Welcome to our Book Club Corner, where each month we highlight books new to paperback we think would make perfect picks for your next book club discussion. If you’re looking to join a book club, we host a wide variety of free, bookseller-run book clubs right here at BookPeople. Join us! We love to talk books.
FEATURED BOOKS OF THE MONTH
Once or twice a year a book comes out that the BookPeople booksellers just can’t stop talking about. The Vegetarian, by Han Kang, is one of those books. Winner of the 2016 Man Booker International Prize, The Vegetarian is a beautiful, unsettling novel about rebellion and taboo, violence and eroticism, and the twisting metamorphosis of a soul.
“This book is about transformation: birthmarks bloom into flowers, trees alight with flames, arms stretch out into roots, a bird speaks with a mother’s voice, a piece of art transcends the piece itself to shatter several lives. Yeong-hye’s violent dreams are a product of a lifetime of internalized aggressions, microaggressions, and passive erasure. This book is about the violence that women hold onto inside themselves and the only way to let it go is to let go of the entire world.” – Jan, BookPeople Bookseller
HAN KANG was born in 1970 in South Korea. A participant of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Han has won the Yi Sang Literary Award, the Manhae Prize for Literature, the Today’s Young Artist Award, and the Korean Literature Novel Award. She currently works as a professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the Seoul Institute of the Arts.
The Vegetarian was released in paperback on August 23rd, and is on our shelves now!
Reclusive literary legend M. M. Mimi Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. But when Alice Whitley arrives she is put to work as a companion to Frank, the writer s eccentric son, who has the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders. The longer she spends with the Bannings, the more Alice becomes obsessed with two questions: Who is Frank s father? And will Mimi ever finish that book?
“Johnson’s magnificently poignant, funny, and wholly original debut goes beyond page-turner status. Readers will race to the next sentence. And the next. Her charming, flawed, quietly courageous characters, each wonderfully different, demand a second reading while we impatiently await the author’s second work.”- Library Journal (starred review)
Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy writer husband and their two children.
Be Frank With Me comes out in paperback on September 6th, and is available for pre-order now!
Extravagant, absurd, and self-aware, The Revolutionaries Try Again plays out against the lost decade of Ecuador’s austerity and the stymied idealism of three childhood friends—an expat, a bureaucrat, and a playwright—who are as sure about the evils of dictatorship as they are unsure of everything else, including each other.
“An unhinged novel about three childhood friends contemplating a presidential run against the crooked Ecuadorian president Abdalá “El Loco” Bucaram. This is double-black-diamond high modernism, so do some warm-up stretches before you crack this baby.” —Shelf Awareness
Mauro Javier Cardenas grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and graduated with a degree in Economics from Stanford University. Excerpts from his first novel, The Revolutionaries Try Again, have appeared in Conjunctions, The Antioch Review, Guernica, Witness, and BOMB.
The Revolutionaries Try Again comes out in paperback on September 6th, and is available for pre-order now!
Last week, high-powered coffee buyer Amy O’Hara was trekking through the Ethiopian cloud forest on the verge of a discovery that could save the coffee bean from extinction. This week, she’s unexpectedly fired.
Suddenly Amy’s days are no longer filled with meetings and upscale tastings, but with put-together PTA moms, puke-ridden playdates, and dirty dishes. Her husband has locked himself in the garage in order to write the Great American Screenplay, while both kids are steaming mad at her because she insists on dressing them like normal people and won’t give up sending them to school with healthy lunches.
It’s becoming clear that Amy may just be the world’s most incompetent mother, and she’s beginning to wonder if the only thing she’s good for is bringing home the bacon. When salvation appears in the form of a movie-mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted…
One thing is certain: whatever happens, she’s going to need a lot more caffeine.
Virginia Franken was born and raised in the United Kingdom. She graduated from the University of Roehampton, in London, with a degree in dance and worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before changing tracks to pursue a career in publishing. Franken currently lives in suburban Los Angeles with two kids, a dog, an overweight goldfish, and one bearded dude, in a house that’s just a little too small to fit everyone in comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. This is her first novel.
Life After Coffee comes out in paperback on September 13th, and is available for pre-order now!
“[L]yrical but blunt, capturing her narrator’s duel hopelessness and genuine desire for a life full of love and promise. . . .this book exists in a new kind of literary ecosystem—one that doesn’t need to fit neatly into the structures of an older era.” —BUST
Michelle Tea is an author, poet, and literary arts organizer whose work focuses queer culture, feminism, race, class, prostitution and other topics. Born in Chelsea, MA, she now resides in San Francisco. Michelle writes for various print and web publications, including The Believer, n+1, Buzzfeed, and xoJane. She is the creator of Mutha Magazine, an online publication about real-life parenting.
Black Wave comes out in paperback on September 13th, and is available for pre-order now!
It’s late 1938. Thomas Heiselberg has built a career in Berlin as a market researcher for an American advertising company. In Leningrad, twenty-two-year-old Sasha Weissberg has grown up eavesdropping on the intellectual conversations in her parents’ literary salon. They each have grand plans for their lives. Neither of them thinks about politics too much, but after catastrophe strikes they will have no choice. Thomas puts his research skills to work elaborating Nazi propaganda. Sasha persuades herself that working as a literary editor of confessions for Stalin’s secret police is the only way to save her family. When destiny brings them together, they will have to face the consequences of the decisions they have made.
“Baram uses intense geographical plotting and is chillingly eloquent… Good People is tremendous. I read it in two sittings and I learned a lot. How does a man in his early 30’s know how to write like this?”—The Australian
Nir Baram was born in Jerusalem in 1976. He has worked as a journalist, editor, and as an advocate for equal rights for Palestinians. He’s the author of five novels. Good People is the first to be translated into English. Baram received the 2010 Prime Minister’s Award for Hebrew Literature.
Good People comes out in paperback on September 13th, and is available for pre-order now!
Under the Udala Trees made over a dozen “best of” lists in 2015, include NPR, Buzzfeed, Bustle and Shelf Awareness. This debut novel by a brave new voice, tells a new kind of story with both grace and precision.
Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does. Born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. But when their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself—and there is a cost to living inside a lie.
“At the height of the Biafran war, two Nigerian girls fall in love. The romance is brief, but for Ijeoma, the narrator of this début novel, it is the beginning of years of pain…The love story has hypnotic power…Details of disco-era Nigeria—jerricans filled with palm wine, a suitor in bell-bottom trousers—suggest Okparanta’s skill and promise.”—The New Yorker
CHINELO OKPARANTA lived in Nigeria until the age of ten, when her family came to the United States. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has also taught middle school, high school, and college
Under the Udala Trees comes out in paperback on September 20th, and is available for pre-order now!
FEATURED EVENT OF THE MONTH
Jonathan Safran Foer
Tuesday, September 20th 7pm
Here I Am
Join us this evening as we welcome bestselling author Jonathan Safran Foer with his new novel, one of the most highly anticipated books of the year, Here I Am. Foer is the author of several influential modern works, including the novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and his powerful nonfiction book, Eating Animals. The speaking portion of this event is free and open to the public, book purchase from BookPeople is required to join the signing line.
FEATURED DRINK OF THE MONTH
So according to the national weather service it looks like September isn’t going to be any cooler than August! So naturally the best way to beat that heat, while making your way through the last few books on your summer reading list, is with a…
If you’ve lived in Austin long enough, and have even a slight love for tequila, you’ve probably had at least one pretty good margarita. I prefer mine tart, on the rocks, and no salt… so here’s how you make it, my way…
3 oz Tequila Blanco of your choice
2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1 tsp Cointreau
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously – this is important, the shaking will blend the ingredients in a way, on a molecular level, that stirring just can’t imitate, and therefor will change the flavor of your drink (for the better)! Fill a rocks glass with ice and then strain the shaker contents into the rocks glass.
Simple syrup is easy to make. Just do a 1/1 mix of water and sugar in a pot (i.e. 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water), bring to a boil, then turn off immediately and let cool. You can store this for up to a month in the fridge!
If you’d like slightly sweeter margaritas, increase either the Cointreau or the simple syrup to taste. Or, try adding 1 oz of orange juice to the mix! Margaritas are versatile, so you can add things like strawberries and basil, or jalapenos and cilantro! Just put them in the shaker first and crush them up a bit.
And finally, a word about tequila. I don’t care which brand you choose, just make sure it is 100% agave! If you need some suggestions, I love Dulce Vida tequila and, for the price, Espolon is great.
If you love margaritas as much as I do, post your favorite place to have one in the comments!