Quarantine Book Club: "Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin
Monday evenings, 6 pm to 8 pm Pacific, June 5-June 26, 2023
In one of the boldest artistic moves of the 20th century, James Baldwin imagines his way into the mind of a blond, white, American male—and writes an entire novel from his point of view.
Giovanni's Room is set in Paris and in the south of France. It tells the story of a man trapped between someone he's met on his travels and a woman he's supposed to marry back home. It's full of memorable characters, suspenseful scenes, tragic twists, and brilliant writing.
It's got a love triangle, a murder mystery, brilliant visual metaphors, frank discussion of queerness, and an underlying message that absolutely skewers the arrogance of masculinity.
Over the four weeks of this club, you will learn the backstory of the novel's creation, and we will read it together, approximately 60 pages per week. Participation in discussions is entirely optional, but the conversations in these book clubs are so good, so funny, and so free-wheeling, you may be tempted to join in.
And if you miss any of the book-club meetings, no problem: recordings are sent to ticket-holders automatically.
We recommend you get this edition of Giovanni's Room so that you have the same page numbers as everyone else during discussions.
Christopher Frizzelle is the former editor-in-chief of The Stranger and the founder of Frizzlit, which produces the Quarantine Book Club and the Silent Reading Party. He has an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College.
If you would like to join this class but price is a barrier, sponsorship funds are available to help make it possible. Please apply here.
If you choose to pay $120 for this club, you are automatically making a $40 donation to the financial assistance fund. If you choose to pay $160 ticket, you are funding a full scholarship. Thank you for making this class accessible to people who would not be able to afford it on their own.
By Kathryn Rathke