This month’s novel, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, explores the marriage of a middle-class African-American couple and the aftermath of their lives as they are torn apart by wrongful conviction and imprisonment. An American Marriage was a 2018 Best of the Year selection of NPR, Time, and Bustle, a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, and a 2018 Oprah Book Club book. It won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction and the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Tayari Jones, a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, has been the recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, and Callaloo.
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.
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 September. You can also get the audiobook from our partner, Libro.fm! Click here to get yours!
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
"An American Marriage: Redefining the American Love Story" -- NPR
"You Have To Work With the Love You Are Given" -- Tin House
"The Epistolary Heat of An American Marriage" -- The Atlantic
"If I Can't Cry, Nobody Cries: An Interview with Tayari Jones" -- The Paris Review
We'll meet at Foggy Pine Books on September 28th at 7:30pm. There will be 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.
For the August book club read, we chose a debut novel about the complicated lives and loves of people working at a beloved Chinese restaurant. Lillian Li is the author of the novel Number One Chinese Restaurant, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and an NPR Best Book of 2018. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Granta, One Story, Bon Appetit, and Jezebel. Originally from the D.C. metro area, she lives in Ann Arbor. So what's it about?
The popular Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland has been serving devoted regulars for decades, but behind the staff's professional smiles simmer tensions, heartaches, and grudges from decades of bustling restaurant life.
Owner Jimmy Han has ambitions for a new high-end fusion place, hoping to eclipse his late father's homely establishment. Jimmy's older brother, Johnny, is more concerned with restoring the dignity of the family name than his faltering relationship with his own teenage daughter, Annie. Nan and Ah-Jack, longtime Duck House employees, yearn to turn their thirty-year friendship into something more, while Nan's son, Pat, struggles to stay out of trouble. When disaster strikes and Pat and Annie find themselves in a dangerous game that means tragedy for the Duck House, their families must finally confront the conflicts and loyalties simmering beneath the red and gold lanterns.
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 August. You can also get the audiobook from our partner, Libro.fm! Click here to get yours!
Relevant Reviews & Interviews
"Number One Chinese Restaurant' by Lillian Li" -- Asian Review of Books
"Number One Chinese Restaurant" -- Kirkus Review
"Family Drama is on the Menu in 'Number One Chinese Restaurant'" -- USA Today
"An Interview with Lillian Li" -- Fiction Writers Review
"48: Lillian Li - writer" -- Mythos
We'll meet at Foggy Pine Books on August 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.
Though National Poetry Month is in April, our book club has been wanting to read some poetry for a while. We wanted to read something that had recently won an award and that was accessible to non-poetry readers. We landed on The Poet X since it had just won the National Book Award and was written for younger readers. Elizabeth Acevedo is a New York Times best selling author. She is the winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, The Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award Prize for Best Children’s Fiction, and the Pura Belpré Award for a work that best affirms the Latinx cultural experience.
Her books include, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes, 2016), The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), & her upcoming title--With The Fire On High (HarperCollins, 2019). We're so excited to discuss this critically acclaimed book together and to bring more poetry into our lives. What's it about, though? The summary given by the publisher says:
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.
With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems--because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
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 May. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
We'll meet at Foggy Pine Books on May 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
Starred Kirkus Review -- "The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo"
The New York Times Review -- "Speaking Truth, Beautifully, to Shattered Young People"
Publisher's Weekly Interview -- "Q & A with Elizabeth Acevedo"
Literary Hub Interview -- "Meet National Book Award Finalist Elizabeth Acevedo"
Since November is a busy month for many people, our group decided to read a novella, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. We'll still have plenty to talk about but you won't have to spend a lot of time reading--the book is only 90 pages!
Nnedi Okorafor is an author we're quite fond of at Foggy Pine Books. Her Binti trilogy is an incredible science fiction story (it won the Hugo & Nebula awards for best novella) but she writes in other genres, as well. She has another scifi book, Lagoon, and several fantasy books: Akata Witch (a YA series), The Book of Phoenix, and Who Fears Death--which is being made into an HBO show produced by George R. R. Martin. Plus, she has written a children's picture book, Chicken in the Kitchen. You really can't go wrong with any of her works.
Let's learn a little more about Binti though. Here's the official summary:
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.
If you want to travel to an galactic university without leaving your favorite chair, we hope you'll join us for the November meeting. This book is a favorite of Mary's and she can't wait to share it with others.
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 November. If you'd like to purchase online, we have the following the formats available:
We'll meet at Foggy Pine Books on November 24th 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
Tor.com Review-- "Of Jellyfish, Otjize, and Afrofuturism: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor"
Publisher's Weekly-- "Binti"
Nnedi’s Wahala Zone Blog-- “On That Rapid Puppies Thing and My Hugo Award-Winning Novella Binti”
Lightspeed Magazine-- “Interview: Nnedi Okorafor”
Foggy Pine Books
Literary Gifts & Events for Boone's Bibliophiles