In the Required Reading Revisited Book Club we focus on books considered “Required Reading” by most educational institutions, i.e. books you read (or were supposed to read) in school – either high school or university.
On May 8th, a small group of us met on the third floor of BookPeople to discuss George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Published in June 1949, this book was a culmination of Orwell’s reaction to the state of British society post WWII. Perpetual warfare, economic instability and enforced inequality, and the dangers of collectivism and authoritarianism were among the topics discussed, as well as how much of the book is still relevant to western society today (we say most of it). For those of us who had read it before, the emotional aspects of the book came as the biggest surprise. To a person we hadn’t remembered how much of the book the love affair between Winston and Julia occupied. Nor did we realize how much emotional significance it had on the story overall. It made Winston’s final moment of betrayal all that much more devastating. This is most certainly a novel that gets better with each subsequent reading.
In June we’re treading into territory we don’t often visit in Require Reading… non-fiction! Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
In 2002, Nazario published a series of articles with the Los Angeles times about a seventeen year old immigrant from Honduras, who had made his way to the United States to find his mother. His mother, in her desperate need to feed her starving family, left them eleven years before to find work in the US, and was never able to return. Enrique, having no money and only his mother’s North Carolina phone number, traveled through Mexico in the only way available to him at the time – clinging to the roofs or sides of freight trains.
Nazario released the book in 2006, which expanded on the content of her series of articles. The book is required reading at dozens of universities, and also has a young reader’s edition available in our Teen Non-Fiction section. In this politically charged election season, where the topic of immigration is at the forefront of so much news, Enrique’s Journey continues to be a story that can inspire compassion and understanding.
Sonia Nazario, a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times, has spent more than two decades reporting and writing about social issues, earning her dozens of national awards. The newspaper series upon which this book is based won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, and the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards.
The Required Reading Revisited Book Club, hosted by Consuelo Hacker and Sarah Holdgrafer, meets on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 4pm at Book People (the next meeting is June 12th). We typically meet on the 3rd floor. Just stop by the 1st floor information desk when you arrive if you are unsure where to go. 1984 & Enrique’s Journey are available online at Bookpeople.com. Use the code BOOK CLUB when purchasing online, or if you come in to the store, mention it’s for Book Club at the registers and you’ll receive 10% off! Join our Facebook page to get all the latest information on what we’re reading! We look forward to talking with you on June 12th!