RSVP for Club here (I know you won’t) its at Chris Dorsey’s new house 13630 Via Varra Way, Broomfield, CO 80020. He is cooking us food. Bring drinks.
Erik our VP is bringing the picks for voting.
- The Tsar of Love and Techno – Anthony Marra
- The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
- The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen
- The Angel Esmeralda – Don DeLillo
See you there.
The Tsar of Love and Techno – Anthony Marra – 384 pages
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena—dazzling, poignant, and lyrical interwoven stories about family, sacrifice, the legacy of war, and the redemptive power of art.
This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts.
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead – 432 pages
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s 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. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
The Sympathizer – Viet Thanh Nguyen – 384 pages
The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as six other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.
Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Winner of the 2016 Edgar Award for Best First Novel
Winner of the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
Winner of the 2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction
Winner of the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Winner of the 2015-2016 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (Adult Fiction)
Winner of the 2016 California Book Award for First Fiction
Winner of the 2017 Association for Asian American Studies Award for Best Book in Creative Writing (Prose)
Finalist for the 2016 PEN/Faulkner Award
Finalist for the 2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction
Finalist for the 2016 Medici Book Club Prize
Finalist for the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Mystery/Thriller)
Finalist for the 2016 ABA Indies Choice/E.B. White Read-Aloud Award (Book of the Year, Adult Fiction)
Shortlisted for the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award
Named a Best Book of the Year on more than twenty lists, including the New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post
The Angel Esmeralda – Don DeLillo – 224 pages
A finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Story Prize, the first ever collection of “dazzlingly told” (The New York Times) short stories—now available as a trade paperback.
Set in Greece, the Caribbean, Manhattan, a white-collar prison and outer space, this “small masterpiece of short fiction” (USA Today) is a mesmerizing introduction to Don DeLillo’s iconic voice. In “Creation,” a couple at the end of a cruise somewhere in the West Indies can’t get off the island—flights canceled, unconfirmed reservations, a dysfunctional economy. In “Human Moments in World War III,” two men orbiting the earth, charged with gathering intelligence and reporting to Colorado Command, hear the voices of American radio, from a half century earlier. In the title story, Sisters Edgar and Grace, nuns working the violent streets of the South Bronx, confirm the neighborhood’s miracle, the apparition of a dead child, Esmeralda.
Nuns, astronauts, athletes, terrorists and travelers, the characters in The Angel Esmeralda propel themselves into the world and define it. These nine stories describe an extraordinary journey of one great writer whose prescience about world events and ear for American language changed the literary landscape.
At our last club, we chose the YA summer read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Our next club meeting is August 25th (I think… event page to come) at Chris Dorsey’s new place in Broomfield.
me: *trains glass out front windshield* Ms. Dorsey, set a new course. We’ll tack south’ard to Arby’s.
wife: why are you talking like that?
me: Avast! What have you for your freshest catch today?
drive thru kid: uh, we have a fish filet sandwich.
me: That will do. And from your storeroom a small pot of tartar sauce if one can be spared.
wife: oh my god will you shut up?
me: Helm-alee and haul off the tops’l! I wish for some dessert!
wife: fine, how ’bout Dairy Queen?
me: A proper suggestion! Load the port guns with two shots each. We’ll draw prow-level with the sugar merchants and demand oreo blizzards. I should like an oreo blizzard before I retire to my quarters at four bells.
wife: let me out of the car. now.
New guy Ryan Conrad brings these picks for this Friday’s Bookclub. Please think up some Socialist methods of voting. Lets keep Putin out of it.
1. The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie.
Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
This is a text that will make you laugh and cry simultaneously. In the past years it has topped a list of the most banned books In America which is exactly why I think it’s important to read. The book takes on critical issues such as race, poverty, alcoholism, and suicide but does it with humor and grace. Let’s face it we’re all perpetually 14 years old at heart in this book wallows in all of the issues of adolescence that follow us into our adulthood. The book is hysterical and Easy-to-Read but reaches much deeper than much of the diversionary entertainment that colors our culture.
2. South, Sir Ernest Shackleton.
On my office wall I have a couple of photographs of the Endurance. They are a reminder to me the no obstacles are too great and that with resolve and determination any challenge can be met. It is an amazing and very readable story of adventure and the strength of the human spirit.
In 1914, as the shadow of war falls across Europe, a party led by veteran explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton sets out to become the first to traverse the Antarctic continent. Their initial optimism is short-lived, however, as the ice field slowly thickens, encasing the ship Endurance in a death-grip, crushing their craft, and marooning 28 men on a ploar ice floe.
In an epic struggle of man versus the elements, Shackleton leads his team on a harrowing quest for survival over some of the most unforgiving terrain in the world. Icy, tempestuous seas full of gargantuan waves, mountainous glaciers and icebergs, unending brutal cold, and ever-looming starvation are their mortal foes as Shackleton and his men struggle to stay alive.
What happened to those brave men forever stands as a testament to their strength of will and the power of human endurance.
This is their story, as told by the man who led them.
3. The Motorcycle Diaries (a) by Ernesto Che Guevara AND/OR Chasing Che (b) by Patrick Symmes. Please note that this is a unique pick in that it is a pairing of two texts. You should be able to read either and participate meaningfully and the discussion, or if you’re lazy you can always just watch the movie.
3a. The Motorcycle Diaries are a memoir that traces the early travels of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, then a 23-year-old medical student, and his friend Alberto Granado, a 29-year-old biochemist. Leaving Buenos Aires, Argentina, in January 1952 on the back of a sputtering single cylinder 1939 Norton 500cc dubbed La Poderosa (“The Mighty One”), they desired to explore the South America they only knew from books. During the formative odyssey Guevara is transformed by witnessing the social injustices of exploited mine workers, persecuted communists, ostracized lepers, and the tattered descendants of a once-great Inca civilization. By journey’s end, they had travelled for a symbolic nine months by motorcycle, steamship, raft, horse, bus, and hitchhiking, covering more than 8,000 kilometres (5,000 mi) across places such as the Andes, Atacama Desert, and the Amazon River Basin. The diary ends with a declaration by Guevara, born into an upper-middle-class family, displaying his willingness to fight and die for the cause of the poor, and his dream of seeing a united Latin America.
Love him or hate him Che Guevara maybe one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. His image is ubiquitous throughout the developing world and understanding his appeal is essential for understanding the world that we live in. The text is short and highly enjoyable narrative of a motorcycle Adventure across South America. It illustrates the emergence of chaise political consciousness let him on the path to becoming a world-renowned and/or reviled revolutionary.
3b. Chasing Che by Patrick Symmes – This companion piece is written by a travel journalist who traces the path of Che”s original motorcycle journey many decades later. Addition to his own amazing adventures Patrick Symmes also does an incredible job of laying out the social and political history of a region of the world that we know far too little about.
Intrepid journalist Patrick Symmes sets off on his BMW R80 G/S in search of the people and places in Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s classic Motorcycle Diaries, seeking out his own adventure as well as the legacy of the icon Che would become, Symmes retraces the future revolutionary’s path. And on the way he runs out of gas in an Argentine desert, talks a Peruvian guerrilla out of taking him hostage, wipes out in the Andes, and, in Cuba, drinks himself blind with Che’s travel partner, Alberto Granado.
Here is the unforgettable story of a wanderer’s quest for food, shelter, and wisdom. Here, too, is the portrait of a continent whose dreams of utopia give birth not only to freedom fighters, but also to tyrants whose methods include torture and mass killing. Masterfully detailed, insightful, unforgettable, Chasing Che transfixes us with the glory of the open road, where man and machine traverse the unknown in search of the spirit’s keenest desires
Extra credit for overachievers and those who interested in fomenting and organizing a left-wing Revolution. Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara. A literal highly detailed field manual for anyone who wants to start up a popular Insurgency in a developing country.
4. The Adventures of Don Quixote, Miguel Cervantes.
A Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published. The story follows the adventures of a hidalgo named Mr. Alonso Quixano who reads so many chivalric romances that he loses his sanity and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world, under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Nearly four hundred years after its publication this book still makes the top nearly every canonical list of great books. The fact that has withstood the test of time is a testament to the fact that it speaks deeply to the human experience.
Hornblower an the Hotspur – This be the text mates!