Saturday, May 4, 2019

Boswell's In-Store Book Club Roundup!

It's been a while since we've done a book club blog.

A: In-Store Lit Group
--January: Joan Silber's Improvement
--February: Nana Kwame Adjeh-Brenyah's, Friday Black
--March: Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry
--April: Sigrid Nuñez's The Friend

I love how the books wind up fitting together without even trying. I have said in the past that any two books have linked threads if you just want to look,. For example, we read Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir's Hotel Silence in December, not imagining that the book we followed it up with, Improvement, also had the theft of antiquities as an important plot thread.

And after reading Asymmetry and The Friend in short succession, one of the attendees asked if we had read two novels about the writing mentor relationship on purpose. In fact, we did not.

If I have any advance for book clubs tackling any of these books, all of which were well received by our group, which tends to number 15-18 in attendance, its that it's okay to read about the Lisa Halliday spoilers if you get at all confused by the two parts of the book and how they connect. Now we have customers who caught all the links right away, but many did not. But once that box is opened, everyone was able to contribute and it was a great discussion.

I love periodically tying our selections in to author visits, but we've had some bad luck with this of late. Our discussion with Luis Alberto Urrea for the The House of Broken Angels was scheduled for Monday, May 6, at 6 pm, followed by an event in the back of the store. To our delight, Urrea was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship, but the dinner is that Monday.

We moved our event from Monday to Thursday, May 9, but with that notice, I'm concerned we might not have reached all our attendees, plus several of our regulars can't attend on Thursday. With that situation, we decided to hold the In-Store Lit Group twice, once on Monday, May 6, without the author, and then again on Thursday, May 9, with the author coming for the second half of the discussion. Both meetings are at 6 pm.

And going forward...
--Monday, June 3, 7 pm: Amy Jones's We're All in This Together
--Monday, July 1, 7 pm: Anna Burns's The Milkman
--Monday, August 5, 7 pm: Esi Edugyan's Washington Black

I don't have the September selection picked, but due to Labor Day, we'll be meeting on August 26, in the rear of Boswell.

B. Science Fiction Group

Boswell's Science Fiction Group is the only one that has it's own blog. As Jason notes, "We read mainly sci-fi, but from time-to-time we will mix in a fantasy novel, short stories, or even a graphic novel."

They are also the only in-store group that has its own blog. It's also the only book club run by our adult book buyer, so you're getting a coordinator who is particularly knowledgeable about the genre.

Here's what they are reading:
--Monday, May 13, 7 pm: Larissa Lai's The Tiger Flu
--Monday, June 10, 7 pm: Tom Sweeterlitsch's The Gone World
--Monday, July 8, 7 pm: Martian Time Slip

C. Books and Beer Book Club

This club isn't exactly in store - it meets across the street at Cafe Hollander on the third Monday. The concept is that these books are genre smashing - a little speculative, a little mystery, sometimes with historical or romantic elements. The key is that they books that have a mission to entertain while they are doing whatever they are supposed to be doing. And that makes them pair well with a beer.

--Monday, May 20, 7 pm: Clare Coleman's Terra Nullius
--Monday, June 17, 7 pm: Stuart Turton's The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
--Monday, July 15, 7 pm: Yoko Towada's The Emissary

D. Mystery Book Club

In a sense, this is our oldest club, as it carried over from Shorewood with Anne McMahon at the helm. We sometimes try into author visits here too, though we've had bad luck this year. First we had a snowstorm on the date of Tim Johnston's Descent in January, and then our event with Jeffrey Siger for The Mykonos Mob had to be cancelled, due to illness. But we'll keep trying.

The Mystery Book Club meets on the fourth Monday of the month, but we'll adjust for Memorial Day. They'll move up a week, which is the same date as Books & Beer, but that shouldn't be an issue, as only one of the clubs meet at the store.
--Monday, May 20, 7 pm: Fred Vargas's The Accordionist
--Monday, June 24, 7 pm: Charles Finch's The Woman in the Water
--Monday, July 22, 7 pm: Sujata Massey's The Widows of Malabar Hill

Massey is coming to Boswell too, but before the book club meets. She'll be here on Tuesday, May 21, 7 pm.

Want to keep up with our book club selections? Visit our Boswell-run book clubs page on our website.

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