“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” – Oscar Wilde
The idea of a book club has always intrigued me, a collective of like-minded and opinionated people coming together to discuss literature. That’s quite literally what my last two years of university consisted of, and I loved every close reading and discussion. Though the notion of joining a book club is charming, I’ve yet to find one that I’ve enjoyed because the books are not interesting or enjoyable, and frankly I’ve never like being told what to do (what to read), or how much time I have to do it. In school I would often not read what was assigned, but instead indulge in Bukowski or Thompson out of sheer defiance. I never joined clubs, something about organized activities ignited insurgence instead of interest. Of course I regret not reading along with the curriculum, or meeting new people in clubs, so this is why I’m making my own version of “Book of the Month” club. Instead of writing about one particular book a month, it will be a review of the rotating collection of reads that dwell on our radiator and window sills.
This first Book of the Moment will be a book that, over a decade ago, changed my perspective and encouraged me to be steadfastly myself: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. When I was home a little over a week ago for Melanie’s bachelorette party, I saw the bright blue cover snug on my overstuffed bookshelf. Though this is a young adult read, something prompted me to throw it in my backpack, to later be discovered on my flight back. I read it in about a day, partly because it’s an easy read (though my 12-year-old self would disagree), but mostly because I couldn’t put it down. I had been feeling a bit unsettled in myself because we are coming up on some pretty major and important life decisions. Having to decide what I want to do in life, where I want to go, all of the usual existential questions that swim around our minds daily, when I started spiraling and questioning myself. This book brought me back to my roots, in a sense. It’s about a young homeschooled girl who calls herself Stargirl, who joins a public high school (sound familiar?), and remains unapologetically herself, being true to her and to everyone around her, and the lobster effect that brings her down in that environment, but how she breaks them out of their status quo shells, and sets to soaring to the cosmos in the end. Not quite literally, and of course it does get into some silly teen antics, but that’s what it’s meant to do. My favorite kind of book is one that inspires me, one that I want to consume all at once, and none of it at all because I don’t want it to end, and when the last page is turned and I close it, I just hold it for a minute and resonate in the experiences that live in between the lines. This isn’t a book I’d particularly recommend to someone wanting a riveting read, but it is one that was moving, funny, sad, nostalgic, and an overall good reminder to shave off some of the hardened skin that life has given you, and to always remember to be kind to others and true to yourself.
Prose and sun showers
Books that match your neighborhood
A favorite spot to read on the Georgetown University campus
Strolling with Spinelli