The Open Canon Book Club

 
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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).

Georgia: A Cappella Books (Atlanta); The Book Tavern (Augusta).

Kentucky: Wild Figs Books & Coffee (Lexington); Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Lexington); Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Crestview Hills); Carmichael's Bookstore (Lexington).

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).

Ohio: Mac's Backs Books on Coventry (Cleveland); Joseph-Beth Booksellers (Cincinnati).

Oregon: Another Read Through (Portland).

Pennsylvania: Penguin Bookshop (Sewickly).

Rhode Island: Savoy Bookshop and Cafe (Westerly).

South Carolina: Hub City Bookshop (Spartanburg, SC); Fiction Addiction (Greenville); Bookends (North Myrtle Beach).

Texas: Book People (Austin); Blue Willow Bookshop (Houston).

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 business@booksamillion.com for discount info.) Members of the Millionaires Club are eligible for free shipping)..

The January selection of the Open Canon Book Club is Shelter by Jung Yun.

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In Shelter, Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family's future.

A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung wants so badly for his wife and son. His own childhood, however, was far from comfortable. As a child, he had every possible privilege--expensive hobbies, private tutors--but his parents never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he's compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung's proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: How can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child?

Shelter was a Finalist for the 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Good Reads Best Fiction Book of the Year, the Boston Authors Club's Julia Ward Howe Award, and long-listed for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. It was also an Indie Next selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover spring 2016 selection, an Amazon Best Books of March selection, an iBooks Best Books of March selection, and one of Google Play's Best Books of Spring. 

photo by Stephanie Craig

photo by Stephanie Craig

JUNG YUN was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. She studied at Vassar College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

Her work has appeared in Tin House (the “Emerging Voices” issue); The Best of Tin House: Stories; The Massachusetts Review; The Indiana Review; The Atlantic Monthly; and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the recipient of two Artist’s Grants in fiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; an honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize; and residential fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the National Humanities Center, the Ucross Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Currently, Jung lives in Baltimore with her husband and serves as an assistant professor of English at the George Washington University. 

Shelter is her first novel.