Virtual Book Clubs
How It Works
#APStogether is a series of virtual book clubs that take place on social media. They are free, and open to all. Each session is hosted by a different writer, who selects a book to read together. The selected titles can be ordered here
, or at your local independent bookstore.
#APStogether is a sequel to #TolstoyTogether
, a virtual book club hosted by Yiyun Li to read War and Peace. This summer, the book clubs will be shorter journeys—short novels, and even some poetry. We will read slowly, at a pace of about 15 pages each day, and finish each book within two weeks. The schedule for each book club will be listed below. Every morning, we will share observations from the writer hosting the current book club on our Twitter
accounts. Readers will take the conversation from there—offering their insights, sharing research, asking questions. The ongoing conversation will be organized using #APStogether. An archive of the writer-host's daily observations and highlights from the book club will be available on our website here
and shared in a newsletter. If you aren't already on our mailing list, you can join here
. Please email us with any questions.
Begins September 17, 2020
Carl Phillips | James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
Giovanni's Room is a fever dream of language, desire, tenderness, those brief moments in which we think we know ourselves and others, the larger moments when we realize the quest to know anything for sure may be unresolvable—yet we keep questing, anyway. It's a meditation, too, on otherness—in terms of class, sex, race, and of intimacy maybe most of all.
is the author of fifteen books of poems, most recently Pale Colors in a Tall Field
(FSG). He teaches at Washington University in Saint Louis.
Day 1 | September 17: Part 1, Ch. 1, pg. 3-13 (up to "to be the son of such a mother")
Day 2 | September 18: Part 1, Ch. 1, pg. 13-27 (from "Years later, when I had become a man" to “if monkeys did not—so grotesquely—resemble human beings.”)
Day 3 | September 19: Part 1, finish Ch. 1 & all of Ch. 2, p. 27-43 (from "This bar was practically in my quartier
" to "the light of that gloomy tunnel trapped around his head.")
Day 4 | September 20: Part 1, Ch. 3, p. 44-61 (up to “to reach out and comfort him”)
Day 5 | September 21: Finish Ch. 3 (end of Part 1), p. 61-71 (from "Our oysters came and we began to eat" to "so many desperate and drunken mornings.")
Day 6 | September 22: Part 2, all of Ch. 1, p. 75-84
Day 7 | September 23: Part 2, all of Ch. 2, p. 85-102
Day 8 | September 24: Part 2, all of Ch. 3, p. 103-118
Day 9 | September 25: Part 2, Ch. 4, p. 119-136 (up to “'We’d better get some sleep.'”)
Day 10 | September 26: Part 2, finish Ch. 4, p. 136-148 (from "I got to Giovanni's room very late" to "the sash of his dressing gown.")
Day 11 | September 27: Part 2, Ch. 5, p. 149-157 (up to “and the shadow of death.”)
Day 12 | September 28: Part 2, finish Ch. 5, p. 157-169 (from "By the time we found this great house" to The End.)
Tuesday, September 29
Join us for a virtual discussion of Giovanni's Room
with Carl Phillips on Tuesday, September 29.
Tuesday. September 29, 2020
7:30 p.m. ET
Online on Zoom
This event is free and open to all. Registration is required, and you can register here
. Please feel free to submit questions to Carl for discussion when registering. Details for accessing the online event will be sent via email. Please note a free Zoom account is required to access the event.
Questions? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
October 1, 2020
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum | Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie invites us into a world that feels heartbreakingly distant right now: a school classroom, filled with young minds and restless bodies and desks and noise and essays on how you spent your summer vacation. At the helm of our classroom is the indelible Miss Brodie, a character of magnificent convictions and questionable judgment who exercises outsized influence on her coterie of handpicked students, with unpredictable results. In this time of pervasive brain fog, I can’t imagine a more bracing antidote than the nimble storytelling and brilliant, funny, incisive sentences of Muriel Spark.
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Madeleine Is Sleeping
and Ms. Hempel Chronicles
, and most recently a story collection, Likes
(FSG). She lives in Los Angeles.
Day 1 | October 1: Ch. 1, pp. 1-11
Day 2 | October 2: Ch. 2, pp, 13-26 (through “'That is the order of the great subjects of life, that’s their order of importance.'”)
Day 3 | October 3: Finish Ch. 2, pp. 26-41
Day 4 | October 4: Ch. 3, pp. 43-55 (through “photographing this new Miss Brodie with her little eyes.”)
Day 5 | October 5: Ch. 3, pp. 55-70 (through “with her little pig-like eyes”)
Day 6 | October 6: Finish Ch. 3, pp. 70-78
Day 7 | October 7: Ch. 4, pp. 79-82 (through ““only the squares on the other two sides”)
Day 8 | October 8: Finish Ch. 4, pp. 92-104
Day 9 | October 9: Ch. 5, pp. 105-121
Day 10 | October 10: Ch. 6, pp. 123-137 (The End)