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*Note: I just realized that I inexplicably originally posted this event for being at the Betsy Hall House. As a general rule, museums are not typically hospitable to BYO bookclubs, so I have relocated to Old City Beer Garden
"Fascinated by Egypt’s rich history, Peter Hessler moved with his family to Cairo just after the Arab Spring had begun.
In the midst of the revolution, he attached himself to an important archaeological dig at a site known as The Buried. In Cairo, he got to know a young gay Egyptian who struggled with pressures from the police and society. Hessler and his wife also struck up a friendship with their Arabic-language instructor, Rifaat, a cynical political sophisticate who helped explain the country’s turmoil. And a different kind of friendship was formed with their illiterate garbage collector, Sayyid, whose access to the refuse of Cairo is another kind of archaeological excavation.
Through the lives of ordinary Egyptians, Hessler creates a richly textured portrait of a revolution and the people swept up in it, drawing connections between contemporary politics and the ancient past. The Buried is a work of uncompromising intelligence and glorious humanity: an extraordinary achievement that unearths a new world for the reader."
For this meetup we voted on Tower of Babylon by Ted Chiang. Tower of Babylon is the first story in the Stories of Our Lives collection and is also available as a stand alone ebook. Since Tower of Babylon is only 30 pages, everyone is invited to read the rest of Stories of Our Lives, but it's not required or anything and as always things will be pretty casual. Hope to see you there!
"Together with a crew of other miners and cart-pullers, Hillalum is recruited to climb the Tower of Babylon and unearth what lies beyond the vault of heaven. During his journey, Hillalum discovers entire civilizations of tower-dwellers on the tower—there are those who live inside the mists of clouds, those who raise their vegetables above the sun, and those who have spent their lives under the oppressive weight of an endless, white stratum at the top of the universe.
“Tower of Babylon” is a rare gem—a winner of the prestigious Nebula award, the first story Ted Chiang ever published, and the brilliant opening piece to Chiang’s much-lauded first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, which is soon to be a major motion picture starring Amy Adams."
"Washington Post Bestseller
A new stand-alone adventure―appropriate for all ages―by Lemony Snicket, one of the twenty-first century’s most beloved authors.
In the years since this publishing house was founded, we have worked with an array of wondrous authors who have brought illuminating clarity to our bewildering world. Now, instead, we bring you Lemony Snicket.
Over the course of his long and suspicious career, Mr. Snicket has investigated many things, including villainy, treachery, conspiracy, ennui, and various suspicious fires. In this book, he is investigating his own death.
Poison for Breakfastis a different sort of book than others we have published, and from others you may have read. It is different from other books Mr. Snicket has written. It could be said to be a book of philosophy, something almost no one likes, but it is also a mystery, and many people claim to like those. Certainly Mr. Snicket didn’t relish the dreadful task of solving it, but he had no choice. It was put in front of him, right there, on his plate."
"Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STÄDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She's hard-working, obsessive, and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It's been years since she's let anyone in.
But when Ava's new boss--the young and magnetic Mat Putnam--offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up--and, despite her instincts, she becomes enamored. But Mat isn't who he claims to be, and the romance takes a sharp turn.
The Very Nice Box is a funny, suspenseful debut--with a shocking twist. It's at once a send-up of male entitlement and a big-hearted account of grief, friendship, and trust."