Forthcoming books

Book for April 8, 2020
Group 2
The New Me
I'm still trying to make the dream possible: still might finish my cleaning project, still might sign up for that yoga class, still might, still might. I step into the shower and almost faint, an image of taking the day by the throat and bashing its head against the wall floating in my mind. Thirty-year-old Millie just can't pull it together. Misanthropic and morose, she spends her days killing time at a thankless temp job until she can return home to her empty apartment, where she oscillates wildly between self-recrimination and mild delusion, fixating on all the little ways she might change her life. Then she watches TV until she drops off to sleep, and the cycle begins again. When the possibility of a full-time job offer arises, it seems to bring the better life she's envisioning - one that involves nicer clothes, fresh produce, maybe even financial independence - within reach. But with it also comes the paralyzing realization, lurking just beneath the surface, of just how hollow that vision has become. Darkly hilarious and devastating, The New Me is a dizzying descent into the mind of a young woman trapped in the funhouse of American consumer culture.
Author:
Halle Butler
An american author from Chicago, Illinois, and honoree of the National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 and Granta Best Young American Novelist.
Book for April 9, 2020
Group 3
Machines Like Me

was first published in 2019. It is set in the 1980s in an alternative history timeline in which the UK lost the Falklands War, Alan Turing is still alive and the Internet, social media and self-driving cars already exist. The story revolves around the android Adam and his relationship with his owners, which includes the forming of a love triangle.

Read more about this book: Guardian review

Author:
Ian McEwan
(born 21 June 1948) is a British novelist and screenwriter, and one of Britain's most highly regarded writers. In 2008, The Times named him among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

McEwan began his career writing sparse, Gothic short stories. The Cement Garden (1978) and The Comfort of Strangers (1981) were his first two novels, and earned him the nickname "Ian Macabre". These were followed by three novels of some success in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1997, he published Enduring Love, which was made into a film. He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2011, he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize. In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. This was followed by Saturday (2003), On Chesil Beach (2007) and Solar (2010).
Book for April 15, 2020
Group 4
Unspeakable
"A master of the personal essay candidly explores love, death, and the counterfeit rituals of American life In her celebrated 2001 collection, My Misspent Youth, Meghan Daum offered a bold, witty, defining account of the artistic ambitions, financial anxieties, and mixed emotions of her generation. The Unspeakable is an equally bold and witty, but also a sadder and wiser, report from early middle age. It's a report tempered by hard times. In "Matricide," Daum unflinchingly describes a parent's death and the uncomfortable emotions it provokes; and in "Diary of a Coma" she relates her own journey to the twilight of the mind. But Daum also operates in a comic register. With perfect precision, she reveals the absurdities of the marriage-industrial complex,of the New Age dating market, and of the peculiar habits of the young and digital. Elsewhere, she writes searchingly about cultural nostalgia, Joni Mitchell, and the alternating heartbreak and liberation of choosing not to have children. Combining the piercing insight of Joan Didion with a warm humor reminiscent of Nora Ephron, Daum dissects our culture's most dangerous illusions, blind spots, and sentimentalities while retaining her own joy and compassion. Through it all, she dramatizes the search for an authentic self in a world where achieving an identity is never simple and never complete"
Author:
Meghan Daum
Meghan Daum (born 1970) is an American essayist, journalist, and the author of five books, including the brand new The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through The New Culture Wars. Her last book was the collection of original essays The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, which won the 2015 PEN Center USA Award for creative nonfiction.In 2019 Meghan became a biweekly columnist for Medium. From 2005 to 2016 she was an oped columnist for The Los Angeles Times. Her work has been included in The Best American Essays and she has written for numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and Vogue. In the spring of 2017, Meghan was the Bedell Distinguished Visiting Writer in the Nonfiction MFA Program at the University of Iowa and she has taught at numerous writing conferences, including Aspen Summer Words and the Virginia Quarterly Review Writers’ Conference. She is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She is on the adjunct faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University's School of the Arts.
Book for April 17, 2020
Group 1
Meeting at Savannah's place
Everything I Never Told You
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Author:
Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng is the author of two novels, Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times, One Story, The Guardian, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. It has been translated into over two dozen languages.
Book for May 15, 2020
Group 1
Meeting at Steve's place
An American Marriage
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.
Author:
Tayari Jones
New York Times best-selling author, Tayari Jones, is the author four novels, most recently An American Marriage. An American Marriage is an Oprah’s Book Club Selection and also appeared on Barack Obama’s summer reading list as well as his end of the year roundup. The novel was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. With over 500,000 copies in print domestically, it has been published in fifteen countries.
Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.
Book for May 20, 2020
Group 4
The Yellow House
Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction - In 1961, Sarah M. Broom’s mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant—the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah’s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah’s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae’s thirteenth and most unruly child. A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America’s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a mother’s struggle against a house's entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina. The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser-known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.
Author:
Sarah M. Broom
Sarah Monique Broom (born December 31, 1979) is an American writer. Her first book, The Yellow House, was published in 2019. Broom was born on December 31, 1979 and raised in New Orleans, the youngest of twelve children. After attending Word of Faith Academy, she studied anthropology and mass communications at the University of North Texas and also holds a master's degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts. After publishing in a variety of journals, including the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, and O, the Oprah Magazine, she received a 2016 Creative Nonfiction Grant from the Whiting Foundation. Broom has also been named a finalist for the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction and awarded fellowships at Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the MacDowell Colony.
Book for June 17, 2020
Group 4
A Walker in the City
A literary icon’s “singular and beautiful” memoir of growing up as a first-generation Jewish American in Brownsville, Brooklyn (The New Yorker). A classic portrait of immigrant life in the early decades of the twentieth century, A Walker in the City is a tour of tenements, subways, and synagogues—but also a universal story of the desires and fears we experience as we try to leave our small, familiar neighborhoods for something new. With vivid imagery and sensual detail—the smell of half-sour pickles, the dry rattle of newspapers, the women in their shapeless flowered housedresses—Alfred Kazin recounts his boyhood walks through this working-class community, and his eventual foray across the river to “the city,” the mysterious, compelling Manhattan, where treasures like the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum beckoned. Eventually, he would travel even farther, building a life around books and language and literature and exploring all that the world had to offer. “The whole texture, color, and sound of life in this tenement realm . . . is revealed as tapestried, as dazzling, as full of lush and varied richness as an Arabian bazaar.” —The New York Times
Author:
Alfred Kazin
Alfred Kazin (June 5, 1915 – June 5, 1998) was an American writer and literary critic. He wrote often about the immigrant experience in early twentieth-century America. Like many of the other New York Intellectuals, Alfred Kazin was the son of Jewish immigrants, born in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and a graduate of the City College of New York. However, his politics were more moderate than most of the New York Intellectuals, many of whom were socialists. Kazin was deeply affected by his peers' subsequent disillusion with socialism and liberalism. Adam Kirsch writes in The New Republic that "having invested his romantic self-image in liberalism, Kazin perceived abandonment of liberalism by his peers as an attack on his identity". He wrote out of a great passion—or great disgust—for what he was reading and embedded his opinions in a deep knowledge of history, both literary history and politics and culture. In 1996 he was awarded the first Truman Capote Lifetime Achievement Award in Literary Criticism, which carries a cash reward of $100,000. As of 2014, the only other person to have won the award was George Steiner. Kazin was friends with Hannah Arendt. Kazin's son from his second marriage is historian and Dissent co-editor Michael Kazin. Alfred Kazin married his third wife, the writer Ann Birstein, in 1952, and they divorced in 1982; their daughter is Cathrael Kazin, who is a managing partner at Volta Learning Group. Kazin married a fourth time, and is survived by his widow, the writer Judith Dunford.
Book for July 15, 2020
Group 4
Heart Berries
Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father—an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist—who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn't exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.
Author:
Terese Marie Mailhot
Terese Marie Mailhot (born 15 June 1983) is a First Nation Canadian writer, journalist, memoirist, and teacher. Mailhot grew up in Seabird Island, British Columbia, on the Seabird Island First Nation reservation. Her mother, Wahzinak, was a healer, social worker, poet, and radical activist, and her father, Ken Mailhot, was an artist. Mailhot's background is Nlaka'pamux, part of the indigenous First Nations people of the Interior Salish language group in southern British Columbia. Her maternal grandmother, who she was close to, was raised in the brutal Canadian Indian residential school system. Mailhot got her GED and attended community college. Mailhot graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from New Mexico State University. In 2016, Mailhot received an MFA in fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Mailhot was a columnist at Indian Country Today[10] and was Saturday Editor at The Rumpus. She taught English and composition at Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In 2017, Mailhot became a post-doctoral fellow at the English Department at Purdue University, where she works with the Native American Educational and Cultural Center. Roxane Gay is a colleague there. Mailhot is also a professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts. In 2018, Mailhot released her debut book, Heart Berries: A Memoir. Heart Berries deals with sexual abuse, trauma, violence, substance abuse, going hungry, being poor, and neglect. Mailhot has said she sees her journey as being one that reflects intergenerational trauma and genocide. She uses the term "Indian sick" to describe the idea of cleansing the heart and mind in a spiritual process, which is how her community often processes these experiences. The title Heart Berries comes from a story about the healer O’dimin, the Heart Berry Boy, that an Ojibwe friend who is a language teacher told her. The book received overwhelmingly positive reviews in both popular and specialist sources. In March 2018, actress Emma Watson chose Mailhot's book as one of the monthly selections for her book club on Goodreads. Heart Berries is a New York Times bestseller. Mailhot began writing her memoir while she was institutionalized in a mental institution. Mailhot had committed herself after having a mental breakdown related to dealing with childhood sexual abuse by her father. The book consists of many essays that Mailhot wrote during her MFA program. Some of the book is written from Mailhot to her partner, Casey Gray, using an epistolary approach to reflecting on memories of the past.
Book for August 19, 2020
Group 4
Berlin Childhood around 1900
(Translated by Howard Eiland) Begun in Poveromo, Italy, in 1932, and extensively revised in 1938, Berlin Childhood around 1900 remained unpublished during Walter Benjamin's lifetime, one of his "large-scale defeats." Now translated into English for the first time in book form, on the basis of the recently discovered "final version" that contains the author's own arrangement of a suite of luminous vignettes, it can be more widely appreciated as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century prose writing. Not an autobiography in the customary sense, Benjamin's recollection of his childhood in an upper-middle-class Jewish home in Berlin's West End at the turn of the century becomes an occasion for unified "expeditions into the depths of memory." In this diagram of his life, Benjamin focuses not on persons or events but on places and things, all seen from the perspective of a child--a collector, flaneur, and allegorist in one. This book is also one of Benjamin's great city texts, bringing to life the cocoon of his childhood--the parks, streets, schoolrooms, and interiors of an emerging metropolis. It reads the city as palimpsest and labyrinth, revealing unexpected lyricism in the heart of the familiar. As an added gem, a preface by Howard Eiland discusses the genesis and structure of the work, which marks the culmination of Benjamin's attempt to do philosophy concretely.
Author:
Walter Benjamin
Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin: 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic and essayist. An eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory, literary criticism, and historical materialism. He was associated with the Frankfurt School, and also maintained formative friendships with thinkers such as playwright Bertolt Brecht and Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem. He was also related to German political theorist and philosopher Hannah Arendt through her first marriage to Benjamin's cousin, Günther Anders. Among Benjamin's best known works are the essays "The Task of the Translator" (1923), "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936), and "Theses on the Philosophy of History" (1940). His major work as a literary critic included essays on Baudelaire, Goethe, Kafka, Kraus, Leskov, Proust, Walser, and translation theory. He also made major translations into German of the Tableaux Parisiens section of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal and parts of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu. In 1940, at the age of 48, Benjamin committed suicide at Portbou on the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape from the invading Wehrmacht. Though popular acclaim eluded him during his life, the decades following his death won his work posthumous renown.