Tamika Davis (second row, last on the right in photo) is one of the organizers — along with Jerolyn Bron and Milanda McGinnis — of Well-Read Black Girl Greensboro. The national book club focuses on books by and for black women, but anyone is encouraged to join. The Greensboro branch started last August and meets at Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro every fourth Sunday of the month. The next meeting is on Sunday. To learn more about the local group including which books they are reading, visit their Facebook page here.
Why did you decide to start a branch of Well-Read Black Girl in Greensboro?
I’ve always been looking for a book club ever since I moved here. It was just about finding a club that read books that I would enjoy. Urban lit is becoming very popular, but I really wanted to join a group of black women who wanted to read the classics like Toni Morrison and uplift books where I could see myself in the book. So, I found out about Well-Read Black Girl and I looked at their list of books, and I really liked their selection.
How do you pick which books to read?
So, Well-Read Black Girl prefers that you read books about and by black women so we chose to read their anthology for the first meeting but for the second book we chose Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. The book is about a strong black woman, Trevor’s mom. The rest of this year we’ll choose mostly books that were on a national list that they put out. They’ve picked up-and-coming new authors, black women. Well-Read Black Girl’s goal is to feature nonbinary, queer, gender nonconforming and black writers.
So far, we’ve read the Well-Read Black Girl anthology, Born A Crime, Red At the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson and The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom. This Sunday we’re talking about The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory. Our next book is going to be Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.
Which one has been your favorite book so far?
Well, I actually have two. I loved the Well-Read Black Girl anthology because there were so many books that were mentioned in the anthology that I haven’t read. Also, Born a Crime. Trevor Noah’s mother led such an amazing life and imparted so much wisdom and as a mother myself, I hope to impart as much wisdom to my own children. Also, despite it being written in the setting of South Africa, the book feels like it could have taken place anywhere in the world. It resonates with you if you are a child, and everyone is someone’s child, and if you are a mother.
Who is the book club for?
We welcome everyone but primarily women of color because the mission of the national group is seeing yourself in the pages of these stories. We are not reading stories about white women and at the beginning our meetings we start by asking, What part of the book really resonated with you? And that might be different if you are white or Asian versus if you are black or Latinx.
What’s been the impact of the book club so far?
It’s been overwhelmingly, wholeheartedly very positive. For example, one lady said she was out of town but then raced back here because not only she could discuss the book, but it’s a place where she could breathe. She could relate despite our different backgrounds. It’s like, You’re like me, you can relate to everything that’s going on. We become friends even though we only meet once a month — we’re a sisterhood.
How can people join?
Just read the book and show up!