Next American City Starts a Book Club

Next American City Starts a Book Club

Credit: “More Books” by Mickey Smith

Next American City receives dozens of review copies of books every year. Books that we’d love to review, but don’t have the time to give their due. Personally, I’ve got three review copies in my bag at the moment — Randal O’Toole’s American Nightmare, Scott Martelle’s Detroit: A Biography and David Harvey’s Rebel Cities. There are many more on the NAC coffee table that haven’t yet been cracked. And yet NAC recognizes that books are so crucial to our understanding of cities and urban policy issues. This year, well-reviewed books like Triumph of the City and The Rent is Too Damn High have driven conversation, but we know that many more aren’t getting the attention they need, simply because they’re published by little-known academics or small presses.

And so, Next American City wants to start a book club to celebrate the best, most provocative, most relevant and most exciting books in urban affairs. And more than that, we want to hear what you all think about these books, and share in a discussion about them with you.

But before we do that, we need to find someone who will serve as our book club curator. If you love reading about urban affairs, can synthesize a book’s key points into compelling blog posts and are interested in chatting about them in an online forum, you should consider applying for this gig. From the dozens of books the curator will receive gratis, and the many more s/he will seek out in order to find the best reading material for the book club, the curator will select one book each month, write two blog posts about it and engage the NAC community in discussion about the book. In return, the curator will get a whole lot of glory, a spot on our About Us page and a little bit of money (operative word being “little”).

Interested readers should send me an email with a paragraph explaining why you’re interested in being the curator, links to two writing samples and a paragraph about the best urban affairs book you read recently and a book that hasn’t yet been published but that you’re looking forward to reading (this will test your ability to scan Amazon and publisher catalogues for interesting reads). All things being equal, those people who have already subscribed to Forefront will get a leg up (since we figure you’re familiar with our style and interests).

We can’t wait to get this underway, so we’ll review applications on a rolling basis until May 21. Meanwhile, use the comments space below to suggest books new old and forthcoming, for the book club.

Diana Lind is the former executive director and editor in chief of Next City.

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