deeper into subtextual literary details and their emotional resonances for the reader.
  • You enjoy having great conversations and learning from others' perspectives in a warm and friendly intellectual environment!

Let's read together!

*Meetings are once a month on Saturdays.*

This is a book club, not school!

  • You are not required to finish the book but be advised discussions will not be spoiler-free!
  • There are no attendance awards! We know people have lives. You aren’t required to attend every meeting. In fact, we’d prefer you pick and choose the meetings you’re really interested in based on the discussed book. If you’re not feeling the book, please don’t feel obligated to join, we'll see you next time!

Upcoming events (3)

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

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In the Midst of Winter, by Isabel Allende
Genre: Literary Fiction, Drama, Romance

"During the biggest Brooklyn snowstorm in living memory, Richard Bowmaster, a lonely university professor in his 60s, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, and what at first seems an inconvenience takes a more serious turn when Evelyn comes to his house, seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant, Lucia Maraz, a fellow academic from Chile, for her advice.

As these three lives intertwine, each will discover truths about how they have been shaped by the tragedies they witnessed, and Richard and Lucia will find unexpected, long-overdue love. Allende returns here to themes that have propelled some of her finest work: political injustice, the art of survival, and the essential nature of — and our need for — love." - Amazon

Author Bio

Isabel Allende is a Chilean writer whose works contain aspects of the genre magical realism, and is known for novels such as The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) and City of the Beasts (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002). Allende has been called "the world's most widely read Spanish-language author." In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she received Chile's National Literature Prize. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Allende's novels are often based upon her personal experience and historical events and pay homage to the lives of women, while weaving together elements of myth and realism.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djéli Clark

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Genre: Fantasy fiction, historical fiction

From the publisher:
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world forty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city—or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

About the author:
Phenderson Djéli Clark is the author of the novel A Master of Djinn, and the award-winning and Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon nominated author of the novellas Ring Shout, The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His short stories have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including, Griots and Hidden Youth. You can find him on his blog The Disgruntled Haradrim.

Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

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Genre: historical fiction

From the publisher:
Coming of age in a free Black community in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her mother, a physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to be independent? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her light-skinned mother, she will not be able to pass for white. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises a better life on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.

Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States, critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author Kaitlyn Greenidge returns with an unforgettable and immersive novel that will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our past.

About the author:
Kaitlyn Greenidge is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and the Guggenheim Foundation. She is currently Features Director at Harper’s Bazaar as well as a contributing writer for The New York Times. Her second novel, Libertie, is published by Algonquin Books.

Past events (85)

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

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Photos (132)