Eduardo Porter is an economics reporter for The New York Times. His distinguished career in journalism has taken him to Mexico City, São Paulo, Tokyo, and many points in between. He currently co-hosts The Pie, a podcast on pandemic economics sponsored by the University of Chicago, which explores the financial and social ramifications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Porter is also the author of The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do (2011), a revealing look at the cost-benefit analyses that underpin each and every human behavior. His latest book is American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise. In a sterling review, Booklist says that “with a scintillating rhythm and pointed language, Porter exposes all the ways in which racism has infected everything from unions to welfare to education and immigration policy. American Poison is a work for our times.” It will be reissued in paperback on February 9.
Club Book is proud to bring bestselling and award-winning authors to the Twin Cities, and we are dedicated to making these events accessible to all audiences. That is why we make podcasts of all our events available for free. Whether you missed the program, wish to hear it again, or want to share it with your friends, Club Book makes it easy to listen to podcasts. Enjoy!
Megha Majumdar is the author behind A Burning, one of the most anticipated and best reviewed fiction debuts of 2020. Set in modern-day India, this propulsive narratives hinges around three characters on the margins of society: Jivan, a Muslim girl living in the slums of Kolkata (Calcutta); Lovely, a member of India’s intersex hijra community; and PT Sir, an opportunistic gym teacher turned right-wing politician. Although fiction, “A Burning quickly dismantles the ordinary skepticism that attends the reading of made-up stories” (New Yorker), and “offers a powerful corrective to the political narratives that have dominated in contemporary India” (Time). Majumdar is herself a native of Kolkata. She moved to the United States to attend school at Harvard and Johns Hopkins University. She is currently an associate editor at literary magazine and independent publisher Catapult. A Burning has won several honors since its June launch, including being picked up by NBC’s “Today” as the summer’s #ReadWithJenna pick.
David Treuer is a member of the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe, and one of the foremost chroniclers of the rich and diverse Native American experience – past and present. His writing straddles the barrier between fiction and nonfiction. Treuer’s four novels to date, including award-winning debut Little (1995) and book club favorite Prudence (2015), “mount a challenge to the whole idea of Indian identity as depicted by both Native and white writers” (New York Times). His first major foray into nonfiction, Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life, garnered national attention and won the Minnesota Book Award in 2013. His follow up, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, earned the author his third Minnesota Book Award and put him in heated contention for the National Book Award. A masterfully crafted mélange of journalism, memoir, and historical research, Treuer’s latest showcases “the Native struggle to preserve their tribes and cultures, using resourcefulness and reinvention in the face of overwhelming opposition” (BookPage).
Moroccan American novelist Laila Lalami uses fiction as a vehicle to showcase “overlooked” North African stories and experiences. Notable examples include her 2014 breakout The Moor’s Account, which reconstructs the journeys of the New World’s first explorer of color. It won the American Book Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Lalami’s follow-up, The Other Americans, centers around the mysterious death of a Moroccan immigrant in California. Equal parts family drama, murder mystery, and love story, The Other Americans was singled out by media as varied as the BBC and BuzzFeed as one of the most anticipated releases of 2019. Lalami’s new release, Conditional Citizens, is something of a departure. In this deeply personal exposé, the author uses her own unlikely immigration story as an entrée for explore the hot-button question: What does it mean to be American? One reviewer noted: “Probing, unflinching and fiercely intelligent, Conditional Citizens is a must-read for all of those who have stared, stunned, at the shifting terrain of our political landscape and wondered how we got here.”
Acclaimed journalist and climate advocate Dahr Jamail is the author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. Part travelogue and part research exposé, The End of Ice offers a sobering look at the “geographic front lines” – areas of the planet that are most immediately and visibly impacted by global warming. Front-line reporting is Jamail’s forte. He cut his teeth as a wartime correspondent in Iraq, as one of only a handful of so-called unembedded reporters to travel without military escort and report out for Western audiences after the 2003 invasion by American-led forces. In 2007, the Nader Trust for the Community Interest bestowed Jamail with the prestigious Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage, which “recognizes individuals who take a public stance to advocate truth and justice, at some personal risk.” Jamail’s pivot to climate issues stemmed from his personal passion for mountaineering, which affords “a stronger connection to nature…. something that Jamail says many people living in urban areas have lost or left behind” (Smithsonian).
Nancy Pearl is America’s Librarian. As the head of the Washington Center for the Book, she pioneered the groundbreaking “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book” series in the late 1990s. The Library of Congress now estimates that upwards of 400 “community read” programs take place every year, and each owes a debt to Pearl’s replicable template. Nancy Pearl is also an acknowledged expert in readers advisory, both within librarianship and outside of the field. Her bestselling, multi-installment Book Lust series is a testament to her uncanny ability to recommend a book “for every mood, moment and reason” – to paraphrase the subtitle. Library Journal named Pearl the Librarian of the Year in 2011. In a still more singular honor, she is also the inspiration and image behind the popular librarian action figure from Archie McPhee. Pearl’s newest release, The Writer’s Library, is an edited anthology showcasing how favorite books altered the lives of 23 chart-topping authors – including luminaries like Dave Eggers, Louise Erdrich, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Amor Towles.
Morgan Jerkins is the New York Times bestselling memoirist behind the popular 2018 essay collection This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America. Her anticipated follow-up, Wandering in Strange Lands, hit shelves August 4. Subtitled ‘A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots,’ Jerkins’ sophomore book is at once deeply personal and nationwide in its scope. Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as the Great Migration. In so doing, many became disconnected from their proud roots. As a means of rediscovering those national stories, Jerkins traced her own ancestors’ circuitous journey across the country – from Georgia and South Carolina, to Louisiana and Oklahoma, and all the way to California. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly lauded: “Jerkins’s careful research and revelatory conversations with historians, activists, and genealogists result in a disturbing yet ultimately empowering chronicle of the African-American experience.”
Brad Taylor is the pen behind the New York Times bestselling Pike Logan series. Now spanning fourteen installments, Taylor’s high-octane thrillers center around “the Taskforce” – a highly trained covert ops team answerable only to a select few at the highest rungs of government. Protagonist Pike Logan first burst onto the scene in 2011’s One Rough Man, which earned Taylor glowing comparisons to established heavyweights like Vince Flynn, Tom Clancy, and Brad Thor. Reviewers praised the believability of Taylor’s storylines and settings; and that authenticity has been hard won. Taylor served more than two decades in the U.S. Army, in both the Infantry and Special Forces divisions, including a stint with the clandestine Delta Force. His talents are on full display in Hunter Killer. Logan’s latest adventure finds the elite Taskforce, often the hunters, in the unfamiliar role of the hunted. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a surefire hit for those who like contemporary foreign affairs spiced heavily with page-turning action.”
Gish Jen is a second generation Chinese American, and a thoughtful chronicler of emigration, assimilation, and multiculturalism as they relate to the modern American experience. The Los Angeles Times said of her 1991 debut, Typical American: “Jen has done much more than tell an immigrant story… She has done it in some ways better than it has ever been done before.” Jen’s shrewd insights and sensitive prose are not confined to novels. Her fiction has appeared an impressive four times in the competitive Best American Short Stories anthology. Jen’s forays into nonfiction include The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Exploring the East-West Culture Gap and Tiger Writing, a semi-autobiographical examination of “self” in different cultural contexts. Jen’s eighth and latest book, The Resisters, offers something of a departure; it is set in a dystopian future ravaged by climate change. In a deeply divided society, baseball prodigy Gwen is plucked from the slums to represent North America in the newly reconstituted Olympic games. Gwen and this most innocuous of sports become an unexpected rallying point for disenfranchised social justice warriors.
Lara Prescott belongs to the small, exclusive club of authors who have had their work optioned for film. While this is an impressive accomplishment on the face of it, still fewer writers can claim to have reached this milestone before their first book even hit shelves! Prescott’s highly anticipated literary debut, The Secrets We Kept, premieres September 3. It tells the true story behind the writing and incendiary publication of the Cold War era novel Doctor Zhivago. Now a mainstay of the Russia’s literary canon, Doctor Zhivago is a tale of life and love set during the Russian Revolution. Penned by controversial Soviet national Boris Pasternak, the manuscript was smuggled to Italy in the 1950s. Prescott’s retelling is already receiving rave reviews. In a starred review, Booklist opined: “Spy stories offer high reader appeal, but Prescott’s debut far surpasses the typical genre fare…Through extensive research, Prescott artfully illuminates the CIA’s role in helping disseminate the Soviet-banned masterwork.” The Secrets We Kept will debut in a staggering 28 languages. A film treatment, helmed by Oscar-nominated producer of La La Land and Bridge of Spies, is now in the works.