Booked for Lunch Book Club with Chris Wilson

Above: members of the Booked for Lunch book club with author Chris Wilson (center, wearing scarf) and founder Mishawn Smith (center, wearing burgundy dress)

The Booked for Lunch book club comes together to read, watch, and discuss literature and other materials on diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and professional development.

The group of "diversified thinkers" was founded in 2017 and has more than 100 members from across the University of Maryland, Baltimore community and meets virtually* every other month for dialogue, awareness, and collaborative thinking as it reviews literature and other materials.

All are welcome to join.

Join the Club

*The club is currently meeting virtually due to the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the club met in person and lunch was provided by local women and minority vendors from West Baltimore. Books were also provided to members.


Our Meetings:

The Booked for Lunch book club offers a safe space for honest and organic conversations. An alternative to the conventional diversity and inclusion training typically offered in organizations, the club provides an inclusive and safe space that allows for raw conversations that promote awareness and build rapport while creating opportunities for collaborative thinking through the review and discussion of a variety of diverse reading and media materials.

Upcoming Meetings:

Currently Reading:

Book CoverBook Title and Author
Untangled Book Cover 

June/July Book

Untangled: A Black Woman’s Journey to Personal, Spiritual, and Sexual Freedom
Victoria D. Stubbs
Stubbs is a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Lead from the Outside 

August/September Book

Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change
Stacey Abrams


Our History:

  • 2017: The book club was founded by Mishawn Smith, MPA, executive administrative assistant in the UMSON Office of the Dean and Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  • 2020: The book club received a 2020 Inspiring Affinity Group Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Past Events and Collaborations:

  • Jan. 2020: Private viewing and discussion of the film Just Mercy, based on the book by Brian Stevenson, at The Charles Theatre with University of Maryland School of Law.
  • Feb. and June 2020: Hosted author Chris Wilson for discussions of his book, The Master Plan.
  • April 2021: Partnered with UMB's Office of the President to lead a campuswide reading and discussion of Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Anti-Racist. 

Books We've Read:

Book CoverBook Title and Author
How to Be an Antiracist  How to Be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates  The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
Wes Moore
Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria  Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria
Beverly Tatum
Hillbilly Elegy  Hillbilly Elegy
J.D. Vance
  Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s
John Elder Robinson
Born a Crime  Born a Crime
Trevor Noah
Not in My Neighborhood  Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City
Antero Pietila
  The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Hannah Crafts
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom  In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom
Yeonmi Park with Maryanne Vollers
Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People  Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People
Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
I Am Malala  I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
Between the World and Me  Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Good Immigrant  The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America
by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
Just Mercy  Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Brian Stevenson
The Master Plan  The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose
Chris Wilson
Becoming  Becoming
Michelle Obama
CommUNITY Book Club at the Universities at Shady Grove

In 2020, the CommUNITY Book Club was founded at the Universities at Shady Grove by Laura El Shafei, MPH, MA, RN, director of student success. The club took a break during the pandemic and plans to begin again in fall 2021.