In case you haven’t heard, the city’s collective book club is back and reading The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel. She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000 for her collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies.
City librarian Deborah Jacobs was on hand earlier this week to give City Council their copies and drum up interest. “The novel explores the universal theme of the immigrant experience and how it varies for first and second generations and for the couple,” she said.
There were nods and smiles all around, but only Council member Richard Conlin committed. He announced that his book club has already voted to read it.
Council president Nick Licata wanted to know how the book was chosen, but Jacobs was cagey. “A group of librarians and independent booksellers decide,” she said.
“That must be an interesting discussion,” said Licata.
If there’s internal politics and arm-twisting involved, Jacobs wasn’t going to let on. She jumped to the history: Seattle was the first city to try the group-thing in 1998 and the idea is now being copied in more than 500 cities and towns.
“Who knew?” she said. “At the time we wondered if anyone would come, if anyone would read it. Now it’s exploded.”
Better get busy. City-wide events start next month.
…Or, for the underachievers, transplants, what-have-you, cheat and see the movie.