EEA’s Anti-Oppression Book Club, Season Two!
Led by Lalaa Comrie of This Black Girl Reads
September 2022 – May 2023
Online using Zoom, max 40 ppl/session
Free | Register below
Accessibility: Please Contact Us If You Have Any Needs or Concerns Regarding Access!
About the Anti-Oppression Book Club
The Anti-O Book Club endeavours to be a space where people can share ideas, ask important questions, and share their love of literature and social justice in an inclusive and respectful environment. Led by the talented Lalaa Comrie of This Black Girl Reads, we are ecstatic to bring back our bi-monthly Book Club for a second season to help us expand our practice and understanding of anti-oppression. We hope you’ll join us! Scroll down to learn about the 2022-2023 lineup of books and how to register as a participant.
“There is a power in the books we read—to educate us, to empower us, and to connect us with experiences beyond our own. My goal in leading an online group in learning more about anti-oppressive practices through literature is to choose books that allow readers to see beyond themselves and broaden their depth. The hope is to facilitate conversations that are not only inclusive but allow a deeper understanding of each other. In our current climate books are more important than ever. My hope is to draw out those who are reluctant” – Lalaa Comrie
“If you are looking to become more well-rounded as a reader and citizen, I would HIGHLY recommend the Anti-Oppression Book Club. I learned so much and my only regret was it didn’t last longer.” – Season 1 participant
2022-2023 Book Lineup
Over the course of the next several months, we will read the following incredible books, selected by our facilitator:
- September 27, 2022
Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness & Becoming by Antonio Michael Downing
In this memoir, we meet Antonio, Toni, Michael, or one of the many names he’s been called in his life, and we follow his unstable journey from a boy to a man. From growing up on the lush island of Trinidad with all of its colonialism mixed with its beauty; to moving to Canada and experiencing the intense culture shock.We see each stage of his life and how he survived it. From losing his grandmother to being sexually assaulted in Trinidad, the anguish of connecting with his parents, to finding refuge in basketball, music, and later writing, Toni’s experiences are raw and give us a look into his growth as a man and the power of perseverance. This memoir is beautiful even in its ugly moments. Trigger Warnings: domestic violence, sexual assault, racism, alcohol and drug use
- November 29, 2022
Honor by Thrity Umrigar
Honor is one of those books that pierce through you directly to your core, and stay there. It’s 2018, and Indian-American journalist Smita returns to the country of her birth to cover the story of Meena, a Hindu woman whose brothers set fire to her home… killing her Muslim husband and disfiguring her in the process. Their interfaith marriage was viewed as an abomination to Meena’s family, so murdering the couple was an attempt to avenge such a dishonor. Meena is a strong-willed survivor though, and she’s taking her brothers to court in pursuit of justice for her husband and to inspire other victimized women to do the same against their own perpetrators. Smita is there to cover the trial and get to the core of the story, a story that changes her forever. This was a beautifully written, thought-provoking, and moving novel. It touches on love, family, attraction, honor, tradition, hatred, sacrifice, betrayal, ignorance, bribery, and hope. Trigger Warnings: Honor Killings, misogynist views, violence against women, violence against children
- January 31, 2023
Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Muller
This is a gritty and inspiring memoir of healing that braids together the urgent issues of Indigenous rights and environmental policy. The author is a leading organizer and activist on the front lines of the environmental justice movement and brings his warrior spirit to fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples’ lands by Big Oil. The author details his heartbreaking childhood of domestic and sexual abuse, intergenerational trauma (both his parents were Residential school survivors), his experiences with racism, poverty, homelessness, gang life, being in and out of juvie, dealing drugs, and substance abuse. Trigger Warnings: substance abuse, domestic and sexual abuse, intergenerational trauma racism, and homelessness
- March 28, 2023
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
In Imbolo Mbue’s sophomore novel How Beautiful We Were we are taken to a fictional village called Kosawa on the continent of Africa. Kosawa is home to the villagers who once lived a simple life farming and living off the land. That is until an American Oil company called Pexton found oil close to the village and started drilling. Kosawa which was once a fertile and thriving village is now home to children dying from toxic air and fumes. The land is barren and infertile, the river is polluted and water from the well can lead to death.The Pexton’s overseer comes with promises and reparations that are never fulfilled. Each year the Villagers sit listening to promises of what is going to happen, and how Pexton will start assisting them but nothing happens until one night, the village Madman decides enough is enough. With one bold move from one Villager, they all decide it is time to fight back. No one can imagine the fight that awaits them. Trigger Warnings: Colonial abuse, revolution, murder, kidnapping
- May 30, 2023
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Esperanza Cordero, a Mexican-American girl living in poverty, gives a soaring voice to a multitude of characters who otherwise would remain in darkness all their pitiful lives. Echoing the undying optimism even in the most wretched place, Esperanza stands for sunny days, for light and memories.In the midst of countless insignificant young adult books, The House On Mango Street is an exception. Awe-inspiring writing with a powerful message duly delivered. Trigger Warning: sexual abuse, poverty
Sign up Here!
Interested in joining the Anti-Oppression Book Club with Lalaa Comrie and East End Arts? Click the button below!
Support Local Bookstores
Joining us for the Anti-Oppression Book Club? You can rent these books from the Toronto Library, or if you’re interested in purchasing copies of them, consider supporting one of our many amazing east end book stores!
- Queen Books
- Book City on Danforth
- Book City on Queen
- ECW Press
- Press Books, Coffee and Vinyl
- Circus Books and Music
- The Great Escape Book Store
- Re-Reading on Danforth
About the Facilitator
Lalaa Comrie is an award-winning writer, literacy advocate, book blogger, and host of the Getting Lit Podcast. For over a decade Lalaa has worked in Corporate Communications by helping brands create content that is both diverse and inclusive while leveraging the talent of BIPOC creators and storytellers.
The winner of two Copa Awards, Lalaa’s on a mission to highlight the voices that have been suppressed, in hopes that if we diversify our bookshelf it also helps diversify our approaches, bridge the gap, and break down some of the barriers that exist in our community.
Her monthly podcast ‘Getting Lit‘ is a podcast dedicated to reviews and recommendations for diverse reads coming out for the month. Her work has been highlighted by Toronto Life Magazine and she has worked with Twitter Canada, Books for Africa, Canada Reads, and Tech Spark Canada. Her monthly book club has over 50 members across Canada. She shares ways to #DiversifyYourBookshelf on thisblackgirlreads.ca