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.
The Sarah Book is master storyteller Scott McClanahan’s portrait of new love, young heartbreak, the coming together of families, and families coming undone. As much as this book takes place in Appalachia, it also takes place in the universe. Its landscapes are the highways and basements and dirty rooms where we are eternally condemned and redeemed. McClanahan has written a love letter to divorce, in a language somewhere between Romantic poetry and a distilled mountain twang. The Sarah Book is an unforgettable tale told by one of today’s finest writers.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
“Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book is a furious exhalation of love and hurt and hate and tenderness and anger. This is a chronicle of a couple coming together and breaking apart. There is courage in these pages because so much of what McClanahan details is ugly and desperate and raw--everything, food, drink, love, heartbreak, to excess. The writing is so intimate you want to reach into the book to save this man from himself but you can’t. That impossibility is what makes this book so memorable, so powerful.”--Roxane Gay
“McClanahan’s prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. He writes in an elliptical fever dream so contagious that slowing down is not an option. It would be like putting a doorstop in front of a speeding train. This is not a book you savor. It is one you inhale.”--New York Times
“Scott McClanahan’s writing is so pure, honest and immediately engaging, it felt like I wasn't just reading prose: it felt like I was reading the prose. The Sarah Book is hilarious, unflinching and deeply sad. Its every chapter, every page, every observation an addictive delight. I read it in one sitting and days later am still stumbling around from its unexpected wallop.”--Maria Semple
“Part memoir, part hillbilly history, part dream, McClanahan embraces humanity with all its grit, writing tenderly of criminals and outcasts, family and the blood ties that bind us.”--Interview
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, January 19, 2020, 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 Sarah Book, 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! Make sure you're signed up for our newsletter so that you'll get first dibs on the next meeting.
Previous BETTER OFF READ Books
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.