What could be chaster than people gathering to enjoy light refreshments and discuss a book they’ve read? Surely, there can be nothing sinister about that. Nothing obscene. Nothing carnal.
Meet the accused: Andy Wang, one of Glad Day Bookshop’s myriad owners. At first glance, his motivations for organizing the store’s new book club appear noble. “We want to promote certain authors and to encourage reading,” he says. “If we can build more of a reading culture, it will lead to the survival of the book store as a resource for the community.”
The aptly named Glad Day Book Club will meet the second Tuesday of each month. “We’ll read books that reflect the community’s diversity,” Wang says. “We’ve chosen one or two books to start, and we’ll see what people who come to the club want to read.”
Sure, Andy, sure. Anything to make them think it’s not about your unsettling lust for books — a lust so keen you’d even facilitate a book club in order to get your fix. Oh the things people would think if they knew that most nights you can be found curled up somewhere, indulging your unseemly appetite: going at a book with a passion fit to break the spine.
But some unwitting souls will come, and for the first meeting they’ll be ready to discuss Staceyann Chin’s The Other Side of Paradise. The memoir talks about Chin’s growing up in Jamaica, her absentee parents and coming out as lesbian, providing a rare perspective on Jamaica’s queer culture.
The verdict on Wang: guilty. Ideas will be exchanged, passages will be quoted, crackers will be munched. But make no mistake: through Wang’s machinations once each month, the store’s third floor will transform into a filthy den of literary hedonism. What he gets up to with a hardcover is not for the fainthearted.