Our first-ever monthly pick for Ballerina Book Club, hosted by American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Isabella Boylston, is “The City We Became,” by four-time Hugo Award-winning author N. K. Jemisin.
Ever feel like the city is a living, breathing person? In Jemisin’s world, it is.
As she writes in the book’s opening pages: “Great cities are like any other living things, being born and maturing and wearying and dying in their turn.”
Published earlier this year, the new novel from the beloved sci-fi and fantasy writer finds New York City in the process of being born — literally. But when the avatar that embodies the city falls into a coma, the boroughs come alive in their own human forms to help combat the powers that threaten to destroy everything.
“I’ve lived in the city for the past 15 years and have often felt the streets were alive,” Bella said when choosing this month’s book. “Jemisin’s brilliant idea to have avatars embody each of the boroughs made perfect sense to me, and it was a thrill to see these distinct aspects of the city personified on the page.”
To kick things off, you can read an excerpt from “The City We Became” here.
We will be releasing an interview with Jemisin about “The City We Became” (the first in the author’s “Great Cities” trilogy) on Aug. 20. And later this month, be sure to tune in for an Instagram Live wrap-up discussion with Bella on Aug. 26.
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Find a full schedule of what to expect and reading assignments below!
The Ballerina Book Club pick for August is N. K. Jemisin’s “The City We Became”
Note: The weekly Ballerina Book Club newsletter goes out on Thursdays. You can expect it in your inbox in the afternoon.
Aug. 6: The first Ballerina Book Club newsletter arrives and the reading begins.
This week, we’ll start with the prologue, plus the first six chapters. (Get a head-start by reading the prologue here.)
Aug. 13: Check your inbox for book questions and surprise book picks from a very special Ballerina Book Club friend.
The reading assignment is chapter seven through chapter 10.
Aug. 20: Our interview with N. K. Jemisin goes live and arrives in your inbox!
The final reading assignment is chapter 11 through the end of the book.
Aug. 26: Ready to discuss the book? Join Bella for our first book club chat about all things “The City We Became.” Readers will have a chance to submit questions ahead of time. More information to come!
Aug. 27: Watch out for the September Ballerina Book Club pick!
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Top Image: Left: "The City We Became," N. K. Jemisin. Photo: Hatchette Book Group. Right: Portrait of N. K. Jemisin. Photo: Laura Hanifin.