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The Must-Read Book Club

Lauren Krauze: I discovered this book by wandering around my local branch of the New York Public Library. I really enjoy discovering new books this way. I always seem to be led to something I am meant to read at that particular time.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?​

LK “But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.”

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

LK: A person who is convinced that they have fallen into an inescapable pattern of life habits and ruts; a person who feels trapped by the decisions he or she has made; a person who doesn’t yet understand the notion of freedom but is aching to embrace it and experience it.

YCNYC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

LK: Going back to my favorite quote, Steinbeck presents the Hebrew timshel. He translates it as “thou mayest.” In other words, it means “you can if you want to.”

Even though Steinbeck didn’t acknowledge the actual meaning of the Hebrew word (in English, it translates to “you will rule”), the message he provides about choice still holds value. Some of the most empowering moments of my life have been when people reminded me of my freedom—or my ever-present ability—to make a choice.

You can purchase East of Eden here.

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