Book of the Month Club Selections: April 2017
Phew. To say my fucking social life has been nonexistent would be an understatement… I’ve literally spent my days in and days out reading, writing and barely sleeping. Book of the Month Club is partly responsible for my insomnia, and it’s also due to the fact that I am, in fact, one of the slowest readers on this planet. Ha!
Yet, no matter how time-consuming the TBR, Book of the Month Club’s selections will always have a place on my mantel. These April picks are pretty brilliant if you ask me, and so I am stoked to have the opportunity of adding them to my
overflowing collection of books to read.
These are Book of the Month’s April 2017 Selections
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Disclaimer (11/1/17): Please note that Paperback Paris is no longer affiliated with Book of the Month, and that the links mentioned in this post are no longer active.
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The Impossible Fortress, Jason Rekulak
14-year-old Billy Marvin doesn’t mind being a nerd. Between hanging out with his equally-nerdy buddies, playing video games and he’s happily content with his geek status.
Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd.
Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.
A love letter to the 1980s, to the dawn of the computer age, and to adolescence—a time when anything feels possible—The Impossible Fortress will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you remember in exquisite detail what it feels like to love something—or someone—for the very first time.
“When you’re trapped in the prison of adolescence, you only want to break out, like the hero of an old Atari game.” — Judge, Tyler Coates (Culture Editor at GQ)
Startup, Doree Shafrir
Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business–in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn.
Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news.
Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya’s boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away.
Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold.
An assured, observant debut from the veteran online journalist Doree Shafrir, Startup is a sharp, hugely entertaining story of youth, ambition, love, money and technology’s inability to hack human nature.
“Full of humor and scathing office drama: Risqué text messages. Tech bros. An influx of viral mishaps.” — Judge, Glory Edim (Owner of Well-Read Black Girl)
Killers of the Flower Moon, David Graan
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.
“History pulsates with evil, and Grann’s job, expertly done, is to show us how the repeated crimes against a marginalized group of people remains relevant today.” — Judge, Sarah Weinman
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi Koul
In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi Koul deploys her razor-sharp humor to share all the fears, outrages, and mortifying moments of her life. She learned from an early age what made her miserable, and for Scaachi anything can be cause for despair. Whether it’s a shopping trip gone awry; enduring awkward conversations with her bikini waxer; overcoming her fear of flying while vacationing halfway around the world; dealing with Internet trolls, or navigating the fears and anxieties of her parents. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of color: where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision, or outright scorn; where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, leaving little room for a woman not solely focused on marriage and children to have a career (and a life) for herself.
With a sharp eye and biting wit, incomparable rising star and cultural observer Scaachi Koul offers a hilarious, scathing, and honest look at modern life.
“In her debut, Koul tackles regular essay collection stuff—meditations on relationships, family, identity – but the best part of it is that she’s funny as sh*t.” — Judge, Kevin Nguyen
American War, Omar El Akkad
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually, Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.
“Fair warning: this is not a beach read. Set in a near-future dystopia in which global warming has submerged America’s current coastlines, American War is scarily believable.” — Judge, Maris Kreizman
From Editor-in-chief, Paris Close: Without a doubt, I’ve been waiting for American War and One Day We’ll All Be Dead… since the beginning of the year. Akkad’s story gripped me by a synopsis I read on NetGalley, and Koul’s debut collection looks as witty as its title implies. Plus, these are debut works, and I love a good debut!
As for the others, I’ve never been a big fan of nonfiction work, so Graan’s book was immediately out of the question for me; the same applies to Shafrir’s title, unfortunately. But it’s only a niche thing. I’ve had Rekulak’s book in ARC form on my shelf, waiting to be touched, for more than a few months now. There’s no telling when that will happen due to the simple fact that I literally have over 600 books in this congested cube I call a bedroom. We’ll see what happens, you guys. We will see.
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