Mayor's Book Club Titles Announced

Citywide reading campaign honors two National Book Award finalists

The key to a successful book club – we've heard – is the perfect balance of participants. You need brainy, bookish folks who are likeminded enough to agree on selections but outspoken and confident enough to engender productive discussion.

If the sum total of Austin's residents doesn't embody that description, we don't know who would.

Every year, the Austin mayor picks two books for a citywide book club, co-sponsored by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and the Austin Public Library. "The Mayor's Book Club is an occasion for readers across Austin to take part in a meaningful discussion sparked by literature," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said in a press release today.

This year, his selections are two finalists for the National Book Award: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. The authors will come to town later this year – Powers in the spring and Fountain in the fall – to encourage Austinites to explore their thoughts on the author's respective book.

And this year, they'll probably have a lot to say: Both books are about war.

The Yellow Birds, Powers' first novel, takes readers to the frontlines in Iraq and inside the minds of soldiers both before battle and after returning home, with all the isolation that entails. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk follows soldiers who've been heralded as heroes back home as one in particular struggles with the celebration he's been thrust into.

Leffingwell said: "As a veteran, I'm particularly pleased about our book selections this year. The two novels chosen shed light on a political reality we often overlook – that war has become part of the American landscape, and we often forget the havoc it wreaks on soldiers and families. I'm proud to invite Austinites into our libraries to experience these powerful stories and join this important conversation."

So what're you waiting for? Get reading.


Kevin Powers will speak with readers at the Austin History Center on Tuesday, April 30, at 11:30am. Ben Fountain will be at Faulk Central Library Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2pm. Stay tuned for more on other Mayor's Book Club events, including writing workshops and educational outreach.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Mayor's Book Club
Mayor's Book Club Says:
Mayor's Book Club Says: "Read Local"
The 2020 choice? Three dozen books, all by Austin authors

Robert Faires, July 2, 2020

Mohsin Hamid Speaks to Mayor's Book Club
Mohsin Hamid Speaks to Mayor's Book Club
Author fills Central Library for talk about his Exit West

Sumaiya Malik, April 16, 2018

More by Monica Riese
A Paramount Slate
A Paramount Slate
Paramount and Stateside programming heats up

April 3, 2014

Board Games and More
Board Games and More
Announcements from the Austin Film Society

April 2, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Mayor's Book Club, The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers, Lee Leffingwell, Austin Public Library, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle