Back in January, when our book club was trying to decide what books to read next, we made a decision to change the type of book that we focus on reading. Since this book club started, we have read eclectically and widely across genres. We've explored everything from literary fiction to mystery to horror to classics. However, we were always drawn back to reading fantasy and science fiction. So, we decided to stop lying to ourselves and to spend our reading time focused on books that we really wanted to read. To that end, we have decided to make the Hatchet Coffee Book Club a science fiction & fantasy focused club. So, if you had been coming to this club and enjoyed the eclectic nature of our readings together, I suggest that you check out the Foggy Pine Book Club which is our general interest book club. Let's move on to this month's Hatchet Coffee book choice though.
This month we're reading The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This is the first book in the Winternight trilogy. The second book is The Girl in the Tower and the third book, just released in February, is The Winter of the Witch. This book is Katherine Arden's debut novel but she's also written a children's chapter book, Small Spaces. So what is our book club book about? The publisher summary says:
Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse's fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.
Then Vasya's widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya's stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.
But Vasya's stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village's defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed--to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse's most frightening tales.
This book is one of the owner's, Mary, favorite books. She recommends it to her customers when they're looking for something magical but not silly, dark but ultimately hopeful, and well-written. Arden is an incredible writer who has the ability to weave sentences around her readers into a warm cozy blanket to snuggle up into. Her descriptions are quite evocative and bring the locale to mind in an intense and vivid manner. Her characters are thoughtfully rendered and they come to life on the page, only to jump out and go running amok in your mind. Truly, Arden is a fantastic writer.
If this sounds like something you'd enjoy reading, we really hope that you'll come grab a copy from the bookstore or from one of the local libraries, then join us at the book club meeting.
If you decide to get your copy from Foggy Pine Books, the paperback copies are on sale for 15% off until the end of the month. You can also buy it from us online, if you prefer to read a digital copy or listen to the audiobook.
We'll meet at Hatchet Coffee on March 28th at 7:30pm. Hatchet Coffee has drinks & snacks available for purchase but we typically also have snacks to share with one another. Bring a friend and come discuss the book with us, even if you weren't able to completely finish it or if you didn't like it. You can see the Facebook event & RSVP here .
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
'The Bear and the Nightingale' is a Rich Winter Tale -- NPR Book Review
The Bear and the Nightingale -- Kirkus Book Review
The Bear and the Nightingale -- Publisher's Weekly Book Review
Interview with Katherine Arden -- BookPage Interview
Katherine Arden: It's a great time for female fantasy writers --CNET Interview
We're ringing in 2019 with a classic science fiction story by Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Our group hasn't read a science fiction book in a while and we wanted something fun and exciting to read at the beginning of the year. Douglas Adams was a prolific author, script writer, humorist, satirist, and dramatist. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of his most famous works and has been turned into a radio series and a film. He also wrote the series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and for the well-known time travel show, Doctor Who.
Let's learn a little more about our book club book though. Here's the summary from the publisher:
Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together, this dynamic pair began a journey through space aided by a galaxyful of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian (formerly Tricia McMillan), Zaphod’s girlfriend, whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he’s bought over the years. Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? For all the answers, stick your thumb to the stars!
So, if you want to go on a space adventure, learn the meaning of life, and figure out why you always bring a towel to space, join us at the new Hatchet Coffee lounge for the January meeting.
If this sounds like something you'd like to read, you can get your copy of the book from the store with a 15% discount until the end of January. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
We'll meet at Foggy Pine Books on January 31st at 7:30pm. We'll have free wine and snacks for book club members to share. Bring a friend and come discuss the book with us, even if you weren't able to completely finish it or if you didn't like it. You can see the Facebook event & RSVP here.
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
The Guardian Review--"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams"
Kirkus Review--"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
BBC Radio 4 Interviews--"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
This month, after the dark, psychological trip that Shirley Jackson took us on in October, we wanted something lighter and more encouraging. Mary thought The Alchemist would be the perfect book to read together. It's long been a book club classic because it's themes are universal: follow your dreams, listen to your heart, there's a place for all of us in this world. We can't wait for this month's book club discussion and hope you'll join us with your perspective.
So, what exactly is The Alchemist about? Read the publisher's summary:
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic.
Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
Sounds lovely, right? The perfect read for cleansing your literary palate! You can get your copy of the book from the store with a 15% discount until the end of the month. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
We'll meet at the Hatchet Coffee lounge on November 29th at 7:30pm. We'll have free wine and snacks for book club members to share. Bring a friend and come discuss the book with us, even if you weren't able to completely finish it or if you didn't like it. You can see the Facebook event & RSVP here.
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
Medium.com Review -- "Book Review on Will Smith's Favorite Book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho"
The Guardian Review -- "The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho--Review"
Oprah.com Interview -- "Oprah Learns the Secret to Paulo Coelho's Timeless Wisdom"
This month we decided to read a classic, something we haven't done much of together. Since it's October and spooky stories abound, we thought Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House would be the perfect choice, especially when the Netflix special comes out this month too!
Here's the official summary:
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
We can't wait to be terrified! This book club should be interesting. We hope you have some ghost stories to share! You can get your copy of the book from the store with a 15% discount until the end of the month. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
We'll meet at the Hatchet Coffee lounge on October 25th at 7:30pm. We'll have free wine and snacks for book club members to share. Bring a friend and come discuss the book with us, even if you weren't able to completely finish it or if you didn't like it. You can see the Facebook event & RSVP here.
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
This month's choice for the Hatchet Coffee Book Club is Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore, known for his comedic novels. We realized at the last meeting that we hadn't attempted any comedy books. Most of us had heard of or previously read something by Christopher Moore. Mary's favorite book by this author is A Dirty Job, about a man who unintentionally becomes the next Reaper and must learn the ropes so that souls can be harvested in time. Oh, he also runs a thrift store and is a single dad to a baby girl who ends up being guarded by Hell Hounds. So, that's the type of novel that Christopher Moore writes and we thought this one, about the death of Vincent Van Gogh, would be a great place to start.
Here's the official summary:
In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he?
Vincent’s friends, baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, have their doubts. Now they’re determined to answer the questions surrounding van Gogh’s untimely death—like who was the crooked little “color man” Vincent claimed was stalking him across France . . . and why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? Ooh la la, quelle surprise, and zut alors, what follows is a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late-nineteenth-century Paris, as the one, the only, Christopher Moore cooks up a delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history . . . with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure.
Sounds awesome, right? You can get your copy of the book from the store with a 15% discount until the end of the month. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
Due to an author event that we had to schedule on the last Thursday, we're meeting on the last Friday instead for July. We'll meet at the Hatchet Coffee lounge on July 27th at 7:30pm. We'll have free wine and snacks for book club members to share. Bring a friend and come discuss the book with us, even if you weren't able to completely finish it or if you didn't like it. You can see the Facebook event & RSVP here.
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
Washington Post Review--"Book World: ‘Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art’ concocts a new ending for van Gogh"
Kirkus Review--"Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore"
NPR Interview--"Art, Mystery, and Posh Pigments in 'Sacre Bleu'"
Recording of Live Interview about "Noir", his new book
This month's choice for the Hatchet Coffee Book Club is the National Book Award winner-Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. We'd decided as a group that we wanted to read this book back when it was only available in hardcover. However, due to the dark nature of the story, we chose to wait until there was more sunshine in the day before we jumped into Jesmyn Ward's tragic family tale.
Don't know what the book is about? Here's what the publisher says:
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent White father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent White grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.
His mother, Leonie, is an inconsistent presence in his and his toddler sister’s lives. She is an imperfect mother in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is Black and her children’s father is White. She wants to be a better mother but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use. Simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high, Leonie is embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another thirteen-year-old boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
You can get your copy of the book from the store with a 15% discount until the end of the month. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
We'll meet at the Hatchet Coffee lounge on June 28th at 7:30pm. We'll have free wine and snacks for book club members to share. Bring a friend and come discuss the book with us, even if you weren't able to completely finish it or if you didn't like it. You can see the Facebook event & RSVP here.
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
New York Times Review--U.S. Poet Laureate, Tracey K. Smith, Reviews Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing
Washington Post Review--Jesmyn Ward’s powerful new novel, ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’
The Atlantic Review--Jesmyn Ward's Eerie, Powerful Unearthing of History
NPR Fresh Air Interview--For Jesmyn Ward, Writing Means Telling The 'Truth About The Place That I Live In'
PBS News Hour Interview--Jesmyn Ward Answers Your Questions About 'Sing, Unburied, Sing'
This month's Hatchet Coffee book club pick is A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. We haven't read many classics or memoirs together so we wanted to diversify the types of books we've been reading.
Here's the summary:
Begun in the autumn of 1957 and published posthumously in 1964, Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast captures what it meant to be young and poor and writing in Paris during the 1920s. A correspondent for the Toronto Star, Hemingway arrived in Paris in 1921, three years after the trauma of the Great War and at the beginning of the transformation of Europe's cultural landscape: Braque and Picasso were experimenting with cubist form; James Joyce, long living in self-imposed exile from his native Dublin, had just completed Ulysses; Gertrude Stein held court at 27 Rue de Fleurus, and deemed young Ernest a member of une generation perdue; and T.S. Eliot was a bank clerk in London. It was during these years that the as-of-yet unpublished young writer gathered the material for his first novel The Sun Also Rises, and the subsequent masterpieces that followed.
Among these small, reflective sketches are unforgettable encounters with the members of Hemingway's slightly rag-tag circle of artists and writers, some also fated to achieve fame and glory, others to fall into obscurity. Here, too, is an evocation of the Paris that Hemingway knew as a young man - a map drawn in his distinct prose of the streets and cafes and bookshops that comprised the city in which he, as a young writer, sometimes struggling against the cold and hunger of near poverty, honed the skills of his craft.
A Moveable Feast is at once an elegy to the remarkable group for expatriates that gathered in Paris during the twenties and a testament to the risks and rewards of the writerly life.
We are so excited to talk about this book together and share our own stories about our experiences with Hemingway's works and knowledge about his life.
You can get your copy of the book at the bookstore for $16 but you'll always get 15% off book club titles. You can also purchase the book from us in other formats online:
We will meet at the Hatchet Coffee lounge on Thursday, May 31 at 7:30pm. There will be free wine & snacks for book club members. Please attend even if you weren't able to finish the book or if you didn't like it--some of our best conversations have been when the group is divided. As always, we welcome new members with open arms. See y'all at the end of the month!
This month's Hatchet Coffee pick is The Left Hand of Darkness by the late Ursula K. Le Guin. After reading last month's book, Astrophysics for People In A Hurry, we decided to move into science fiction with our next book. With the recent death of Le Guin and the fascinating summary, it was a simple choice.
Here's the summary:
While on a mission to the planet Gethen, a world whose inhabitants can change their gender, earthling Genly Ai is sent by leaders of the nation of Orgoreyn to a concentration camp from which the exiled prime minister of the nation of Karhide tries to rescue him, in this Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel.
The last book club was very engaging and we're hoping to have another large gathering to discuss this month's title. Please join us on March 29th at 7:30pm at the Hatchet Coffee lounge. Until then, you can get your copy of the March choice in paperback at the bookstore for 15% off the list price of $9.99. You can also purchase it from us online in various formats and have it shipped to your home for free or available to download immediately. See below for links and prices.
Audiobook: $24.99 (or just $0.99 with your first month of membership on Libro.fm!)
Dear Hatchet Coffee lovers, if you haven't joined the Hatchet Coffee Book Club yet then you are seriously missing out. We meet on the last Thursday of each month (unless there's a conflict with holidays) and discuss an incredible book together while we share alcohol of some sort. Last month we had hot toddies, which were delicious, and in September, we had spiced rum apple cider. This month, we'll share a bottle of wine together while we chat about Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter--the story of an almost love affair between a young Italian innkeeper and a beautiful American starlet that spans 50 years and almost the entire globe. Romantic, funny, and purely enjoyable this book is perfect for the stressful beginning of the holiday season.
You can get your copy for 15% off when you purchase it from Foggy Pine Books. We even have a little display with all of this month's book club titles. If you prefer to read it as an ebook, you can get it here from our online store and download for immediate reading. If you'd rather listen to the book, you can get a digital audiobook from our indie partner Libro.fm to start listening today or you can have the audio CD sent straight to your home from our online store. Regardless of how you ingest the material, we want you to come to this month's book club and tell us what you thought. This is a great opportunity to meet other people in our community who love books as much as you do! It's always a good time and we welcome new members with gusto.
We'll also be discussing ideas for books that we want to read together at the beginning of 2018! So, come armed with recommendations!
The Hatchet Coffee book club has been so much fun this summer! We're really looking forward to Fall though and have some really great things planned for the October meeting. The September meeting, however, will be held as usual with the exception of offering hot apple cider with rum, instead of wine.
The book we're reading and discussing together this month is The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman.
Ackerman, an award-winning science writer, tours the globe to reveal what makes birds capable of such extraordinary feats of mental prowess. Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence. In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores their newly discovered brilliance and how it came about.
As she travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research, Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are shifting our view of what it means to be intelligent. At once personal yet scientific, richly informative and beautifully written, The Genius of Birds celebrates the triumphs of these surprising and fiercely intelligent creatures.
We can't wait to discuss her findings together and share all of our own bird stories. We welcome anyone to attend. We do things a little differently with our book club--even if you haven't finished the book or if you didn't like it, we still want you to come. The goal is to unite our community through a love a literature, not to scold anyone about their reading habits or preferences. So, come out to meet the Hatchet Coffee book club on Thursday, September 28th at 7:30pm. We'll be meeting at the Hatchet Coffee location on 200 Den Mac Rd in Boone.
Foggy Pine Books