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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Vanderbilt chapter.

Available at the Vanderbilt library

I have no right to give a book talk of any kind but as an academically burnt-out young person, I feel I at least have the right to talk a little about things in life that have helped me to grow my perspective and that happens to be a short list of books most of which have been written by women. I lost my personal interest in reading and somewhat in writing when I hit middle school and felt my time for both activities was consumed by required school exercises. Over the summer I decided I wanted to learn to love reading again and the first book I chose quickly became my favorite book. 

Tara Westover wrote her first book, Educated, in 2018 telling her story. The memoir paints a vivid picture of her childhood growing up in a less-than-traditional family and making her way through life with a truly non-traditional education. Having grown up in a Mormon family that struggled with mental illness and lived so much in fear that Westover did not have a known birth date, it is incredible to hear how a young woman in her position overcame so many obstacles to end up teaching at Harvard. The story of Westover’s life is interesting but I also found the way she shared these memories served as an opportunity for me to reflect on my own upbringing and the privileges my education has afforded me. Educated encourages you to look beyond the surface and consider vastly different ways of life and paths to success. 

I loved this book but I think it’s important to remember you don’t have to. I will share a few more books I have enjoyed from female-identifying authors throughout the semester as a way to motivate myself and possibly encourage others to reclaim some joy in flexing their ELA muscles for fun again. So don’t make yourself finish a book you do not enjoy, remember there is no timeline for finishing a book, and give yourself some freedom to read something fun rather than challenging or even relevant. 

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Lucy Beauchamp

Vanderbilt '23

I am a senior at Vanderbilt double majoring in Human & Organizational Development and Child Studies. I also serve as the Vanderbilt University chapter of HER Campus' treasurer!