February 2019 Reading List: Molly’s Game and Room

book club molly's game Molly bloom room the book

book club molly's game Molly bloom room the book February 2019 reading list book club what to read philadelphia blog

I was expecting to read more books in February since I have about 25 books on my to-read list but it occurred to me that I only finished two books last month. Both of these were excellent though so I thought I’d include them in the February reading list. Have you read either one? What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments section below!

Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

I think I must have been out of the loop while in pharmacy school in the early 2000s because I was completely unfamiliar with the story of Molly Bloom until I found myself watching the movie, Molly’s Game, on a flight. Immediately, I started googling her after the plane landed.

I read the book a few months later for a book club and couldn’t put it down. Bloom, the author, was in her 20s when she built one of the most exclusive, high-stakes poker games in the world. Celebrities like Tobey Maguire (who is not painted in the best light), Ben Affleck, Alex Rodriguez, and Leonardo DiCaprio played in her games, which consisted of hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. The story has an element of celebrity, which certainly makes it intriguing. I enjoyed reading about how Molly overcame various obstacles in her life, in particular a ski accident she had when she was qualifying for the olympics, recovering from back surgery, or being pushed out of her LA poker game. It’s a quick read and perfect if you’re looking for something light but meaningful.

February 2019 reading list book club what to read philadelphia blog

Room by Emma Donoghue

This book was incredible! I spent many nights staying up late so I could get to just one more chapter. I haven’t seen the movie yet because like most people, I prefer to read the book first so I can visualize everything my mind as I’m reading without outside influence.  It took me a few chapters to get into the narrative because it’s written from the perspective of a child but after that, I was hooked.

A young mother, Ma, is held captive with her five-year-old son in a garden shed. She was kidnapped when she was nineteen years old and subsequently gave birth alone to her son, Jack. Jack has spent his entire life unknowingly imprisoned and believing that the room he lives in is the entire world. Looking back, choosing to have a child as the narrator was such a smart choice. It gives a sad situation an element of innocence and hope. The author describes their experience while being kidnapped as well as what happens when they are rescued and reintegrate into everyday life.

I was most drawn to the mother/son bond between the main characters. Ma chose to protect Jack by pretending that Room was the whole world so he could find joy and happiness living there. Meanwhile, she was miserable but keeping it together for him and raising him as best she could given their circumstances. I finished this book in February and I’m still thinking about it, which to me is a sign of a truly special work of fiction.

What are you currently reading? What should I add to my reading list?

book club molly's game Molly bloom room the book

February 2019 reading list book club what to read philadelphia blog

Next on my list:

Man’s Search for Meaning

13 Things mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A Novel

Men Explain Things to Me

Bad Blood


Location: Shakespeare & Co  Bookstore // Photography: Alex Ashman


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