The Book Club

In the blink of an eye, we have suddenly found ourselves with the last edition of The Book Club for this term. It feels like just yesterday I was writing my first recommendations for my favorite books for you all. I’ve loved writing this column and sharing book recommendations from both other Lawrentians and myself, and I hope you’ve been able to find a new book to read as a result. My goal for this summer is to get some reading time in so that I can come back next term with some fresh, new recommendations for you all to enjoy when you get into that next reading slump. For this last issue, I’ve decided to focus on books we haven’t quite read yet, AKA books in that tall summer “To-Be-Read” (TBR) pile.  

Tucker Hall-Klingensmith, a freshman, agreed to share some books from his TBR pile that he is looking forward to enjoying this summer. One of the books on his list is An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. It brings the genocidal program of U.S. settlers to light, a topic that is largely omitted from history. Told from the perspective of numerous Indigenous peoples as they tried to resist the expansion of the U.S., this book gives voice to those who were forced to remain silent about their suffering for centuries. “A lot of native cultures and histories have been systematically erased from our modern world,” Hall-Klingensmith says. “And we have a lot of work to do to get back in touch with our indigenous neighbors. I think it’s super important to understand how their legacies of trauma and genocide have affected the modern U.S., so I look forward to reading this in order to get that perspective.”  

In the hopes of learning more about underrepresented communities in order to better advocate for them in the future, Hall-Klingensmith has also added LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia, edited by Jeff Mann and Julia Watts, to his reading list for summer break. It contains a collection of published fiction and poetry from Appalachian LGBTQ authors and tackles many aspects of dealing with one’s sexuality and gender and how they intersect with one’s family, religion and homeland, especially since they are often viewed as being mutually exclusive parts of our identity. “This book is something I hope to relate to, as I am both a member of the Queer community and have Appalachian roots,” Hall-Klingensmith shares. All in all, he hopes his summer reading will allow him to better appreciate the amazing complexity of the lives of those around him.  

I have a lot of books in my TBR pile that I’m excited to read over summer vacation, including If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. It follows Oliver Marks as he is finally released from jail for a murder he may or may not have committed. The detective who put him away all those years ago wants to finally get the answers he was searching for. Oliver tells the tale of a group of actors studying Shakespeare at an arts college, and how, when one of them is found dead, the rest left to try and convince both the police and themselves that they aren’t to blame. I have a feeling that it’s going to be very similar to The Secret History, which I enjoyed a lot, so I’m excited to read this during the summer.  

That is all for this term’s recommendations! I hope you have enjoyed them, and maybe even found a new book to read as a result. I wish you all a wonderful summer and can’t wait to get back to The Book Club next fall.