What we’re about
Are you a solitary creature who lives in constant danger of being crushed by a stack of books? When company comes, do you have to move books off the sofa so they can sit down? Or maybe you're an avid reader looking for other avid readers in a culture that seems uninterested in reading anything more complicated than a cereal box? If so, you've come to the right place.
We'll meet the third Sunday of every month to discuss literary fiction. Why "literary" fiction? It's not because we're a snooty bunch of unemployed English majors--well, not all of us, anyway; it's just that literary fiction gives us more to chew on than those sugary mass-market confections, which, delightful though they may be, tend to melt in your mouth like cotton candy, leaving you ultimately unsatisfied.
So it's all downers and broccoli, right? A bunch of sighing pseudo-intellectuals wearing black eye shadow and berets? No, we don't take ourselves that seriously, and we have a lot of fun. And because we choose books by poll, you'll have some say in what we read. So won't you join us? All are welcome.
Upcoming events (4)See all
- Jan Meetup: Yellowface by R.F KuangLink visible for attendees
Note: RSVPs for this meetup open Sunday, December 24, 2023 8:00 PM. Due to scheduling constraints, we had to skip meeting up in December.
For December, we will be reading Yellowface by R.F. Kuang. The hardcover runs 329 pages.
The GoodReads blurb is
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena's a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn't even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song--complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can't get away from Athena's shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June's (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang's novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.
- Feb Meetup: Day by Michael CunninghamLink visible for attendees
Note: RSVPs for this meetup open on Sunday, January 21, 2024 8:00 PM.
For our February Meetup, we will be reading Day by Michael Cunningham. The hardcover version is 273 pages.
The GoodReads blurb is
As the world changes around them, a family weathers the storms of growing up, growing older, falling in and out of love, losing the things that are most precious—and learning to go on—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours
April 5, 2019 : In a cozy brownstone in Brooklyn, the veneer of domestic bliss is beginning to crack. Dan and Isabel, troubled husband and wife, are both a little bit in love with Isabel’s younger brother, Robbie. Robbie, wayward soul of the family, who still lives in the attic loft; Robbie, who, trying to get over his most recent boyfriend, has created a glamorous avatar online; Robbie, who now has to move out of the house—and whose departure threatens to break the family apart. Meanwhile Nathan, age ten, is taking his first uncertain steps toward independence, while Violet, five, does her best not to notice the growing rift between her parents.
April 5, 2020: As the world goes into lockdown, the brownstone is feeling more like a prison. Violet is terrified of leaving the windows open, obsessed with keeping her family safe, while Nathan attempts to skirt her rules. Isabel and Dan communicate mostly in veiled jabs and frustrated sighs. And beloved Robbie is stranded in Iceland, alone in a mountain cabin with nothing but his thoughts—and his secret Instagram life—for company.
April 5, 2021: Emerging from the worst of the crisis, the family reckons with a new, very different reality—with what they’ve learned, what they’ve lost, and how they might go on.
From the brilliant mind of Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, Day is a searing, exquisitely crafted meditation on love and loss and the struggles and limitations of family life—how to live together and apart.
- March Meetup: We Want Everything by Nanni BalestriniLink visible for attendees
Note: RSVPs for this meetup open on Sunday, February 18, 2024 8:00 PM.
For our March Meetup, we will be reading We Want Everything by Nanni Balestrini. The hardcover version is 224 pages.
The GoodReads blurb is
Explosive novel of Italy’s revolutionary 1969 by leading Italian novelist
It was 1969, and temperatures were rising across the factories of the north as workers demanded better pay and conditions. Soon, discontent would erupt in what became known as Italy’s “Hot Autumn.”
A young worker from the impoverished south arrives at Fiat’s Mirafiori factory in Turin, where his darker complexion begins to fade from the fourteen-hour workdays in sweltering industrial heat. He is frequently late for work, and sells his blood when money runs low. He fakes a crushed finger to win sick leave. His bosses try to withhold his wages. Our cynical, dry-witted narrator will not bend to their will. “I want everything, everything that’s owed to me,” he tells them. “Nothing more and nothing less, because you don’t mess with me.”
Around him, students are holding secret meetings and union workers begin halting work on the assembly lines, crippling the Mirafiori factory with months of continuous strikes. Before long, barricades line the roads, tear gas wafts into private homes, and the slogan “We Want Everything” is ringing through the streets. Wrought in spare and measured prose, Balestrini’s novel depicts an explosive uprising. Introduced by Rachel Kushner, the author of the best-selling The Flamethrowers, We Want Everything is the incendiary fictional account of events that led to a decade of revolt.
- April Meetup: Chronicle in Stone by Ismail KadareLink visible for attendees
Note: RSVPs for this meetup open on Sunday, March 24, 2024 8:00 PM.
For our March Meetup, we will be reading Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare. The hardcover version is 320 pages.
The GoodReads blurb is
Masterful in its simplicity, Chronicle in Stone is a touching coming-of-age story and a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit. Surrounded by the magic of beautiful women and literature, a boy must endure the deprivations of war as he suffers the hardships of growing up. His sleepy country has just thrown off centuries of tyranny, but new waves of domination inundate his city. Through the boy's eyes, we see the terrors of World War II as he witnesses fascist invasions, allied bombings, partisan infighting, and the many faces of human cruelty as well as the simple pleasures of life.
Evacuating to the countryside, he expects to find an ideal world full of extraordinary things but discovers instead an archaic backwater where a severed arm becomes a talisman and deflowered girls mysteriously vanish. Woven between the chapters of the boy's story are tantalizing fragments of the city's history. As the devastation mounts, the fragments lose coherence, and we perceive firsthand how the violence of war destroys more than just buildings and bridges.