Here’s our book club line-up for February! It may not be Valentine’s Day yet, but we’ve fallen in love with this new batch of books - from novels to celebrate Black History Month, to much-loved bestsellers and prize winners, and even recent favorites! We hope you’ll love these books and join us to chat about them, too!
Graphic Content is our reading group exclusively for graphic novels and comics, and this month the club is reading March: Book 1 by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. It’s the first volume in an awesome graphic novel trilogy based on the life of John Lewis, congressman from Georgia and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement:
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.
Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon and key figure of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).
Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.
March was the first graphic novel to win the National Book Award, and the first to be written by a member of the US Congress. We’re happy to be reading this during Black History Month, so Join Jordan and the Graphic Content book club on Monday, February 12th at 6:30 pm!
Happy Birthday to Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker – she turns 74 on February 9th! To celebrate her birthday and Black History Month, Wilde Readers, our reading group focusing on LGBTQ+ lit, has chosen The Color Purple:
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters--one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South--who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.
Come celebrate the legendary Alice Walker and chat about her incredible novel with Wilde Readers on Tuesday, February 13th at 6:30 pm!
Another bestseller and award winner – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon is next for our Instant Classics book club:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939. A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink. Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America's finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age.
Join Maddie and the Instant Classics book club to talk about why we love Michael Chabon on Wednesday, February 14th at 6:30 pm!
This month's Found in Translation book club pick is Record of a Night Too Brief by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Lucy North:
Three young women experience unsettling loss and romance in these three haunting and lyrical stories, from one of the most highly regarded and provocative contemporary Japanese writers, winner of The Akutagawa Prize.
In a dreamlike adventure, one woman travels through an apparently unending night with a porcelain girlfriend, mist-monsters and villainous monkeys; a sister mourns her invisible brother whom only she can still see, while the rest of her family welcome his would-be wife into their home; and an accident with a snake leads a shop girl to discover the snake-families everyone else seems to be concealing. Sensual, yearning, and filled with the tricks of memory and grief, Record of a Night Too Brief is an atmospheric trio of unforgettable tales.This volume includes the three stories "Tread on a Snake," "Missing," and "Record of a Night Too Brief" which together won the Akutagawa Prize in 1996. Filled with fantastically multicoloured images and unexplained collapses in time and place, these highly surreal, meticulously worked stories of longing and disappearance, love and loathing are the work of an enormously talented writer at the top of her game.
Hang out with Devon and the Found In Translation book club on Thursday, February 15th at 6:30 pm!
Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein is our Tell Me How It Ends book club pick for February:
This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its main factory shuts down--but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Amy Goldstein spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation's oldest operating General Motors assembly plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, Goldstein shows the consequences of one of America's biggest political issues. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it's so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.
Jordan and the Tell Me How It Ends book club will meet on Monday, February 26th at 6:30 pm!
A recent favorite in our bookstore, as well as everywhere else, we’re reading Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado for our In Brief book club this month:
Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction! In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella "Especially Heinous," Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.
Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.
In Brief will meet Tuesday, February 27th at 6:30 pm, so join Matty to talk about one of his favorite books of the last year!
And finally, our longest running book club love affair – Weird & Wonderful! This month the club is reading The City & The City by China Mieville:
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The Los Angeles Times, The Seattle Times, and Publishers Weekly! When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlu must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlu is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman's secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.
Join our monthly celebration of the weird on Wednesday, February 28th at 6:30 pm!
That’s what our book clubs are reading this month! Don’t forget that all of our book club choices get a discount in the store and there’s no need to sign up – just grab a book and come chat with us. And if you are already part of a book club or starting one, you can be a Book Club Partner here at City Lit Books! We can help you find your book club’s next read, and make sure we have plenty in stock for all your members. Our Book Club Partners receive the same discount on books as those hosted by our booksellers, and if you need a place to meet we can host you in our bookstore, too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Happy reading!