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Winter '21 Reading List

Books on credenza next to flowers.
Written By
Eloise Bennan
Photographs By
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This winter we’re taking the time to be with friends and family. After a year of being apart we can rejoice in the thought of (safely) being close to our loved ones once again. As the temperatures start to drop, cozy up in bed and indulge in one of these fantastic books as we celebrate coming together with our community. 

'The Joy Luck Club,' by Amy Tan

Championing strong women, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan tells the story of the generational conflicts between Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters. As each chapter goes by the reader sees each daughter gain more clarity and respect for who their mother is and what she had to overcome to give them the lives they have in the United States.    

'The Kite Runner,' by Khaled Hosseini

Friendships can be challenging, especially for a young boy trying to make sense of ethnicity, economic status and how that can shape a person. In The Kite Runner, we see the main character Amir struggle with his betrayal of a friend. Amir deeply cares for the people in his life and has been living with a burdensome memory of an old friend after he left for America with his father. It is only when he returns home that he is able to absolve himself of this childhood guilt. This story reminds us of the importance of forgiveness and, more importantly, the importance of forgiving oneself.  

'The Chiffon Trenches,' by André Leon Talley

Once known as the most influential man in fashion, Chiffon Trenches is a memoir written by André Leon Talley, former editor-at-large at Vouge. André’s experiences in the fashion industry are those that one could only dream of; befriending designers, artists, and socialites along his way to the top.  His journey was not without hardships as he faced racism and was the victim of rumors in a cut throat industry. Offering a candid look into the last 50 years of fashion André tells his story of friendships, fashion and everything in between.  

'My Family and Other Animals,' by Gerald Durrell

The wonder of a child becomes nearly irreplicable as one becomes older, but author Gerald Durrell perfectly captures his own emotions as a child during his family’s move to the Island of Corfu in his book My Family and Other Animals. Highlighting the unique bond, he always felt between humans and animals, we see Gerald’s relationship with animals mimic those of his relationships with his family members. In this fictionalized retelling of childhood, the reader sees a struggling family begin to thrive as they learn to be themselves without barriers.  

'The People We Meet on Vacation,' by Emily Henry

What creates the foundation of friendship? In The People We Meet on Vacation the reader has an intimate look into the lives of Alex and Poppy, best friends who would take one vacation a year together until they had falling out two years ago and haven’t spoken since. Feeling bad about how things ended, Poppy reaches out to Alex to go on one more vacation together. Each chapter highlights a different point in time in the characters lives as the reader watches them come of age and work to fix their relationship in just one week.  

'Normal People,' by Sally Rooney

Sometimes it feels as if the universe brought you into a person’s life. Normal People is a book about just that. The two main characters have known each other for years — Connell's mom is Marianne's family’s housekeeper. The pair does not seem to have much in common until a connection between the two starts brewing. This story follows them through the years as their life choices simultaneously bring them together and pull them apart.  

'Talking to Strangers,' by Malcolm Gladwell

This season is all about coming together with those you love, but how much do you know about people you have never met? Challenging our preconceived notions of others around us Gladwell begs us to ask the question, why do we think we can make snap judgments about others? Talking to Strangers will have you questioning communication, interactions, and assumptions you have about, and with, people you don’t know. 

'Bewilderment,' by Richard Powers

Following the death of his wife, astrobiologist Theo Bryne and his son Robin struggle to make sense of the world. Robin begins to grow troubled and is about to be expelled from the third grade, and Theo is worried that the recommended psychoactive drugs will change his son and wants to find a way to help. When he hears of an experimental therapy treatment that may be the solution to Robin’s struggles, he goes all in. Bewilderment recounts the fierce love and incredible bond between a father and son.  

'This Will Be Funny Someday,' by Katie Henry

Sixteen year old Izzy is trying to figure out where she fits into the world. Feeling lost in her life without any outlet for safe self-expression, Izzy finds herself in a comedy club where she begins forming genuine friendships. In This Will Be Funny Someday the reader watches as she struggles to keep her home life and her comedy life separate. In this authentic coming of age story, Izzy is forced to decide what she wants to stand for in this world and learns what relationships are worth keeping.