About A Novel Experience

In our fast-paced, information-heavy world, carving out time for fiction can be seen as a luxury. But novels aren’t just for pleasure – they can challenge our perspectives, unravel global complexities, and nuance our understanding of international affairs. Every other month, the International Relations Council invites you to A Novel Experience: curl up with a novel of the world or about the world before meeting with other bibliophiles to share your insights and curiosities. We’ll have the help of subject-matter experts during our discussions and welcome your active involvement in this international literary journey. Individuals of all backgrounds, interests, and perspectives are welcome – we just ask that you bring an open mind, thoughtful questions, and common courtesy. Registration is free but helps us with planning.

Upcoming Selection

Monday, April 19, 2021

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

by Olga Tokarczuk

Available at:

In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay her mind . . .

A deeply satisfying thriller fairy tale, Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, autonomy and fate. Whom do we deem sane? it asks. Who is worthy of a voice?

Previous Selections

Monday, February 22, 2021

Interpreter of Maladies

by Jhumpa Lahiri

Available at:

Interpreter of Maladies is a book collection of nine short stories by American author of Indian origin Jhumpa Lahiri published in 1999. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in the year 2000 and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.