We live in a time when appealing to and listening to the diversity of America's voices are more important than ever. The goal of the Open Canon Book Club is to introduce readers to voices and portrayals of the American experience they may not have otherwise encountered in their day-to-day lives, their education, or their book club meetings. Literary diversity plays a vital role in making us understood to one another, and this hope of understanding is the hinge upon which our democracy swings.
As to the name of the Open Canon Book Club, below are a few definitions from Merriam-Webster that are particularly apt:
Open: not restricted to a particular group or category of participants; exposed to general view or knowledge; having no enclosing or confining barrier.
Canon: a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works; a criterion or standard of judgment; a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms.
For each month's selection of the Open Canon Book Club I will post discussion questions here and across my social media accounts, and I will also host live book club discussions online and in independent bookstores. The authors of each month's selection will be invited to participate in any and every way that interests them. I will also post and share relevant documentaries, essays, websites, and blogs that will enrich the experience of reading and discussing the month's selection.
I'm thrilled to announce that bookstores across the country are willing to extend their book club discounts, between 10-20%, to members of the Open Canon Book Club. Please see below for a list of bookstores, and make sure to join the Open Canon Book Club to get the tagline that will unlock these bookseller discounts.
Bookstores Participating in the Open Canon Book Club Discount:
Alabama: Page & Palette (Fairhope).
Connecticut: Bank Square Books (Mystic).
Louisiana: Octavia Books (New Orleans).
Mississippi: Square Books (Oxford).
Missouri: Left Bank Books (St. Louis).
New York: Books Are Magic (Brooklyn).
North Carolina: Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe (Asheville); Foggy Pine Books (Boone); Page 158 Books (Wake Forest); Scuppernong Books (Greensboro); Park Road Books (Charlotte); Bookmarks (Winston-Salem); Flyleaf Books (Chapel Hill); Regulator Bookshop (Durham); Two Sisters Bookery; Athenian House; Pomegranate Books (Wilmington); Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh); Country Bookshop (Southern Pines); Quarter Moon Books (Topsail Island); Main Street Books (Davidson); McIntyre's Books (Pittsboro); City Lights Bookstore (Sylva); Blue Ridge Books (Waynesville); Highland Books (Brevard).
Oregon: Another Read Through (Portland).
Pennsylvania: Penguin Bookshop (Sewickly).
Rhode Island: Savoy Bookshop and Cafe (Westerly).
Utah: The King's English Bookshop (Salt Lake City).
Virginia: One More Page (Arlington).
West Virginia: Four Seasons Books (Shepherdstown).
National: Books-A-Million (email firstname.lastname@example.org for discount info.) Members of the Millionaires Club are eligible for free shipping)..
The December selection of the Open Canon Book Club is The Girls of Usually by Lori Horvitz.
Lori Horvitz grew up ashamed of her Eastern European Jewish roots, confused about her sexuality, and idolizing the "shiksa in her living room," a blonde all-American girl whose photo came in a double frame and was displayed next to a family photo from a bar mitzvah. Unable to join the "happy blonde families," she becomes a "hippie chick" who travels the world in search of … something. The Girls of Usually chronicles each trip, each romance, each experiment in reinventing herself that draws her closer to discovering the secret door through which she can escape from deep-rooted patterns and accept her own cultural, ethnic, and sexual identity.
"In the back of my underwear drawer, I left notes for myself: By the time you read this, you'll be happier and have bigger breasts! But for now, I practiced magic routines in front of my pocket poodle, Sunshine, the only family member I could hold and hug." - Lori Horvitz, The Girls of Usually
Lori Horvitz has written short stories, poetry and personal essays that appear in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Chattahoochee Review, St. Ann’s Review, South Dakota Review, Southeast Review, The Monarch Review, Hotel Amerika, Thirteenth Moon, Tusculum Review, The Chariton Review and Quarter After Eight. Her essays have been included in two Seal Press anthologies: P.S.: What I Didn't Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends and Dear John, I’m in Love With Jane. In her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, she has organized and participated in many literary readings at local venues, including UNC Asheville, The Flood Gallery, Malaprop's, The Mothlight and The Black Mountain College Museum. She has been awarded writing fellowships from Fundación Valparaiso, The Ragdale Foundation, Yaddo, Cottages at Hedgebrook, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Blue Mountain Center. Horvitz is Professor of Literature and Language at University of North Carolina at Asheville, where she teaches courses in creative writing, literature, and women, gender and sexuality studies.