I love a good book club, and I love a book club helmed by a powerful woman even more. If you're looking for new reads this month, look no further than these picks from famous females. Read along all month, discuss with fellow bookworms, and feel semi-famous yourself knowing that you and Oprah have something in common.
An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones (Oprah's Book Club)
Oprah just announced her February book club pick, which means this title is about to become one of your library's most-requested books. Oprah's picks always come from diverse authors and create meaningful conversations for book clubs (her August pick, Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, ended up with a Pulitzer for fiction), and this month's choice is no exception. "I love this title because the novel redefines the traditional American love story," Oprah said in her announcement video on Instagram. "I think you'll come away with greater empathy and understanding, but even if you don't, it's just a great read." Considering this book is brand new (as in, was published February 6), it's a great time to dive in and stay head of the reading trends.
An American Marriage… Again (Emma Roberts' Book Club, Belletrist)
Great minds think alike, right? And if two great minds, Oprah and Emma Roberts, selected the same book for their February reads, it must be a good one! Bonus: If you purchase your copy through Belletrist, you'll be supporting their local bookstore of the month, Book Cellar Chicago.
"Our February pick is all about the different kinds of Love - the kind that engulfs you like a wildfire and the kind that keeps you warm like a hearth fire. This love story between Lucy & Gabe spans decades and continents as two star-crossed lovers try to return to each other. Life, motherhood, and distance get in the way. Will they ever meet again? This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint." - @reesewitherspoon #rbcxhs #thelightwelost by @jillsantopolo
The Light We Lost, by Jill Santopolo (Reese Witherspoon's Book Club)
Warning: Multiple Goodreads reviewers have called Witherspoon's February book club pick "devastating" or "heartbreaking." An epic love story that begins on 9/11 and spans several decades, Witherspoon promises: "This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint." And Witherspoon is doing even more good for bookworms this month: She's partnering with Disney to donate books to children in need through First Book! Throughout the month, post a #shelfie (a photo of your bookshelf) or just a selfie with your current read, tag it #MagicOfStorytelling, and Disney will take care of the book donation.
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf)
Emma Watson chose Goodreads as the place to have discussions around her feminist-focused reads. She doesn't shy away from books that encourage important conversations—from Roxane Gay's Hunger, a memoir that tackles body image and sexual assault, to The Power, a dystopian novel that imagines a world under a matriarchy instead of a patriarchy. This month's pick, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, is Watson's first pick of 2018 and on Goodreads, Watson writes: "[The book] talks about the history of racism in Britain, and ways we can see, acknowledge and challenge racism I am not supposed to have favorites, however this was the most important book for me this year." Watson discusses how the book helped her acknowledge her own privilege and label of "white feminism." "We all have blind spots," says Watson. "We need people that love us to call us out and then walk with us while we do the work."
NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT 'Empathy isn't just something that happens to us - a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain - it's also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves' Leslie Jamison's 'The Empathy Exams' takes its name from Jamison's experience as a medical actor, where pretending to be a patient for medical school exams led her to think about how pain gets performed and understood. Empathy comes from the Greek Empatheia (from em- 'in' + pathos 'feeling'). It originally described being able to feel into works of art, and now means being able to understand and feel the experiences of others. Jamison's essay collection explores what it means to feel, how we communicate our pain and how we understand one another's experiences. Jamison probes the uses and limits of empathy by looking through experiences of imprisonment, collective hysteria, and the gruelling trials athletes subject their bodies to. Selected by the editors of Between Two Books, Kate Litman and Leah Moloney [Content notes: mentions self harm and eating disorders]
Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison (Florence Welch's book club, Between Two Books)
Did you know that the lead singer of Florence and The Machine had a book club? Now that you do, you'll want to join her in reading her February pick: best-selling essay collection, The Empathy Exams, where author Leslie Jamison uses her vast personal experience to give readers multiple perspectives on empathy (and humanity). If you're working on an ambitious reading goal, or need a good read on the go, essays are perfect. It's easier to read in chunks (one essay at a time) and is ideal for those who are iffy on nonfiction. Join Welch to discuss the book on Instagram or Facebook.