What Others Are Saying About What We’re Reading: A Book Clubs Update

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Rumpus Book Club and Poetry Book Club members have one great advantage over readers everywhere else: you get to read new work before anyone else (except some reviewers) gets to. (You can join at any time.) You get to talk about those books with a host of online members all during the month (around 350 between the two clubs) and best of all, chat with the authors online at the end of the month.

We’re very excited about this month’s books, in part because of what some of those even earlier readers have had to say about them. (Also, members already have their books and are devouring them.)

For instance, Jason Rice of 3 Guys, 1 Book has this to say about our fiction selection for this month, Elliott Holt’s You Are One of Them.:

Holt writes about the 80’s with a kind of ease that will make you long for those days where the world seemed to end, and then it didn’t. When U2 was breaking on the scene, and Sarah confuses their new album calling it November. I have enthusiastically dog-eared this book; every few pages there are these really amazing scenes about Sarah and Jennifer, where Holt describes friendship and childhood so perfectly. Do you remember when you were a kid and there were five hours until it got dark, and you were with your friends, that rush of excitement where you knew you were going to have a great time? That’s Sarah and Jennifer growing up. But then Jennifer got famous. They play hide and seek in the woods, and Sarah is left alone, and finally finds Jennifer, and there is this wonderful line at the end of the chapter about a swing coming to a stop while Sarah stands outside her friend’s house. It puts you right there next to her, so on the nose.

I’m loving this book so much I’m forcing myself to read it no more than two chapters at a time, because otherwise I’d be through it too quickly.

On the poetry side, we’re very excited to have Gregory Orr’s most recent collection, River Inside the River. Orr’s biography plays a huge role in this book (as in much of his work). David Rigsbee, writing for the Cortland Review, has this to say about Orr’s latest book:

With River Inside the River, Orr shows us that, move as he might out from the central events of his poetic life, his preference is to circle back to the ever-fecund wound and to find the pattern and path from personal to mythical, singular to plural; these movements also corresponded to the move from nonsense to sense.

I’ve been a fan of Orr and his work since he visited the University of Arkansas while I was an MFA student there in 2004. This is a book that rewards multiple readings, and I’m really looking forward to chatting with him at the end of the month.

There’s still time to join the book clubs and get this month’s books. Come join us!


Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →