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Defector Reads A Book

Defector Reads A Book Is Going Long In September And October

Two boys read a book in the 1950s.
George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

Summer might be in denial right now, but the nights are indeed cooling and coziness is imminent. That had us looking for a big tome, one we could sit with for a good month and a half. So we are headed to the 18th century. Next up we’ll be reading Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a novel ahead of its time and possibly ours. Published between 1759 and 1767, this book is packed with weird tangents, blank pages, marbled pages, proto-stream-of-consciousness, squiggles, diagrams, and timeless goofs and gags. Tristram begins the book describing his failure to get born, and the dude only heats up from there.

We hope you’ll join us for this two-monther. To get a copy, try your local library, independent bookstore, or Bookshop.org. (There, you’ll also find a list of previous Defector Reads A Book selections and some other staff favorites.)

Then meet us here on Wednesday, November 2 to chat. We’ll be sure to send out a reminder in The Cipher, the daily newsletter that goes out to all Pal-and-up subscribers. Thank you all for the lively C.L.R. James discussion. Now let’s go figure out what the hell Laurence Sterne was getting up to.