Club Book is proud to bring bestselling and award-winning authors to the Twin Cities, and we are dedicated to making these events accessible to all audiences. That is why we make podcasts of all our events available for free. Whether you missed the program, wish to hear it again, or want to share it with your friends, Club Book makes it easy to listen to podcasts. Enjoy!

Club Book Episode 141 Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is among a small cohort of “Indigenous novelists reshaping North American science fiction, horror, and fantasy – genres in which Native writers have long been overlooked” (The New York Times). Roanhorse’s speculative fiction, much of which is informed by her Navajo heritage, has earned the genre’s coveted Nebula, Hugo, Campbell, and Locus awards. Titles of note include Trail of Lightning and Storm of Locusts, the first two installments of The Sixth World young adult series. Roanhorse is also among a handful of writers invited to contribute to the perennially popular Star Wars expanded universe. Her bestselling Star Wars: Resistance Reborn is a canon prequel to the 2019 blockbuster film The Rise of Skywalker. Roanhorse’s latest is the critically acclaimed Between Earth and Sky trilogy. Inspired by the pre-Columbian civilizations of America, the series offers a page-turning blend of political intrigue, celestial prophecies, and forbidden magic. Booklist calls it “perfect for those who love George R. R. Martin’s series but crave more diverse worlds.” Fevered Star, the latest installment, hits shelves on April 19.

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Club Book Episode 140 Tia Williams

Tia Williams is a tour de force in the style industry. For more than two decades, she served as beauty editor for iconic magazines including Elle, Glamour, and Essence. She also pioneered the “beauty blog” with her influential, award-winning site Shake Your Beauty. Williams parlayed many of her first-hand experiences into The Accidental Diva (2001), her debut novel, which “accurately relates the joys and the pains of [working in] the beauty industry” (Booklist). Her follow-up, The Perfect Find, garnered Williams the African American Literary Award for Best Fiction and is currently being adapted into a romantic comedy starring and produced by Gabrielle Union. Williams’ latest novel, Seven Days in June, became an instant New York Times bestseller and gained a still wider audience as the Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick for June 2021. Seven Days in June tracks the star-crossed love story of Eva and Shane, two gifted writers with an undeniable chemistry but complicated personal history. As New York Magazine notes: “Williams creates an entire world around the new Black literati. It’s Black without apology, qualification, or race-related tragedy.”

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Club Book Episode 139 James Rollins

Few authors today boast the cross-genre appeal or international following of novelist James Rollins. Over the past three decades, Rollins has published standalone thrillers, the popular Jake Ransom middle grade series, and the novelization of the 2008 Steven Spielberg film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Rollins is equally adept at epic fantasy. Recent ventures include The Order of the Sanguines trilogy, co-authored with Rebecca Cantrell, and The Starless Crown, the first entry in his promising Moon Fall Saga. For many readers, however, Rollins is best known for the #1 New York Times bestselling Sigma Force series. Commissioned by the U.S. government, this elite corps explores and safeguards all manner of ‘anomalies’ with national security implications. The sixteenth installment, Kingdom of Bones, hits shelves in April. Deep in the Congo, an insidious phenomenon is leveling the evolutionary playing field by turning the lush biome cunning and predatory. As they race to prevent pending global catastrophe, the Sigmas – so often the hunters – find themselves in the unfamiliar role of prey.

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Club Book Episode 138 Jason Mott

Jason Mott is the pen behind Hell of a Book, winner of the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly described Mott’s modern masterpiece as “a cinematic novel that tackles what it means to live in a country where Black people live life under the hanging sword of fear.” In alternating and ultimately intertwined narratives, Hell of a Book follows the cross-country publicity junket of an eccentric novelist, and the tale of a young Black boy whose world is turned upside down by a heinous (but all-too-common) episode of police violence. In addition to the National Book Award laurel, Hell of a Book won the prestigious Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction and was selected by The Today Show for the popular #ReadWithJenna book club in July 2021. Mott’s prior novels include his 2013 debut The Returned. It served as the basis for the high-concept fantasy drama series Resurrection, produced by Brad Pitt for ABC Studios.

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Club Book Episode 137 Maggie Shipstead

Maggie Shipstead is the author behind Great Circle, one of the most anticipated, best reviewed, and bestselling fiction releases of 2021. Her modern masterpiece intertwines the stories of Marian Graves, an aviation daredevil patterned after Amelia Earhart, and a Hollywood ingenue who attempts to adapt Marian’s larger-than-life story for the big screen a century later. In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews raves: “Whether Shipstead is creating scenes in the Prohibition-era American West, in wartime London, or on a Hollywood movie set, her thorough research… allows for [a uniquely] immersive experience.” Great Circle is also shaped in part by the author’s globe-trekking work as a travel writer. The Today Show selected the novel as the May 2021 pick for the popular #ReadWithJenna book club, and the title put the author in contention for the hyper-competitive Booker Prize. Shipstead’s prior novels include her debut Seating Arrangements (2012), an uproarious satire about upper-crust New England society and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

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Club Book Episode 136 Julie Otsuka

Chart-topping novelist Julie Otsuka is the daughter of Japanese immigrants, and a poignant chronicler of the Japanese American experience across the first half of the twentieth century. Her breakout debut When the Emperor Was Divine (2003) shines light on California’s dehumanizing concentration camps for Japanese Americans – a shameful and often overlooked chapter of American history. It holds distinction as one of the most popular Community Reads titles in the country, and more than 45 colleges and universities have assigned it as required reading for incoming freshmen. Otsuka’s follow-up, Buddha in the Attic (2011), breathes life into the untold story of Japanese “picture brides” in the early 1900s. It garnered the PEN/Faulker Award, put Otsuka in contention for the National Book Award, and has since been translated into more than 20 languages. Her latest novel, The Swimmers, revisits the theme of American concentration camps – this time, through the fractured lenses of retrospection and memory loss. Booklist raves: “Once again, Otsuka has created an elegiac, devastating masterpiece.”

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Club Book Episode 135 Victoria Christopher Murray

Victoria Christopher Murray boasts more than 30 books to her credit – and is as versatile as she is prolific. Her writing runs the gamut from contemporary romance, to teen novels, to short story collections and even Christmas novellas. Over the course of her career to date, Murray has received an NAACP Image Award, the Phillis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for African American Fiction, and nine African American Literary Awards. Murray’s latest is her first foray into historical fiction. Co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, The Personal Librarian tells the story of banking magnate J.P. Morgan’s collection curator. Throughout Belle da Costa Greene’s distinguished career, her Black heritage made it difficult to navigate the racist and classist society of her patrons. NPR lauded: “Benedict, who is white, and Murray, who is African American, do a good job of depicting the tightrope Belle walked, and her internal conflict from both sides.”

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Club Book Episode 134 Brendan Slocumb

Brendan Slocumb is a classically trained violinist and accomplished music educator. During his own education at the University of Carolina Greensboro, Slocumb served as concertmaster for the University Symphony. Slocumb has since performed violin and guest conducted for renowned orchestras including the Washington Metropolitan Symphony. Over his two-decade teaching career, Slocumb has earned accolades including Teacher of the Year for his district, the Nobel Teacher of Distinction honorific, and a spot in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Slocumb’s much-anticipated debut novel, The Violin Conspiracy, takes place against a backdrop the author knows well: the fiercely competitive world of professional classical musicians. Intrepid protagonist Ray McMillian – who, like Slocumb, is a Black violinist from North Carolina – is shocked to discover that his family’s beat-up heirloom fiddle is in fact a priceless Stradivarius. Soon after this life-changing revelation, however, the rising star’s fortunes take a turn for the worse. Publishers Weekly calls The Violin Conspiracy: “A gripping debut… Slocumb sensitively portrays Ray’s resilience in the face of extreme racism.”

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Club Book Episode 133 Maggie O’Farrell

Internationally acclaimed British novelist Maggie O’Farrell is the author behind eight bestselling novels. Readers and critics alike praise her “demonstrated mastery at depicting strained relationships, skewed family loyalties, and the just reachable light at the end of the tunnel” (Star Tribune). Standouts include her Betty Trask Award winning debut After You’d Gone (2000), Somerset Maugham Award winning The Distance Between Us (2004), and Costa Novel Award winning The Hand That First Held Mine (2010). O’Farrell also penned a memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am (2018), about a series of near-death experiences that have punctuated and added new meaning to her life. Her latest entry into this literary canon is a work of historical fiction. Hamnet explores the domestic life of William Shakespeare and his wife Anne Hathaway, and how the untimely death of the couple’s only son may have inspired one of the bard’s greatest plays. “Hamnet vividly captures the life-changing intensity of maternity in its myriad stages—from the pain of childbirth to the unassuageable grief of loss” (NPR).

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Club Book Episode 132 Jane Smiley

Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley is “one of America’s most accomplished and wide-ranging writers” (Dallas Morning News). Her thirty books to date include two short story collections, two biographies, and eight books geared towards young readers. Her influential and admired novels include the Pulitzer Prize winning A Thousand Acres (1991), a modern retelling of King Lear. Smiley returned to the heartland in her The Last Hundred Years trilogy, which follows the fortunes and travails of an Iowa farm family over several generations. Smiley’s latest, Perestroika in Paris, offers fans something of a departure. In this instant bestseller, a spirited racehorse named Perestroika escapes her enclosure outside Paris and tries to make a new life for herself. In so doing, she befriends a street-smart dog named Frida, a pair of talkative ducks, and a curious boy named Etienne. The Los Angeles Times writes: “In an era beset by polarization, it feels like a gift to find a novel where characters of different species and different instincts come together to build a community.”

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