It’s been a while since our last book club and while you weren’t looking we even branched off into a YA book club as well! Right now you still have one week left to finish The Vacationers by Emma Straub and since it’s not even 300 pages so you can make that easy peasy. Let’s continue with voting for the book club book in november!
The first one is Shards by Ismet Prcic, a Bosnic author now living in Portland. Shards is about a young Bosnian, also named Ismet Prcic, who has fled his war-torn homeland and is now struggling to reconcile his past with his present life in California. He is advised that in order to make peace with the corrosive guilt he harbors over leaving his family behind, he must write everything.” The result is a great rattlebag of memories, confessions, and fictions: sweetly humorous recollections of Ismet’s childhood in Tuzla appear alongside anguished letters to his mother about the challenges of life in this new world. As Ismet’s foothold in the present falls away, his writings are further complicated by stories from the point of view of another young man real or imagined named Mustafa, who joined a troop of elite soldiers and stayed in Bosnia to fight. When Mustafa’s story begins to overshadow Ismet’s new-world identity, the reader is charged with piecing together the fragments of a life that has become eerily unrecognizable, even to the one living it.
The second pick is from our Boredom Box, but we enjoyed it so much and would love to discuss it. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill is about modern marriage and the problems that come with it. They used to send each other letters. The return address was always the same: Dept. of Speculation. They used to be young, brave, and giddy with hopes for their future. They got married, had a child, and skated through all the small calamities of family life. But then, slowly, quietly something changes. As the years rush by, fears creep in and doubts accumulate until finally their life as they know it cracks apart and they find themselves forced to reassess what they have lost, what is left, and what they want now. Written with the dazzling lucidity of poetry, Dept. of Speculation navigates the jagged edges of a modern marriage to tell a story that is darkly funny, surprising and wise.
Let’s hear what book you’d like to read and share any other recommendations in the comments!