An exclusive book club moderated by LARB's Editor-in-Chief Tom Lutz

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Tom Lutz handpicks four books a year and conducts an exclusive book club with LARB members. Books are shipped to your door in advance. The book club meeting is held on Facebook, and all members are sent an exclusive interview between Tom and the author, either by video or audio stream.

For questions about Tom’s Book Club, email us at membership@lareviewofbooks.org.

Our Next Book Club

THE ART OF STILLNESS by Pico Iyer

“Going nowhere isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.”

For the sixth installment of Tom's Book Club, Tom Lutz, founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, has chosen Pico Iyer's The Art of Stillness (Simon & Schuster/TED November 2014). "An unexpected truth from a celebrated travel writer: Stillness just might be the ultimate adventure. Pico Iyer reveals how stillness can act as a creative catalyst, and advocates for a way of living that counters the frenetic design of our modern lives."

We will begin our Facebook discussion group on Monday, March 9. If you have questions or comments for Pico, please post them there. Become a Tom's Book Club member by March 1 to receive your copy of the book.

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About the Book

A follow up to Pico Iyer’s essay “The Joy of Quiet,” The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counterintuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.

Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still

In The Art of Stillness—a TED Books release—Iyer investigate the lives of people who have made a life seeking stillness: from Matthieu Ricard, a Frenchman with a PhD in molecular biology who left a promising scientific career to become a Tibetan monk, to revered singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who traded the pleasures of the senses for several years of living the near-silent life of meditation as a Zen monk. Iyer also draws on his own experiences as a travel writer to explore why advances in technology are making us more likely to retreat. He reflects that this is perhaps the reason why many people—even those with no religious commitment—seem to be turning to yoga, or meditation, or seeking silent retreats. These aren't New Age fads so much as ways to rediscover the wisdom of an earlier age. Growing trends like observing an “Internet Sabbath”—turning off online connections from Friday night to Monday morning—highlight how increasingly desperate many of us are to unplug and bring stillness into our lives.

The Art of Stillness paints a picture of why so many—from Marcel Proust to Mahatma Ghandi to Emily Dickinson—have found richness in stillness. Ultimately, Iyer shows that, in this age of constant movement and connectedness, perhaps staying in one place is a more exciting prospect, and a greater necessity than ever before.

About Pico Iyer
Pico Iyer, a British born essayist and novelist, has an entirely singular sensibility. His various books are linked by his interest in cultural crossroads and the values that transcend boundaries. He has established himself as major presence in culture life of Japan, where he is based, and in the United States, (where he lives during part of the year) Britain (where he was educated), and India where his family traces its roots. An Oxford graduate, he taught at Harvard and is one of few writers whose work, like his interests, transcend cultures.

Previous Book Club Events

Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi Book Club / Discussion with Tom Lutz

June 16, 2014

David Grand

David Grand Book Club / Discussion with Tom Lutz

October 12, 2014

James Ellroy

James Ellroy Book Club / Discussion with Tom Lutz

December 6, 2014