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!)
Hatchet Coffee Lounge