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Online book club to read Chabon, Rankine and Moseley


July 20, 2006

Been thinking about reading Claudia Rankine's book “Don't Let Me Be Lonely”?

Then get right over to the nearest local library or bookstore. “Don't Let Me Be Lonely” is the selection for July for the online book club, sponsored by ASU's Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

Rankine, well known for her experimental, multiple-genre writing, fuses the lyric, the essay and the visual in “Don't Let Me Be Lonely.” The book is “a politically and morally fierce examination of solitude in the rapacious and media-driven assault on selfhood that is contemporary America.”

Upcoming selections include:

• August: “On Beauty,” by Zadie Smith. Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Smith's third novel is a brilliant analysis of family life, the institution of marriage, intersections of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's deceptions. The book won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction.

• September: “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” by Michael Chabon. Like the comic books that animate and inspire it, this book is both larger than life and of it, too. The golden age of comic books has begun, even as the shadow of Hitler falls across Europe. Chabon won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “Kavalier and Clay.”

• October: “The Burn Journals,” by Brent Runyon. After a bad day at school, eighth-grader Brent Runyon soaks his bathrobe in gasoline and sets himself on fire. Thus begins the real-life odyssey of a 14-year-old boy struggling first to survive, and then to retrieve a place in the universe.

• November: “Devil in a Blue Dress,” by Walter Moseley. The year is 1948, and black war veteran “Easy” Rawlings has just lost his job. Along comes DeWitt Albright, a violent white man with a simple job for Easy: find the blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

• December: “Cloud Atlas,” by David Mitchell. Mitchell's novel presents six narratives, each set in a different time and place. Five of these stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel.

The Piper Center Online Book Club is open to anyone who enjoys discussing the latest in literature. There is no charge. Book club members will be invited to meet at least two of the authors, who will be at ASU for lectures or the writing conference “Desert Nights, Rising Stars.”

For more information, or to join the club, contact Aimee Baker at (480) 965-6018 or (aimee.baker@asu.edu), or visit the Web site (www.asu.edu/piper/bookclub).