A Closer Look Book Club Archived Reading List

Each year, A Closer Look Book Club reads books based upon a chosen theme. The following is an archived list of the themes and works we have discussed.


The Book Club read a wide range of translated narratives in response to a growing awareness throughout the university and publishing communities of the importance and necessity of translating literary works into English.

The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector, translated by Benjamin Moser

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis

Inferno by Dante Alighieri, translated by Mary Jo Bang

Almost Never by Daniel Sada, translated by Katherine Silver

Molloy by Samuel Beckett, translated from the original French by Samuel Beckett and Patrick Bowles

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel


The Book Club read works that explored the themes of revolution, apocalypse, regeneration, and rebirth. The varied reading list included works that were satiric and poetic, furious and amused, violent and beautiful. These important works of fiction provided opportunities to consider the many endings and beginnings currently taking place all over the world.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Genesis by Eduardo Galeano

Pastoralia by George Saunders

Fools of Fortune by William Trevor

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko


In celebration of the Poetry Center’s fiftieth anniversary, the Book Club read great American novels written contemporaneously with the Poetry Center’s first half century. We read one novel from each decade, beginning with 1960—the year the Poetry Center was founded.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac (we deviated slightly from our “decade” rule by including this influential, controversial work, published in 1957)

them by Joyce Carol Oates

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

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