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General Literature

VB Reads...Virtual General Lit Book Group

Mon, 06/07/2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Monday, June 7, 7:00pm

Register here to access the meeting!

A Sense of the World by Jason Roberts

He was known simply as the Blind Traveler. A solitary, sightless adventurer, James Holman (1786-1857) fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon, helped chart the Australian outback—and, astonishingly, circumnavigated the globe, becoming one of the greatest wonders of the world he so sagaciously explored. A Sense of the World is a spellbinding and moving rediscovery of one of history's most epic lives—a story to awaken our own senses of awe and wonder.

Jason Roberts is the inaugural winner of the Van Zorn Prize for emerging writers (sponsored by Michael Chabon) and a contributor to the Village Voice, McSweeney's, The Believer, and other publications. He lives in Northern California.

VB Reads...Virtual General Lit Book Group

Mon, 07/05/2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Monday, July 5, 7pm

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The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

A thrillingly original novel published in thirty-three countries to worldwide acclaim, The New York Times Magazine called The Raw Shark Texts a genre-founding work of fiction.
Eric Sanderson wakes up in a house he doesn't recognize, unable to remember anything of his life. All he has left are his diary entries recalling Clio, a perfect love who died under mysterious circumstances, and a house that may contain the secrets to Eric's prior life. But there may be more to this story, or it may be a different story altogether. With the help of allies found on the fringes of society, Eric embarks on an edge-of-your-seat journey to uncover the truth about himself and to escape the predatory forces that threaten to consume him. Moving with the pace of a superb thriller, The Raw Shark Texts has sparked the imaginations of readers around the world and is one of the most talked-about novels in years.

VB Reads...Virtual General Lit Book Group

Mon, 08/02/2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Monday, August 2, 7pm

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The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

This debut novel by the two time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and Nickel Boys wowed critics and readers everywhere and marked the debut of an important American writer.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

It is a time of calamity in a major metropolitan city's Department of Elevator Inspectors, and Lila Mae Watson, the first black female elevator inspector in the history of the department, is at the center of it.  There are two warring factions within the department:  the Empiricists, who work by the book and dutifully check for striations on the winch cable and such; and the Intuitionists, who are simply able to enter the elevator cab in question, meditate, and intuit any defects.  

Lila Mae is an Intuitionist and, it just so happens, has the highest accuracy rate in the entire department.  But when an elevator in a new city building goes into total freefall on Lila Mae's watch, chaos ensues.  It's an election year in the Elevator Guild, and the good-old-boy Empiricists would love nothing more than to assign the blame to an Intuitionist.  But Lila Mae is never wrong.

The sudden appearance of excerpts from the lost notebooks of Intuitionism's founder, James Fulton, has also caused quite a stir.  The notebooks describe Fulton's work on the "black box," a perfect elevator that could reinvent the city as radically as the first passenger elevator did when patented by Elisha Otis in the nineteenth century.  When Lila Mae goes underground to investigate the crash, she becomes involved in the search for the portions of the notebooks that are still missing and uncovers a secret that will change her life forever.

Colson Whitehead is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad. His other works include Nickel Boys,The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A National Book Award winner and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

VB Reads...Virtual General Lit Book Group

Mon, 09/06/2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Monday, June 7, 7:00pm

Register here to access the meeting!

The Living by Annie Dillard

“Remarkable. . . . A deftly woven narrative saturated with violence, hardship, and triumph. Readers will be richly rewarded, for by the end of this deeply felt novel it is hard to let the frontier town and its people go.”  — San Francisco Chronicle

This New York Times bestselling novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard is a mesmerizing evocation of pioneer life navigated by European settlers and Lummi natives in the Pacific Northwest during the last decades of the 19th century.

The Living is a tale full of gold minors, friendly railroad speculators, doe-eyed sweethearts, shifty card players, and 19th century adventures that will stay with you long after you close the book.

Annie Dillard is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood, The Writing Life, The Living, and The Maytrees. She is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fellowship grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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