The traveling bookclub is a new bookclub focusing on books situated in a specific country or city. Books have a way of transporting us to other worlds, letting us visit cities and places from the comfort of our own homes. Especially now, when travel is simply not possible for most of us, books can be an escape. I’ve brought the Traveling Bookclub to life so we can travel these bookworlds together and chat about them when we finished reading.
The adventures of Alexander von Humboldt (february bookclub pick)
Last month we read The adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, a graphic novel written by Andrea Wulf and illustrated by Lilian Melcher, accompanied by Humboldt’s own drawings/writings.
Humboldt (1769-1859) was an explorer and scientist with a severe need to explore and travel the world. This book focuses on his travels to south America and his findings.
In the bookclub we talked about how much we learned about him through the book, we talked about the pictures and the way the book seems to jump from highlight to highlight, without giving too much information on the in-betweens. We suspected that this represented the enthusiasm with which Humboldt explored the world. We also talked about favourite passages and what we did and didn’t like about the book. The consensus was that this is a great book for everyone who likes to travel and explore the world, and to learn a bit more about this specific famous explorer. Though the drawings could have been a lot nicer.
Besides this book, Andrea Wulf also published a non-fiction book about Humboldt, called The invention of Nature. I’ve been reading this book alongside the graphic novel to fill in the blanks and get a little bit more information about Humboldts life. I’d highly recommend this book too, as it is a great read and highly informative.
The Paris Library (march bookclub pick)
For the march bookclub, I had selected two titles the bookclub members could vote for. The book that won was The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.
This book is set in World War Two and is based on a true story about brave librarians in Paris and the power of literature. Though I am not a big fan of WW2 literature, this book focuses on a lot of things that I love; namely literature and Paris. I’ll share the goodreads summary:
Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.
Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.
A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.
The bookclub will take place at the end of the month, and you can still join! The bookclub is free (you’ll only have to get your hands on the book) and we’ll chat away about the book on our discord server, which you can find here.