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Our theme for October is How to Treat a Lady. The two selections are The Love Afffairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman and Sin in the Second City by Karen Abott

Sin in the Second City - by Karen Abott is a history of America's most famous brothel, Chicago's Everleigh Club, which catered to some of America's leading moguls, actors, and writers from 1900 to 1911. The book profiles the aristocratic proprietors and their efforts to elevate the industry to new heights.

Sin in the Second City is a colorful, nuanced portrait of the iconic Everleigh sisters, their world-famous Club, and the perennial clash between our nation’s hedonistic impulses and Puritanical roots. Culminating in a dramatic last stand between brothel keepers and crusading reformers, Sin in the Second City offers a vivid snapshot of America’s journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century modernity.

The sisters’ most daunting foes were the Progressive Era reformers, who sent the entire country into a frenzy with lurid tales of “white slavery”. This furor shaped America’s sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the White House, including the formation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(Non-fiction )(400 pp)

The Love Afffairs of Nathaniel P. - by Adelle Waldman features Nathaniel Piven, a Harvard graduate and budding cultural critic basking in the glory of a book contract he's just landed. As a resident of Brooklyn, the hipster hub increasingly gentrified by "faux-dives, hip restaurants" and beautiful editorial assistants to Very Important Magazines, Nate is surrounded by like-minded literati. And if he happens to be flummoxed by one aggrieved ex after another in the neighborhood, well, isn't that simply further testament to his conscience shaped by a "post-feminist, 1980s childhood and politically correct, 1990s college education. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. is a sharp and assured tale about a sharp and assured young man, who often acts like a dog

At the centre of the story is the relationship between Nate and Hannah, an intelligent, attractive, aspiring writer Nate meets at a dinner party (given by an old flame, of course), and its progress from a promising beginning to its poisonous and inexplicable terminus.

The author is sympathetic to the plight of both men and women, even preening and self-absorbed ones who partake in the skewed sexual economy without acknowledging their complicity in its making.

(256 pp)