Staff Reviews

Read These Suggested Titles from the Latest Facing Race Conference

Facing Race, an annual conference that made its way to Detroit in late 2018, is billed as “the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders.” The conference brought more than 70 workshops and 180 presenters to the Detroit area last year. Topics included gentrification, healthcare, comics and advocacy, movement-based journalism, and many more. In the past, the conference has been hosted in Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Dallas, Oakland, and New York.

After attending Facing Race, many JDL staffers went home with several book recommendations. You can check them out below.

Heavy by Kiese Laymon
Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy Degruy
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Waking up White by Debby Irving

Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee Dies at 95

With the announcement of Stan Lee’s passing in Los Angeles, November 12 marked a sad day for comic book fans worldwide. Lee had a key role in developing the Marvel Comics empire with characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, and many others. The Marvel editor, writer, and publisher was beloved for his creations—but also for creating characters that were notably different and often flawed. The X-Men, mutants who were exiled to their own solitary lives because of public fear, mirrored countless issues in American culture since they were introduced in 1963. Whereas Spider-Man, who first gets his powers as a teenager, reflected the complications of passing great responsibility to a young adult.

Though Lee has passed, he leaves behind many great stories that are being continued to this day. Take a look at some of Lee’s contributions and some new Marvel tales below.

Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel

The Amazing Spider-Man Fights Substance Abuse

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet

The Uncanny X-Men. Volume 1

Two Directors Make Strong Debuts in These New Release Movies

October’s new release movies showcased two great new talents in directors Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You) and Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade).


Riley, who made a name as a rapper with the group The Coup, has directed one of this year’s most original movies. Titled Sorry to Bother You, the film follows an African-American telemarketer named Cash Green who uses “white voice” to advance his career. The events that follow pits Cash in the middle of a conspiracy that satirizes modern race relations, capitalism, and power itself. The movie is filled with inventive imagery and absurd twists—and is probably unlike anything else you’ve seen this year. The movie received an R rating for language, sexual content, and drug use.

Bo Burnham, who some might recognize from his career as a stand-up comedian, directed a painfully relatable coming-of-age film called Eighth Grade. The film follows Kayla Day, an eighth-grade student who struggles with anxiety and produces video blogs on improving confidence and self-image. The movie shows Kayla navigate recognizable middle school struggles—first crushes, pool parties, and looking cool at the mall—but also explores the effect of social media on teens. The movie received an R rating for language and some sexual references.

You can place them both on hold now.

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