It’s no secret that reading is good for you. Fiction can help you build leadership skills, poetry has the power to heal, and self-help can change your life for the better.
I’ve been a lifelong reader, but one thing missing in my life was a reading community. I’ll often read heart-wrenching books that make me question the meaning of life, and all I want is to talk to someone about it.
So when I came across The Modern Immigrant Book Club on Instagram, I knew I needed to be a part of this club. And I’m glad I did it! The Modern Immigrant Book Club is exactly what I needed, especially in a year like 2020. Not only do we read powerful books, but the conversations are even more powerful.
I caught up with Vero to chat about all things Modern Immigrant Book Club. I hope you all enjoy the conversation!
What inspired you to start the Modern Immigrant Book Club?
Last year I was using my podcast to discuss current events that were taking place. A lot of these issues—specifically relating to race—were new to me, and after George Floyd’s death, I wanted to learn more.
During that time, I came across the book “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Olua. One of the podcast listeners recommended we get together to discuss the book, and I loved the idea. The first session was so amazing! Everyone was from a different country and had varying experiences with many of the themes covered in the book. It made me realize I wanted to keep these conversations going.
Why do you think joining a book club is important, especially right now?
Right now, it’s so easy to feel isolated. We have so many ways to keep us connected, like Zoom and other platforms, but are we really connecting? Joining a book club can help us connect with others on a different level. I also think we need safe spaces where we can openly discuss important topics, and this book club is a space where we can have those conversations and feel safe.
How do you select the books you read each month?
The process varies. Sometimes people reach out to me with recommendations, or I’ll google a specific topic and find books that way. I’ve realized I’m drawn to books that talk about diversity and culture. The authors we read are usually people of color trying to navigate their lives from a different perspective.
Which books have you read so far?
–So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olua
–The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
–Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
–Untamed by Glennon Doyle
–The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
–One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
Is there a book that stayed with you long after you read it?
That’s a difficult question, but I do have a favorite. Because of my personal experience with immigration, The Good Immigrant really spoke to me and touched my life in different ways. I love that the book is full of different immigrant stories. It also highlights second and third generations’ experiences and the impact immigration had on their lives. To me, that is very powerful. That was my favorite book we’ve read so far.
What have you learned from this process?
I’ve learned the importance of having a community. We don’t necessarily need someone physically next to us, but we do need someone we can count on. Maybe we took that for granted in the past. We lived life like we were always going to have that support, and all of a sudden, we were all confined to our homes without the ability to connect with others the way we are used to doing.
I was never that person who finished a book, although you would think so since I started a book club, so having a community to explore different topics motivated me to accomplish a goal, which was finishing a book.
What can someone expect when joining the Modern Immigrant book club?
You will read one book each month, and you’ll have the opportunity to select the books too. If you join, you will be part of a supportive community of people who are open to learning and receiving feedback. Expect to read something you might not have considered reading before because we’ll explore different themes and authors.
How can one join the Modern Immigrant Book Club?
It’s easy to join! I want people to know that joining the book club doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join the discussion call. There are many ways to be involved and engaged. You can be part of selecting a book by participating in the story polls, sending me a message, or commenting on a post.
I periodically share quotes and updates about the books, so there are various ways to engage with the club on Instagram. If you do want to join the discussion, I will send you a Zoom link. This is a flexible club—it’s something I want you to enjoy!
Vero is the founder and host of the Modern Immigrant Podcast and the MI Book Club. She felt inspired to extend the Modern Immigrant community and add a book club after talking to her podcast listeners about the books that have supported their journeys. She has always loved embracing diversity and exploring different worlds and perspectives through books. You can join the club by reading the book of the month and/or by joining a Zoom call at the end of each month. Everyone is welcome!
For more information you can check out modernimmigrant.net or @mi.bookclub on Instagram.