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A good book can transport you to another place and time, and that’s exactly the goal of our book club. We’ll be reading books featuring a strong female lead—meaning they’ll either be written by a powerful woman or focus on a complex female character or subject—and getting immersed in their worlds.
When it came time to choose the inaugural book for our L’Oréal Paris Book Club, it seemed only fitting that the first book be written by a former first lady. Once the decision was made, we all rushed to pick up our copies of Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” and suffice to say, we weren’t disappointed with our choice. As our team started reading, even when we had only just dug into the prologue, we quickly noticed that we were marking pages and shedding tears—two hallmarks of a good read—rather frequently. By the time we finished flipping through the pages, including taking time to admire the beautiful photos within, and had started to prepare for our book club discussion, the group was ready to give “Becoming” a rave review. Here, we’re sharing our favorite Michelle Obama quotes, providing you with book club questions so you can get your own reading group together, and revealing the best ways to turn reading into a self-care session.
We love to appreciate books in their entirety, but we also can’t help but focus on the quotes that really stand out—that line or two of text that sticks with you for days after reading. “Becoming” offered no shortage of quotable passages, with our team highlighting and dog-earing regularly as they read. Here are a few of the quotes we just couldn’t not mention:
Notable quote: “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
Why we love it: “This line comes straight out of the gate—it’s actually in the prologue. It immediately struck me because it’s so true, yet it’s not something I’ve ever given much thought. We start asking children to plan their lives almost immediately, rarely acknowledging that most people’s paths in life are not a straight shot to a specific endpoint. They continue to grow and change, essentially living multiple lives throughout their lifetime—just as Michelle has.” – Margaret Fisher
Notable quote: "In my blinding drive to excel, in my need to do things perfectly, I'd missed the signs and taken the wrong road.”
Why we love it: “After the death of a friend, Michelle had this realization that living life simply checking off the required boxes was leaving her without the most important thing in life: joy. I think it's a lesson for all of us, that it's never too late to make a change in your life in order to live one that you love. That at the end of the day, you can have the best of everything, you can check off all the boxes, and on paper, everything can look incredibly impressive—but if it leaves you feeling empty, it's probably time to make a change.” – Jackie Brisman
Notable quote: "It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be."
Why we love it: "This quote in particular stood out to me because I feel that it's all too easy to blame our unhappiness on circumstances, and forget the fact that we are in charge of our own happiness. While I do believe everything happens for a reason, I also believe that we have the power to create our own fate. This quote resonated with me and I think it's something we all need to hear every once in a while." – Nicolette Pezza
Notable quote: “Sometimes we can’t do this alone, and we shouldn’t have to. I relied on my girlfriends to get me through one of the hardest eight years of my life . . . We have to remember to be that for each other. We have to be each other’s light. We cannot get into that catty stuff. We have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible, you all. It is the only reason why I’m breathing. I couldn’t have gotten through raising my kids with a husband traveling without my girls.”
Why we love it: “I think this passage speaks to L’Oréal Paris’ theme of inspiring and uplifting women because we are all WORTH IT.” – Yaritza Caraballo
Whether you’ve recently been inspired to start a book club of your own or your longstanding club just so happens to have “Becoming” slated as next month’s read, we can help. To make sure conversation flows, it’s always a good idea to start off a book club meeting with a few questions about the book. Below, find seven questions we used to get our “Becoming” discussion off the ground.
Question 1: “Becoming” is split into three sections, which were you able to connect with most?
Question 2: What significance did Michelle’s experience with the worn out piano keys and her first recital have later in her life?
Question 3: What lesson could one takeaway from the book in terms of making lasting connections and nurturing relationships with mentors and mentees?
Question 4: Michelle changed course multiple times throughout her career, how do you think each role contributed to who she became?
Question 5: If you were Michelle’s friend or mentor, would you have recommended she make different decisions in her career, or do you think every part of her career journey was important in the end?
Question 6: Because she's someone in the public eye, you may have felt you already knew everything there is to know about Michelle. What surprised you most when reading?
Question 7: Who would you recommend “Becoming” to?
There are a number of ways you can unwind at the end of the week, from slipping into a bath with a glass of wine to catching up on your favorite TV shows, but one of our favorites is to kick back with a good book—the more inspirational the better. To kick things up a notch and turn reading into a true self-care activity, we have a few tips.
We’re guessing you won’t have a full day to dedicate to reading “Becoming” in one shot. You’ll probably be catching time when you can, fitting in 10-15 minutes here and there. Even if you have limited reading time, those 10 minutes provide you with plenty of time to show yourself a little TLC. Before you sit down to enjoy your nightly chapter, smooth on a calming face mask like the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clear & Comfort Face Mask. Set a timer, read for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off your mask.
For the perfect relaxing vibes, you’ll also want to light a candle or two. If you live in a dorm where you can’t light candles (or simply aren’t a fan of the flame), try using a scent diffuser to make your reading spot all the more enjoyable to be in.
Sometimes you have to make do with reading on your commute, but if you’re at home, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be totally cozy. Slip into your comfiest PJs and get under a super soft blanket before breaking out your book—you can thank us later.
Multi-tasking isn’t for everyone, but we bet you can handle it if snacks are the secondary activity. While you’re reading, enjoy your favorite treat. You can also sip on a glass of wine to really encourage “wining” down.
Next up: Want more in the way of powerful women? Read the first installment of our L’Oréal Paris employee feature, #BeautyInCharge: Meet L’Oréal Paris’ Deputy General Manager.