MSB Book Club – July

The MSB Book Club is changing!

Instead of reading one book per month, members will now have the option to choose between two books. They can then choose one of the options and will be given two months to read their book of choice. This gives members more reading time and more choice.

In July and August, however, members will have three books to choose from because, since the book club began in November 2021, there were only three remaining members who had not yet chosen a book!

May/June Books

Fariyad Saeed chose the book for May, and she selected Becoming by Michelle Obama. Fariyad said upon her selection “I’m a big fan of autobiographies and particularly those of individuals who have been trailblazers in areas that have historically never held a place for them. For me, Michelle Obama is a remarkable global figure not only for the fact that she is the first African American First Lady married to the first African American US President but her exceptional careers in   corporate law and the not-for-profit sector prior to her place in politics have made her a formidable equal to her husband. She couldn’t be in his shadow even if she tried! I look forward to seeing what people think of her autobiography “

Becoming Michelle Obama

About the Book:

Becoming has sold over 17 million copies worldwide since its publication in 2018.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it — in her own words and on her own terms.

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations — and whose story inspires us to do the same.

About the Author:

Michelle Robinson Obama served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Mrs. Obama started her career as an attorney at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama. She later worked in the Chicago mayor’s office, at the University of Chicago, and at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Mrs. Obama also founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an organization that prepares young people for careers in public service.

The Obamas currently live in Washington, DC, and have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Staff Reviews

“I chose this book because I really appreciated its in-depth glimpse into the life of a boundary breaking, impactful woman of colour. It is really inspiring to see someone like Michelle Obama, a black woman of ordinary upbringing from the South Side of Chicago, ascend to such heights, both politically with her husband and in her legal and nonprofit careers. You get to follow Michelle’s own journey of life and how events from her upbringing, her environment and background have fed into her aspirations, decisions and choices all of which have captured her journey of ‘becoming’ of who she is today. It’s a refreshing, raw and candid take not solely on life with extreme political power, but on overcoming adversity and finding the lessons in the highs and lows of life. I would give it 4.5 stars” Fariyad Saeed, Paralegal

“I would give this 4 stars. The book starts a little slow, yet provides an in depth background to the former first lady’s early years which helps the reader understand her later aspirations and frustrations.  The book strikes a good balance in telling the truth of her challenges while repeatedly acknowledging her lucky life. It is candid yet full of grace and warmth.  It also provided an honest insight to marriage, motherhood, race and American politics” Louise Murphy, Partner and Head of Social Housing and Regeneration

July/August Books

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Book Club members have 3 choices for July and August. All are very different and we can wait to hear what people choose…

Sean Hamlin, Paralegal has chosen: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

About the book: The devil makes a personal appearance in Moscow accompanied by various demons, including a naked girl and a huge black cat. When he leaves, the asylums are full and the forces of law and order are in disarray. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil’s onslaught.

Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, The Master and Margarita became an overnight literary phenomenon when it was finally published it, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere. Bulgakov’s carnivalesque satire of Soviet life describes how the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow one Spring afternoon. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will do anything to save the imprisoned writer she loves.

Kathryn Mooney, Receptionist has chosen: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

About the book: Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four years old. Now, at fourteen, she yearns for forgiveness and a mother’s love. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh and unforgiving father, she has only one friend, Rosaleen, a black servant. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily chooses to flee with her. Fugitives from justice, the pair follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world as about the mystery surrounding her mother.

The novel is a work of fiction set in 1964 South Carolina. The book received critical acclaim and was a New York Times bestseller and sold over 8 million copies. The book was adapted into a 2008 film of the same name directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring Dakota Fannin, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo. The book has also been adapted into a musical.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Caitlin Westall, Legal Assistant has chosen: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

About the book: Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

Little Women is one of the best-loved children’s stories of all time, based on the author’s own youthful experiences. First published in 1868 the story of their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family income, their friendship with the neighbouring Laurence family, and their later love affairs remains as fresh and beguiling as ever and has been adapted a number of times for film and TV.

Author event with Paige Toon, Milly Johnson and Catherine Isaac 18th May 2023

Chief Bookworm Rachael Payne attended another author event, this time to see Paige Toon, Milly Johnson and Catherine Isaac.

Author event with Paige Toon, Milly Johnson and Catherine Isaac 18th May 2023
Author event with Paige Toon, Milly Johnson and Catherine Isaac 18th May 2023

During the event, the authors engaged in a conversation about their recent books, sharing insights into their writing process, and discussing their personal journeys as authors. They then opened the floor to questions from the audience, including one from Rachael when she asked if they ever have moments of reusing plot lines, especially with the number of books they produce. All the authors said they had not, though they had reused names. When it comes to plots, they all said it was important to make sure someone else had not already beaten them to it!

Once the Q&A was over the authors then signed copies of their books and took pictures with those in attendance. Rachael had 24 books in total between all the authors and they all kindly signed the back of her Kindle too!

Author event with Paige Toon, Milly Johnson and Catherine Isaac 18th May 2023

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