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, October 19 - 7:00 PM

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

"The first 100 pages of his new novel, 'The Sellout,' are the most caustic and the most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read in at least a decade. I gave up underlining the killer bits because my arm began to hurt.

"'Badass' is not the most precise critical term. What I mean is that the first third of 'The Sellout' reads like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.

"Mr. Beatty impastos every line, in ways that recall writers like Ishmael Reed, with shifting densities of racial and political meaning. The jokes come up through your spleen.

"So much happens in 'The Sellout' that describing it is like trying to shove a lemon tree into a shot glass."

-Dwight Garner, The New York Times

 

 
 
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Thursday, November 16 - 7:00 PM

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett

"I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red-haired mucker named Hickey Dewey in the Big Ship in Butte. He also called his shirt a shoit. I didn't think anything of what he had done to the city's name. Later I heard men who could manage their r's give it the same pronunciation. I still didn't see anything in it but the meaningless sort of humor that used to make richardsnary the thieves' word for dictionary. A few years later I went to Personville and learned better.

"The city wasn't pretty. Most of its builders had gone in for gaudiness. Maybe they had been successful at first. Since then the smelters whose brick stacks stuck up tall against a gloomy mountain to the south had yellow-smoked everything into uniform dinginess. The result was an ugly city of forty thousand people, set in an ugly notch between two ugly mountains that had been all dirtied up by mining. Spread over this was a grimy sky that looked as if it had come out of the smelters' stacks."

-Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest

 
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December - Date TBD

Children with Enemies by Stuart Dischell

Harmless Poem

Forgive the web without its spider,

The houseplant with few or many flowers,

And the stars for hiding in the daytime, 

Forgive astronauts for distance

And surgeons for proximity,

Forgive the heart for the way it looks

Like something a dog eats from a pan,

Forgive the heart for the way it looks

Like something a dog eats from a pan,

Forgive goat-gods and wine-gods

And the goddess bathing in her pond,

Forgive the sea for being moody,

The air for its turbulence, the stomach

For its vomit, forgive the insistence

Of sperm, the greeting of the ovum,

Forgive orgasms for their intensity

And the faces they make in people's faces,

Forgive the music of liars, forgive autumn

And winter and the departure of lovers.

And the young beautiful dead and the persistence

Of the old, forgive the last tooth and hair.

 
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Thursday, January 18 - 7:00 PM

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy

"'Suttree' is a book with rude, startling power and a flood of talk. Much of it takes place on the Tennessee River, and Cormac McCarthy, who has written 'The Orchard Keeper' and other novels, gives us a sense of river life that reads like a doomed 'Huckleberry Finn.' The river has lost its kind edge. It's now 'The slow voice of ruin.' The sun beating down on it is 'like a bunghole to a greater hell beyond.' As the river begins to swell and roll down from 'the gutted upcountry,' it maims and kills. 'The fish. . .themselves looked stunned.'

"The book comes at us like a horrifying flood. The language licks, batters, wounds--a poetic, troubled rush of debris. It is personal and tough, without that boring neatness and desire for resolution that you can get in any well-made novel. Cormac McCarthy has little mercy to spare, for his characters or himself. His text is broken, beautiful and ugly in spots. Mr. McCarthy won't soothe us with a quiet song. 'Suttree' is like a good, long scream in the ear."

-Jerome Charyn, The New York Times Book Review