Book Club

Bright Leaf Book Club is a chance to meet like-minded readers and critically analyze and discuss a text. We select texts democratically, and read novels, short stories, poetry, and creative non-fiction. We meet monthly. Pizza is provided. Join us!

 
 

Thursday, July 19 - 7:00 PM

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan

"The essays in 'Pulphead' bounce around, like hail. Several are about music. There are meditations on Axl Rose, on Christian rock, on Michael Jackson, on Bunny Wailer and on the blues singer Geeshie Wiley. Some are about other forms of pop culture, like Mr. Sullivan’s weirdly moving appraisal of a former star of the MTV show “The Real World,” or his account of trying to live in his own coastal North Carolina house with his wife and family while the television show “One Tree Hill” pays them to film scenes in it regularly.

"Other essays in 'Pulphead' are personal, like Mr. Sullivan’s account of how his brother, a singer with a band called the Moviegoers — you’ve got to love a band named after a Walker Percy novel — nearly died after being shocked by a microphone. Yet others are more esoteric, in a John McPhee meets David Foster Wallace kind of way: a piece about caves in Tennessee; one about sharing a house with an old coot who was the last living member of the Southern Agrarian literary movement; one about an eccentric 19th-century naturalist who almost beat Darwin to the idea of evolution.

"What’s impressive about 'Pulphead' is the way these disparate essays cohere into a memoirlike whole. The putty that binds them together is Mr. Sullivan’s steady and unhurried voice."

-Dwight Garner, The New York Times

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Thursday, August 16  - 7:00 PM

The Weird and the Eerie by Mark Fisher

"[The Weird and the Eerie] displays [Fisher's] signature knack for reading popular culture (principally music, fiction, and film) in an expressive, demotic way that is still vigorously political and philosophical. Somehow, Fisher magically renders post-Lacanian, post-Žižekian Marxism and the radical anti-subjectivist philosophy of Gilles Deleuze entirely accessible. Only Fisher can enthuse about old Quatermass TV shows in terms of their 'cosmic Spinozism' and still (mostly) make sense. With typical disdain for cultural boundaries, Fisher moves crab-wise from Lovecraft and H. G. Wells to the impenetrable mumblings of punk band The Fall; obscure Rainer Werner Fassbinder TV shows from Germany; Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and Andrei Tarkovsky films; Nigel Kneale TV series from the 1970s; the music of Joy Division; The Shining; the unclassifiable fiction of Alan Garner and Christopher Priest; Jonathan Glazer’s extraordinary avant-garde SF film Under the Skin; and surprising appearances of Margaret Atwood’s early fiction Surfacing and Christopher Nolan’s portentous quantum SF blockbuster Interstellar (which receives a great defense).

"This book is more than just a road map to this kind of material, however. It is an important critical intervention, because it intends to carefully delineate a spectrum of sensibilities, the nuances of feeling that span the uneasy or unnerving: that feeling of being off-kilter, of wrongness or free-floating angst. The weird and the eerie are, for Fisher, key points on this spectrum."

-Roger Luckhurst, Los Angeles Review of Books

 

Previous Selections

 

June 2017 Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

July 2017 Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

August 2017 10:04 by Ben Lerner

September 2017 Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim

October 2017 The Sellout by Paul Beatty

November 2017 Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

December 2017 Children with Enemies by Stuart Dischell

January 2018 Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

February 2018 Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

March 2018 The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

April 2018 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

May 2018 Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

June 2018 The Changeling by Joy Williams