Book club goals for 2020
Who amongst us hasn’t penned “read more” to our list of goals for 2020? Of course, 2020 presented us with a reality that did not involve lounging by the pool with a novel. At a time when our social circles narrow and our attention spans shrink, joining a book club could be the very thing to get us to reconnect and stay present. Our suggestion? Grab a friend or two, set a timeline, and start your literary adventure. Here are five books that are sure to spark conversation:
1. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).
2. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Throbbing with righteous anger and visceral prose, The Nickel Boys, takes the real-life Florida reform school as a jumping off point to explore the tensions inherent in the US Civil Rights movement. Powerful and incendiary, The Nickel Boys cements Whitehead’s formidable reputation as one of the greatest living American writers.
3. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Capturing the zeitgeist with all the skill and subtlety of her debut, Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney’s Normal People follows, the intersecting story of Marianne and Connell as they navigate the changing landscape of their relationship into adulthood. Deftly written, emotionally honest, and devastatingly perceptive, Normal People is an award-winning modern classic.
4. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Open, warm, and immensely funny, Carty-Williams’s sparkling debut is an unforgettable coming-of-age tale that explores black female identity and sexual politics in contemporary Britain. Hilarious, characterful, and assured, Queenie marks the arrival of exceptional new talent in fiction
5. Intimations: Six Essays by Zadie Smith
From the author of White Teeth and Swing Time, Intimations is a profound, timely, and exquisitely intimate collection of essays written in response to the racial crisis that put the world on pause in 2020. Empowering, lucid and lyrical, Zadie Smith’s meditations on life in lockdown are both sharply observant and deeply comforting.
Reading Is Fundamental
The temptation to plug in and zone out has never been as strong as it has been in the year 2020. While Netflix and HBO have provided us a clear escape route away from our realities, they are not the only outlets at our disposal. In the words of the great Ru Paul Charles ” reading is fundamental.” Books allow us to engage in active discovery, while TV and film do the work for us. Next time you reach for the remote, think of pulling out one of these literary classics, along with a glass of wine, and invite a friend to read along.