Welcome to the
Mount Holyoke Club of New York City Bookclub!
How this works:
Each month's bookclub book is listed below. The available formats (hardcover, paperback, etc.) are listed below each book cover. To make a purchase, click on the format of the book you would like to buy. Use code MHC2021 to receive 10% off the physical book (not available for audiobooks and e-books).
If you have any questions, please feel free to call - 608.616.0025 - or or send an email - broche(at)riverdogbookco(dot)com. Thank you for supporting an MHC alum-owned independent bookstore!
January 2021 Book
Use code MHC2021 to receive 10% off the physical book
(not available for audiobooks and e-books).
About the book:
It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nour’s mother once knew is changing, and it isn’t long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nour’s house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety. As their journey becomes more and more challenging, Nour’s idea of home becomes a dream she struggles to remember and a hope she cannot live without.
More than eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya, sixteen and a widow’s daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune. Disguising herself as a boy named Rami, she becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the world. In his employ, Rawiya embarks on an epic journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where she encounters ferocious mythical beasts, epic battles, and real historical figures.
A deep immersion into the richly varied cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, The Map of Salt and Stars follows the journeys of Nour and Rawiya as they travel along identical paths across the region eight hundred years apart, braving the unknown beside their companions as they are pulled by the promise of reaching home at last.
River Dog Book Co. Review:
Scheherazade's The Thousand and One Nights meets Alan Gratz's Refugee in this important debut novel. A 12th century fable about an apprentice mapmaker is interwoven with a modern-day Syrian refugee searching for home, as the plot follows both girls through the Middle East, encountering tremendous dangers and immense acts of kindness. A must-read for teens and adults, this is an incredibly moving and lushly described story of family and friends, meaningful culture, changing landscapes, and universal hope.
There are parts that will make your heart stop and parts that will make it beat again. It's an incredible force, with the most vivid descriptions that made me long to see, smell, and taste everything described.
About the author:
Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of the novels The Map of Salt and Stars (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2018) and The Thirty Names of Night (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2020), a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI), and a member of American Mensa. His work has appeared in Salon, The Paris Review Daily, The Kenyon Review, The Saturday Evening Post, PANK Magazine, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. The Map of Salt and Stars, currently being translated into sixteen languages, was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction, was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, and received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and others. Joukhadar has received fellowships from the Montalvo Arts Center Lucas Artists Program, the Arab American National Museum, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Camargo Foundation, and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.