Alumni Book of the Month Club

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Join the all-new online Tommie alumni book club! Each month, a title written by a St. Thomas faculty member or friend will be announced. First up: Matthew Batt's humorous memoir SUGARHOUSE.

Date & Time:

Saturday, July 1, 2017
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
July 1 - July 31, 2017



Alumni Book of the Month Club

The St. Thomas Alumni Book of the Month Club engages alums passionate about fun, enlightening and fulfilling reading. We'll show you a book written by a St. Thomas alum or faculty member, and at the end of the month, we'll feature an interview with that author, bringing you closer to the book and giving a deeper insight to the words and ideas on the page.

Join our Alumni Book of the Month Facebook group to discuss the book with other alums and readers. You can also post questions for the author, and we'll ask and share them in our audio interview at the end of the month!

July Book: Sugarhouse by Matthew Batt

An improbably funny account of how the purchase and restoration of a disaster of a fixer-upper saves a young marriage.

When a season of ludicrous loss tests the mettle of their marriage, Matthew Batt and his wife decide not to call it quits. They set their sights instead on the purchase of a dilapidated house in the Sugarhouse section of Salt Lake City. With no homesteading experience and a full-blown quarter-life crisis on their hands, these perpetual grad students/waiters/nonprofiteers decide to seek salvation through renovation, and do all they can to turn a former crack house into a home. Dizzy with despair, doubt, and the side effects of using the rough equivalent of napalm to detoxify their house, they enter into full-fledged adulthood with power tools in hand.

Heartfelt and joyous, Sugarhouse is the story of how one couple conquers adversity and creates an addition to their family, as well as their home.

Matthew Batt has been a member of the English Department since 2007. Sugarhouse, his debut novel, was published in 2012.

Excerpt from Sugarhouse

You’ve seen us. Them. You’ve said to your sugar, What the hell do they think they’re doing? You’re on your stoop, your porch, your lanai, your whatever – and as we pass by you scrunch forward, down to car-window height. I’m gonna say something, you say, handing your honey the hose. Can’t have people just driving around like that, all slow and everything, rubbernecking. Can I help you? you say. You shake your head as we speed away. Freaks.

But you’re just going to have to deal with it. We’re not burglars or pedophiles, missionaries or Hari Krishnas. We’re looking for a place to live. We need a home and we need one now.

It’s the middle of July already and it’s a desert wasteland here in Salt Lake City. For eight days running it’s been over a hundred and the blacktop roads have begun to liquefy – not to mention this three-year drought that a thousand inches of rain won’t fix. The air is so hot and brittle it feels as though my skin might shatter, and beyond that the lease on our apartment is up in six weeks and we just can’t rent again. Jenae and I have been together for six years and have lived in nearly as many apartments. And it’s not that Utah is exactly what we imagine when we say we want a place to call home, but it’ll have to do for now. Still, we have no mover, no moving date, no home loan for that matter, and no home upon which we can make an offer.

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