This is a book club, there are a ton of spoilers. If you want to read before you listen … read and come back soon!
Junot Díaz made his debut with Drown, ten interconnected short stories in 1997. These coming-of-age stories grant the reader a brief glimpse into the lives of immigrants, their lives in poverty in the Dominican Republic through migration to life on the edges in New Jersey. “Diaz evokes a world in which fathers are gone, mothers fight with grim determination for their families and themselves, and the next generation inherits the casual cruelty, devastating ambivalence, and knowing humor of lives circumscribed by poverty and uncertainty.” (Goodreads) Throughout the stories the resilience of the characters, the humanness in squalor points to universal truths, unique beauty, and casual violence in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
To listen to the this episode of the Bedrosian Book Club Podcast, click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (winner, 2008 Pulitzer Prize in fiction)
This Is How You Lose Her
Rez Life by David Treuer
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisis Coates
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Junot Diaz on reading, writing, and America’s amnesia about race, LA Times September 21, 2015
Next Month …
We’ll be reading two books in December … we hope you’ll read both along with us!The City and The City by China Miéville
This Hugo Award winning novel is sure to lead to a contentious conversation – and while we chose it a few months ago, seems quite the right choice for post-2016-election.
“When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.” (Goodreads)
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
“Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.” (Goodreads)