Rowboat Book Club #93

This month we will be reading 2 books. It’s an Either/Or. You get to pick which one you want.

The first option is:

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

Or

Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump

by Michael Cohen

The Inside Story of the Real President Trump, by His Former Attorney And Personal Advisor—The Man Who Helped Get Him Into the Oval Office
Once Donald Trump’s fiercest surrogate, closest confidant, and staunchest defender, Michael Cohen knows where the skeletons are buried.

This is the most devastating business and political horror story of the century. As Trump’s lawyer and “fixer,” Cohen not only witnessed firsthand, but was also an active participant in the inner workings of Trump’s business empire, political campaign, and presidential administration.

This is a story that you have not read in newspapers, or on social media, or watched on television. These are accounts that only someone who worked for Trump around the clock for over a decade—not a few months or even a couple of years—could know. Cohen describes Trump’s racist rants against President Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, and Black and Hispanic people in general, as well as the cruelty, humiliation, and abuse he leveled at family and staff. Whether he’s exposing the fact that Trump engaged in tax fraud by inflating his wealth or election fraud by rigging polls, or outing Trump’s Neanderthal views towards women or his hush-money payments to clandestine lovers, Cohen pulls no punches.

He show’s Trump’s relentless willingness to lie, exaggerate, mislead, or manipulate. Trump emerges as a man without a soul—a man who courts evangelicals and then trashes them, panders to the common man, but then rips off small business owners, a con-man who will do or say absolutely anything to win, regardless of the cost to his family, his associates, or his country.

At the heart of Disloyal, we see how Cohen came under the spell of his charismatic Boss and, as a result, lost all sense of his moral compass.

The real real Donald Trump who permeates these pages—the racist, sexist, homophobic, lying, cheating President—will be discussed, written about, and analyzed for years to come.