Happy November! This month our book clubs are reading some classics and favorites, as well as a few brand new books. If you haven’t been to one of our book clubs before, come hang out! If you’re already loyal book club member, be sure to check the dates of our meetings since we’ve adjusted for the holidays.
Join in on the debate over graphic novels place in legitimate literature! Our newest book club, Graphic Content, is all about proving this genre is more than capes and tights. This month Jordan hosts with Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine on Monday, November 13th at 6:30!
Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century. "Amber Sweet" shows the disastrous impact of mistaken identity in a hyper-connected world; "A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture" details the invention and destruction of a vital new art form in short comic strips; "Translated, from the Japanese" is a lush, full-color display of storytelling through still images; the title story, "Killing and Dying," centers on parenthood, mortality, and stand-up comedy. In six interconnected, darkly funny stories, Tomine forms a quietly moving portrait of contemporary life. Tomine is a master of the small gesture, equally deft at signaling emotion via a subtle change of expression or writ large across landscapes illustrated in full color. Killing and Dying is a fraught, realist masterpiece.
Already a staff favorite and bestseller at City Lit, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts is this month’s pick for our Wilde Readers book club! Come talk about this incredible genre-bending memoir Tuesday, November 14th at 6:30.
The Argonauts is a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making. Writing in the spirit of public intellectuals such as Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes, Nelson binds her personal experience to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. Nelson's insistence on radical individual freedom and the value of caretaking becomes the rallying cry of this thoughtful, unabashed, uncompromising book.
After many months of anticipation, Moonbath is finally available and is November’s pick for the Found in Translation book club! Join Devon on Thursday, November 16th at 6:30 to chat about this award-winning novel from Yanick Lahens.
After she is found washed up on shore, Cetoute Olmene Therese, bloody and bruised, recalls the circumstances that led her there. Her voice weaves hauntingly in and out of the narrative, as her story intertwines with those of three generations of women in her family, beginning with Olmene, her grandmother. Olmene, barely sixteen, catches the eye of the cruel and powerful Tertulien Mesidor, despite the generations-long feud between their families which cast her ancestors into poverty. He promises her shoes, dresses, land, and children who will want for nothing...and five months after moving into her new home, she gives birth to a son. As the family struggles through political and economic turmoil, the narrative shifts between the voices of four women, their lives interwoven with magic and fraught equally with hope and despair, leading to Cetoute's ultimate, tragic fate.
This month the Tell Me How It Ends book club is reading Tale of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman, a collection of essays and stories from thirty-six contemporary writers examining life in a deeply divided America –including Anthony Doerr, Ann Patchett, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Hector Tobar, Joyce Carol Oates, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Russo, Eula Bliss, Karen Russell, and more. Join Jordan in discussing Tale of Two Americas on Monday, November 27th at 6:30 pm.
America is broken. You don't need a fistful of statistics to know this. Visit any city, and evidence of our shattered social compact will present itself. From Appalachia to the Rust Belt and down to rural Texas, the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest stretches to unimaginable chasms. Whether the cause of this inequality is systemic injustice, the entrenchment of racism in our culture, the long war on drugs, or immigration policies, it endangers not only the American Dream but our very lives. In Tales of Two Americas, some of the literary world's most exciting writers look beyond numbers and wages to convey what it feels like to live in this divided nation. Their extraordinarily powerful stories, essays, and poems demonstrate how boundaries break down when experiences are shared, and that in sharing our stories we can help to alleviate a suffering that touches so many people.
In Brief, our short story book club, is going back to the classics this month with James Baldwin’s Going to Meet the Man. Join Matty for the meeting on Tuesday, November 28th at 6:30 pm!
"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist uses to face the terror of pouring his life into an inanimate instrument. It may be the brittle piety of a father who can never forgive his son for his illegitimacy. Or it may be the screen of bigotry that a redneck deputy has raised to blunt the awful childhood memory of the day his parents took him to watch a black man being murdered by a gleeful mob. By turns haunting, heartbreaking, and horrifying--and informed throughout by Baldwin's uncanny knowledge of the wounds racism has left in both its victims and its perpetrators--Going to Meet the Man is a major work by one of our most important writers.
Weird & Wonderful – White Noise by Don DeLillo – Nov. 29th
For November the Weird & Wonderful book club takes on the 1985 National Book Award Winner: White Noise by Don DeLillo. Come get weird with us on Wednesday, November 29th at 6:30 pm!
White Noise tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultra-modern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event," a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys-radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings-pulsing with life, yet suggesting something ominous.
No sign up needed, just grab a book from us (with our book club discount), and join in on the discussion!