It was pretty close for a while.
To recap: I asked you to suggest some books written by authors from a race or culture different from your own. The goal was to build a list to help move the conversation forward, with regard to race and racism in America. You responded with a fantastic list of beautiful books and I decided I’d like to read all of them, preferably on a tropical island. But, this is a real life I’m living, so I decided to have you pick one book for us to read as our very first book club book ever, in the history of time. The struggle was real, and I was having an incredibly difficult time picking just one book, even with your suggestions. So, I narrowed it down to three books, and I asked you to vote for your favorite.
You guys! For DAYS, the vote was tied! TIED! 33.33% for each book. But then, there was a surge of votes and, just as the voting came to a close, one book pulled ahead and clinched first place.
I’ve never hosted an online book club. I’ve never even participated in an online book club. But, I know it’s probably important for our book club to have a name, along with a book to read. So, first, let me tell you I went ahead and named us “Forward,” because forward is the goal. Little by little, we can chip away at our own biases, our stereotypes, and our blind spots and, together, we can create a little bit of forward motion and leave the world better than when we found it. We can. I believe that from the bottom of my heart. And, our first book, The Yada Yada Prayer Group (Book One) is a great place to start.
If you’re disappointed (and, because the vote was so close, I’m sure some of you were hoping to have one of the other books as our first choice) I hope you’ll hang in there with us and participate by reading the Yada Yada Prayer Group. I’m going to keep the other two books on standby and, if all goes well, we will get to read those books together, too.
For now, here’s a link to purchase your copy of the book, and here’s a recap of the Yada Yada Prayer Group:
The Yada-Yada Prayer Group, Book One
Details: Novel. 416 pages. Written by Neta Jackson. The first of a series. Paperback. $14.99 on Amazon (on December 27, 2015).
Summary (from Amazon): What do an ex-con, a former drug addict, a real estate broker, a college student, and a married mother of two have in common?
Nothing, or so I thought. Who would have imagined that God would make a prayer group as mismatched as ours the closest of friends? I almost didn’t even go to the Chicago Women’s Conference–after all, being thrown together with five hundred strangers wasn’t exactly my “comfort zone.” But something happened that weekend to make us realize we had to hang together, and the “Yada Yada Prayer Group” was born! When I faced the biggest crisis of my life, God used my newfound Sisters to show me what it means to be just a sinner saved by grace.
Why it was one of the three finalists: I’ve read this book and I love it. The author is a friend of mine, and her commitment to racial reconciliation is something she lives out in her daily life, in Chicago. But what I love is the way she gently leads readers to consider what it could like to live without walls of division between us, in the Body of Christ. This book is a great example of what it looks like to use the gifts God gave us to help advance the message of hope. Also, this book was chosen as “Book of the Year” in 2008, by Women of Faith.
As for the “rules” of Forward, I’m going to keep it pretty loose. And, I’m open to suggestions. So, in the comments, please let me know what’s worked for you and what’s been frustrating about the online book clubs you’ve participated in in the past. Our official start date will be January 15, 2016, and I’ll be sharing more details as we get closer to that date.
What I want you to know is that I’m really excited about this. It feels like it’s going to be good, and I’ve got some ideas about where this could lead us, somewhere down the road. One more thing I’d like to share is that the audio version of this book is fantastic. So, if your only option is to listen to the book while you commute or cook dinner or exercise, you won’t be sorry that you chose the audio version.
Thanks so much for voting. And, thank you for your desire to move the conversation forward. This is how we change the world, right where we are. Remember to let me know the good and the bad about your past online book club experiences, in the comments. I look forward to your wisdom! Also, don’t forget to enter for your chance to win my Thank You Grab Bag of gifts. The drawing closes on December 31, 2015.