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250: James Baldwin’s IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK - March Book Club

Episode Cover - James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk March 2023 Book Club

Are you looking for an amazing classic by a Black author? James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk ( | is a perfect fit for the Unabridged Podcast Reading Challenge.

We're discussing it as our March book club pick, and we also share our pairings including Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage ( | and Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy ( |

If you're loving the podcast or our Unabridged blog and would like to support us, for just $5 a month on Patreon, you can get access to an extra episode the first day of each month. We appreciate your support.

Bookish Check-in

Ashley - Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper Volume 4 ( - Whole set of 4 volumes

Jen - Lynn Painter’s The Do-Over ( |

Our Book Club Pick

James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk ( |

Our Pairings

Ashley - Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage ( |

Jen - Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy ( |

Mentioned in Episode

Nic Stone’s Dear Justyce ( |

Give Me One - Preferred Hot Beverage

Listen in to hear our picks, and let us know yours on social media!

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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Bookish Check-in

Ashley was reading...

Book Cover of Heartstopper Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper Volume 4 ( - Whole set of 4 volumes

From the Publisher: "Charlie and Nick's relationship has been going really well, and Charlie thinks he's ready to say those three little words: I love you.

"Nick feels the same way, but he's got a lot on his mind -- especially the thought of coming out to his dad and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.

"As a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick will have to learn what love really means."

Jen was reading...

Book Cover of The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

Lynn Painter’s The Do-Over ( |

From the Publisher:

"After living through a dumpster fire of a Valentine’s Day, Emilie Hornby escapes to her grandmother’s house for some comfort and a consolation pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She passes out on the couch, but when she wakes up, she’s back home in her own bed—and it’s Valentine’s Day all over again. And the next day? Another horrendous V-Day.

"Emilie is stuck in some sort of time loop nightmare that she can’t wake up from as she re-watches her boyfriend, Josh, cheat on her day after day. In addition to Josh’s recurring infidelity, Emilie can’t get away from the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps running into—sometimes literally—in unfortunate ways.

"How many times can one girl passively watch her life go up in flames? And when something good starts to come out of these terrible days, what happens when the universe stops doling out do-overs?"

Our Book Club Pick

Book Cover of If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk ( |

From the Publisher: "Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions—affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche."

Our Pairings

Book Cover of An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Ashley shared...

Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage ( |

From the Publisher:

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit.

"Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

"This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward - with hope and pain - into the future."

Book Cover of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Jen shared...

Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy ( |

From the Publisher:

"Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship - and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

"Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice."


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