The Required Reading Revisited (RRR) Book Club meets the second Sunday of every month to chat about titles that regularly appear on school syllabi. Below, Uriel recaps February’s meeting and offers up a playlist (!!!) to go with March’s selection, Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion.
Last month our book club, Required Reading Revisited (RRR for short), convened to discuss the Marjane Satrapi’s best-loved and most widely read work, Persepolis, Vol. I. Though it was published less than 20 years ago, Persepolis has quickly gained “classic” status in the states and abroad. It tells the real-life story of young Marjane’s experience growing up in Iran during the tumultuous years preceding and following the Islamic Revolution.
For some who attended our meeting this was not only their first time reading Persepolis, it was also their first time picking up a graphic novel period. They were fascinated at the way the simple images on the page could relay so much power and emotion, telling a very adult story in a medium many dismiss as childish. For others, it was like catching up with an old friend. Having not read it since it was assigned back in high school, I was struck by the way Satrapi so effortlessly recounted the history and travails of her people through the ages in a matter of pages — some books require 400 to do what Satrapi does in two.
It was a discussion that went well past the alloted hour block that we cordon off to meet, but it was well worth the stay. Our conversation hit on topics of international politics, of the evolving public school/college curriculum, and of the differing perceptions of the Middle East in books and other media. We all agreed, though, that Persepolis is required reading for today and always.
We hope you’ll join us next month as we bring our sights back home and out west to the golden state of California with Joan Didion’s classic essay collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem. We’ll be meeting on March 11 at 4p.m. to discuss this brilliant examination of the 1960s by one of the major voices of the time. From Hollywood sets to the Haight-Ashbury District and the state of the counterculture revolution, Didion places us in the middle of it all.
And finally, as an added bonus for this month, I have curated a playlist especially for our reading; I tried to capture the mood and feel of the book from what I’ve read so far with tunes, both modern and classic, that just ooze California and the turbulent times. Here it is.
Hope to see you at BookPeople March 11 at 4 p.m. !