January Book Club

The high school Book Club met last week for a cozy evening discussion of what we’ve been reading. Ms. Melinson opened with a book called Season Creep, authored by Elana Mallov, a friend of Ms. Melinson’s daughter. Season Creep is a book of poems and observational drawings the author made while walking around Philadelphia in 2020 as the seasons all seemed to meld into one.

As longtime Book Club members might remember, January is when Ms. Melinson talks about what new cookbooks she’s reading. This year, it’s I Hate to Cook Book 50th Anniversary edition, a sassy book that focuses on recipes for people who might prefer to have cocktails with friends rather than cook! Ms. Melinson also discussed The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, a cookbook she’s on the fence about. She loves the idea of the book because it features Black chefs and others in the food industry, but the recipes are by the author himself and not the people he showcases, which works when it’s a food justice advocate. But when it’s a chef, she’d rather see a recipe by that chef.

Samhita shared that she hasn’t been reading as much, but has been listening to audiobooks of books she’s previously read. She’s currently listening to the Alex Rider series, a guilty pleasure, she says. Samhita then asked about books similar to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, an atmospherically dark and scary book. Some suggestions include:

  1. One of Us Is Lying and the sequel One of Us Is Next/McManus
  2. Two Can Keep a Secret/McManus
  3. The Cousins/McManus
  4. People Like Us/Mele
  5. Inheritance Games/Barnes
  6. Hand on the Wall/Johnson

Adam read some ‘weird’ books recently, which lead to a discussion of other weird books. He read Welcome to Monkey House stories and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, both by Kurt Vonnegut. Other weird books discussed include House of Leaves, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Priory of the Orange Tree.

Mrs. Strong read The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and really liked it, although she needed to take frequent breaks due to the subject matter. She also started reading The Memory Police, a dystopian novel that Adam also read and enjoyed. Mrs. Strong tried reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier but couldn’t get into. Ms. Melinson said classics are often best read over the summer so there’s enough uninterrupted time to get into it.

We discussed other favorites and classics and Adam gave The Night Circus the best compliment it will probably ever get, calling it “a banger book.” Samhita still hasn’t read it, but read the author’s other book, The Starless Sea, and said it has too many commas in it, to the point of it taking her out of the story.