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.
On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again. The door to the roof is locked, and the snow holds only one set of footprints. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing Black woman, Autumn must pursue the search for her sister all on her own.
With her friends and neighbors, Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis. But the loss becomes too great, the mystery too inexplicable, and Autumn starts to unravel, all the while becoming obsessed with the various murders of local women and the men who kill them, thinking their stories and society’s complacency toward them might shed light on what really happened to her sister.
In Speaking of Summer, critically acclaimed author Kalisha Buckhanon has created a fast-paced story of urban peril and victim invisibility, and the fight to discover the complicated truths at the heart of every family.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
“Kalisha Buckhanon’s characters are both fearless and haunted, brave and burdened by the past. Speaking of Summer gives us a powerful song about what it means to survive as a woman in America.”--Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award winner and author of Sing, Unburied, Sing
“Novels of psychological suspense often employ unreliable narrators—think Gone Girl or Shutter Island--but Buckhanon, who's also known for her work as an on-air true crime expert, employs the device not to keep readers off-balance, but rather to evoke Autumn’s fragility and raise universal questions about mental illness, racism, and love . . . Fiercely astute.”--Tayari Jones, O, The Oprah Magazine
“What do you do when your twin, your other half, disappears, and no one seems to notice? . . . Buckhanon (Solemn, 2016) captures Autumn’s frustration at the undervaluing of Black women, accompanied by the creeping gentrification of her Harlem neighborhood. Not only are individual Black women disappearing, so are the communities that keep them safe.”--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. Here’s the prompt: 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, August 30, 2020, 4:00 to 5:15ish pm + Monday, August 31, 2020, 6:30 to 7:45ish
Where: Virtual! Zoom links will be provided prior to the gathering.
How Much: $18 + tax. Each participant will receive one paperback copy of Speaking of Summer, available for pickup at the shop or shipping (for an additional charge).
Previous BETTER OFF READ Books
The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan (1/19/20)
After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel (11/17/19)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (9/15/19)
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (7/28/19)
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (5/19/19)
In the Distance by Hernan Diaz (3/24/19)
Improvement by Joan Silber (1/20/19)
Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (11/18/18)
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (9/16/18)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (7/22/18)
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell (5/20/18)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (3/18 & 25/18)
Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (1/7 & 14/18)
Broken River by J. Robert Lennon (10/22/17)
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman (8/6/17)
Stoner by John Williams (5/21/17)
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (3/19/17)
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton (1/22/17)
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (10/30/16)
Better Off Read is a collaboration between The Bookshop and The Porch, Nashville’s independent center for writing.