W.W.B. Book Club: Outline by Rachel Cusk

In Conversation: Laura Holtz, Author of Warm Transfer, and Author/Coach Sara Connell

Open Mic Night!

Monday, July 16th
at 6:30 pm

Tuesday, July 17th
at 6:30 pm

Wednesday, July 18th
at 6:30 pm

We’ve added another one - October Boo(k) Club Update!

Along with picking apples from the orchard and pumpkins from the patch (I can’t help myself, it's FALL), our booksellers have picked a new round of reads for our book clubs! We’re kicking off Fall by bringing a few spooky stories into our regular rotation of book clubs, and adding a new one: GRAPHIC CONTENT - A new book club for graphic novel lovers!

 

 

 

Graphic Content is our newest reading group and exclusively for graphic novels, hosted by Jordan. The first book for this club is winner of three Eisner Awards and one of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling comic books series of the last decade, Y: The Last Man: Book One by Brian K. Vaughn with art by Pia Guerra.

Y: The Last Man is that rare example of a page-turner that is at once humorous, socially relevant and endlessly surprising. Written by Brian K. Vaughan (LOST, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, EX MACHINA) and with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown--the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he's the last man on earth.

Graphic Conent will have its first meeting on Monday, October 9th at 6:30 pm!

This month's pick for Wilde Readers, our reading group focusing on LGBTQ+ lit, is Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjon, translated by Victoria Cribb.

The mind-bending miniature historical epic is Sjon's specialty, and Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is no exception. But it is also Sjon's most realistic, accessible, and heartfelt work yet. It is the story of a young man on the fringes of a society that is itself at the fringes of the world--at what seems like history's most tumultuous, perhaps ultimate moment.

Mani Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous and isolated and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which has already torn through Europe, Asia, and North America and is now lapping up on Iceland's shores. And if the flu doesn't do it, there's always the threat that war will spread all the way north. And yet the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema! And there's nothing like a dark, silent room with a film from Europe flickering on the screen to help you escape from the overwhelming threats--and adventures--of the night, to transport you, to make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For Mani Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik's darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.

Wilde Readers will meet Tuesday, October 10th at 6:30 pm.

This month the Found in Translation book club takes on a “chilling ghost story,” Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba.

Life changes at the orphanage the day seven-year-old Marina shows up. She is different from the other girls: at once an outcast and object of fascination. As Marina struggles to find her place, she invents a game whose rules are dictated by a haunting violence. Written in hypnotic, lyrical prose, alternating between Marina's perspective and the choral we of the other girls, Such Small Hands evokes the pain of loss and the hunger for acceptance.

Come chat about this chilling tale on Thursday, October 19th at 6:30 pm!

Our October short story selection for the In Brief book club is Bobcat & Other Stories by Rebecca Lee.

Rebecca Lee, one of our most gifted and original short story writers, guides readers into a range of landscapes, both foreign and domestic, crafting stories as rich as novels. A student plagiarizes a paper and holds fast to her alibi until she finds herself complicit in the resurrection of one professor's shadowy past. A dinner party becomes the occasion for the dissolution of more than one marriage. A woman is hired to find a wife for the one true soulmate she's ever found. In all, Rebecca Lee traverses the terrain of infidelity, obligation, sacrifice, jealousy, and yet finally, optimism. Showing people at their most vulnerable, Lee creates characters so wonderfully flawed, so driven by their desire, so compelled to make sense of their human condition, that it's impossible not to feel for them when their fragile belief in romantic love, domestic bliss, or academic seclusion fails to provide them with the sort of force field they'd expected.

The In Brief book club will meet Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30 pm.

Tell Me How It Ends, our reading group for nonfiction titles, is trying something new with At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell.

From the best-selling author of How to live, a spirited account of one of the twentieth century's major intellectual movements and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. 'You see,' he says, 'if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!' It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafâes of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as Existentialism. Featuring not only philosophers, but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Cafe follows the existentialists' story, from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War, to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anticolonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters--fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships--and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.

Tell Me How It Ends meets Monday, October 30 at 6:30 pm.

And last but not least, our monthly celebration of the weird, the Weird & Wonderful Book Club, will be talking about Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Alone since four members of the family died of arsenic poisoning, Merricat, Constance and Julian Blackwood spend their days in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

Weird & Wonderful will meet Wednesday, November 1 at 6:30 pm.

Start your fall with a new book, come check out our bOoOoOoOok clubs (I really can’t help, it, I love Halloween)! No sign up, just grab a book with our book club discount, and come chat!

Wrapping up Banned Books Week

When you’re surrounded by shelves of books every day, it is sometimes easy to take for granted the limited access some people have to great books. It is also easy to feel a little spoiled by all the great conversations we get to have. Every day we get to talk about what we’re reading with each other and with people who come in looking for their new favorite. Partly because of this, it still comes as a shock to me that in some communities those conversations don’t ever get a chance to start. Even as I’m writing this, a number of people have stopped and chatted about their surprise at seeing certain books on our Banned Books display. Some examples seem completely ridiculous: banning the Diary of Anne Frank for being “too depressing,” or Where the Sidewalk Ends for promoting cannibalism… really? But other books, the kind meant to spark a conversation, don’t get the chance to do that. So we treat Banned Books Week as a time to highlight those missed opportunities, to bring those books that some have tried to hide from the shelves out on full display.

Since we’re wrapping up Banned Books Week, we wanted to leave a few thoughts about some of the books we’ve featured this week at City Lit:

I have to admit I always get annoyed when I read negative criticism of Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, so of course I was upset to find out it was challenged (though not ultimately banned) in a Pennsylvania school district in 2011. Obviously the parent who wanted to knock it off the reading list simply didn't want students to be exposed to the truths that Ehrenreich helps bring to light: namely, that America treats people in poverty grossly unfairly, and that life is extremely hard when you're only making minimum wage. This is an important book! Everyone should read it!
- Maddie, on Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Brave New World and 1984: I'm going to stick with a couple of classics. Whether you see the world around you as suffering from doublethink or too much soma, these dystopian tales unfortunately continue to become more and more relevant. Personally, I see it as a frightening combination of the two (especially since the election) and it felt necessary to revisit both of these. So, I'd suggest grabbing yourself a copy-- JUST in case they get pulled away again.
Seriously though, an article was just published about an Idaho school district considering a ban of 1984Check it out here!
- Jordan, on Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell

Where the Wild Things Are - one of my favorite books as a kid, and maybe one of my favorites as a not-so-kid, too. It holds up, and it has been challenged for as long as it has been on shelves. Longer even - Sendak tried to get it published for years before it was finally brought to the public! Maybe it’s the unflinching story of rebellion and fear that caused so many to question its merit, but it has been celebrated as often as it has been challenged, winning awards, being a best seller,  and even getting a dramatic reading by President Obama on the White House lawn. The Cleveland Press’ review  of Where the Wild Things Are said “Boys and girls may have to shield their parents from this book. Parents are very easily scared." Too bad for those parents, they’re missing out on a great book.
- Matty, on Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Banned Books Week was first celebrated in 1982, and now every year the American Library Association tracks challenges and complaints about books across the US. You can find their list of the most often challenged titles by year at this website.

By Matty, Jordan, and Maddie

Come Discuss Infinite Jest!

In June, 2008, three months before news broke of David Foster Wallace's death, I plowed through Infinite Jest over one long hot summer, usually reclining in my parents' backyard, enjoying the comforts of home and the time to read for pleasure after my sophomore year of college. As a freshman I had grown enamored of Wallace's short stories and essays, and it seemed like that summer was my chance to give his magnum opus a try. It took me six weeks, but I made it to the final page, the final footnote. I read every word devoted to tennis, every aside that supplied the scientific name of a name-brand drug, every discourse on optics or nuclear fusion.

Was it worth it? Sure. Would I ever read it again? No way.

In July, 2017, three months after getting laid off from a full-time job, I plowed through Infinite Jest in my off hours after I began working here, at City Lit. I don't know what possessed me to give it another go. Maybe I was just curious to see if I could finish it again, or maybe I was watching too much TV and needed something that required sustained attention. Whatever it was, I did read the whole thing again, and I'm glad I did. 

It's a lot easier the second time around. The plot, which often resembles a Gordian knot, becomes looser and more manageable when you know what you're getting into, and the extravagently boring passages--those that caused my eyes to glaze over nine years before--reveal exquisite turns of phrase that remind you that Wallace had poetry, not just hyperarticulate prose, at his fingertips. 

Have you read Infinite Jest? Did you read the first hundred pages and need to be cajoled into picking it up again? Come join us at City Lit for discussion and conversation on Tuesday, September 19th, at 6:30 PM. Bring your insights, aggravations, and, if you like, snacks or wine to share!

Infinite Jest Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780316066525
Availability: Out of stock, usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - November 13th, 2006

September Book Club Update!

We’ve had a busy summer at City Lit Books; new booksellers, our 5th Birthday, some really cool author events, and lots of great new reads, but September is here and soon the season will be over! Don’t let the cooling weather get you down though - there are lots of great new books being released this Fall, and we’ve got some great authors coming for readings in the store. Here’s an update on what our book clubs are reading this month, so grab one of these titles while you’re soaking up the last of the summer sun, then come hang out and tell us what you think!

Wilde Readers Book Club, our reading group for LGBTQ+ literature, is kicking off September with another classic novel: Confession of a Mask by Yukio Mishima.

One of the classics of modern Japanese fiction, it is the story of an adolescent who must learn to live with the painful fact that he is unlike other young men. Mishima's protagonist discovers that he is becoming a homosexual in a polite, post-war Japan. To survive, he must live behind a mask of propriety.

Confessions of a Mask tells the story of Kochan, a boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: he wants to be "normal." Kochan is meek-bodied, and unable to participate in the more athletic activities of his classmates. He begins to notice his growing attraction to some of the boys in his class, particularly the pubescent body of his friend Omi. To hide his homosexuality, he courts a woman, Sonoko, but this exacerbates his feelings for men. As news of the War reaches Tokyo, Kochan considers the fate of Japan and his place within its deeply rooted propriety. Confessions of a Mask reflects Mishima's own coming of age in post-war Japan. Its publication in English--praised by Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, and Christopher Isherwood-- propelled the young Yukio Mishima to international fame.

Wilde Readers book club will meet on Tuesday, September 12th at 6:30 pm. You can email matt@citylitbooks.com with any questions.

Some of us have been reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace this summer, and to celebrate the end of the marathon we'll be hosting a special book club meeting to discuss the book. Whether you've taken the challenge and read it this summer, read it in the past, or given up halfway through - come hang out!

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.

Our Infinite Summer Challenge celebration will be Tuesday, September 19th at 6:30 pm. Email maddie@citylitbooks.com with questions.

This month our Found in Translation Book Club, where we dive into fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world, is reading Adua by Igiaba Scego.

Adua, an immigrant from Somalia to Italy, has lived in Rome for nearly forty years. She came seeking freedom from a strict father and an oppressive regime, but her dreams of becoming a film star ended in shame. Now that the civil war in Somalia is over, her homeland beckons. Yet Adua has a husband who needs her, a young man, also an immigrant, who braved a dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. When her father, who worked as an interpreter for Mussolini’s fascist regime, dies, Adua inherits the family home. She must decide whether to make the journey back to reclaim her material inheritance, but also how to take charge of her own story and build a future.

The Found in Translation Book Club will meet Thursday, September 21st at 6:30 pm. Email devon@citylitbooks.com with questions.

Tell Me How It Ends, our reading group for nonfiction titles focusing on current events and social justice, is reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson for September.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Come on Monday, September 25th at 6:30 pm to discuss Just Mercy. Email jordan@citylitbooks.com with questions.

Our book club exploring collections of short stories from writers new and established, In Brief, is reading If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.

Italo Calvino imagines a novel capable of endless mutations in this intricately crafted story about writing and readers.

Join In Brief on Tuesday, September 26th at 6:30 pm. Email matt@citylitbooks.com with questions.

Our monthly celebration of the weird, be it science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, magical realism, or any genre otherwise strange, the Weird & Wonderful Book Club, has chosen Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman for September.

Cold Hand in Mine was first published in the U.K. in 1975 and in the U.S. in 1977. The story 'Pages from a Young Girl's Journal' won the Aickman World Fantasy Award in 1975. It was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1973 before appearing in this collection.

Cold Hand in Mine stands as one of Aickman's best collections and contains eight stories that show off his powers as a 'strange story' writer to the full, being more ambiguous than standard ghost stories. Throughout the stories the reader is introduced to a variety of characters, from a man who spends the night in a Hospice to a German aristocrat and a woman who sees an image of her own soul. There is also a nod to the conventional vampire story ('Pages from a Young Girl's Journal') but all the stories remain unconventional and inconclusive, which perhaps makes them all the more startling and intriguing.

Weird & Wonderful will meet Wednesday, September 27th at 6:30 pm.

As always, there’s no sign up or obligation for our book clubs – just stop by the store for the book (with our book club discount), then come ready to join the conversation!

City Lit is 5!

City Lit is five!

Hard to believe!  But when I think about all of the wonderful people, conversations, events, and interactions we have had since August of 2012, the meaning and magnitude of “five years” really starts to sink in. 

People ask me if opening a bookstore was a dream. While I planned and hoped to build a lovely place around books, there was no way I could imagine or anticipate the wonderful experiences that began as soon as we opened our doors.  Something amazing occurs every single day – children rushing to get to the back of the store, tourists from other countries visiting us for a second time, and customers finding a book that they couldn’t find anywhere else.

It is a privilege to be here every day.  All of us at City Lit Books thank you for your constant support and for sharing our passion for books and this place where thinking people gather.  We have learned a lot from you and how to serve our community of avid readers.  Stay tuned for what’s next!

This is an exciting milestone.  Yet even more exciting are all of the future conversations that we can’t imagine but know will come our way.

August Book Club Update!

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!

A new John Green book is on the way!

Who’s excited about John Green’s new book coming this October?! The #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars is back with Turtles All the Way Down this fall!

“It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward.

Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.”

We’ve got a list of pre-orders going so if you’re as excited as we are, get on it! Click below, send us an email, or give us a call and we’ll have your copy on October 10th!

Turtles All the Way Down Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780525555360
Availability: Out of stock, usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - October 10th, 2017

Michael's Music Machine Debut Album!

 

If you’ve been to our Story Time on Saturday mornings, you’re probably already a big fan of Mr. Michael and his kids tunes. Well, good news – Mr. Michael is working on a children's pop album that's fun for both kids and the grown-ups who drive them around town! That’s right, Michael’s Music Machine Debut Album is on the way!

“As I've been in a classroom or dancing around the living room with my nephews, I wanted to hear children's music that reflected some of my favorite artists.  This album takes inspiration from MIKA, Stevie Wonder, Sia, Elton John, and even a little Patti LaBelle.  Michael's Music Machine will be a full album of original tunes that will get you up and dancing.”

As some of Mr. Michael’s biggest fans, we want to spread the word and help him get this album out! If you want to get involved, check out the Michael’s Music Machine Kickstarter page, and check him out Saturday mornings right here at City Lit Books!

July Book Club Update!

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!

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