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Making Sense of a New America: A Reading List

June 23, 2017

Books help us decipher our accelerated, ever-changing world, in which many aspects of American life are in flux. All of the titles below, whether they offer clarifying facts or imaginative interpretations, are sure to spark avid discussions. Nonfiction These thought-provoking works of narrative nonfiction, memoir, and a graphic novel in essays portray places in decline…

Screenshot: Travis Kalanick

Further Reading: Troublesome CEOs

June 22, 2017

After a 2013 memo about sexual harassment was leaked to the press, newspapers at home and abroad have been speculating on whether or not Uber CEO Travis Kalanik—no stranger to controversy—might lose his job. Kalanik has been accused of poisoning company culture with laddish (some might say horribly sexist) behavior. Fictional CEOs are no strangers to trouble.…

Screenshot from A Hanmaid's Tale television show

Aunt Lydia’s Forbidden Bookshelf: Three Books to Read After The Handmaid’s Tale

June 22, 2017

The first season of The Handmaid’s Tale wrapped up last night. If you’re already missing the object of your obsession, you can always read (or reread) Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name, since this dystopian nightmare fuel for feminists and anyone who appreciates not living in a totalitarian faith-based state has been keeping people up at night…

Book cover: The Book of Polly

Book Club Choices: The Book of Polly

June 21, 2017

Polly is just the type of character to bring a falcon on her shoulder to a meeting with her daughter’s school principal. Willow has been lying and the administration is concerned. Polly, determined to show that her daughter’s outrageous stories are true, borrows a falcon to convince the principal that she is, indeed, an experienced…

Book cover: Stars Are Fire

Book Club Choices: The Stars Are Fire

June 21, 2017

Based on a true story of a fire on the coast of Maine in 1947, this novel is about Grace, whose town was one of many that burned to the ground. As the fire rushes toward her home, Grace and her best friend grab their young children and head to the ocean, where they are…

Ringling Brothers Circus Clowns

Twelve Circus Novels for the End of Ringling Bros

June 21, 2017

After 146 years of wowing audiences with rare animals and aerial stunts, The Greatest Show on Earth will hold its final performances this May. Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey retired their elephants in May 2016 after an intense legal battle with activists, which led to a decrease in ticket sales. As they dazzle crowds in Rhode…

The Carnegie Interview: Colson Whitehead

June 21, 2017

When Booklist reviewed Colson Whitehead’s historical novel, The Underground Railroad, back in June, we designated it as a major work. Ever since, we’ve been cheering along its rise: as Oprah selected it for her book club, as Whitehead received the National Book Award, as the New York Times named it one of “The 10 Best…

Book cover: Swing Time

Book Club Choices: Swing Time

June 21, 2017

Through sweeping themes of race, friendship, family, and feminist politics, we enter the lives of Tracey, an accomplished dancer; Aimee, a superstar (think Madonna); a mother and wife, an ardent feminist; and others who make up the world of our unnamed narrator. Tracey and “unnamed narrator” meet in London as young girls taking dance. They…

Book cover: Sycamore

Book Club Choices: Sycamore

June 21, 2017

Small towns all have their stories, and for two decades, in Sycamore, Ariz., Jess Winters was theirs. Jess and her mother moved into town after her father fell in love with someone new and left them to start a new family. The hope is that a fresh town might provide a fresh start. Jess has…

Book cover: Hearts of Men

Book Club Choices: The Hearts of Men

June 21, 2017

This poignant and moving novel begins and ends with Nelson, a young teenager in 1962 who spends his summers at a Boy Scout camp. Nelson is an overachiever who is bullied unmercifully by his mates. His only (occasional) ally is a popular boy named Jonathan. The story follows Nelson and Jonathan and succeeding generations from…

HOW TO BOOK CLUB

Find Books for a Book Club

There’s a question I always ask whenever I visit a book club: “What’s the best book you’ve ever discussed?” This is a surefire way to start a lively discussion, one that always begins with the books the group has enjoyed and inevitably transitions to those they haven’t. Eventually, the group will conclude that the best…

Find A Book Club

Joining a book club can seem impossible if you don’t know where to look but you’ll find like-minded book lovers at the following tried-and-tested places. BOOK CLUBS IRL The Library Always the best place for aspiring book clubbers to start. Head to the reference desk and ask the person there about book clubs she’s sure…

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