EEA’s Anti-Oppression Book Club, Season Three!
Led by Lalaa Comrie of This Black Girl Reads
October 2023 – May 2024
Online using Zoom, and In Person at Queen Books
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 originally launched in 2021, and 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 third season to help us expand our practice and understanding of anti-oppression. We hope you’ll join us! Scroll down to learn about the 2023-2024 lineup of books and how to join us!
“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
“I luv this group! It is a pleasure learning/unlearning/relearning with this mixed group of thoughtful humans. Lalaa puts so much work into preparing content & questions for our discussion. I read so many books that I wouldn’t otherwise and I’m proud to say that I belong to this anti-oppression book club!” – Season 2 Participant
2023-2024 Book Lineup
Over the course of the next several months, we will read the following incredible books, selected by our facilitator:
- Tuesday October 3, 2023 – Kick Off Club
Location: In-Person Club at Queen Books on Queen East!
BOOK: And the Walls Came Down, by Denise Dacosta
Book Description: This book is a rollercoaster of emotions and a beautiful depiction of resilience in the midst of poverty. Set in the 90s in Toronto, the book follows a Black family living in a housing complex and takes us through the motions and emotions of life and survival. This book gives insight into the experiences of Canadians living in poverty, and the toll this takes on relationships and mental health. And the Walls Came Down is a character-driven narrative about mental illness, secrets, class, gender, race, family, friendship, community, and survival.
Trigger Warnings: abusive mother, alcoholism, racism
- Tuesday November 28, 2023
Location: Online Via Zoom
BOOK: Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
Book Description: Kaikeyi is a retelling of the life of the eponymous queen from the Ramayana, an Indian epic poem. She is raised on tales about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the worthy. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to the marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.Seeking comfort in the library’s scrolls, Kaikeyi learns she carries a power that will aid her throughout her life, despite her god-forsaken status. Before she can truly test these powers her father informs her that she will be married off rather quickly to another kingdom. When she meets her soon-to-be husband she makes him promise to uphold her only condition which he does. What follows is Kaikeyi’s journey in her new kingdom as she pushes the boundaries of the constraints of what a woman is and should be. This is a stand alone fantasy inspired by historical India, drawing from Hindi traditions. The story is rich in character development and world building. The novel centers around a strong female character with a strong voice. Trigger Warnings: Misogyny views, battle and fight, polygamy.
- Tuesday January 30, 2024
Location: Online Via Zoom
BOOK: Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
Book Description: What would you do if your bestie just vanishes one day, and you are the only one who notices? In Monday’s Not Coming we meet Claudia on her way back to DC after spending summer vacation with her Grandmother. After saying hello to her mother her next ask is to go visit her best friend Monday Charles who she hasn’t seen since she left for her summer vacation. Monday is Claudia’s only and best friends, they are inseparable, which is why Claudia could not understand why Monday didn’t write to her over the summer vacation. When Monday doesn’t show up on the first day of school without an explanation, Claudia is worried. But when days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months it’s evident to Claudia that something has gone seriously wrong. Panic sets in and even though Claudia attempts to move forward with her life she cannot because she is obsessed with locating Monday and finding out what is going on. Trigger Warnings: Missing girl, silencing, systematic oppression.
- Tuesday March 26, 2024
Location: Online Via Zoom
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Book Description: In Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, comedian and television personality Trevor Noah gives a heartfelt and funny recounting of his experiences growing up in South Africa as an oppressed person. Stories of Noah’s life are interspersed with insights into South Africa’s culture, systems, and history.Trevor Noah shares the stories from his formative years that highlight the main conflict of growing up under apartheid and how racist policies affected the lives of everyone in South Africa. Noah appeals to the reader with his wit and uses it to gradually introduce the problems plaguing South Africa and how they affected his life. Trigger Warnings: apartheid system, derogatory language, racist views, abuse.
- Tuesday May 28, 2024 – Closing Club
Location: In-Person Club at Queen Books on Queen East!!!
A History of Burning by Janika Oza
Book Description: “A History of Burning” is a sweeping family drama that takes place between the 1890s and 1990s. It is a fascinating, finely rendered tale of Indians who migrate from their country to Africa, then England and Canada.The story begins with the family’s origins in Africa, when in 1898 a young Pirbhai is tricked into boarding a boat to Kenya to help build the railway from the sea to Victoria Lake. From there, we follow his life and the life of his descendants as they build relationships, flourish, flounder, bend with changes, and see themselves through it all by clinging to each other.
More than the history of one family, the novel is a history of British colonialism in the 20th century and the real impacts of that regime on families and communities.Trigger Warnings: colonialism, racism, multi-generational struggle.
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