Shalom Book Club, 2017!

(But first, an announcement about the podcast: if you’ve already read all the good Shalom in the City news, just scroll to the bottom for BOOKS).


Most of you know that one of my favorite parts of 2016 was getting to pair up with my dear friend Osheta for the Shalom Book Club, a monthly book club podcast.

Well, have I got news for you…

First, the book club starts up again in March – scroll down to see six months’ worth of picks. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. 

Second, the format of Shalom in the City is changing when it comes to the who. Instead of new guests every week, there will be a monthly rotation of co-hosts and one guest per month. I’ll always show up as the Fabulously Witty and Highly Stimulating Book Guru (or so I’m calling myself), but puh-lease extend a warm welcome to two new co-hosts, Jerusalem Greer and Abby Perry.

You can read more about Abby’s role on the podcast here.

And click here to read more about Jerusalem’s role on the podcast.

Third, the format of Shalom in the City is changing when it comes to the what. We’re narrowing our focus. We’re going deep in one theme for four months straight, and then having loads of fun with Camp Shalom in July and August. But from March to June, the books we read, and the conversations we have on the podcast and in the hang out will focus around the central theme of hopeful resistance.

Because, this:

This is hope springing up out of murky parts.

This is finding beauty in the most unlikely of places.

This is going, Man, I don’t necessarily like or understand everything going on in the world today, but I choose to actively be a peacemaker instead of a peacekeeper.  

And this is doing it all together, in and with and through the concept of shalom.


“Um, weren’t you going to talk about the books?”

“Yes, yes I was. They’re here! Announcements, announcements, announcements! Grab a copy of each of the books listed below, then head over to the Shalom Sistas Hangout and leave a comment. Book club podcasts work when you leave YOUR thoughts and ideas.” 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it: the books?”

“The books!

March: The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon). This YA book kicks off the theme of hopeful resistance, and I’m telling you now: Yoon is a master storyteller. Her book Everything, Everything was one of my favorite reads of 2016, and I can’t wait to enter into this one with all of you.

April: ONE (Deidra Riggs). Am I allowed to be more than excited for books, two months in a row? Deidra’s book kicks off the theme of division within hopeful resistance, and I can’t think of a better shalom-seeking book than this one. Also, I am delighted to be speaking at the upcoming ONE Conference (with Deidra) in April, and would love to have you join me! (Note: book releases April 4, 2017).

May: Hallelujah Anyway (Anne Lamott). I know, I know – how the H-E-double hockey sticks did we get so lucky as to read three amazing books three months in a row? Squeeze me. With the theme of defensiveness within hopeful resistance rounding out May, we could think of a better author who’s offered the world a dose of vulnerability than this saint. (Note: book also releases April 4, 2017). 

June: LaRose (Louise Erdrich). When it comes to the theme of despair within hopeful resistance, we yearned to read an adult fiction book that dealt with the issues of mental illness and was written by a woman of color. Erdrich, who’s Native American, fit the bill with this 2016 New York Times Bestseller, and I, for one, can’t wait to read it.

July: Saints and Misfits (S.K. Ali). If this opening line doesn’t get you, I don’t know what will: “…an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life …starring a Muslim teen.” I mean, I love me some Claire Danes, but I can’t wait to read this top pick, right in the middle of Camp Shalom!

August: Foreign Soil (Maxine Beneba Clark). When Elle Magazine marked this book as one of their most anticipated reads of 2017, I knew I had to check it out. So, here’s the deal: it’s written by a West Indian and Australian writer and slam poet, so you know the literary juices will be flowing with this one. And, maybe it’s because I read in bits and spurts during the summer, but a book of short stories that take place all over the world seem quite appropriate to me!

September through June books will be announced later this year! 

Otherwise, listen, read, enter in …and enjoy.

So, Shalom in the City: have you checked out Osheta’s brainchild of a website yet? What books are you MOST excited to read with us this year? 

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