Red Stick Reads
Look Below For More Info On Events and Programs
Reading Era Bookclub
When do we meet?
We meet monthly and on the last Saturday of the month
5:30 pm - 6:30pm in the book shop
What to wear and share:
Long story short, wear whatever you want, be comfy, have fun,….but I also highly encourage anyone that wants to come in theme with our current reading era. ….And anyone wanting to trade friendship bracelets is more than welcome to bring those as well.
We’ll provide light snacks & drinks again, and we can discuss how to handle food and drinks for future meetings.
Saturday, January 27
Reading Era: TBA at meeting
Book Selection: TBA at meeting
Adjacent Reads:TBA at meeting
Saturday, February 24
Reading Era: Lover Era
Book Selection: Cuban girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow By Laura Taylor Namey
*Think London Boy Vibes
Saturday, March 30th
Reading Era: Reputation Era
Book Selection: Counterfeit by Kristen Chen
*Think Getaway Car Vibes
Saturday, April 27th
Reading Era: Evermore Era
Book Selection: The Not So Secret Society of Witches by Sangu Mandanna
*Think Willow Vibes
Saturday, May 25th
Reading Era: Midnights Era
Book Selection: Night Circus by Erin Morhenstern
*Midnights takes listeners through 13 sleepless nights; The Night Circus takes the readers to the Circus of Dreams which only opens at night!
Saturday, June 29th
Reading Era: Fearless Era
Book Selection: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
*Think You Belong with Me Vibes
Ages 8-12 (3rd -5th grade)
We meet on Saturdays at 12:30pm in the Bookstore!
Saturday, January 20th
Book Selection: Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Saturday, February 17th
Book Selection: Click Here to Start by Denis Markell
Saturday, March 23rd
Book Selection: Any Ronald Dahl Title (ex: Matilda, The BFG, etc...)
Saturday, April 20th
Book Selection: I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic by Lauren Tarshi
Saturday, May 18th
Book Selection: Cardboard Kingdom #1 by Chad Sell
Saturday, June 15th
Book Selection: The Vanderbeek's of 141 Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Join us every Saturday at 11:30 am in the store for Story Time for the kids!
Book Club Information
We currently offer two book club options in the shop and all are welcome! We offer a Children's Book Club and the Reading Era Book Club (a Taylor Swift-Inspired book club).
Almost There by Farrah Rochon
Review by: @litwithlarashleyyyyy
Kids’ Korner Review
The rundown: Disney fans everywhere know the story of Tiana turning into a frog, then finding her prince and living happily ever after...but what if that story changed? Instead of Tiana defeating the Shadow Man, she made a deal with him that changed New Orleans forever. Step back into a continuation of The Princess and the Frog, where Tiana opens her restaurant with her father, Prince Naveen has no memory of their adventure together, and Louis is a trumpet player! In this dark, fantasy, twisted tale, the Shadow Man is up to his tricks again.
The review: Returning to the beloved story, The Princess and the Frog, was so good! The book made me feel the love: the true love of Tiana and Naveen, the love Tiana has for her father, and the love and beauty of New Orleans! Tiana is everything I remembered from the movie: fiercely stubborn but kind and hardworking. She sees the trouble that she’s caused, yet, she basks in the joy of her restaurant and her father being alive. Even though her deal caused people to go missing, a mysterious fog disrupted Mardi Gras, and fewer people enjoyed her famous gumbo!
Tiana learns also that she must rely on her friends and family, and not only depend on herself.
The new adventure she sets herself on to right the deal she made with the Shadow Man leaves her and the reader with the lesson of slowing down and enjoying the simpler things in life. Also, trust your gut: if something seems off, it is!
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Review by @youshouldreadthisif
The rundown: In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches. But even as she prepares to leave her fellow Links, CAPE’s corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.
The review: I loved this book so much, and I could probably write a novella about all the ways I enjoyed it. Since that’s not what any of us are here for, I’ve decided to focus this review on 2 particular elements that really hit home for me.
First is how thoroughly Adjei-Brenyah has depicted the modern PIC (prison industrial complex) as a complex network that was built and is reinforced by so many interlocking elements. There’s the obvious, of course, such as the systemic racism made glaringly clear with the footnotes and how a capitalistic ideology props up the prison system and measures imprisoned people in monetary value: how much profit can be earned from a chain member wearing sponsored armor; the blood points, worth fractions of a fraction of a penny, earned for kills made.
What I enjoyed even more, though, were the less dramatic ways Adjei-Brenyah makes his point. The chapter on the scientist who unintentionally developed the research used to create the Influencer, which was co-opted and twisted for a terrible purpose by the CEO of an arms company. The guard/driver of the Angola-Hammond Chain, who understands, to some degree, the wrongness but continues to do his work because he needs the paycheck. Further, Adjei-Brenyah draws familial ties between the CEO of ArcTech™️ and a cofounder of the largest private prison corporation in the Chain-Gang world using footnotes on two different pages. Such a small thing, but so powerful. Same with Gunny Puddles’ single POV chapter, which demonstrates so harshly disenfranchised white people’s resentment of POC: “The worst part is they have the audacity to think they have it worst.” And though his decision to include so many different character POVs makes the book less character-driven than it could have been and, of course, means that we spend less time with Loretta and Staxxx, taken altogether it powerfully reinforces the point of the incredible complexity of the systems bracing the modern PIC.
Second, I so enjoyed how much of a voyeur Adjei-Brenyah made me feel, particularly through the character Emily. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but it very much heightened my interaction with the book. Like the character, who initially judged her boyfriend’s fascination with hard action sports and then eventually became sucked in herself, I also turned the pages with a sick fascination with what Adjei-Brenyah had constructed. Like her, I couldn’t look away. It was a fascinating way to make the reader, particularly this one who is similar in so many ways to this character, complicit. Because there’s a challenge there, I think. An implied “oh, so you felt some type of way about what you read? well, what are going to do about it?”. So good.
Goes well with: Your favorite abolitionist text. I recommend Angela Y. Davis’, including Are Prisons Obsolete? and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, and The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale.
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa
Reviewed by: @youshouldreadthisif
The rundown: On an island off an unknown coast, objects are disappearing, followed by the memory of those objects. At first these objects are small things, easily forgotten, then more significant. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these disappearances, but the few who remember are terrified of the mysterious Memory Police, who are determined to ensure that what has been forgotten remains so and of disappearing themselves.
The review: I enjoyed the experience of reading this book; I really enjoyed it towards the end; and I have appreciated it even more as I’ve gained distance from and been able to reflect more upon it. I think that it may seem deceptively simple at first read: all vibes, no plot (which really just means very character-driven); a straightforward premise; no build-up to some major third-act conflict.
Oh, how I enjoyed uncovering the layers Ogawa weaves into this story. I found it so affecting that much of the book feels quite pleasant, almost comforting. For as horrifying as the premise is, there is a marked lack of misery. The language Ogawa employs expresses this and so do the quietly domestic moments she writes in: walking your newly adopted dog, celebrating an old friend’s birthday. But then you start to consider the objects forgotten, and the calm becomes eerie, slowly suffocating. You start to wonder if the residents in this notably unknown time and unknown place have perhaps forgotten how to despair of their circumstances. And THAT is truly terrifying.
I also appreciated the many ways in which the themes of art and memory are intertwined, wound so tightly up in each other they form a Gordian knot. Not only does the memory of novels, the main character’s art of choice, disappear, but the characters in her novels also have lost some vital sense, a reflection of the reality which she, the MC, is living in. Both of these things - art and memory, specifically the act of remembering - are depicted as impermanent and also as subversive. There are so many layers to tease apart in this novel, and I’ve enjoyed how it has stuck around in my memory (ha) months after I finished it.
Stars In Your Eyes by Kacen Callender
Review by @youshouldreadthisif
The rundown: When Logan, Hollywood’s bad boy, and Mattie, an up-and-coming golden boy, are cast as leads in a new romantic film, Logan claims that Matt has “zero talent,” sending the film’s publicity into a nosedive. To create positive buzz, the two are persuaded into a fake‑dating scheme—but as the two actors get to know their new characters, real feelings start to develop.
The review: Callender really took the idea of a cozy, warm romance and gleefully ripped it up into tiny little pieces. Then he took those pieces and rearranged them into a love story that burns as it goes down. Because this romance is neither pretty nor easy. It’s a long, difficult road for Logan and Mattie to reach their happily ever after (yes, there definitely is HEA!).
A central thesis of Stars In Your Eyes is that trauma poisons all aspects of a person’s life and a romantic relationship, even a safe one, is not the solution for recovery, a lesson that the romance genre widely could stand to acknowledge more explicitly. To that end, I really appreciated that Callender allows Logan to be and stay messy and traumatized. Nothing about what he struggles with is solved immediately after or because of his relationship with Mattie. He continues to make bad decisions, motivated by the PTSD of his trauma (both new and old). Mattie also comes to understand that his own trauma, stemming from his father’s homophobia and emotional abandonment, has led him to over-invest in caring for Logan and consequently neglect his own health.
And because of all that, we have the most necessary third-act break-up of all time. THIS, my friends, is how you utilize a break-up for the betterment of the romance! It was so, so good. Painful and cathartic, like the emotional climax of a romance should be. I love how Callender wrote the break-up, and though I want to rave about it in detail, I’ll contain myself to avoid spoiling it for readers who haven’t had the pleasure of reading this book yet. I’m not generally a fan of fake dating, but this was a superb execution of the trope to serve the larger story. Highly recommend.
Goes well with: Readers who enjoyed Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour, which is sapphic, not Achillean, may appreciate this one, as well. While the settings are very different, both books explore the characters’ trauma and how it impacts their ability to be in a healthy relationship.
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