“Reader, I married him.”
Charlotte Brontë breaks the fourth wall and addresses her audience to tell us about her happy ending. It’s so direct and carries so much weight. Because of this line, the reader becomes part of the story too.
When coming up with a name for this book club, I knew it had to celebrate the kindred relationship the reader has to the books that we consume. The act of reading is so special for so many of us.
Dear Reader just clicked.
This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a little over a year now, but I had absolutely NO idea how to get started. Fast-forward to 2019, and I still don’t know if I’m doing this right, but I really felt led to put this together for you all (and for myself).
Dear Reader will exist online under the hashtag #dearreaderbookclub, and will also have a physical book club component with bi-monthly meetings that rotate at various local bookstores in Kansas City. I hope this book club inspires readers to build small groups in their communities to discuss literature that focuses on a myriad of diverse topics. With Dear Reader, I want to recreate the feeling you get when you sit at the table with your good friends to have a home-cooked meal. I hope it provides nourishment and good conversation. I hope it feels like coming home even when your miles away.
I am SO happy to announce the first ever Dear Reader Book Club Pick: There There by Tommy Orange. It’s a beautiful, yet heartbreaking novel about the various paths of several different urban Native American people living in Oakland. As soon as I finished reading There There, I knew it had to be the first pick for Dear Reader.
Here’s a quick description:
As we learn the reasons that each person is attending the Big Oakland Powwow—some generous, some fearful, some joyful, some violent—momentum builds toward a shocking yet inevitable conclusion that changes everything. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life back together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honor his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and will to perform in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and loss.
If you plan on purchasing There There to read for Dear Reader, be sure to support your local indie bookstores. Or put it on hold at your local library. There are only 12 seats for this month’s book club so be sure to RSVP below to hold your spot!
We’re really doing this! WHOO!