March 2017

March 2017 Book Club: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

"Simply wonderful." - Los Angeles Times Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez's brilliant and buoyant and beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters recounting their adventures growing up in two cultures. Selected as a Notable Book by both the New York Times and the American Library Association, it won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for books with a multicultural perspective and was chosen by New York librarians as one of twenty-one classics for the twenty-first century. Ms. Alvarez was recently honored with the 2013 National Medal of Arts for her extraordinary storytelling. In this debut novel, the García sisters - Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía -and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father's role in an attempt to overthrow a tyrannical dictator is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try find new lives: by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents sets the sisters free to tell their most intimate stories about how they came to be at home - and not at home - in America. "A joy to read." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Simply wonderful." - Los Angeles Times Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez's brilliant and buoyant and beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters recounting their adventures growing up in two cultures. Selected as a Notable Book by both the New York Times and the American Library Association, it won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for books with a multicultural perspective and was chosen by New York librarians as one of twenty-one classics for the twenty-first century. Ms. Alvarez was recently honored with the 2013 National Medal of Arts for her extraordinary storytelling. In this debut novel, the García sisters - Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía -and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father's role in an attempt to overthrow a tyrannical dictator is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wild and wondrous and not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways, but the girls try find new lives: by forgetting their Spanish, by straightening their hair and wearing fringed bell bottoms. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents sets the sisters free to tell their most intimate stories about how they came to be at home - and not at home - in America. "A joy to read." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

April 2017

April 2017 Book Club: The Jump-Off Creek

A reading group favorite, The Jump-Off Creek is the unforgettable story of widowed homesteader Lydia Sanderson and her struggles to settle in the mountains of Oregon in the 1890s. "Every gritty line of the story rings true" (Seattle Times) as Molly Gloss delivers an authentic and moving portrait of the American West. "A powerful novel of struggle and loss" (Dallas Morning News), The Jump-Off Creek gives readers an intimate look at the hardships of frontier life and a courageous woman determined to survive.

A reading group favorite, The Jump-Off Creek is the unforgettable story of widowed homesteader Lydia Sanderson and her struggles to settle in the mountains of Oregon in the 1890s. "Every gritty line of the story rings true" (Seattle Times) as Molly Gloss delivers an authentic and moving portrait of the American West. "A powerful novel of struggle and loss" (Dallas Morning News), The Jump-Off Creek gives readers an intimate look at the hardships of frontier life and a courageous woman determined to survive.

May 2017

May 2017 Book Club: Our Souls at Night

A Best Book of the Year The Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Denver Post In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better--their pleasures and their difficulties--a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer's enduring contribution to American literature.

A Best Book of the Year The Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Denver Post In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better--their pleasures and their difficulties--a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer's enduring contribution to American literature.

June 2017

June 2017 Book Club: Underground Railroad: a novel

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Their first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels.

July 2017

July 2017 Book Club: Between the World and Me

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him--most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear ... In [this book], Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings--moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago's South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America's 'long war on black people,' or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police"--

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him--most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear ... In [this book], Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings--moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago's South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America's 'long war on black people,' or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police"--

August 2017

August 2017 Book Club: Big Little Man

Awards: Winner of the Literary Arts Oregon Book award for 2015. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's memoir, in the spirit of Richard Rodriquez's Hunger for Memory and Nathan McCall's Makes Me Wanna Holler--an intimate look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian American male"-- Scope and content: "Why do so many people find Asian women sexy but Asian men sexless? Alex Tizon's family emigrated from the Philippines when he was four. He quickly learned to be ashamed of his face, his color, his physical size. In movies and on television he saw Asian men as 'servants, villains, or geeks, one-dimensional, powerless, sneaky little men.' His fierce and funny observations of sex and the Asian American male include the story of his own college life in the 1980s, a tortured tutorial on just how little sex appeal accrued to the Asian man. And then, two transformations. First, Tizon's growing understanding that shame is universal; that his own just happened to take racial shape. Next, seismic cultural changes--from Xiu Xiang's 2004 Olympic gold-winning sprint, to Jerry Yang's phenomenal success with Yahoo! Inc., to Keanu Reeves' leading-man status in The Matrix--that draw him out of his exile. Finally, Tizon's deeply original, taboo-bending investigation turns outward, tracking the unheard stories of young men today, in a landscape still complex but much changed for the Asian American man.

Awards: Winner of the Literary Arts Oregon Book award for 2015. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's memoir, in the spirit of Richard Rodriquez's Hunger for Memory and Nathan McCall's Makes Me Wanna Holler--an intimate look at the mythology, experience, and psyche of the Asian American male"-- Scope and content: "Why do so many people find Asian women sexy but Asian men sexless? Alex Tizon's family emigrated from the Philippines when he was four. He quickly learned to be ashamed of his face, his color, his physical size. In movies and on television he saw Asian men as 'servants, villains, or geeks, one-dimensional, powerless, sneaky little men.' His fierce and funny observations of sex and the Asian American male include the story of his own college life in the 1980s, a tortured tutorial on just how little sex appeal accrued to the Asian man. And then, two transformations. First, Tizon's growing understanding that shame is universal; that his own just happened to take racial shape. Next, seismic cultural changes--from Xiu Xiang's 2004 Olympic gold-winning sprint, to Jerry Yang's phenomenal success with Yahoo! Inc., to Keanu Reeves' leading-man status in The Matrix--that draw him out of his exile. Finally, Tizon's deeply original, taboo-bending investigation turns outward, tracking the unheard stories of young men today, in a landscape still complex but much changed for the Asian American man.

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