Better Off Read is a book club collaboration between Her Bookshop and The Porch, focusing on books that you'll definitely be better off having read.
Helen Moran is thirty-two years old, single, childless, college educated, and partially employed as a guardian of troubled young people in New York. She is accepting a furniture delivery in her shared studio apartment when her uncle calls to break the news: Helen’s adoptive brother is dead.
According to the Internet, there are six possible reasons why her brother might have killed himself. But Helen knows better: she knows that six reasons is only shorthand for “the abyss.” Helen also knows that she alone is qualified to launch a serious investigation into his death, so she purchases a one-way ticket to Milwaukee. There, as she searches her childhood home and attempts to uncover why someone would choose to die, she will face her estranged family, her brother’s few friends, and the overzealous grief counselor, Chad Lambo; she may also discover what it truly means to be alive.
A bleakly comic tour de force that’s by turns poignant, uproariously funny, and viscerally unsettling, this debut novel has shades of Bernhard, Beckett, and Bowles–and it announces the singular voice of Patty Yumi Cottrell.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
2018 Whiting Award for Fiction
“Patty Yumi Cottrell’s prose does so many of my favorite things—some too subtle to talk about without spoiling, but one thing I have to mention is the way in which her heroine’s investigation of a suicide draws the reader right into the heart of this wonderfully spiky hedgehog of a book and then elbows us yet further along into what is ultimately a tremendously moving act of imagination.”
—Helen Oyeyemi, author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
“Patty Yumi Cottrell’s adoption of the rambling and specific absurd will and must delight. This is a graceful claim not just about writing but about a way of being in the world, an always new and necessary way to contend with this garbage that surrounds us, these false portraits of our hearts and minds. This book is not a diversion—it’s a lifeline.”
—Jesse Ball, author of How to Set a Fire and Why
“Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is a beguiling debut: absurdly funny, surprisingly beautiful, and ultimately sad as fuck.”
—Danielle Dutton, author of Margaret the First
“Complex and mysterious, yet, in the end, deeply human and empathetic.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Better Off Read is a book club with an added twist: an optional writing exercise for interested participants to complete before the event. The writing prompt for this book: Homecomings can be joyful, confusing, difficult, celebratory, even downright weird. Write about a time you came home. Again, this part is completely optional, and those who wish may share what they’ve written at the end of the meeting.
When: Sunday, May 20, 2018, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
Where: Her Bookshop (1043 West Eastland Ave.)
How Much: $20 + tax. Each participant will receive one paperback copy of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, available for pickup at the shop. Wine and treats will be served, and participants will also receive 10% off purchases at Her Bookshop the day of the event.
The meeting is full! But you can get on our waitlist, easy-peasy. Just pop into the shop, buy a copy of the book, and we'll take down your name and let you know if any spots open up.
Previous BETTER OFF READ Books
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (March 18 & 25, 2018)
Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (January 7 & 14, 2018)
Broken River by J. Robert Lennon (October 22, 2017)
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (August 6, 2017)
Stoner by John Williams (May 21, 2017)
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (March 19, 2017)
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton (January 22, 2017)
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (October 30, 2016)
Better Off Read is a collaboration between Her Bookshop and The Porch, Nashville’s independent center for writing.