December Book Club Update!
It’s only December 1st, but the Holiday Craze has already hit here at City Lit Books! We’re covered in wrapping paper, and we’ve already had at least one Elf visit, but the fun is just getting started! Thanks to everyone who visited us on Small Business Saturday and Holidays on the Square! We’ll be here all month long with recommendations for everyone on your shopping list. If you’re stumped, take a look at what our book clubs are reading this month for some inspiration. Grab a copy for you and a friend, then make joining a book club your gift for the holidays!
First up is the club for all the graphic novel lovers you know: Graphic Content! This month’s graphic novel of choice is everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun!
Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, a lonely alien who, for the first time ever, finds a home on our planet after learning that earthlings can feel lonely too. Jomny finds friendship in a bear tired of other creatures running away in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, an owl working its way to being wise, a tree feeling stuck in one place, a tadpole coming to terms with turning into a frog, a dying ghost, a puppy unable to express itself, and many more.
Through this story of a lost, lonely and confused alien finding friendship, acceptance, and love among the creatures of Earth, we will all learn how to be a little more human. And for all of us earth-bound creatures here on this planet, we can all be reminded that sometimes, it takes an outsider to help us see ourselves for who we truly are.
Graphic Content will meet Monday, December 3rd at 6:30 pm! If you can’t make it this month, grab a copy of Monstress Vol.1 by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda and join the club for their next meeting on January 7th!
An early gift to all the local poetry-lovers, this month we’re adding a new book club to the mix: Celestial Hobo! Poetry for people who don’t usually read it. (Poetry-readers welcome, too! Teach us some stuff that we don’t know.) Celestial Hobo will be hosted by Cody, and they’re starting off with Eye Level: Poems by Jenny Xie.
Jenny Xie's award-winning debut, Eye Level, takes us far and near, to Phnom Penh, Corfu, Hanoi, New York, and elsewhere, as we travel closer and closer to the acutely felt solitude that centers this searching, moving collection. Animated by a restless inner questioning, these poems meditate on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion, from immigration to travel to estranging losses and departures. The sensual worlds here--colors, smells, tastes, and changing landscapes--bring to life questions about the self as seer and the self as seen. As Xie writes, "Me? I'm just here in my traveler's clothes, trying on each passing town for size." Her taut, elusive poems exult in a life simultaneously crowded and quiet, caught in between things and places, and never quite entirely at home. Xie is a poet of extraordinary perception--both to the tangible world and to "all that is untouchable as far as the eye can reach."
Be here for the first meeting of Celestial Hobo on Wednesday, December 5th at 6:30 pm. Check them out after the holidays with An Invitation for Me to Think by Alexander Vvedensky on January 2nd.
Our other new book club is back this month with Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. It’s the Subject to Change book club, a reading list of Coming-Of-Age Stories and anything that fits or fights the category, hosted by Chris.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family's origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
Subject to Change will meet for discussion on Thursday, December 6th at 6:30 pm. Their next meeting will be January 3rd, for Hold Still by Sally Mann.
With the slight change in schedule for the In Brief book club this season, host Matty just couldn’t help but choose Tenth of December by George Saunders for the club’s meeting on Monday, December 10th at 6:30 pm. Cute, right?
One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet. Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human. Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December--through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit--not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov's dictum that art should "prepare us for tenderness."
The In Brief book club will return to its regular schedule after the holidays, so the next meeting will be January 22nd for The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya.
This month’s Wilde Readers book club choice is Sphinx by Anne Garréta, translated by Emma Ramadan! If you haven’t been before, there’s plenty of time to read through this slim novel before the meeting on Tuesday, December 11th at 6:30 pm!
Sphinx is the debut novel, originally published in 1986, by the incredibly talented and inventive French author Anne Garréta, one of the few female members of OuLiPo, the influential and exclusive French experimental literary group whose mission is to create literature based on mathematical and linguistic restraints, and whose ranks include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, and Raymond Queneau, among others. Sphinx is a remarkable work of literary ingenuity: a beautiful and complex love story between two characters, the narrator, “I,” and A., written completely without any gendered pronouns or gender markers referring to the main characters, all the more difficult with the strict gender requirements of the French language. In addition to her creative output, Garréta is a scholar of French and Romance literatures, and teaches half the year at the University of Rennes in France, and the other half of the year at Duke University. Sphinx is Garréta’s first novel to appear in English, and was published with support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.
Wilde Readers, hosted by Matty, will read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters next, and meet again on January 8th.
True to the name, the Instant Classics book club, led by Clare, takes on Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read, Americanah was also listed as one of Barack Obama's summer reading picks!
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
Instant Classics will meet Wednesday, December 12th at 6:30 for their chat about Americanah. The club will be back on January 9th for Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.
This month our club exclusively for women authors, the W.W.B. book club, is reading History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund!
Teenage Linda lives with her parents in the austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outsider at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is faced with child pornography charges, his arrest deeply affects Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong. And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy. But with this new sense of belonging comes expectations and secrets she doesn't understand and, over the course of a summer, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. One of the most daring literary debuts of the year and a national bestseller, History of Wolves is an agonizing and gorgeously written novel from an urgent, new voice in American fiction.
Join host Allison on Monday, December 17th at 6:30 to talk about History of Wolves! Next up for W.W.B. will be The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy on January 21st.
As if the holidays don’t get weird enough, join our club for everything strange – the Weird & Wonderful book club! The club will meet on Tuesday, December 18th at 6:30 to discuss The Vegetarian by Han Kang.
A beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul. Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams--invasive images of blood and brutality--torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It's a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that's become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself. Celebrated by critics around the world, The Vegetarian is a darkly allegorical, Kafka-esque tale of power, obsession, and one woman's struggle to break free from the violence both without and within her.
Weird & Wonderful’s next meeting will be on January 23rd for All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders!
This month’s Found in Translation book club choice is already a bestseller, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch. Just in time to chase away all your holiday shopping stress, join host Audie on Thursday, December 20th!
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon--the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations. A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Fredrik Backman's novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.
Found in Translation will start the new year with The Emissary by Yoko Tawada on January 17th!
Stay up to date with all our book club’s by clicking here, or follow us for more updates. Remember, there’s no sign up to join a club, just grab the book and come ready to discuss! All our book club choices are 10% off in store, and feel free to email our staff with any questions. Happy reading, and Happy Holidays!