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The Leavers - August Meetup
The book for August is The Leavers by Lisa Ko. We have posted information about the book, the author, and discussion questions. The meeting location will be listed later. Should you RSVP "yes" and then decide not to come, it is helpful if you change your RSVP to "no" or send a message. We wouldn't want you to miss the conversation, so we often wait for late arrivals. It helps to know who plans to attend. Hope to see you in August! The Leavers Lisa Ko’s powerful debut, The Leavers, is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice. One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left mystified and bereft. Eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors, Deming is moved from the Bronx to a small town upstate and renamed Daniel Wilkinson. But far from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ desire that he assimilate with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind. Told from the perspective of both Daniel—as he grows into a directionless young man—and Polly, Ko’s novel gives us one of fiction’s most singular mothers. Loving and selfish, determined and frightened, Polly is forced to make one heartwrenching choice after another. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. It’s a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past. The Author Lisa is the first generation of her extended family to be born in American. Her parents are of Chinese descent who came to the U.S. from the Philippines. She was born in New York City's Borough of Queens, though eventually her family moved to the New Jersey suburbs where she grew up. As the only Asian child in her community, Ko knows what it feels like to be an outsider, a feeling that has informed her fiction. Lonely, she turned to reading and writing for company and comfort. At five she started keeping a journal and wrote her first book, Magenta Goes to College. Magenta was her favorite colored crayon. She also read throughout her childhood and adolescence—as she says on her website, "to escape, to dream." Ko received her B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. It was there that she devoured books by writers of color and finally began to write about people who looked like she did. After college she moved to New York City where she worked in book, magazine, and web publishing. Then it was on to San Francisco for five years, working in film production and co-starting an Asian American magazine. At 30, she returned to New York to continue writing a book. It took eight-and-a-half years for Ko to write and edit The Leavers. Meanwhile, she juggled numerous jobs — from freelancing as an editor to adjunct teaching and full-time office work, writing when she could. In an interview with Flavorwire, she recalled: I’ve had so many random writing, editing, and teaching jobs to pay the bills. I worked full-time as a web content specialist in a university marketing department while finishing The Leavers, but now I’m back to freelance writing and editing. In 2016, even though The Leavers wasn't quite ready, she decided on a whim to submit it in a competition, all the while believing she would never win. Months later, author Barbara Kingsolver called Ko to tell her that she had had, in fact, won—the award was the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Discussion Questions

Blackstone Grill

420 Peppers Ferry Road Northwest · Christiansburg, VA

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    Past Meetups (41)

    What we're about

    Third Wednesday Book Club members are passionate about three things: people, food, and reading! We thought it would be great to bring those three things together by starting The Third Wednesday Book Club. We'll meet every third Wednesday at a different local New River Valley restaurant or cafe to discuss a book with new found friends.

    Everyone is welcome to join; diverse opinions lead to better discussions! Book selections will range from fiction, to non-fiction, to memoir, or history. We'll try to choose a variety of books and everyone will get the chance to make suggestions and vote in the book poll.

    We know that not everyone has time to read one book a month. We've had so much fun discussing books (and other topics) during our monthly meetings, that we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to participate. Each month during the "space between" our meetings, someone will select an article, Ted Talk, video, movie, etc. for us to view or read. This should be something that touches on a timely topic, but doesn't take much time to view or read. We'll add one additional meeting per month to come together and share our thoughts.

    We look forward to discussing great books and eating great food with as many people as possible, so tell your friends about The Third Wednesday Book Club!

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