Semester Review in (Book) – The Middlebury Campus
“Nothing to see here” by Kevin Wilson
I started my semester with a weird reading. “Nothing to see here” follows a nanny responsible for looking after the two children of an American senator. At first glance, the twins appear to be normal children, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Bessie and Roland spontaneously ignite when upset, a rather annoying trait for the children of a well-known official.
This book is a wonderful read. Lillian, the nanny, is responsible for keeping the twins from catching fire. However, she leaves after learning a lot more than she expected. Lillian desperately needs these children, and they desperately need her. I loved this book and found it both heartwarming and funny.
“Nothing to see here“ is a great book for people who like character stories with a twist.
Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill
I devoured “Catch and Kill” while living in a cabin in the woods, which sort of felt appropriate, as I wanted to be alone with it. In “Catch and Kill,” Ronan Farrow investigates the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and tries to reveal them via NBC News. However, it was extremely difficult for Farrow to publicize the allegations. Influential people backed Weinstein, resisting any effort to bring this predator to justice. “Catch and Kill” provides a gruesome glimpse into how powerful, privileged and wealthy people can intimidate journalists and silence victims of abuse.
This book made me very frustrated with celebrity culture. When I first read the allegations against Weinstein, I naively assumed it would be easy for Farrow to expose it. Sometimes it felt like “Catch and Kill” was going around in circles and Farrow was not going to be successful in publicizing Weinstein’s abuses. However, I left with deep admiration for Ronan Farrow. He sacrificed his physical safety and the future of his career to give these women a voice. His investigative journalism is courageous and important.
“Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell
Wow. This book is truly a work of art, and it has been aptly named one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2020. Apparently William Shakespeare had a young son named Hamnet, who died in 1596 at the age of 11 years old. of death remains unknown – Shakespeare conspicuously fails to mention the bubonic plague in any of his plays, leading some to believe that it was the cause of Hamnet’s death. Maggie O’Farrell creates a fantasy novel based on this theory. She imagines that Hamnet died of the plague, and the novel revolves around this pandemic and its repercussions. The author also draws up a larger account of what the family of one of the most famous men in literature might have looked like had more information been shared.
“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
It’s not easy to make me cry. Well that’s a lie, but books usually don’t make me cry. This one is an exception; I had tears flowing on my face as I turned the last page. And it shows author Kristin Hannah’s skill at writing historical fiction.
“The Four Winds” tells the story of a family living in Texas in 1934, during the Dust Bowl. The Martinelli family is hanging by a thread. Dust storms have destroyed their crops and they must decide whether they want to suffer at home or travel to California, the “land of opportunity.”
Ultimately, this book is about a mother and the efforts she will put into protecting her children and creating a better life for them. Elsa and her children are dynamic characters that you can’t help but root for.
“Know My Name” by Chanel Miller
“Know My Name” is a must read, and its importance cannot be overstated. Before she writes “Know my name, ”Chanel Miller was known as Emily Doe in the Brock Turner Stanford rape case. In “Know My Name,” Miller tells her story and recovers parts of her identity after being reduced to a victim in the public eye. She talks about her assault and the grueling experiences that followed. She shares how she was not believed or supported by Stanford or the legal system as a whole.
Chanel Miller stands up for survivors everywhere and, at the same time, refuses to define herself only by the worst thing that has happened to her. I was inspired and moved by her strength, resilience and vulnerability.
“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides
John Faber is a psychotherapist in London with a particular fascination with Alicia Berenson, a woman who shot her husband five times and has not said a word since. Why did she pull the trigger? Why did she become silent after murdering her husband? These questions and many more make for an indisputable thriller.
This book is absolutely scary. If you’re a fan of unreliable storytellers or books that make your neighbor’s back hair stand up, this one is for you.
“The People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry
Now on to the summer readings! If you like romance (even a bit) run – don’t walk – look for an Emily Henry book. She’s the mistress of beach readings (funny, considering one of her books is even called “Beach Read“).
“The People We Meet on Vacation” is about Alex and Poppy, two longtime best friends who go on vacation together every summer. However, they haven’t spoken since an incident two summers ago. Poppy feels like she has one last chance to mend their friendship and find out if they could be more than friends. This book reminded me of “When Harry Met Sally” and “Love, Rosie”. This is the perfect book for fans of friends who have fallen in love.