I’m a book club dropout. Not proud.
I joined a book club for the first time after moving to Portland. And after nearly a year of reading, discussing, hosting, reading, etc, I reluctantly pulled the plug.
“It’s not you. It’s me.” I wrote in my dropout email. (Yes, I do realize email is a cowardly way to drop a commitment. Thanks for the reminder.)
And I meant it. It’s me. Specifically, it’s my love of the hunt – the hunt for a perspective, a story that will deepen my own. In joining book club I gave up the hunt. You see, we all took turns choosing a book – each time we hosted (1-2 times per year) we chose the book. And I guess I would rather decide my books for myself. Everysingletime. So I bowed out.
I imagine later in life, when I have more time on my hands to read, I will enjoy being in a book club once again. Presuming that I have enough time to read what I’ve hunted AND read what the book club is working through.
I take book-hunting very seriously. It’s a process… I think about where I want to add dimension to my life. How do I want to form the lens in which I view the world? Whose story do I need to hear?
I consult with fellow readers, friends and trusted sources (like NY Times Book Review and NPR’s Book Concierge). I find the reading more meaningful when I put the legwork into selecting the words I want to take in. It incredibly rewarding and super fun for me. Let that nerd-light shine!
For example: In the wake of so many murders and police brutality of people of color (Trayvon, Sandra, Eric, Philando, Alton, Michael, Freddie) I had a sobering realization: I am so distant from the discrimination that black and brown Americans face. (More on that later.) So, I focused my reading in that direction in an effort to understand the racial context and history that impact the hateful mess we’re in today.
Here’s what I read through:
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Should be required reading in HS)
Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Between the World and Me
To Kill a Mockingbird (Somehow I made it through high school and college without reading this?)
Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual *hilarious
This year, I’m setting my sights on stories that are unlike my own. The more unlike me, the better. I want to hear from immigrants, outcasts, women, non-Americans. And while not all the books may be non-fiction, they still reflect the perspective of the author and/or people group they’re writing about.
Here are some of the books in my queue:
Half of a Yellow Sun
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
The Underground Railroad
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Moonglow: A Novel
The Mothers: A Novel
Homegoing *just finished and highly recommend
The Namesake *currently reading and highly recommend
How about you readers? Do you enjoy the book-hunt like I do? And would you be interested in hearing more about what I’m reading/hunting for in the future?