There’s an old joke around the PAW office: The reason so many Princeton alumni write books is that they’ve already done it: their thesis. They know they can write a book because they already have.
We don’t just joke about alumni books around here — we also read them. We’ve had the privilege and the pleasure of reading mysteries and thrillers, thoughtful takes on culture and intensely thorough works of research. Many have been featured on the PAWcast (available on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Soundcloud), where we often interview alumni authors as their books land on the shelves.
But why should we have all the fun? This year we’re adding an extra layer to our podcast interviews by inviting you along for the ride. We’ll even buy 50 of you the book.
We’re calling it PAW Book Club (catchy, right?), and here’s how it’ll work: Four times a year we’ll pick a book, and if you join, you’ll read it as well. We’ll keep in touch by email, and when you’re ready, send us your questions. Send audio files of you asking them if you can, because when we record the podcast with the author, we’ll include your name and your voice. You can also email written questions.
We’re kicking this off with the first interview in early January, and we picked a terrific book: Jennifer Weiner ’91’s new novel, The Breakaway. The protagonist is a woman who’s right on the brink of getting engaged when she gets roped into leading a two-week cycling trip. But there’s much more going on — themes about intergenerational trauma, parent-child relationships, body image, sex, and women’s autonomy in a post-Roe world. It raises a question, maybe one we should all ask ourselves from time to time: When should we follow the world’s rules for us, and when should we break them?
The Princeton University Store — aka the U-Store — is the official sponsor of the book club, and PAW will mail copies of The Breakaway to the first 50 alumni who sign up. Jennifer has graciously offered to sign them — in an orange pen. Sign up at bit.ly/paw-book-club and email email@example.com if you have any trouble. We’ll take it from there. If you’d like to support the U-Store, you can buy a copy of the book online here.
And if you’re a reader — or you just like being in the literary know — remember that PAW does a lot with books written by Princetonians. We write stories, we feature them on our website, and we have a monthly newsletter devoted entirely to sharing them with you. Subscribe to the books newsletter at paw.princeton.edu/email. And if you’ve published a book recently, tell us about it (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can share it with alumni. Remember, you alumni love to read books as much as you love to write them.
— Liz H. Daugherty, digital editor, and Carlett Spike, associate editor