What We’re Reading in January!


We’re excited to share that our January Book Club selection is Randa Jarrar’s new memoir Love Is an Ex-Country, forthcoming from Catapult on February 2, but available to Rumpus Book Club members in just a few weeks!

As an American raised for a time in Egypt, and finding herself captivated by the story of a celebrated Egyptian belly dancer’s journey across the United States in the 1940s, Randa Jarrar sets off from her home in California to her parents’ in Connecticut. Coloring this road trip are journeys abroad and recollections of a life lived with daring. Reclaiming her autonomy after a life of survival—domestic assault as a child, and later, as a wife; threats and doxxing after her viral tweet about Barbara Bush—Jarrar offers a bold look at domestic violence, single motherhood, and sexuality through the lens of the punished-yet-triumphant body. On the way, she schools a rest-stop racist, destroys Confederate flags in the desert, and visits the Chicago neighborhood where her immigrant parents first lived. Jarrar delivers a euphoric and critical, funny and profound memoir that will speak to anyone who has felt erased, asserting: I am here. I am joyful.

“If you have ever felt lonely or horny or angry or magnificent; if you have had no country or too many countries or you have left your country behind; if you have spoken truth to power or trusted the wrong people and suffered the consequences; if you have ever gotten in a car and driven across the landscape because you had to: this memoir is for you. What a boon it is, a perfect, unforgettable howl of a book.” – Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House

“Randa Jarrar is the Arab femme daddy of my dreams and her voice is nothing short of ROYAL. Imagine Hatshepsut as the daughter of immigrants, motoring across the United States of America, glorying in the art of the road trip: that’s the type of literary, diasporic, and necessary realness Randa serves.” – Myriam Gurba, author of Mean

Subscribe to the Rumpus Book Club by December 15 to join us in reading Love Is an Ex-Country, culminating in an exclusive online discussion with author Randa Jarrar about the book!

And, thrill any and all readers on your holiday shopping list with a Rumpus gift subscription—we have monthly and 6-month subscriptions to our incredible Book Club, and monthly and 6-month subscriptions to the equally awesome Poetry Book Club! (And if you’re really out to impress a reader in your life, sign ‘em for both clubs here.) All subscriptions come with a PDF you can print out and slip under the tree—so these make a great last-minute gift, too. Our subscription programs keep the magazine alive, so you and your friends and family can be in touch with your favorite writers and you can support The Rumpus in one fell swoop.

Learn more about The Rumpus Book Club here. More from this author →