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This July, the Vox Book Club is reading Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham

What if Hillary had never married Bill? Vox Book Club is about to find out.

Hillary Rodham, right, and Bill Clinton at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, 1979.
Photo by Wellesley College/Sygma via Getty Images
Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

As the Vox Book Club sails into July, we’re going to take a moment to wave a fond farewell to the frothy joys of The Princess Bride. We just closed out a fantastic panel discussion on both book and movie with the Cut’s Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz and the Undefeated’s Soraya Nadia McDonald, which covered everything from why Prince Humperdinck is a lost Trump brother to our dream casting for an updated Princess Bride prestige limited TV series (Dev Patel and Zendaya, call your agents). If you missed it, I highly recommend checking out the recording and transcript!

The Princess Bride dispensed with, we’ll turn ourselves full speed ahead into dealing with American politics, in the halo of Independence Day. Specifically, the American politics of recent and alternative history.

For the month of July, the Vox Book Club is going to be reading Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham, an alternate history that tells us what would have happened if Hillary Rodham had never married Bill Clinton. On its own merits, Rodham is a juicy, scandalous read, with plenty to say about the way American politics have evolved during the decades the Clinton family has been in public life. (Plus, there are some oddly intimate sex scenes that in and of themselves are fodder for endless conversation.)

And because this is Vox and we have access to some of the most detail-oriented politics nerds on the planet, we’re going to bring in some Vox experts to help us fact-check Rodham’s politics and put the book into context, both as a piece of alternate political history and as a work of political Real Person Fiction.

So we’ll also be changing up our standard book club format this month. Instead of going through the book section by section, with one discussion post per section, we’re going to do two discussion posts this month, each with a special Vox guest star. Both posts will assume that you’ve already read the full book, but they’ll each approach the book from a different angle. As always, I’ll provide discussion questions you can use to guide your Rodham conversation, either here at the site or within your own community. And we’ll all meet up at the end of the month for a special virtual live event. I can’t wait to see you there.

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Here’s the full Vox Book Club schedule for July 2020

Friday, July 10: Discussion of political Real Person Fiction and how Rodham fits into the genre

Friday, July 24: Fact-checking Rodham’s alternate history and a conversation about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the woman, the myth, the politician

Thursday, July 30: Virtual live event, details TBD. Sign up for the Vox Book Club newsletter for more info!

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