August Book Club Update!

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This month we are celebrating a couple of our recent favorites by making them book club picks! You can join our book clubs anytime, but we are really excited about some of these choices, so if you haven’t been before come join the conversation!

 

 

 

This month's Wilde Readers book is Christodora by Tim Murphy.

In this epic, ambitious, and deeply poignant novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse group of people whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan's East Village, the Christodora. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and the activism of the 1980s to a future New York City of the 2020s where subzero winters are a thing of the past, Christodora recounts the heartbreak wrought by AIDS, portrays the allure and destructive power of hard drugs, and brings to life a bohemian Lower Manhattan of artists and idealists.

On Avenue B in the East Village, the Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbor, Hector, a gay Puerto Rican man who was at one point celebrated for his work as an AIDS activist but has now descended into the throes of drug addiction, becomes connected to Milly and Jared's lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, Milly and Jared's adopted son Mateo grows to see the opportunity for both self-realization and oblivion offered by New York City. As the junkies and protestors of the 1980s give way to the hipsters of the 2000s and they in turn to the wealthy inhabitants of the glass towers of the 2020s, enormous changes rock the personal lives of Milly and Jared and the constellation of people around them.

Christodora is a panoramic novel that powerfully evokes the danger, chaos, and wonder of New York City--and the strange and moving ways in which its dwellers' lives can intersect.

We hosted author Tim Murphy almost a year ago for a great talk about Christodora and his experience in covering HIV/AIDS as a journalist. Teresa and Matt both loved this novel. Come chat about it Tuesday, August 8th at 6:30 pm! Email matt@citylitbooks.com with questions.

This month, for our Found in Translation book club, we're reading Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie.

The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award.

Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure.

Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes a rich kid turned criminal and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover, as well as a bored, mischievous overachiever and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend.

Illustrating a process of liberation from the strictures of gender through radical self-inquiry, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature.

Check out Notes on a Crocodile at our book club meeting Thursday, August 17th at 6:30 pm! Email devon@citylitbooks.com for questions.

In Brief meets this month to discuss Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan.

In the United Arab Emirates, foreign nationals constitute over 80 percent of the population. Brought in to construct the towering monuments to wealth that punctuate the skylines of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, this labor force works without the rights of citizenship, endures miserable living conditions, and is ultimately forced to leave the country. Until now, the humanitarian crisis of the so-called "guest workers" of the Gulf has barely been addressed in fiction. With his stunning, mind-altering debut novel Temporary People, Deepak Unnikrishnan delves into their histories, myths, struggles, and triumphs.

Combining the irrepressible linguistic invention of Salman Rushdie and the satirical vision of George Saunders, Unnikrishnan presents twenty-eight linked stories that careen from construction workers who shapeshift into luggage and escape a labor camp, to a woman who stitches back together the bodies of those who've fallen from buildings in progress, to a man who grows ideal workers designed to live twelve years and then perish--until they don't, and found a rebel community in the desert. With this polyphony, Unnikrishnan brilliantly maps a new, unruly global English. Giving substance and identity to the anonymous workers of the Gulf, he highlights the disturbing ways in which "progress" on a global scale is bound up with dehumanization.

In Brief will meet Tuesday, August 22nd at 6:30 pm! Email matt@citylitbooks.com for questions.

In August our monthly celebration of the weird, the Weird & Wonderful book club, will meet to discuss A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball.

A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an “examiner,” charged with teaching the man a series of simple functions—this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. Still, the man is haunted by strange dreams, and when he meets a charismatic, volatile young woman named Hilda at a party, it throws everything he has learned into question. What is this village? And why is he here?

A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair, and betrayal, A Cure for Suicide is the most captivating novel yet from one of our most audacious and original young writers.

Stop by on Wednesday, August 23rd at 6:30 to talk about A Cure for Suicide.

Tell Me How It Ends is our newest reading group for nonfiction titles focusing on current events and social justice, hosted by Jordan. This month's book is No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein.

This month No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein is our Tell Me How It Ends book.

"This is one attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises, it could get a lot worse. And it's a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future." -From the Introduction

Donald Trump's takeover of the White House is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises. His reckless agenda--including a corporate coup in government, aggressive scapegoating and warmongering, and sweeping aside climate science to set off a fossil fuel frenzy--will generate waves of disasters and shocks to the economy, national security, and the environment. Acclaimed journalist, activist, and bestselling author Naomi Klein has spent two decades studying political shocks, climate change, and "brand bullies." From this unique perspective, she argues that Trump is not an aberration but a logical extension of the worst, most dangerous trends of the past half-century--the very conditions that have unleashed a rising tide of white nationalism the world over. It is not enough, she tells us, to merely resist, to say "no." Our historical moment demands more: a credible and inspiring "yes," a roadmap to reclaiming the populist ground from those who would divide us--one that sets a bold course for winning the fair and caring world we want and need. This timely, urgent book from one of our most influential thinkers offers a bracing positive shock of its own, helping us understand just how we got here, and how we can, collectively, come together and heal.

We’ll have our Tell Me How It Ends book club meeting on Monday, August 28th at 6:30 pm! Email jordan@citylitbooks.com

And don’t forget our Infinite Summer Challenge! We’re reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace before the end of the summer. Think you can make it?

A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

If you think you’re up to it, grab a copy of Infinite Jest and meet us on Tuesday, September 19th at 6:30 to celebrate! Email matt@citylitbooks.com for questions.

No sign up necessary for any of our book clubs - just grab a copy and come ready to talk about the book! And don’t forget our book club discount!