3 Books with Mo Cotton Kelly

Montique “Mo” Cotton Kelly says she never tires of the joy that “cracking open a new book, smelling it, and turning the pages” brings her. Her job as VP of Alumni Relations and Communications requires a lot of travel, which she translates as “quality reading time.” The mom of two typically is reading two or three books at once and is on pace to read 50 books this year. Yes, she’s counting.

portrait of Montique “Mo” Cotton Kelly

Illustration by Kyle Hilton

Just finished:

"Becoming” by Michelle Obama

I had this book for a while but was saving it for my book club. I so enjoyed it; I both laughed and cried. Before starting it, I figured we all knew her story because of Barack, but I think we sort of lumped her in with him. I learned so much about who she is, with and without him. Not that anyone doubted she is a true, strong, independent woman. But getting to know her in these pages was pure joy, and also a little heartbreaking: She navigates first her own family, then her relationship with Barack and their family together, and then how fiercely she has to work to protect that family and maintain their family values under that bright light of the presidency.

“Becoming” by Michelle Obama

Currently reading:

“Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by Brené Brown

I am starting to read “Dare to Lead,” which a colleague gave me. The author did a TED Talk on women’s empowerment in the workplace, and my favorite point from that was: Who we are is how we lead. I’m also reading Colum McCann’s “Transatlantic” for my next book club meeting. And I’m reading “Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands” about doing business internationally. I’m going to China this summer with a group from UConn to meet with admitted students and their families and for alumni events in Shanghai and Beijing.

“Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.” by Brené Brown

On deck:

“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones

I have so many on-decks! But this one, “An American Marriage,” is literally on my nightstand, and I put it on my Goodreads reading list as “next book.” It came out last year, and after reading the title and the six-line description I ordered it immediately. It’s about a young African-American couple dealing with the wrongful-assault conviction of the husband shortly after their wedding. Another book club summer pick is “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town” by Jon Krakauer, whose nonfiction reads like fiction.

“An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones


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