Keeping up with your summer reading? The days are long, and our “to be read” lists are longer… but we like it that way. Whether you’re on your way to the beach or scrambling for a seat close to the air conditioner, our book clubs have lots of great book choices for you this summer!
First up, Graphic Content! Our book club for graphic novel lovers is reading My Favorite Thing is Monsters for our July meeting, and if you haven’t read this yet – you want to. Created by little known Chicago native, Emil Ferris, this wild story was nominated for a bunch of awards and widely considered one of the best comics of 2017.
Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late 1960s Chicago and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines. As the precocious Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her beautiful and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor, we watch the interconnected and fascinating stories of those around her unfold.
While we eagerly await the second volume, come chat with Jordan and the Graphic Content book club Monday, July 9th at 6:30 pm!
For those of you involved in a recent meeting mix up for the Wilde Readers book club (I am still so sorry!), here’s a second chance to chat about one of our favorite book club books so far this year! Disoriental by Négar Djavadi is a phenomenal feat of storytelling, and I can’t wait to chat about it.
Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them. In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph. Yet it is Kimiâ herself––punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own “disorientalization”––who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel.
Wilde Readers meets for Disoriental on Tuesday, July 10th at 6:30 pm!
Next is another meeting to discuss an award-winning-best-selling-much-loved novel with Instant Classics! This month's pick is Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses, the 1992 bestseller and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
The first volume in McCarthy's Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.
Come chat about All the Pretty Horses with Maddie and Instant Classics book club on Wednesday, July 11th at 6:30 pm!
Our newest book club will have its first meeting this month! Join Allison and W.W.B. (Women Write Books!), our reading group that celebrates women authors in both classic and contemporary works! We’re kicking off this new book club with recent staff favorite: Outline by Rachel Cusk!
A Finalist for the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, and One of The New York Times' Top Ten Books of the Year, Named a A New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker, Vogue, NPR, The Guardian, The Independent, Glamour, and The Globe and Mail!
Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing over an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves: their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss.
W.W.B. will meet Monday, July 16th at 6:30 pm!
Our Found in Translation book club is embarking on a summer of French translations with The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor.
When Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their son and daughter. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family's chic Paris apartment, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, motherhood, and madness--and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.
Hang out with Audie and the Found in Translation book club on Thursday, July 19th at 6:30 pm.
While the gun control debate continues, our own Tell Me How It Ends book club turns to a recently published history of gun culture in the U.S.: Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
With President Trump suggesting that teachers arm themselves, with the NRA portrayed as a group of "patriots" helping to Make America Great Again, with high school students across the country demanding a solution to the crisis, everyone in America needs to engage in the discussion about our future with an informed, historical perspective on the role of guns in our society. America is at a critical turning point. What is the future for our children? Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, is a deeply researched--and deeply disturbing--history of guns and gun laws in the United States, from the original colonization of the country to the present. As historian and educator Dunbar-Ortiz explains, in order to understand the current obstacles to gun control, we must understand the history of U.S. guns, from their role in the "settling of America" and the early formation of the new nation, and continuing up to the present.
Join what will surely be a lively discussion with Jordan and the Tell Me How It Ends book club on Monday, July 23rd at 6:30 pm.
In celebration of a new collection of stories by Lauren Groff, our In Brief book club is going back to one of her earlier books, Delicate Edible Birds!
From Lauren Groff, author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling novel Fates and Furies, comes Delicate Edible Birds, one of the most striking short fiction debuts in years. Here are nine stories of astonishing insight and variety, each revealing a resonant drama within the life of a twentieth-century American woman. In some of these stories, enormous changes happen in an instant. In others, transformations occur across a lifetime--or several lifetimes. Throughout the collection, Groff displays particular and vivid preoccupations. Crime is a motif--sex crimes, a possible murder, crimes of the heart. Love troubles recur; they're in every story--love in alcoholism, in adultery, in a flood, even in the great flu epidemic of 1918. Some of the love has depths, which are understood too late; some of the love is shallow, and also understood too late. And mastery is a theme--Groff's women swim and baton twirl, become poets, or try and try again to achieve the inner strength to exercise personal freedom. Overall, these stories announce a notable new literary master. Dazzlingly original and confident, Delicate Edible Birds further solidifies Groff's reputation as one of the foremost talents of her generation.
Come hang out with Matty and our club for short story lovers on Tuesday, July 24th at 6:30 pm!
This month our Weird & Wonderful book club is exploring a new world again, this time with the Hugo Award Nominated Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson!
In 1912, history was changed by the Miracle, when the old world of Europe was replaced by Darwinia, a strange land of nightmarish jungle and antediluvian monsters. To some, the Miracle was an act of divine retribution; to others, it is an opportunity to carve out a new empire. Leaving an America now ruled by religious fundamentalists, young Guilford Law travels to Darwinia on a mission of discovery that will take him further than he can possibly imagine...to a shattering revelation about mankind's destiny in the universe. Robert Charles Wilson has crafted a brilliant science fiction novel--a view of an utterly different 20th century.
Join the party and get weird on Wednesday, July 25th at 6:30 pm!
And now a special shout out to our friends at MAKE Literary Productions and their Lit & Luz Book Club!
The Lit & Luz Book Club/Club de lectura was created and organized by Community & Literary Arts Coordinator Miguel Jiménez as an opportunity for Chicagoans to read and discuss some of today's most exciting contemporary Mexican authors in both Spanish and English. The selected texts are from authors headlining the 2018 Lit & Luz Festival, providing an opportunity in October for members to meet with and hear from the authors directly. First up for the Lit & Luz book club is Tomb Song by Julian Herbert!
Sitting at the bedside of his mother as she is dying from leukemia in a hospital in northern Mexico, the narrator of Tomb Song is immersed in memories of his unstable boyhood and youth. His mother, Guadalupe, was a prostitute, and Julián spent his childhood with his half brothers and sisters, each from a different father, moving from city to city and from one tough neighborhood to the next. Swinging from the present to the past and back again, Tomb Song is not only an affecting coming-of-age story but also a searching and sometimes frenetic portrait of the artist. As he wanders the hospital, from its buzzing upper floors to the haunted depths of the morgue, Julián tells fevered stories of his life as a writer, from a trip with his pregnant wife to a poetry festival in Berlin to a drug-fueled and possibly completely imagined trip to another festival in Cuba. Throughout, he portrays the margins of Mexican society as well as the attitudes, prejudices, contradictions, and occasionally absurd history of a country ravaged by corruption, violence, and dysfunction. Inhabiting the fertile ground between fiction, memoir, and essay, Tomb Song is an electric prose performance, a kaleidoscopic, tender, and often darkly funny exploration of sex, love, and death. Julián Herbert's English-language debut establishes him as one of the most audacious voices in contemporary letters.
Books are available with our regular book club discount here at City Lit Books, and there are three gatherings planned for book discussion, take your pick!
August 8, 2018 – Read/Write Library, 914 N. California
August 15, 2018 – Instituto Cervantes, 31 W Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60654
August 22, 2018 – ACRE, 1345 W. 19th Street
As always, remember that you can drop into our book clubs anytime – no sign up needed – and all of our book club choices are sold at a discount!