Cover II Cover Social Justice Book Club

Cover II Cover is a social justice-focused book club that strives to push University of Kentucky community members to read books that are socially and politically challenging and engage in productive, activist-minded discourse. This program is for individuals that want to explore books about race, gender, ability, immigration, poverty, criminal justice, as well as a host of other issues.

Laughing at my nightmare by Shane Burcaw
With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw's Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a "you-only-live-once" perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.

Burcaw Book Pick-Up: Monday, August 26th - Friday, September 6th

Burcaw Book Meetings:
Wednesday, October 2nd, Martin Luther King Center 3:30P
        Wednesday, October 30th, Martin Luther King Center 3:30P



Choking on Silence: A Memoir by Paul B. Tripp
A remarkable journey of self-discovery and survival, as the author navigates a perfect storm of homosexuality, religion and military service. Gay-themed memoirs have become more and more common, but this work stands out based on the unique circumstances surrounding the author’s life. Tripp describes his childhood in Montana as a kind of war zone: “Growing up in an alcoholic home, I was never sure where the beginning was or where on the path I would hit a landmine and have the evening explode in front of me.” He eventually seeks refuge in the structure and discipline of the armed forces but incurs the psychological burden of having to hide his true nature. Tripp’s inclusion of excerpts from his personnel file adds another layer to the narrative, underscoring his criticism of the massive amount of resources expended by the military in an effort to weed out homosexual service members. Amid the subterfuge, the author finds tender moments of human connection as a lonely teenager working in a nursing home, a sexually repressed young man living on a submarine and a decorated officer approaching retirement. In fact, a submarine is the ideal metaphor for Tripp’s odyssey: He attempts to move undetected through largely hostile waters while facing potentially disastrous consequences if discovered. The author also has a knack for explaining decisions that led him to pursue “reparative therapy,” heterosexual marriage and fatherhood. Aside from some editing issues at the end of the book, the only drawback is Tripp’s fondness for well-worn or clunky similes, which will strike some readers as folksy or distracting. Regardless, this memoir full of sharp insights will appeal to a wide audience—not only gay men, but anyone who wants to better understand a loved one struggling with sexual orientation and identity. A powerful testament to the importance of self-acceptance and perseverance.

Tripp Book Pick-Up: Monday, October 21st - Friday, December 1st

Tripp Book Meetings:
        Wednesday, November 13th​, William T. Young Library, Multipurpose Room
        Wednesday, December 4th, William T. Young Library, Multipurpose Room



Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of Black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles—from the Black freedom movement to the South African antiapartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today’s struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that “freedom is a constant struggle.”

Davis Book Pick-Up: Monday, January 15th - Friday, January 25th

Davis Book Meetings:
       Tuesday, February 11th​, Martin Luther King Center 12P
        Tuesday, March 10th, Martin Luther King Center 12P



Song Yet Sung: A Novel by James McBride
In the days before the Civil War, a runaway slave named Liz Spocott breaks free from her captors and escapes into the labyrinthine swamps of Maryland’s eastern shore, setting loose a drama of violence and hope among slave catchers, plantation owners, watermen, runaway slaves, and free blacks. Liz is near death, wracked by disturbing visions of the future, and armed with “the Code,” a fiercely guarded cryptic means of communication for slaves on the run. Liz’s flight and her dreams of tomorrow will thrust all those near her toward a mysterious, redemptive fate. Filled with rich, true details—much of the story is drawn from historical events—and told in McBride’s signature lyrical style, Song Yet Sung is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.

McBride Book Pick-Up: Monday, March 9th - Friday, March 20th

McBride Book Meetings:
        Tuesday, March 31st, Martin Luther King Center 12P
        Tuesday, April 28th, Martin Luther King Center 12P

Books and custom Cover II Cover Coffee Mugs can be picked up in the BISS Office or the Martin Luther King Center.