Join us for the 2023 – 2024 Book Club sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries, WSU Alumni Association, and the WSU Retirees Association.
When and Where:
What We’re Reading:
September 21, 2023: The Summers by Ronya Othmann, translated by Dr. Gary Schmidt
Special guest, Dr. Gary Schmidt, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and translator of The Summers, by Ronya Othmann, will join this discussion.
The Summers narrates the coming of age of Leyla, who spends the school year in her mother’s home country of Germany but travels every summer to her father’s Kurdish village in Syria, near the Turkish border. There, with her grandparents and Yazidi friends, she comes alive. She knows the village’s smells and tastes; she knows the villagers’ stories. She knows where they keep their suitcases hidden, should they need to escape again.
As Leyla grows older, her sexual awakening takes a back seat to her cultural discoveries. She becomes increasingly disenchanted with her German classmates and friends’ indifference when ISIS troops enter the village, threatening the lives of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Thoughtful and poignant, The Summers addresses issues of gender, sexuality, cultural difference, politics, and identity. Ronya Othmann draws readers into multiple worlds, ultimately revealing the hopes and dreams that bind us all together when forces threaten to tear us apart. (Description from the publisher).
November 16, 2023: Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah
A moving and deeply engaging novel about a young Native American man as he learns to find strength in his familial identity.
Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they face myriad obstacles. His father’s injury at the hands of corrupt police, his mother’s struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and the legacy of centuries of injustice all intensify Ever’s bottled-up rage. Meanwhile, all of Ever’s relatives have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across Oklahoma to find security; his grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he’s connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself but also the next generation of family.
How will this young man visualize a place for himself when the world hasn’t given him a place to start with? Honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the story of how Ever Geimausaddle found his way to home.(Description from the publisher).
January 18, 2024: Lucky Red by Claudia Cravens
It’s the spring of 1877 and sixteen-year-old Bridget is already disillusioned when she arrives penniless in Dodge City with only her wits to keep her alive. Thanks to the allure of her bright red hair and country-girl beauty, she’s recruited to work at the Buffalo Queen, the only brothel in town run by women. Bridget takes to brothel life, appreciating the good food, good pay, and good friendships she forms with her fellow “sporting women”.
But as winter approaches, Bridget learns just how fleeting stability can be. With the arrival of out-of-towners – some ominous and downright menacing, others more alluring but potentially dangerous in their own ways, including a legendary female gunfighter who steals Bridget’s heart – tensions in Dodge City run high. When the Buffalo Queen’s peace and stability are threatened, Bridget must decide what she owes to the people she loves and what it looks like to claim her own destiny.
A thoroughly modern reimaging of the Western genre, Lucky Red, is a masterfully crafted, propulsive tale of adventure, loyalty, desire, and love. (Description from the publisher).
March 21, 2024: Horse a Novel by Geraldine Brooks – The Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winner for Fiction
A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history.
Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union.
On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack.
New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.
Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse – one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success. Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire, Horse is a gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. (Description from Publisher)
Book titles are available for borrowing from the WSU Libraries collection, click on book titles above to check current availability. Don’t have a WSU library card? Join our Friends of the Libraries for borrowing privileges and help support the Libraries’ collections and programs.