Season 45 Stay and Play Club Book List

Stay and Play is a post-show REP XTRA event hosted by Literary Manager, Danielle Ward, after select matinee performances. The conversation is like a book club for theatre. For those hungry to dig deeper into the themes and contexts of each play on our 45th season, Danielle has assembled a recommended reading list for your enjoyment! 


by Erin Gibson

From the wickedly funny and feminist creator and host of the Throwing Shade podcast, a collection of hilarious personal essays and political commentary perfect for fans of Lindy West and Roxane Gay.

Erin Gibson’s singular goal is to create a utopian future where women are recognized as humans. In Feminasty—titled after her nickname on the hit podcast "Throwing Shade"—she has written a collection of make-you-laugh-until-you-cry essays exposing the hidden rules that make life as a woman unnecessarily hard and deconstructs them in a way that's bold, provocative and hilarious.

"Gibson blazes across the page like a firework shooting over a landscape of ALL CAPS and italics for emphasis...Feminasty is a Best-Friend Book. Reading it feels like having a feminist hype-woman in your corner. She's taking patriarchal bullies apart with the catty, flippant venom they deserve. She's pouring you a glass of something bubbly. She's making you laugh til it runs out your nose."―Portland Mercury

NEW EROTICA FOR FEMINISTS: SATIRICAL FANTASIES OF LOVE, LUST AND EQUAL PAY  by Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor, Carrie Wittmer

Imagine a world where all erotica was written by feminists: Their daydreams include equal pay, a gender-balanced Congress, and Tom Hardy arriving at their doorstep to deliver a fresh case of LaCroix every week.
Both light-hearted and empowering, New Erotica for Feminists—based off of the viral McSweeney's piece of the same name—is a sly, satirical take on all the things that turn feminists on. From a retelling of Adam and Eve to tales of respectful Tinder dates, New Erotica for Feminists answers the question of “What do women really want?” with stories of power, equality, and an immortal Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I would gladly read a whole book of it and pay even a whole Man’s Salary to purchase said book. It deserves to be promoted as much as any high-performance woman in the workplace.” 
—Alexandra Petri, Washington Post columnist


Covering the history of political thought in America, from 1492 through the beginning of the Trump administration.
This ambitious book by an award-winning historian and New Yorker writer offers a fascinating account of the rise of democracy and technology, shifts in demographics, revolutions in economics and the very nature of modernity. This engrossing work showcases the importance of both famous and lesser known players from multiple perspectives.  She notes, "A nation born in contradiction will fight forever over the meaning of its history, but engaging in that struggle by studying the past is part of the work of citizenship.”
“It isn’t until you start reading it that you realize how much we need a book like this one at this particular moment…. It’s a big sweeping book, a way for us to take stock at this point in the journey, to look back, to remind us who we are and to point to where we’re headed.” – New York Times
New York Times Bestseller by an award-winning American journalist and political reporter/analyst 
An illuminating look at the fervently patriotic women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even recipes, Roberts reveals surprising stories that bring to life the everyday trials and triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, and Martha Washington–proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.
“Roberts has uncovered hundreds of personal anecdotes and woven them together in a single, suspenseful narrative with great skill.” –Washington Post Book World

TALES FROM LA VIDA: A LATINX COMIX ANTHOLOGY (Latinographix) by Frederick Luis Aldama
An anthology celebrating over eighty of today’s extraordinary Latinx comic book and visual storytellers.
Whether it’s detailing the complexities of growing up—mono- or multilingual, bicultural, straight, queer, or feminist Latinx—or focusing on aspects of pop culture, these graphic vignettes demonstrate the expansive complexity of Latinx identities. As we travel from one story to the next and experience the unique ways that each creator chooses to visually craft their autobiographical tale, our hearts and minds wake to the complex ways that Latinx’s live within and actively transform the world.
“I wanted to introduce people to the style, the stamp, the form, the shape that each of these different creators gives to their work. So, it’s not just you finding out, wow, that happened to Ricardo Dominguez, but you going, wow, there’s something dazzling about his shaping of the story and I want to go read more of his stuff.” - Frederick Luis Aldama
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
One of the best-loved American memoirs of an oversized family and the parents who held them together.
What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father—a famous efficiency expert—who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen. Translated into more than fifty-three languages and made into a classic film starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, this memoir is a delightfully enduring story of family life at the turn of the 20th century.
“I recommended this book because it was my favorite book growing up. It also inspired 57 CHEVY as it's a series of fanciful accounts of the childhood antics of a large loving family with a strict father, set in an idealized nostalgic past that allows your soul a break from our modern madness.” –Cris Franco, 57 Chevy playwright
Bestselling novel nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions and don’t like to be touched. He is autistic, prone to fall silent for weeks at a time and unable to imagine the interior lives of others. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels. The New York Times called it, “moving. . . . Think of The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher in the Rye and one of Oliver Sacks’s real-life stories.”
“This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy; whether describing Christopher's favorite dream (of a virus depopulating the planet) or his vision of the universe collapsing in a thunder of stars, the author makes his hero's severely limited world a thrilling place to be.” – The New Yorker
FALL DOWN 7 TIMES  TO GET UP 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida, translated by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell
From the NY Times bestselling author of The Reason I Jump, comes another extraordinary self-portrait of a young adult with autism

Naoki Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote his first account of autism from the inside by a nonverbal Japanese child. In short, powerful chapters, Higashida now continues to explore school memories, family relationships, the exhilaration of travel, and the difficulties of speech. Acutely aware of how strange his behavior can appear to others, he aims throughout to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems. This book opens a window into the mind of an inspiring young man who meets every challenge with tenacity and good humor.

“His success as a writer now transcends his diagnosis. . . . His relative isolation—with words as his primary connection to the outside world—has allowed him to fully develop the powers of observation that are necessary for good writing, and he has developed rich, deep perspectives on ideas that many take for granted. . . . The diversity of Higashida’s writing, in both subject and style, fits together like a jigsaw puzzle of life put in place with humor and thoughtfulness.”—The Japan Times

GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
This American classic is won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the National Book Award
First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.  A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the struggles for equality and justice in America.
As Don DeLillo has claimed, Steinbeck “shaped a geography of conscience” with this novel where “there is something at stake in every sentence.” Beyond that—for emotional urgency, evocative power, sustained impact, prophetic reach, and continued controversy—The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics.

RETABLOS by Octavio Solis
Recommended three times by the New York Times and called one of year's Best Books by Buzzfeed
In this uniquely framed memoir, playwright Octavio Solis channels his youth in El Paso, Texas. Like traditional retablos—a traditional painting that dates back to the Spanish Conquest—the rituals of childhood and rites of passage are remembered as singular, dramatic events, self-contained episodes with life-changing reverberations. Living in a home just a mile from the Rio Grande, Octavio is a skinny brown kid on the border, growing up among those who live there, and those passing through on their way North. From the first terrible self-awareness of racism to inspired afternoons playing air trumpet with Herb Alpert, from an innocent game of hide-and-seek to the discovery of a Mexican girl hiding in the cotton fields, Solis reflects on the moments of trauma and transformation that shaped him into a man.
“Octavio Solis does with words and imagery, lyricism and details, humor and heartbreak what the master craftsmen and women of the traditional retablos do with wood and paint, achieving the same results: these short luminous retablos are magical and enticing….His is a large, capacious, and inclusive imagination. Just as the traditional retablos are objects of beauty ultimately meant as devotional pieces, Solis's Retablos will make devotees of his readers."—Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents