lifelong learning

2020–2021 UW Alumni Book Club Archive

Personal stories, timely topics, transformative fiction… We love to dig into amazing books together! Below is an archive of the books and related events from the 2020-2021 reading season. The UW Alumni Book Club is a collaboration between UWAA, the UW Libraries, the University Book Store — and passionate readers like you.

Book cover: "The Color of Law"

“The Color of Lawby Richard Rothstein

Sure to challenge perspectives, “The Color of Law” is sure to provide opportunities for conversations.

“In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation — that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, “The Color of Law” incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation — the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments — that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.”

Recorded Events and Links

“Kindred” by Octavia E. Butler

The visionary author’s masterpiece pulls us — along with her Black female hero — through time to face the horrors of slavery and explore the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. (From the publisher)

Recorded Events

"Circe" book cover“Circe” by Madeline Miller

The UW Alumni Book Club goes mythological as we experience this re-imagining of Greek mythology with a feminist twist. A New York Times Bestseller, “Circe” is one of the most talked about books of the last few years.

“A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story that manages to be both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.” (Alexandra Alter, The New York Times)

Recorded Events

Book cover "How to Be an Antiracist"

“How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi


A #1 New York Times best-selling author, Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices.

In “How to Be an Antiracist,” Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas — from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities — that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.


Recorded Events

Book cover: "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous"

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong

This epistolary novel was an immediate and enduring bestseller, described by the Los Angeles Times as a “series of high notes that trembles exquisitely almost without break.”

From the publisher:

“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation.


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