Join a book club that is reading Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma!

The Sit Down & Speak Up Book Club

The Sit Down & Speak Up Book Club meets in Eugene, Oregon.

Our group is comprised of curious, critical, and compassionate conversationalists, who relish reading and discussing their reading experiences, thoughts, and opinions openly and respectfully. 

Improvement of the human condition is of particular interest (progressivism, humanism, human rights, equal rights, gender equality, feminism, racial, social, economic, and environmental justice, etc.).

During book discussions, we simply sit down and speak up. And we listen up. Diverse and divergent thoughts, questions, and opinions are wanted and each voice is valued and heard.

The Sit Down & Speak Up Book Club offers choice and voice. Members recommend and choose books, and attend discussions whenever books pique their interest. Our only request is that members join in on discussions having read the book. 

Whoever shows up, sits down and speaks up.

Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK - NATIONAL BESTSELLER - A timely, passionate, provocative, blisteringly smart interrogation of how we make and experience art in the age of cancel culture, and of the link between genius and monstrosity. Can we love the work of controversial classic and contemporary artists but dislike the artist?

"A lively, personal exploration of how one might think about the art of those who do bad things" --Vanity Fair - "[Dederer] breaks new ground, making a complex cultural conversation feel brand new." --Ada Calhoun, author of Also a Poet

From the author of the New York Times best seller Poser and the acclaimed memoir Love and Trouble, Monsters is "part memoir, part treatise, and all treat" (The New York Times). This unflinching, deeply personal book expands on Claire Dederer's instantly viral Paris Review essay, "What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?"

Can we love the work of artists such as Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Miles Davis, Polanski, or Picasso? Should we? Dederer explores the audience's relationship with artists from Michael Jackson to Virginia Woolf, asking: How do we balance our undeniable sense of moral outrage with our equally undeniable love of the work? Is male monstrosity the same as female monstrosity? And if an artist is also a mother, does one identity inexorably, and fatally, interrupt the other? In a more troubling vein, she wonders if an artist needs to be a monster in order to create something great. Does genius deserve special dispensation? Does art have a mandate to depict the darker elements of the psyche? And what happens if the artist stares too long into the abyss?

Highly topical, morally wise, honest to the core, Monsters is certain to incite a conversation about whether and how we can separate artists from their art.

"Monsters leaves us with Dederer's passionate commitment to the artists whose work most matters to her, and a framework to address these questions about the artists who matter most to us." --The Washington Post

A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Vulture, Elle, Esquire, Kirkus
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288 pages

Average rating: 6.29




Community Reviews

Feb 26, 2024
7/10 stars
Ultimately the question is what do we do about the monsters we love? We can still love terrible people. I was hoping for some kind of chart or directions about how to deal with art made my bad people, but the essays are more memoir, delving into so many variants on the themes of bad people doing art and how our own selves dictates how we respond or react. The audience and the artist. There was no objective way, it’s always personal. I read it on the plane from Phoenix to Honolulu 
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