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Welcome to the AGEIST Book Club, a carefully curated and considered monthly selection of titles from our editors, ranging from familiar names that may stimulate the desire for a second look, mixed with some fresh names to help sharpen our book smarts. In collaboration with Early Bird Books.

We have included a comments section, where all of us wanna-be literary aficionados can give license to our inner book critic. Give us your raves and rants. How did you feel about the plot lines? The languaging? The character development? Looking forward to seeing you in the conversations.

This Month

First published in 1979, Joan Didion’s The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s.

Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era–including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall–through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written with a commanding sureness of tone and linguistic precision, The White Album is a central text of American reportage and a classic of American autobiography.

The inspiration for The Durrells in Corfu, a Masterpiece production on public television: A naturalist’s account of his childhood on the exotic Greek island.

When the Durrells could no longer endure the gray English climate, they did what any sensible family would do: sold their house and relocated to the sun-soaked island of Corfu.

As they settled into their new home, hilarious mishaps ensued as a ten-year-old Gerald Durrell pursued his interest in natural history and explored the island’s fauna. Soon, toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies—as well as scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, praying mantises, octopuses, pigeons, and gulls—became a common sight in the Durrell villa.

Uproarious tales of the island’s animals and Durrell’s fond reflections on his family bring this delightful memoir to life. Capturing the joyous chaos of growing up in an unconventional household, My Family and Other Animals will transport you to a place you won’t want to leave.

Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere.

The incredible true story of one woman’s solo adventure across the Australian outback, accompanied by her faithful dog and four unpredictable camels.

I arrived in the Alice at five a.m. with a dog, six dollars and a small suitcase full of inappropriate clothes. . . . There are some moments in life that are like pivots around which your existence turns.

For Robyn Davidson, one of these moments comes at age twenty-seven in Alice Springs, a dodgy town at the frontier of the vast Australian desert. Davidson is intent on walking the 1,700 miles of desolate landscape between Alice Springs and the Indian Ocean, a personal pilgrimage with her dog—and four camels. Tracks is the beautifully written, compelling true story of the author’s journey and the love/hate relationships she develops along the way: with the Red Centre of Australia; with aboriginal culture; with a handsome photographer; and especially with her lovable and cranky camels, Bub, Dookie, Goliath, and Zeleika.

Adapted into a critically acclaimed film starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver, Tracks is an unforgettable story that proves that anything is possible. Perfect for fans of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.

Spill The Tea

2 COMMENTS

  1. I first heard of The Master and Margarita from of all people, Flea, the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who is a massive reader. This is his all time favorite book. Then I saw that Patti Smith was another big fan of it. Of al the books I have read in the last few years, this is one of the most unusual and most memorable.

  2. Rarely does a writer change the way, language is used, and that is what Joan Didion does. Often imitated, but no one is one par with her. The White album is about her time in the 60s and 70s California, the “home of the natural disaster”. Fun fact- our cover star Cynthia Adler, no creative slouch herself, was working at Vogue in the 50s as a writer when Joan came in, and boom, the job was over. If one is going to lose one’s writing gig, losing to Joan Didion is not so bad. The White Album is filled with the memory searing stories from Didion observations of her home state.

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