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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!