Since 2015 Glory Edim has translated her love of books into a literary juggernaut. First she founded Well-Read Black Girl, the popular book club and online community devoted to African-American writers. Next came the Well-Read Black Girl Book Festival, which held its second annual event in Brooklyn this fall. And in October Edim published “Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves,” a compendium of essays by black women writers, such as Jacqueline Woodson and Tayari Jones, on the literary characters that changed their lives.
BOOKS: Were you in a book club before you started this?
EDIM: I was in a book club in college, and in another later with my friends in Washington, D.C. I’ve always been in one since I was little. Even in Girl Scouts I oversaw the book section. All the book clubs followed the same rules as this one. They are relaxed. If you didn’t read the book you could always hop into the discussion as long as you are OK with spoilers.
BOOKS: What are you reading now for possible selections for your book club?
EDIM: “Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary,” a collection of works by Kathleen Collins, who was one of the first African-American women to direct a feature film. I started reading Bridgett M. Davis’s “The World According to Fannie Davis,” a memoir about her life and her mother, who was a numbers runner in Detroit. Davis has a great, sharp way of writing about her mom, and she captures the energy of Detroit at that time.
BOOKS: Who are some of the authors you’ve discovered in running your book club?
EDIM: I do my best to support independent publishers. I love Beacon Press and Haymarket Books. They both have incredible writers like Eve Ewing. Her poetry collection, “Electric Arches,” was one of my favorite books in the last year. I thought it captured the vibrancy of black womanhood.
BOOKS: Who are some of the African-American writers you have read in your club who you wish were better known?
EDIM: We have been doing the bigger names, like Jesmyn Ward, but part of the club’s mission is to highlight debut writers. We did a science fiction book by Rivers Solomon, “The Unkindness of Ghosts.” She’s incredible. In October we read the story collection “The Training School for Negro Girls” by Camille Acker. She’s a brilliant and up-and-coming writer.
BOOKS: How do you keep up with your reading for the club?
EDIM: I don’t read long books. Most are 200- to 250-page books. I can speed through that on a train in a week. Most of the book-club selections are short-story collections, so people can hop in at any point. Those are my book-club rules.
BOOKS: What is the longest book you’ve read?
EDIM: Marlon James’s “A Brief History of Seven Killings” is one of my favorite books. I loved it, but it has so many characters that if someone asked me what happened I don’t really know. And then Alexander Chee’s “The Queen of the Night.” I love that book too. I also got it in hardback, which might have made it feel longer than it was. I couldn’t carry it around. I had to keep it on my nightstand.
BOOKS: When do you do most of your reading?
‘Even in Girl Scouts I oversaw the book section.’
EDIM: Especially now that I’m on tour and in airports a lot I like layovers. I read for two hours straight. That’s a good day for me. I don’t feel like I have time to read straight out anymore. I used to be like, ‘I’m going to sit here for six hours.’ On Sundays I used to be a little hermit. My partner is a big movie person. I’d make him wear headphones [while he watched movies], and I’d just be in the corner reading.
BOOKS: What’s the last book you read like that?
EDIM: “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky,” a story collection by the Nigerian writer Leslie Nneka Arimah. I read that in one sitting. I tried to do that with Tomi Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone.” That’s a long book actually so that didn’t work out.Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @GlobeBiblio. Amy Sutherland is the author, most recently, of “Rescuing Penny Jane’’ and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org