Book Clubs

INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE
With Sarah McNally

Monday, April 6th at 7pm.

"With their avuncular narrator and their wild leaps of semi-scientific fantasy, Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics are some of the most dazzling and joyous literary fiction of the 20th century."

- Julie Phillips for The Village Voice.

"Calvino's 'cosmicomic' tales, a batch of short stories that he wrote mostly in the '60s, don't much care for logic and limitation. They aspire to nothing less than the creation of an entirely new genre."

- Colin Dwyer


ESSAYS
With Matt Pieknik
Wednesday, April 8th at 7pm.

"Phillips continued in [a] Bomb interview to express his hope for 'a world in which there is less art and better relationships. . . . The only game in town is improving the quality of people’s relationships. Everything is about group life, and there’s no life without group life.' This seems indicative of how he wants his essays to function: less like art-objects (beautiful, stable things to be contemplated at a distance) than a training ground for how we might relate differently to the world and one another through how we relate to the text. Modeling relations in a safe environment is what many therapies do; it’s fascinating to see it work in a book.

- Sheila Heti for The New York Times.


POETRY
With Carly Dashiell

Thursday, March 12th at 7pm.

"For Dana Ward, narrative is no linear journey, but a state of being, where meaning zooms into clarity then retreats, wave upon wave of it, like God bits bursting into life from the vast emptiness of space.... I love how thick this writing is, sublimely claustrophobic yet expansive, like a child's nightmare of scale."

- Dodie Bellamy


PHILOSOPHY
With Matt Wagstaffe & Kevin Cassem
Tuesday, April 7th at 7pm.

The zany, the cute, and the interesting saturate postmodern culture. They dominate the look of its art and commodities as well as our discourse about the ambivalent feelings these objects often inspire. In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime.

This month, the group will discuss the introduction and Chapter 1, "The Cuteness of the Avant-Garde" (though p.109).


SMALL BUSINESS
With Henry Bell
Tuesday, April 14th at 7pm.

Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.


G.R.O.S.S.
(Get Rid Of Slimy egoS)

With Anna Chen and Michael Fentin

Thursday, November 20th at 8pm.

"Milford has a talent that few authors can boast; She breaks unspoken rules. Rules that have been dutifully followed by children’s authors for years on end. And in breaking them, she creates stronger books."

- Elizabeth Bird for School Library Journal on Kate Milford's Greenglass House

SPANISH BOOKCLUB

With Javier Molea

Friday, April 11th, 7pm

 

 


La narradora y protagonista de Sangre en el ojo –la estupenda novela de Lina Meruane (Santiago de Chile, 1970)– es ciega pero no, por fortuna, profeta ni presume de traspasar el velo de las apariencias. Antes que inscribirse en un fabuloso clan de ciegos, se obstina en afirmar su particularidad: tiene un nombre propio, Lina Meruane; vive en un escenario concreto, la Nueva York actual, y no es precisamente la voz de la tribu, entre otras cosas porque escribe en español en un ámbito más bien anglosajón. Aparte: en lugar de infligirse a sí misma la ceguera, como se cuenta que hizo Milton, la recibe de pronto, una noche cualquiera; y en vez de razonar que le fue deparada por el azar o el destino con un fin preciso, como a veces declaraba Borges, la combate y vaga por hospitales. Como ya apuntó Álvaro Enrigue en una nota sobre la novela (El Universal, 31 de marzo de 2012), no hay aquí esa ceguera metafórica a la que nos ha acostumbrado cierta literatura.

Rafael Lemus