The Book Club – The Lawrentian

Welcome to another winter term at Lawrence! Everywhere you look, glasses are fogged up, snow boots are on and hands are freezing. All of these signs can only mean one thing: it’s a great time to stay indoors and get cozy with a new book! And luckily for you, I had time to read a few books over the holidays, so I have a few recommendations up my sleeve to help you get back into reading. Were any of the books I read the ones I mentioned potentially read in the latest edition? Not at all ! But sometimes the book you want to read and the book you need to read are two different things, and that’s completely normal!

In my case, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and read a non-fiction book rather than my usual detective story or fiction. In the dream house is a memoir by Carmen Maria Machado unlike any other memoir I’ve picked up, and to a large extent it touches on some rather sensitive topics, such as domestic violence and sexual assault in a same-sex relationship. So if you don’t feel comfortable reading this type of content, this might not be the book for you, in which case I have a post-apocalyptic article that might float your boat mentioned later in this article.

What made these memoirs unique was Machado’s writing style, although when I say that, I’m not talking about his choice of words. While his writing was pretty down to earth and easy to read, the chapter design was what appealed to me. She titled each chapter with “Dream House as…” and proceeded to edit what filled in the last blank. For example, she had a chapter called “Dream House as Demonic Possession” or “Dream House as Choose Your Own Adventure”. The length of the chapters varied and could be as short as one line or over twenty pages, and the story itself had an almost non-linear structure. You can follow the plot and the passage of time as her relationship develops, but you’re often told the story through lots of metaphors and footnotes because she struggled to find the right words to describe his traumatic experiences.

Despite its unconventional form, Machado managed to craft a heartbreaking piece depicting her tale of domestic abuse in an LGBTQ+ relationship. It is hauntingly tragic, but the experience of reading it was worth every tear. I would recommend it to anyone who loves memoirs and wants to read a new one that features an LGBTQ+ perspective and a unique format.

The other book I read during the break was The road by Cormac McCarthy. It tells the story of a boy and his father as they try to survive, but the rest of the details are vague. Our main characters have no names, the disaster that created this wasteland is never mentioned, and there is very little dialogue included. All that matters, as the title suggests, is the road and the dangers the characters encounter on their way to the East Coast. It’s a dark tale of survival, bringing to light the disturbing details of how far people have to travel to survive. It’s a horrible read, but still interesting. I would recommend it to anyone who loves books set in a post-apocalyptic world and wants to read something simple, yet super engaging to read.

That’s it for this week’s recommendations! I hope you can all stay warm this week and find time to read for fun between homework. Until next time, happy reading!

About Joel Simmons

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