The Literary Resistance Book Club is live! What started on the blog as a response to the election has become a real life meetup!
It took some courage to get it off the ground. After all, I've never been the host of a book club before. I wasn't sure if anyone would want to come, but I was mistaken. The first two meetups have been a success. I even have plans to take it on the road this summer as I do some traveling. I can already imagine a network of Literary Resistance Book Clubs popping up across California!
If you're in the Bay Area and interested in joining you can find more info here. It's a rather non-traditional book club. Instead of collectively deciding on a book and reading it together, all I ask is for each person to bring a book they'd like to share with the group. I was a bit worried that conversation would be stuttered, but people are curious and have no problems asking questions about each book. This naturally leads to discussion.
A lot of interesting books have been brought to the table. A few are new to me, The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers, and the Theft of Africa's Wealth; Waste Away: Working and Living with a North American Landfill; Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right; and Culture and Society. A few others I knew and was eager to discuss, Stranger's in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right and Between the World and Me.
For my pick I brought Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich. I've talked about it on the blog a couple of times already, it's just that I'm in such awe of her writing and the stories she captures. The book also sent me down a Russian rabbit role.
I've since devoured Masha Gessen's book The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin in time to see her speak at the Bay Area Book Festival. Masha is a Russian and American journalist and outspoken critic of Putin. When she was asked how she felt about the current state of Russia, her home country, she solemnly replied, "hopeless". This is the sense I get from reading Secondhand Time, a sheer and terrifying sense of hopelessness.
Hopelessness is what I hope literary resistance can prevent. I don't want to lose my own sense of power to make a difference. Use #literaryresistance to let me know what you've been reading and how your reading is making a difference.