the new podcast BOOK CLUB, for patrons only.
world falling apart? lonely and confused as fuck? READY TO JUST GIVE UP ON LIFE? FEELING EXISTENTIALLY LOST?
I GOT YOU. wheeeeeeeee!!!YYYYYYAAAA!!!!!! yessss…….a BOOK CLUB.
why not. we’re gonna try a book club. maybe it’ll work. maybe it won’t. maybe people will meet in the book club and fall in love and colonize the moon together. WE DON’T KNOW.
but we know this: WE FUCKING LOVE BOOKS and the very deep and small and grand things make us think and feel….and it’s high time.
it is going to be an ongoing casual thing that exists as a PATRON-ONLY section of the shadowbox forum, and the first reading list for the first season is below. there will be threads for each book and a live chat for every book about a month after i interview the author on the podcast.
it’s a perfect time for this, since almost every guest on my upcoming podcast is a great writer/published author; you’ll see the list below.
the idea is to give you heads up NOW about what all the books are…and you can pick and choose which book-discussion group you’d like to join.
this isn’t a book club where we all read a single book a month. it’s more like a rolling smörgåsbord of possibilities.
starting in about a month, we are going to be discussing a new book ALMOST EVERY WEEK, and the online discussion of the book can begin IMMEDIATELY. it’s loosy-goosy. and mostly, it’s a way to be together as a community.
so: if you want and you’re a book FIEND. you can read ALL OF THEM, or just pick one book/topic that appeals.
every book will have a dedicated thread in the “book club” section of the shadowbox forum – and you must be a patron (at any level, from $1 up) to log in there.
there, all will be revealed and discussed and CONVERSATION MAY COMMENCE! we will also be holding a live CHAT (with me the author whenever possible) about a month after the author’s podcast airs. that gives everyone about a month to fall in love my guest, order and read the book, and get discussing and thinking. if this timeline seems too tight (espeically because of COVID making it harder to get ahold of books) we can lengthen it by popular demand.
who’s leading the conversation?
who is making the tea? well, me, and more.
i’ll be there as much as possible, on the forum and in the chats, and i’ve already read 95% of these books to prepare for the guests’ interviews when i did them…so i’m super excited to join pretty much every one of them. you know me. i have THOUGHTS.
there are also two official BOOK CLUB hosts!!!
first up, xanthea o’connor:
(photo by ash! that’s his finger in the top right corner! cute.)
xanthea been helping out with the podcast in general (and is based here in NZ with me, after coming over with me and neil from australia thinking she’d be here for two weeks, gulp). she is going to be one of the main book club hosts and organizers.
our other host is sarah kolburg, who i met through the omega retreat. she’s going to be working behind the scenes on the forum, and co-organizing and leading the live chats along with xanthea. she’s based in the states….and here she is with a baby goat.
the exact time of the live webchat discussion (which will probably be held using crowdcast) will be determined by the book group itself, since people are in different time zones. we will discuss and organize (and use polls!) on the forum.
FUCK! YES! I WANT TO JOIN! I WANT TO READ A BOOK RIGHT NOW!
the VERY FIRST book on our reading list is the brand-spanking new “Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes”, by my inaugural podcast guest, elizabeth lesser.
this is a little bit odd since the book we mostly discuss on the podcast is elizabeth’s book “broken open”, but…time has passed. and this new one is sooooo on point for our times. i’m reading it right now and it’s making me scream and cry.
i’ll be discussing the book with elizabeth on our live follow-up chat, also for patrons only, the thursday after the podcast airs publicly. (stay tuned for a post about how to join that).
elizabeth’s actual podcast episode airs sept 29th, in a day or so, which means the book club discussion will be about a month after that at a mutually agreed upon time – around october 29th.
and don’t worry if you can’t make the live chat. the discussion on the forum itself should be pretty amazing. and i like that it is so drop-in and casual. come if you can.
READY TO DO THIS? let’s make friends though books. it’s the best way.
here’s a list of the upcoming guest-authors, and their books, where to order them, and a link to the shadowbox group so you can join in!!!
“Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes”
key topics: feminism, trauma, growth and personal evolution, storytelling and the world stage.
What story would Eve have told about picking the apple? Why is Pandora blamed for opening the box? And what about the fate of Cassandra who was blessed with knowing the future but cursed so that no one believed her? What if women had been the storytellers?
Elizabeth Lesser believes that if women’s voices had been equally heard and respected throughout history, humankind would have followed different hero myths and guiding stories—stories that value caretaking, champion compassion, and elevate communication over vengeance and violence.
elizabeth is encouraging us to get the book from our local indie bookseller, but here’s an online link just in case.
…and head over to our first book club thread on the shadowbox to say hi!
“Who am I, Again?”
key topics: personal growth and challenges, trauma, comedy, race,
HOW DO YOU BEAT THE BULLIES AND THE BIGOTS? HERE’S HOW.
The heart-breaking, inspirational (and very funny) story of the man who overcame so much, and won a very special place in a nation’s heart.
you can get his book online, or straight from his publisher.
“A Beginner’s Guide to The End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death“
key topics: death and dying, practical things about death of loved ones, personal growth
“There is nothing wrong with you for dying,” hospice physician B.J. Miller and journalist and caregiver Shoshana Berger write in A Beginner’s Guide to the End. “Our ultimate purpose here isn’t so much to help you die as it is to free up as much life as possible until you do.”
bj says to get the book through your local indie bookstore, or his publisher.
LAURA JANE GRACE
“Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout”
key topics: music and writing, gender dysphoria, addiction, the entertainment biz
(photo credit: joe leonard)
A searing account of her search for identity and true self, “Tranny” reveals the struggles and victories that Laura Jane Grace, the lead singer of the cult punk rock band Against Me! experienced in her quest for gender transition.
Illuminated by Laura Jane’s never-before-published journal entries reaching back to childhood, “Tranny” is an intensely personal and revelatory look inside her struggles with identity and addiction. Grappling with everything from sex, drugs, failed marriages, music, and soul of a punk rock star, this memoir paints a vivid portrait of one of the most revolutionary transgender icons of our time.
“The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You”
key topics: the internet, hidden darkness of the web, politics and profits of online corporations
An eye-opening account of how the hidden rise of personalization on the Internet is controlling-and limiting-the information we consume.
you can get eli’s book here.
if you haven’t seen the TED talk that he gave about this topic, holy fuck,. go watch it.
if you liked “the social dilemma”, this one is for you.
“Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism”
key topics: feminism, activism, personal growth
“Read & Riot” is structured around Nadya’s ten rules for revolution (Be a pirate! Make your government shit its pants! Take back the joy!) and illustrated throughout with stunning examples from her extraordinary life and the philosophies of other revolutionary rebels throughout history. Rooted in action and going beyond the typical “call your senator” guidelines, Read & Riot gives us a refreshing model for civil disobedience, and encourages our right to question every status quo and make political action exciting—even joyful.
you can get nadya’s book here.
“The War For Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World”
key topics: empathy, compassion, overcoming trauma, personal growth
Empathy is in short supply. Isolation and tribalism are rampant. We struggle to understand people who aren’t like us, but find it easy to hate them. Studies show that we are less caring than we were even thirty years ago. In 2006, Barack Obama said that the United States is suffering from an “empathy deficit.” Since then, things only seem to have gotten worse.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In this groundbreaking book, Jamil Zaki shares cutting-edge research, including experiments from his own lab, showing that empathy is not a fixed trait—something we’re born with or not—but rather a skill that can be strengthened through effort. He also tells the stories of people who embody this new perspective, fighting for kindness in the most difficult of circumstances. We meet a former neo-Nazi who is now helping extract people from hate groups, ex-prisoners discussing novels with the judge who sentenced them, Washington police officers changing their culture to decrease violence among their ranks, and NICU nurses fine-tuning their empathy so that they don’t succumb to burnout.
Written with clarity and passion, The War for Kindness is an inspiring call to action. The future may depend on whether we accept the challenge.
you can buy the book here.
8. STORM LARGE
key topics: surviving a traumatic childhood, rock and roll, drugs, feminism, authenticity
Yes, Storm Large is her real name, though she’s been called many things. As a performer, the majority of descriptions have led with “Amazon,” “powerhouse,” “a six-foot Vargas pinup come to life.” Playboy called her a “punk goddess.” You’d never know she used to be called “Little S”—the mini-me to her beautiful and troubled mother, Suzi.
Little S spent most of her childhood visiting her mother in mental institutions and psych wards. Suzi’s diagnosis changed with almost every doctor’s visit, ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder to multiple personality disorder to depression. One day, nine-year-old Little S jokingly asked one of her mother’s doctors, “I’m not going to be crazy like that, right?” To which he replied, “Well, yes. It’s hereditary. You absolutely will end up like your mother. But not until your twenties.”
Storm’s story of growing up with a mental time bomb hanging over her veers from frightening to inspiring, sometimes all in one sentence. But her strength, charisma, and raw musical talent gave her the will to overcome it all. “Crazy Enough” is a love song to the twisted, flawed parts in all of us.
you can buy storm’s book here.
so there you have it, every book from every guest from the first season of my upcoming podcast. read some, read none, READ THEM ALL, and keep your eye on the shadowbox forum for the live chat announcements.
we will send another post like this for the next batch in a few months, as we gear up for season two.
LET’S DO THIS!!!!!
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
IF YOU’RE IN THE USA…..DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN THE NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTION. DO NOT BE CONFUSED!!! help is there: you can register to vote, find your local voter registration deadlines, update your voter registration, check that your registration is still on the books, find your polling place and other important election information HERE at http://headcount.org
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