Keep your summer reading goals on track – join one of our book clubs! The booksellers at City Lit have another round of reads picked for July, and we are excited to chat with you about these great books. This month we’ve got stories stretching through time, and exploring the divides between nations, families, man and woman.
First up, our Wilde Readers book club, a reading group for LGBTQ+ stories, takes on Virginia Woolf’s Orlando.
Virginia Woolf described Orlando as "an escapade, half-laughing, half-serious; with great splashes of exaggeration," but many think Woolf's escapade is one of the most wickedly imaginative and sharply observed considerations of androgyny that this century will see. Orlando is, in fact, a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, he is a young male aristocrat at the beginning of the story - and a modern woman four centuries later. The hero-heroine sees monarchs come and go, hobnobs with great literary figures, and slips in and out of each new fashion. Woolf presents a brilliant pageant of history, society, and literature as well as subtle appreciation of the interplay between endings and beginnings, past and present, male and female.
Join Wilde Readers for discussion on Tuesday, July 11th at 6:30 pm.
The Found in Translation book club, where each month we dive into fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world, will be reading Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag, translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur.
A young man’s close-knit family is nearly destitute when his uncle founds a successful spice company, changing their fortunes overnight. As they move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house on the other side of Bangalore, and try to adjust to a new way of life, the family dynamic begins to shift. Allegiances realign; marriages are arranged and begin to falter; and conflict brews ominously in the background. Things become “ghachar ghochar”—a nonsense phrase uttered by one meaning something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied. Elegantly written and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humor, Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings—and consequences—of financial gain in contemporary India.
Found in Translation will meet Thursday July 20th at 6:30 pm.
Our newest book club, Tell Me How It Ends, for nonfiction titles focusing on current events and social justice, continues with Evicted by Matthew Desmond.
In Evicted, Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.
Tell Me How It Ends meets Monday, July 24th at 6:30 pm.
Next is our In Brief book club, exploring collections of short stories from writers new and established. For July, we are reading A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin.
A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the wit of Lorrie Moore, the grit of Raymond Carver, and a blend of humor and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians. Lovers of the short story will revel in this remarkable collection from a master of the form and wonder how they’d ever overlooked her in the first place.
In Brief will meet Tuesday, July 25th at 6:30 pm.
Our last book club meeting of the month, Weird & Wonderful returns to discuss China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh.
Winner of the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee. With this groundbreaking novel, Maureen F. McHugh established herself as one of the decade's best science fiction writers. In its pages, we enter a postrevolution America, moving from the hyperurbanized eastern seaboard to the Arctic bleakness of Baffin Island; from the new Imperial City to an agricultural commune on Mars. The overlapping lives of cyberkite fliers, lonely colonists, illicit neural-pressball players, and organic engineers blend into a powerful, taut story of a young man's journey of discovery. This is a macroscopic world of microscopic intensity, one of the most brilliant visions of modern SF.
Weird & Wonderful meets Wednesday, July 26th at 6:30 pm.
Remember –all our book club choices get a discount, and there’s no sign up, just come ready to talk about the book!