What we're about

The Literary Society of San Francisco has been meeting twice a month since 2014, first in the Mission District of San Francisco then shifted to online meetings since 2020. We've read over 120 works of fiction in that time. Italo Calvino, Anna Karenina, Flannery O'Connor, Denis Johnson, Otessa Moshfegh, Zadie Smith. We've read some Roald Dahl. We've read books by authors from Nigeria, Israel, Indonesia, Iceland, Turkey, and a bunch of other places. We've read How Should a Person Be, and we've pilloried the person who nominated it. Sometimes we read that new novel that everyone is talking about and sometimes we read The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick.
The only restrictions on the books we read:
1. Fiction only.
2. You have to convince the group to read it, so don't nominate bad books.
3. It has to be less than 300 pages, unless it's our December book.
We meet from 7-8PM on the first and third Monday of every month except December. In December we don't meet, so between the third Monday in November and the first Monday in January, we read a longer book than usual. Typically we discuss the book for 45 minutes and then talk about what we want to read next.
There are a lot of book clubs out there, and most of them like to read garbage. Don't waste your time with them. Join the Literary Society.

Upcoming events (2)

The Passion According to GH by Clarice Lispector

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We're revisiting a stunning and, let's face it, bizarre classic - Brazilian author Clarice Lispector's feminist stream-of-consciousness novella The Passion According to GH. It's short but heavily tangled - make sure to take your time with this one!

From Goodreads: "Availing herself of a single character, Lispector transforms a banal situation—a woman at home, alone—into an amphitheater for philosophical investigations. The first-person narration jousts with language, playfully but forcefully examining the ambiguous nature of words, with results ranging from the profound to the pretentious: "Prehuman divine life is a life of singeing nowness" or "The world interdepended with me, and I am not understanding what I say, never! never again shall I understand what I say. For how will I be able to speak without the word lying for me?" These linguistic games frame existential and experiential crises that Lispector savors and overcomes. Although this idiosyncratic novel will not have wider appeal, those with academic or markedly erudite tastes should find much to savour."

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

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Before The Hunger Games and before Brave New World and before Fahrenheit 451 and even before 1984 there was Zamyatin's We, often referred to as the first dystopia. There's a lot to talk about here: it's political context and banning by Russia, its influence on subsequent works, and the persistent reflection of society's ills even a century after its publication. Should be a great Labor Day discussion!

From Goodreads: "Yevgeny Zamyatin's We is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Ayn Rand. In a glass-enclosed city of absolute straight lines, ruled over by the all-powerful 'Benefactor', the citizens of the totalitarian society of OneState live out lives devoid of passion and creativity - until D-503, a mathematician who dreams in numbers, makes a discovery: he has an individual soul."

Past events (182)

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

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