Staying in touch with my Tufts friends during our summer and winter breaks is very important to me. For both breaks, a few of my friends and I have established a set day when we call each other each week, while some of my other friends and I routinely text, but my most creative way of staying in touch is the book club I formed with my friends, Meghan and Kaycee. The three of us share a love of reading, and last summer, we held weekly Zoom meetings to discuss books. We decided to resume book club over winter break too, and between the two breaks, each of us has gotten to choose two books for us all to read. Here are my reviews of each book we've read so far, in order of my most favorite to my least favorite:
1- Becoming by Michelle Obama - Michelle Obama has a riveting voice and she is truly inspirational. As an indecisive college student, it was nice reading about all of the career changes she has made, and it made me feel like I can follow my passions and see where they take me, without planning my future out completely. If you enjoy the book, there is also a documentary about her life on Netflix.
2- Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín - I also really liked Brooklyn, a story about a young woman coming to America from Ireland to find work in the 1950s. My own family came through Ellis Island not much earlier, and they lived in Brooklyn at the same time as this story took place, so I liked reading about the characters' daily struggles and joys, and imagining my own family living through similar events.
3- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - This novel was a really touching and quick read. I liked most of the characters, and I would recommend it to any historical fiction lovers. The movie is a pretty accurate depiction of the book, so if you like the book, you will appreciate the movie too!
4- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - I typically dislike satires, so I did not expect to like Catch-22; however, I was actually thoroughly amused. It definitely isn’t the book to pick if you want a strong, organized plot, but that is the point of the book—it was meant to depict how crazy war is. Like Anna Karenina, there are not many likable characters, but it does portray the psychological effects of war very well.
5- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - Morrison writes with really beautiful imagery and her story is very thought-provoking. It is also somewhat painful to read at some points, but it lent me a new perspective and it was great for our book club discussion.
6- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - I highly recommend reading this book with others to hold you accountable if you really want to read it, because it is over 800 pages long! If you enjoy learning about the simultaneous frivolities and miseries of the Russian upper class in the late 1800s, it is worth reading this book; however, I did not find many of the characters very likable. While I almost never say to watch the movie and skip the book, for this one, I give you permission. The three of us enjoyed Netflix Partying the movie, which was mostly filmed on just one stage!
What’s next, you may ask? This week we are starting The Music Shop, by Rachel Joyce, and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with Meghan and Kaycee.
I feel so fortunate to have found friends who love to read as much as I do, and who are willing to discuss books with me. Not only has book club helped us stay in touch, but it has also helped me keep up with my reading and given me something to do during the pandemic. My Emma’s advice for today is to pick something you love to do and do it with others. It doesn’t have to be reading, but it has to be something that makes your week exciting, and brings a big smile to your face!