CLICK HERE for quick access to the materials for the 2016-17 Speculative Fiction Genre Study.
The website now features UNRESTRICTED access, including notes from our meetings; however, in order to attend the meetings in person, you must be a member of ARRT. Click here for information about how you can join.


I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Discussion Report: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union for ARRT

Okay before I get to the report of the latest book discussion and announce the next one, as you can see we got a NEW LOGO!

We loved how well our branding was going with the newer ARRT Logo that we thought we should also brand our 2 main programs-- the Book Club Study and the Genre Study. While these programs require that you be a member of ARRT to attend in person, for both studies we offer the notes for free.  With more and more of you using them around the world to help train your staff, we figured we should give each a unique logo to help identify them, but still firmly root them within the confines of the ARRT main logo. [Below and to the right]

I will unveil the Genre Study logo when those notes are ready. Although if you can’t wait, click here.

Also, as I mentioned here, today I met with Elizabeth and started handing over the administrative duties of the Book Club Study to her. We began with her updating the website. It felt good to start passing the baton for all the reasons I mentioned here. I promised Elizabeth I would continue to help her over the next year, but I am already feeling good about leaving her in the lead position. She will be great. Now to find who will supplant me as #2.

Okay now to the info you are actually reading for...

On May 3, the ARRT Book Club Study met to discuss The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon.
CLICK HERE for the notes on the discussion of the book.

As always, discussion of the book included a nuts-and-bolts session devoted to sharing practical solutions to the problems and concerns of book discussion leaders.

The Leadership Topic, led by Bill Stephens, was about how to both recruit new members and retain old ones. 

CLICK HERE for the notes on the Leadership Topic Discussion.

That’s the discussion that was. Both were excellent. For the book discussion part, it was amazing how relevant Chabon’s 2007 title still was. And, kudos to Bill for handling what he called “the impossible question.” He inspired a very helpful discussion on this tricky and frustrating topic. Use the links above for all the details.

Moving on:

Please join us for a discussion of Dream Land: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones led by Melissa Stoeger:

In fascinating detail, Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin—the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin—to the veins of people across the United States. Communities where heroin had never been seen before—from Charlotte, NC and Huntington, WVA, to Salt Lake City and Portland, OR—were overrun with it. Local police and residents were stunned. How could heroin, long considered a drug found only in the dense, urban environments along the East Coast, and trafficked into the United States by enormous Colombian drug cartels, be so incredibly ubiquitous in the American heartland? Who was bringing it here, and perhaps more importantly, why were so many townspeople suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered? 
With the same dramatic drive of El Narco and Methland, Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of American capitalism: The stories of young men in Mexico, independent of the drug cartels, in search of their own American Dream via the fast and enormous profits of trafficking cheap black-tar heroin to America’s rural and suburban addicts; and that of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut, determined to corner the market on pain with its new and expensive miracle drug, Oxycontin; extremely addictive in its own right. Quinones illuminates just how these two stories fit together as cause and effect: hooked on costly Oxycontin, American addicts were lured to much cheaper black tar heroin and its powerful and dangerous long-lasting high. Embroiled alongside the suppliers and buyers are DEA agents, local, small-town sheriffs, and the US attorney from eastern Virginia whose case against Purdue Pharma and Oxycontin made him an enemy of the Bush-era Justice Department, ultimately stalling and destroying his career in public service.

Dreamland is a scathing and incendiary account of drug culture and addiction spreading to every part of the American landscape. 

Dreamland is a scathing and incendiary account of drug culture and addiction spreading to every part of the American landscape. 

The discussion will be held:
Monday, August 7th
2-4 pm
For RSVP details, click here

Please arrange to obtain your own copy of the book for the discussion

As always, discussion of the book includes a nuts-and-bolts session devoted to sharing practical solutions to the problems and concerns of book discussion leaders.

The Leadership Topic, led by Elizabeth Hopkins, will be about how to discuss Nonfiction titles. Please come ready to share your successes and failures in this area so we can all help each other. Also, remember that you can always bring any problems or concerns you have with your group, no matter the topic, so we can all help each other.

Full details on this up coming discussion as well as the archives of notes on past discussions are on the Book Club Study homepage. You can also visit the Book Club Study section of the ARRT website to access our Pinterest board of every book we have ever discussed.

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