I started an online book club this year. I wanted to talk about books, and also force myself to be less lazy when choosing reading material. The qualifications were that all books had to be published in the past 18 months, and that I would seek out authors who were not cis, straight, white men.

Each month (though a few were skipped!) I would put two selections up for a vote, with the winner getting discussed at the end of the month. I almost always read them both. Below is my complete list of bookclub books for the year. Meg in Pittsburgh gets a copy of the best thing I read this year, which was What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi.

We’re currently choosing December’s book, and you’re invited to join us on the journey. A discussion will occur mid-January.

        • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
        • Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration by Lauren-Brooke Eisen
        • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
        • These Heroic Happy Dead: Stories by Luke Mogelson
        • Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
        • Exit West by Moshin Hamid
        • The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
        • Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride
        • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
        • Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss
        • Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay
        • Chemistry by Weike Wang
        • The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife by Lucy Cooke
        • Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution by Menno Schilthuizen
        • How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes
        • The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser
        • Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything by Randi Hutter Epstein
        • Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
      • December Picks: 
        • The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya
        • Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz

      TIP: Many libraries let you check out books on your Kindle (or other e-reader) for free with a library card. And of course, you can always do the thing where you go into a library and borrow a book (or 10) for free too.

Thing 4: The Shop

Today is Black Friday. So, we shall celebrate Black excellence (I know that isn’t how this works; we should celebrate it every day).

LeBron James. I am a LeBron stan through and through. King James and I both grew up in the Cleveland area at the same time, and while that certainly contributes to my affinity,  my Bron love is based on so many different things. I don’t care that he left Cleveland (twice), I do care that he is smart and handsome. And funny. And a great human. And you should definitely follow him on Instagram.

So what is today’s thing? LeBron recently debuted a show called The Shop on HBO. Only two episodes in, it is an original look at sports, all told through conversations in barbershops across America. Famously told to shut up and dribble, LeBron has used his platform to create a show that gives audiences an engaging and honest look at the too-often ignored human side of athletics; including race, fame, family, work, and so many more topics. Plus, episode two is in DC and features Drake!

Isaac in Stoneham, MA has been gifted my HBOgo password to watch The Shop and any other HBO shows that suit his viewing needs.

TIP: Many airport hotels have day passes to their gym facilities. These include showers, and sometimes pools. I guess you could even workout too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Always double check in advance, and don’t be afraid to tweet/call if you hear rumblings on the internet but can’t confirm on the website. These can be a lifesaver (ok not life, but mood) on layovers, especially if there are not adequate or open lounges. My personal favorite is at ARN.