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, May 17 - 7:00 PM

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

"In the summer of 1920, Robert Grainier returns from working on the railroad in northwestern Washington to join his wife and small child, who have been living in the backwoods of Idaho. A fire has devastated the area: Grainier’s house is ash, and his family is missing. Witless with grief, he camps nearby, hoping perhaps that the absent will return. In time, resigned to the emptiness, he builds a new, eighteen-by-eighteen-foot cabin near the site of his old house.

"The visionary, miraculous element in Johnson’s deceptively tough realism makes beautiful appearances in this book. The hard, declarative sentences keep their powder dry for pages at a time, and then suddenly flare into lyricism; the natural world of the American West is examined, logged, and frequently transfigured. I started reading 'Train Dreams' with hoarded suspicion, and gradually gave it all away, in admiration of the story’s unaffected tact and honesty."

-James Wood, The New Yorker


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Thursday, June 21  - 7:00 PM

The Changeling by Joy Williams

"Forty years after its first publication, 'The Changeling' feels at once unprecedented and eerily familiar. Readers who discover it in 2018 may be surprised to feel a primordial déjà vu; a tingling where their own antlers might have been, once upon a time. Every great book shape-shifts with its reader. “The Changeling” does something wilder still: it generates its own autonomous magic, one that feels wholly independent of the reader and her moment. Critics get a little nervous, I think, when their breath fails to fog up the glass. But 'The Changeling' is not a mirror: it’s a window. It is refreshingly, transgressively uninterested in reflecting the familiar dramas of human life, or in reproducing the conventional grammar of human thinking.

"The book is concerned, instead, with time’s tyranny—how we live under its sorcery, burdened by our substanceless memories while equidistant at every instant from an imaginary future."

-Karen Russell, The New Yorker


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 Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison