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Book Group

Book Groups sponsored by Left Bank Books

Well-Read Black Girl Book Club - Heads of the Colored People

Monday, August 24, 7pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS WILL BE AN ONLINE MEETING. Email shane.m@left-bank.com for info to join.

Join Well-Read Black Girl Book Club! for a reading group discussion of Heads of the Colored People, by Nafissa Thompson-Spires!

*Winner of the PEN Open Book Award*
*Winner of the Whiting Award*
*Longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award and Aspen Words Literary Prize*
*Nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize*
*Finalist for the Kirkus Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize*

Included in Best Books of 2018 Lists from Refinery29, NPR, The RootHuffPostVanity FairBustleChicago TribunePopSugar, and The Undefeated.

In one of the season’s most acclaimed works of fiction—longlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the PEN Open Book Award—Nafissa Thompson-Spires offers “a firecracker of a book...a triumph of storytelling: intelligent, acerbic, and ingenious” (Financial Times).

Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with race, identity politics, and the contemporary middle class in this “vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive” (George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo) collection.

Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks—while others are devastatingly poignant. In the title story, when a cosplayer, dressed as his favorite anime character, is mistaken for a violent threat the consequences are dire; in another story, a teen struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with so-called black culture.

Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires “has taken the best of what Toni Cade Bambara, Morgan Parker, and Junot Díaz do plus a whole lot of something we’ve never seen in American literature, blended it all together...giving us one of the finest short-story collections” (Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division).

Heads of the Colored People will be offered at 20% off the month before and the month of the reading group both online and by phone.

Monday, August 24, 2020 - 7:00pm

Gay Men's Reading Group - How We Fight for Our Lives

Thursday, August 27, 7:30pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING IS BEING MOVED ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join the Gay Men's Reading Group for a discussion of How We Fight for Our Lives, by Saeed Jones.

From award-winning poet Saeed Jones, How We Fight for Our Lives—winner of the Kirkus Prize and the Stonewall Book Award—is a “moving, bracingly honest memoir” (The New York Times Book Review) written at the crossroads of sex, race, and power.

One of the best books of the year as selected by The New York TimesThe Washington Post; NPR; TimeThe New YorkerO, The Oprah MagazineHarper’s Bazaar; Elle; BuzzFeedGoodreads; and many more.

“People don’t just happen,” writes Saeed Jones. “We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’”

Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.

Get How We Fight for Our Lives for 20% off by phone and online during the months of July and August!

 

Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 7:30pm

Novel Ideas - Heart of Junk

Wednesday, August 26, 11am
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING IS BEING MOVED ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join Novel Ideas for a reading group discussion of Heart of Junk, by Luke Geddes.

A hilarious debut novel about an eclectic group of merchants at a Kansas antique mall who become implicated in the kidnapping of a local beauty pageant star.

The city of Wichita, Kansas, is wracked with panic over the abduction of toddler pageant princess Lindy Bobo. However, the dealers at The Heart of America Antique Mall are too preoccupied by their own neurotic compulsions to take much notice. Postcards, perfume bottles, Barbies, vinyl records, kitschy neon beer signs—they collect and sell it all.

Rather than focus on Lindy, this colorful cast of characters is consumed by another drama: the impending arrival of Mark and Grant from the famed antiques television show Pickin’ Fortunes, who are planning to film an episode at The Heart of America and secretly may be the last best hope of saving the mall from bankruptcy. Yet the mall and the missing beauty queen have more to do with each other than these vendors might think, and before long, the group sets in motion a series of events that lead to surprising revelations about Lindy’s whereabouts. As the mall becomes implicated in her disappearance, will Mark and Grant be scared away from all of the drama or will they arrive in time to save The Heart of America from going under?

Equally comical and suspenseful, Heart of Junk is also a biting commentary on our current Marie Kondo era. It examines why certain objects resonate with us so deeply, rebukes Kondo’s philosophy of wholesale purging, and argues that “junk” can have great value—connecting us not only to our personal pasts but to our shared human history. As author Luke Geddes writes: “A collection was a record of a life lived, maybe not well or happily but at least with attention and passion. It was autobiography made whole.”

Get Heart of Junk for 20% off by phone and online during the months of July and August!

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 11:00am

Shakespeare Festival Reads - Troilus and Cressida

Tuesday, August 18, 7pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING IS BEING MOVED ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join Shakespeare Festival Reads for a reading group discussion of Troilus and Cressida.

Eminent Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen provide a fresh new edition of this classic tragedy of politics and war, honor and love—along with more than a hundred pages of exclusive features, including:
 
• an original Introduction to Troilus and Cressida
• incisive scene-by-scene synopsis and analysis with vital facts about the work
• commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers
• photographs of key RSC productions
• an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career and chronology of his plays
 
Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.

Get Troilus and Cressida for 20% off by phone and online during the months of July and August!

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 7:00pm

Lesbian Reading Group - She Called Me Woman

Thursday, August 20, 7:15pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING IS BEING MOVED ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join the Lesbian Reading Group for a discussion of She Called Me Woman, by Azeenarh Mohammed (Editor)!

"We put together this collection of twenty-five narratives to correct the invisibility, the confusion, the caricaturising and the writing out of queer women from history." This stirring and intimate collection brings together 25 captivating narratives to paint a vivid portrait of what it means to be a queer Nigerian woman. Covering an array of experiences - the joy and excitement of first love, the agony of lost love and betrayal, the sometimes-fraught relationship between sexuality and spirituality, addiction and suicide, childhood games and laughter - She Called Me Woman sheds light on how Nigerian queer women, despite their differences, attempt to build a life together in a climate of fear. Through first-hand accounts, She Called Me Woman challenges us to rethink what it means to be a Nigerian 'woman', negotiating relationships, money, sexuality and freedom, identifying outside the gender binary, and the difficulties of achieving hopes and dreams under the constraints of societal expectations and legal terrorism. These beautifully told stories of resistance and resilience reveal the realities of a community that refuses to be invisible any longer.

Get She Called Me Woman for 20% off by phone and online during the months of July and August!

Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 7:15pm

Reader Beware! - In Cold Blood

Tuesday, August 11, 7pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING WILL BE ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join Reader Beware! for a reading group discussion of In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote.

The most famous true crime novel of all time and one of the first non-fiction novels ever written; In Cold Blood is the bestseller that haunted its author long after he finished writing it.

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. 

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

Get In Cold Blood for 20% off by phone and online during the months of July and August!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 7:00pm

Great Novels of the 22nd Century - Iain M. Banks

Wednesday, August 5, 7pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS MEETING WILL BE ONLINE VIA SKYPE. CHECK THE GREAT NOVELS OF THE 22ND CENTURY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR THE MEETING INSTRUCTIONS.

Join  Great Novels of the 22nd Century for a reading group discussion of Iain M. Banks, by Paul Kincaid.

The 1987 publication of Iain M. Banks's Consider Phlebas helped trigger the British renaissance of radical hard science fiction and influenced a generation of New Space Opera masters. The thirteen SF novels that followed inspired an avid fandom and intense intellectual engagement while Banks's mainstream books vaulted him to the top of the Scottish literary scene. Paul Kincaid has written the first study of Iain M. Banks to explore the confluence of his SF and literary techniques and sensibilities. As Kincaid shows, the two powerful aspects of Banks's work flowed into each other, blurring a line that critics too often treat as clear-cut. Banks's gift for black humor and a honed skepticism regarding politics and religion found expression even as he orchestrated the vast, galaxy-spanning vistas in his novels of the Culture. In examining Banks's entire SF oeuvre, Kincaid unlocks the set of ideas Banks drew upon, ideas that spoke to an unusually varied readership that praised him as a visionary and reveled in the distinctive character of his works. Entertaining and broad in scope, Iain M. Banks offers new insights on one of the most admired figures in contemporary science fiction.

Get Iain M. Banks for 20% off by phone and online during the months of July and August!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 7:00pm

Well-Read Black Girl Book Club - Behold the Dreamers

Monday, July 27, 7pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS WILL BE AN ONLINE MEETING. Email shane.m@left-bank.com for info to join.

Join Well-Read Black Girl Book Club! for a reading group discussion of Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue!

A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy

New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award • Longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award • An ALA Notable Book

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 
NPR • The New York Times Book Review • San Francisco Chronicle • The Guardian • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Chicago Public Library • BookPage • Refinery29 • Kirkus Reviews 


Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Behold the Dreamers will be offered at 20% off the month before and the month of the reading group both online and by phone.

 

Monday, July 27, 2020 - 7:00pm

Lesbian Reading Group - Alone

Thursday, July 16, 7:15pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING IS BEING MOVED ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join the Lesbian Reading Group for a discussion of Alone, by E. J. Noyes!

Half a million dollars will be Celeste Thorne's reward for spending four years of her life in total isolation. No faces. No voices. No way to leave.

Since Celeste has never really worried about being alone, the generous paycheck she'll receive for her participation in the solitary psychological experiment seems like easy money. br>
When she finds an injured hiker in the woods bordering her living compound, her strictly governed world is thrown into disarray. But even as she struggles with the morality of breaking the rules of the experiment, Celeste can't deny her growing attraction to the kind and enigmatic Olivia Soldano. Still, how much can you really trust a stranger? And how much can you trust yourself when you know all the faces you've seen and voices you've heard for the past three years have only been your imagination?

But what's real? Celeste's reality may lie somewhere between the absolute truth and a carefully constructed deception.

Get Alone for 20% off by phone and online during the months of June and July!

Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 7:15pm

Shakespeare Festival Reads - The Merry Wives of Windsor & Much Ado About Nothing

Tuesday, July 21, 7pm
Left Bank Books Online Meeting

THIS BOOK GROUP MEETING IS BEING MOVED ONLINE. EMAIL shane.m@left-bank.com FOR MEETING LINK.

Join Shakespeare Festival Reads for a reading group discussion of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Much Ado About Nothing.

“Why, then the world’s mine oyster.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor

 
Eminent Shakespearean scholars Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen provide a fresh new edition of this popular comedy of love, laughter, and merriment—along with more than a hundred pages of exclusive features, including
 
• an original Introduction to The Merry Wives of Windsor
• incisive scene-by-scene synopsis and analysis with vital facts about the work
• commentary on past and current productions based on interviews with leading directors, actors, and designers
• photographs of key RSC productions
• an overview of Shakespeare’s theatrical career and chronology of his plays
 
Ideal for students, theater professionals, and general readers, these modern and accessible editions from the Royal Shakespeare Company set a new standard in Shakespearean literature for the twenty-first century.

Much Ado About Nothing

Set in a courtly world of masked revels and dances, this play turns on the archetypal story of a lady falsely accused of unfaithfulness, spurned by her bridegroom, and finally vindicated and reunited with him. Villainy, schemes, and deceits threaten to darken the brilliant humor and sparkling wordplay–but the hilarious counterplot of a warring couple, Beatrice and Benedick, steals the scene as the two are finally tricked into admitting their love for each other in Shakespeare’s superb comedy of manners.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography

Get The Merry Wives of Windsor and Much Ado About Nothing for 20% off by phone and online during the months of June and July!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 7:00pm

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