HavIf you don’t know about it already, there is a GoodReads group dedicated to NYRB Classics (see here). I’m a moderator, and I’ve done a lot of work to ensure there is a thread dedicated to each and every book, and I continue to work to keep track of forthcoming releases (see my list here).

The most active portion of the group, though is the book club. Members select a book each month and then discuss it. Sometimes there is a lot of discussion, and sometimes things dry up, as tends to be the case with these things. I know that we’d love to have more interested readers come aboard and share their thoughts and engage with the books!

This month, the group is reading Jan Morris’s Hav. Here is the main thread, and here is the NYRB Classics blurb:

Hav is like no place on earth. Rumored to be the site of Troy, captured during the crusades and recaptured by Saladin, visited by Tolstoy, Hitler, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana, this Mediterranean city-state is home to several architectural marvels and an annual rooftop race that is a feat of athleticism and insanity. As Jan Morris guides us through the corridors and quarters of Hav, we hear the mingling of Italian, Russian, and Arabic in its markets, delight in its famous snow raspberries, and meet the denizens of its casinos and cafés.

When Morris published Last Letters from Hav in 1985, it was short-listed for the Booker Prize. Here it is joined by Hav of the Myrmidons, a sequel that brings the story up-to-date. Twenty-first-century Hav is nearly unrecognizable. Sanitized and monetized, it is ruled by a group of fanatics who have rewritten its history to reflect their own blinkered view of the past.

Morris’s only novel is dazzlingly sui-generis, part erudite travel memoir, part speculative fiction, part cautionary political tale. It transports the reader to an extraordinary place that never was, but could well be.

Come, interact, enjoy some good books with some good company! We don’t know what next month’s book will be, but I’ll do my best to keep folks here in the know.

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