Although in-person bookclubs aren’t possible these days, that hasn’t stopped us from reading and discussing the books we’ve loved. Our latest reads have varied from 1970s novels to memoirs about modern healthcare in America. These books are carrying us into the new year with no shortage of joy.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this novel follows the story of two boys who are sentenced to a reform school in Jim-Crow era Florida. Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for more than a hundred years, The Nickel Boys is an examination of youth, race, and American history. 224 pages
Marco Polo sits in a garden with the aging Kublai Khan, and tells him stories of all the cities he’s seen on his travels around the world. A beautiful balance between poetry and prose, this novel reminds us that these urban centers are more than they appear. 165 pages
Author Katherine Standefer had surgery for an implanted cardiac defibrillator in her early twenties, sending her on an emotional journey through the American healthcare system that’s still ongoing today. After her surgery and an unexpected shock some years later, she traveled around the world to discover the cost of the technology that keeps her alive. 288 pages
The Swimming Pool Library focuses on the friendship between two men in pre-World War I England. A funny and beautifully written novel, it examines the gay subculture in Britain through the early ‘80s, stopping just before the AIDS crisis. 304 pages
The son of the US President, Alex Claremont-Diaz has a rivalry with a British prince. When the tabloids get ahold of a photo of the two of them together, US/British relations are put at risk. 432 pages
Laymon writes honestly and eloquently about his relationship with his family as well as early experiences of sexual violence, obesity, writing, and gambling. By naming secrets and asking difficult questions, Laymon asks what it means to love responsibly, and how to truly become free. 256 pages
What Are You Going Through? follows one woman as she notices a common need in everyone she encounters—the need to talk about themselves, and to have someone else understand their experiences. As a friend from her youth who’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer makes an unusual request of her, she goes through a transformative experience herself. 224 pages
It’s not easy to be a pregnant person in America. The healthcare system, rampant misogyny, religious leaders, and politicians who restrict access to reproductive healthcare all make pregnancy a fraught experience for many people. Belabored is a call for society to trust pregnant people, and let them choose what kind of parent they want to be on their own. 240 pages
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