Young Space Alt. Book Club
After working at a bookstore for 5+ years -- one that sells used, unique, and out of print books nonetheless -- I thought it would be great to combine unabashed bibliophilia with a passion for alternative and independent literature, poetry, photography books, and other text works. In other words... the words! There is no shortage of examples of artists and authors who intermingle the written and visual arts, and although this will not be limited to books directly related to the visual arts, it is about supporting emerging authors and artists.
Book clubs have long been associated with moms wanting to get away for an evening with the girls (popularized by Oprah, of course), and although I've always loved the idea of a book club, I've never found one that really appealed to me. Even more so that I'm no longer lingering day in and day out on a college campus, I feel that it is important to provide the opportunity for open dialogue, critique, and ideas.
The Young Space Alternative Book Club emphasizes independent publishers and self-published gems that are so often overlooked. Not to mention the plethora of zines, poetry booklets, and other printed matter. And importantly, what about the issues and themes they connect us to? That's what I envision for a book club: a means of facilitating discussion on not only the books themselves but diverse, larger themes in art, literature, history, and current events.
The Alternative Book Club will meet in person bi-monthly somewhere in or around Appleton, WI. The first meeting will take place Wednesday, August 19 (exact location and time TBA -- a Facebook event will be created for those who wish to attend). There is also a Facebook group that will hopefully function as an ongoing forum for reviews, recommendations, questions, discussion, and other information. The Facebook group can be joined here and is open to anyone who is interested in participating and contributing to the dialogue. Although it will necessarily start off with a rather structured format to get the ball rolling, I'm definitely open to suggestions for titles, themes and other ideas.
The first book will be 2014 National Book Award-shortlisted Citizen by Claudia Rankine. Published by Graywolf Press, a National Book Award judge cited it like this: "Marrying prose, poetry, and the visual image, Citizen investigates the ways in which racism pervades daily American social and cultural life, rendering certain of its citizens politically invisible. Rankine's formally inventive book challenges our notion that citizenship is only a legal designation that the state determines by expanding that definition to include a larger understanding of civic belonging and identity, built out of cross-racial empathy, communal responsibility, and a deeply shared commitment to equality."
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