If you grew up with your walls plastered in posters of your favorite bands, scribbled lyrics all over your notebooks, and carried around a clunky CD player, we're guessing the next time your favorite band rolls into town, you may have a growing concern about the arch support your Vans will give and whether you’ll be home by 11pm. Well, dust off those Vans and join our book club featuring music-centric pieces spanning rock n roll, punk rock, and alternative movements. Don’t mistake us for another forgotten band from 2008, instead The TBR Stacks is actually just AJ and Daniel joining forces to revel in the history and stories of the music we grew up with all while checking another book off the to be read list.
This month we'll discuss Phuc Tran's memoir, Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, an irreverent, funny, and moving tale of displacement and assimilation woven together with poignant themes from beloved works of classic literature.
"The book powerfully explores themes of assimilation, racism, complex and abusive family dynamics, and the challenge of coming into one’s own. In other words, Sigh, Gone is like all great works of literature — it asks big questions, universal in their specificity." —LA Review of Books
“The United States was already a better country because Phuc Tran refused to change his name. Then he went even further in changing this country by giving us this bold, funny, and profane memoir: a portrait of a young punk refugee and of heartland America itself, each of them as defiant and compelling as the other.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of Pulitzer-Prize winning The Sympathizer and The Refugees
In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America along with his family. By sheer chance they land in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a small town where the Trans struggle to assimilate into their new life. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The Metamorphosis, The Scarlet Letter, The Iliad, and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents.
Appealing to fans of coming-of-age memoirs such as Fresh Off the Boat, Running with Scissors, or tales of assimilation like Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Displaced and The Refugees, Sigh, Gone explores one man’s bewildering experiences of abuse, racism, and tragedy and reveals redemption and connection in books and punk rock. Against the hairspray-and-synthesizer backdrop of the ‘80s, he finds solace and kinship in the wisdom of classic literature, and in the subculture of punk rock, he finds affirmation and echoes of his disaffection. In his journey for self-discovery Tran ultimately finds refuge and inspiration in the art that shapes—and ultimately saves—him.
Reserve your place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the book club meeting on any product in store.