Better Off Read is a book club collaboration between The Bookshop and The Porch, focusing on books that you'll definitely be better off having read.
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: her young son, Jackson, and the San Francisco of her youth. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, portrayed with great humor and precision. Stunning and unsentimental The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner’s work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
TIME’S #1 FICTION TITLE OF THE YEAR
NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
FINALIST for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE and the NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
LONGLISTED for the ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
“Kushner is a masterful world-creator, and her accomplishment here is unparalleled.”—Nylon
“Kushner’s writing and thinking are always invigorating, urgent, and painterly precise.”—Vulture
“Brilliant and devastating. . . . Kushner doesn’t make a false move in her third novel; she writes with an intelligence and a ferocity that sets her apart from most others in her cohort. She’s a remarkably original and compassionate author, and The Mars Room is a heartbreaking, true and nearly flawless novel.”—Michael Schaub, NPR.org
“Heartbreaking and unforgettable. . . . [The Mars Room] deserves to be read with the same level of pathos, love, and humanity with which it clearly was written.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Kushner, an acclaimed writer of exhilarating skills, has created a seductive narrator of tigerish intensity. . . . This is a gorgeously eviscerating novel of incarceration writ large.”—Booklist (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 The Mars Room is: Choose a sentence from the book and use it as a springboard to write about whatever you want. See where it takes you! Again, this part is completely optional, and those who wish may share what they’ve written at the end of the meeting.
When: Sunday, July 28, 2019, 5:30 to 6:30ish pm
Where: The Bookshop (1043 West Eastland Ave.)
How Much: $18 + tax. Each participant will receive one paperback copy of The Mars Room, available for pickup at the shop. Wine and treats will be served, and participants will also receive 10% off purchases at The Bookshop the day of the event.
All spots have been claimed. Stay tuned for details on our next gathering, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to hear about it!
Previous BETTER OFF READ Books
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (May 19, 2019)
In the Distance by Hernan Diaz (March 24, 2019)
Improvement by Joan Silber (January 20, 2019)
Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (November 18, 2018)
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (September 16, 2018)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (July 22, 2018)
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell (May 20, 2018)
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 The Bookshop and The Porch, Nashville’s independent center for writing.