Book Club

Book Club’s next read is ‘Thank You, Mr. Nixon’ by Gish Jen

Join the virtual author discussion on Feb. 16.

For our second pick of 2022, we’re reading our first book of short stories – “Thank You, Mr. Nixon” by Gish Jen. The book is Jen’s ninth, and releases on Tuesday, Feb. 1. The stories look at the 50 years since the opening of China to the rest of the world, and its effects on regular people.

“Thank You, Mr. Nixon” is Jen’s second book of short stories. A visiting professor at Harvard University, to say Jen is accomplished would be a bit of an understatement. Like our first 2022 author, Jabari Asim, Jen has been a Guggenheim fellow. She has previously written five novels, a book of essays, a book that is at the intersection of psychology and business, and one other book of short stories. Of her first novel, 1992’s “Typical American,” The New York Times said, “no paraphrase could capture the intelligence of Gish Jen’s prose, its epigrammatic sweep and swiftness.”


Jen has also been featured in the annual “The Best American Short Stories” collection four times, and her short story, “Birthmates,” was included in 1999’s “The Best American Short Stories of the Century,” chosen and edited by John Updike. In addition to these stories and her books, she has been published by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The New Republic, among others. Her most recent book prior to “Thank You Mr. Nixon,” was “The Resisters.” Famed writer Ann Patchett said it “should be required reading for the country, both as a cautionary tale and because it is a stone-cold masterpiece.” The book was one of my favorites – and one of the most critically acclaimed books — of 2019. 

The same is sure to be true of “Thank You, Mr. Nixon,” as the book already has three starred reviews. Publishers Weekly said, “With wry humor, pathos, and punchy dialogue, Jen’s uncanny stories easily stand up to her hefty themes. This is a stellar addition to Jen’s prolific body of work.” Booklist said, “For all the pain and poignancy, Jen is wryly hilarious, her plots spring-loaded, her dialogue ricocheting and spiked with contrasts in languages and customs.” The book’s 11 linked stories have also received praise from The Los Angeles Times, Literary Hub, and The Millions, as well as fellow authors like Ha Jin, Claire Messud, Jean Kwok, and Lisa See, among others.


Joining Jen in conversation will be Meghan Hayden, owner of River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury, Conn. Located just southeast of Hartford on the banks of the Connecticut River, Glastonbury is the birthplace of Aqua Velva and John Howard “The Peach King” Hale, inventor of the J.H. Hale peach that holds up against harsh New England winters. There’s plenty of history in one of New England’s oldest towns. In fact, River Bend’s location was built in 1863.River Bend opened there in late 2018. Founded by Hayden after a 20-year career in corporate human resources, the store has quickly become a fixture in the region. Hayden sits on the board of directors for The New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA), and has quickly shown a flair for doing more than the typical bookstore. Whether it be running an author stage at the local art show, hosting writers’ workshops in the store, or stepping out in the shop’s now ubiquitous book truck, expect the unexpected from River Bend.

​​Join the Book Club on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. for a virtual discussion with River Bend Bookshop‘s Meghan Hayden and author Gish Jen on “Thank You, Mr. Nixon.” 


Buy “Thank You, Mr. Nixon” from: Bookshop | River Bend Bookshop

Join the 'Thank You, Mr. Nixon' virtual discussion with author Gish Jen

Book Club discussion | Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. Book Club picks:


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on