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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 March selection of the Open Canon Book Club is The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar.

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The author of Bombay TimeIf Today Be Sweet, and The Weight of Heaven, Thrity Umrigar is as adept and compelling in The Space Between Us—vividly capturing the social struggles of modern India in a luminous, addictively readable novel of honor, tradition, class, gender, and family. A portrayal of two women discovering an emotional rapport as they struggle against the confines of a rigid caste system, Umrigar’s captivating second novel echoes the timeless intensity of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible—a quintessential triumph of modern literary fiction.

photo by Michael Cavotta

photo by Michael Cavotta

Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay TimeThe Space Between Us, If Today Be SweetThe Weight of HeavenThe World We Found and The Story Hour. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning.  Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.