Not Book Club Material

Not Book Club Material

By Aaron Zevy

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Not Book Club Material

"Your book," she said in her completely honest and unfiltered style, "is not book club material."

So begins Aaron Zevy's new story collection. Stories, memoirs and vignettes which are funny, often poignant, and sometimes thought provoking.

And while Aaron Zevy's new book "Not Book Club Material" may not fit with the traditional book club offerings, you will be hard pressed to find a more amusing, self-deprecating narrator, eccentric cast of characters, or surreal, meta tales that blur the line between fact and fiction, for your book club.

Even if you are the only member.

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Please find below a 3-story sample from the collection.


From Publisher’s Weekly BookLife

"Wry, self-deprecating humor is the highlight of this delightful collection of drawn-from-life short fictions, the third from Canadian Zevy (The Bubbe Meise and Other Stories). With prose and a warm, incisive comic spirit reminiscent of the likes of Arthur Bradford or Ruskin Bond, Zevy's vivid vignettes find inspiration in people the author meets during the course of his days, everyday activities like going for a walk or meeting friends for a meal, or discussing rejection slips at Starbucks. But behind these quotidian happenings and their hilarious descriptions, these stories also gently illuminate human foibles and follies.

From Kirkus Reviews

A collection offers short stories that blend truth and fiction.

In a prefatory note, Zevy warns readers of his tendency toward literary embellishment, the untidy merger of remembrance and invention, resulting in tales “of both imagination and lived experiences mixed together to delight and entertain.” Sometimes, a flight of fancy is obvious—for example, in two stories the Angel of Death is a principal character, described in a gamesomely comic manner that typifies the author’s style throughout this volume: “He has the requisite goatee and a cowlick which looks like it is held down by gel. He is wearing khakis and a button-down shirt. If I didn’t know he was the Angel of Death I would have guessed he was an assistant manager at Whole Foods.” When the Angel of Death unexpectedly shows up for dinner and allows the narrator to resurrect someone, the man randomly blurts out the name of Italo Svevo, the Italian novelist. Zevy’s signature devices are the hazy amalgamation of fact and fantasy and the disruption of the quotidian by the jocosely absurd. The author discusses bird-watching, the life of a germaphobe before the pandemic, stamp collecting, and food—he’s at his best proving that the extraordinary exists within the ordinary. Readers will be drawn into these largely brief vignettes, and the line of demarcation between the real and the imagined will cease to matter. In fact, the audience will learn to embrace the messy mixture.

From Blue Ink Reviews

"Author Aaron Zevy is back with another boisterous collection of short stories guaranteed to delight and entertain.

Zevy and his zany collection of friends and relatives from previous books return to act as the author's foils in his predicaments and self-deprecating stories. The author deftly conjures tall tales, perhaps based on reality — or not. The laugh-out-loud quality of his work makes fact or fiction irrelevant."

From California Bookwatch

"Not Book Club Material is a memoir packed with wry humor, mouth-watering revelations, and insights that are candid, thought-provoking, and fun all in one. The introduction to this collection captures all these facets in a few succinct lines: "Before my first collection came out, I toyed with the notion of adding a recipe section in the middle of the book because many of the stories were about the Egyptian Jewish food I was raised on. Books, especially self-published story collections by completely unknown former powder paint salesmen are, as it turns out, surprisingly hard to market and I thought the recipes might be a compelling hook. One July morning, over a breakfast of scrambled eggs at the cottage, I made the mistake of casually suggesting it might be of interest for book clubs. I actually thought it was a pretty good idea. This led my sister-in-law to utter the sentence which became the family's favorite line in the summer of 2020. "Your book," she said in her completely honest and unfiltered style, "is not book club material."

Thus, the title was born...and a rollicking ride through a life that introduces (and quickly answers) the question of what makes a good book club read and that book clubs…

Above all, enjoy vivid, thought-provoking material. Ironically, Not Book Club Material's stories represent these very things, and it would be a shame if book clubs judged the title by the size of its tales. Here lies bright, sparkling jewels of insight and experience in fun mix of reality and fantasy that features a host of characters and dilemmas and more than light references to food.

The delightful family stories usually conclude with ironic twists. Each stand-alone piece adds to the strength of the collection as a whole, providing enticing tidbits of facts and whimsy to delight the heart and mind like sugar on the tongue.

Perhaps now, more than ever, there is an exceptional need for the laughter, fun, and family reflections of the stories in Not Book Club Material. And these facets make for, ironically, perfect book club material indeed as readers navigate the Jewish culture, Egyptian heritage, and observations of food, love, and learning that permeate this collection.

Jewish, literary, and general-interest humor and memoir readers who delight stories of in food and family will all find Not Book Club Material a major attraction. And, yes, book clubs interested in any of these subjects should put it high on their reading lists."