The Bureau Book Club is a home for freewheeling discussion about the books and the issues that captivate us. Inspired by the conversations that break out after so many of the Bureau’s more formal events, we’ll have a one-hour session each month about a different work of fiction or non-fiction. Buy the book from the Bureau and get a 10% discount. We know you have busy lives: if you can’t finish the whole book, why not come and talk about the parts you’ve read? Just come prepared with a favorite quote.
Bureau Book Club #4 will be moderated by Ben Miller and Ben González.
Winner of the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction!
Benjamin Alire Sáenz‘s stories reveal how all borders—real, imagined, sexual, human, the line between dark and light, addict and straight—entangle those who live on either side. Take, for instance, the Kentucky Club on Avenida Juárez two blocks south of the Rio Grande. It’s a touchstone for each of Sáenz’s stories. His characters walk by, they might go in for a drink or to score, or they might just stay there for a while and let their story be told. Sáenz knows that the Kentucky Club, like special watering holes in all cities, is the contrary to borders. It welcomes Spanish and English, Mexicans and gringos, poor and rich, gay and straight, drug addicts and drunks, laughter and sadness, and even despair. It’s a place of rich history and good drinks and cold beer and a long polished mahogany bar. Some days it smells like piss. “I’m going home to the other side.” That’s a strange statement, but you hear it all the time at the Kentucky Club.
Ben Miller is a Brooklyn-based writer. Current projects include award-winning biographical research on early gay activist Harry Hay that has taken him to archives in California and conferences from Pennsylvania to New Mexico, an adaptation of an early Mozart libretto for performance at Carnegie Hall, serving as dramaturg for Circuit Theatre Company’s production of The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, and new short fiction influenced by his historical research. His teachers in history and writing have included Linda Gordon, K. Kevyne Baar, Marcelle Clements, and Jonathan Safran Foer. Ben is the winner of New York University’s Bessie and Louis Levy Prize for Excellence in American History, and was named Steffi Berne Research Scholar in the Humanities by the same institution. He is a co-founder of Squid Ink Magazine (launching soon), works as Web Associate at the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and serves on the communications committee of the New York City LGBT Anti-Violence Project. He tweets @benwritesthings.