Thursday, April 10, 2014

So You Want to Start a Book Club, Part 4 - Some Books to Get You Started

So You Want to Start a Book Club, Part 1 - Joining an Existing Group
So You Want to Start a Book Club, Part 2 - Starting Your Own Group
So You Want to Start a Book Club, Part 3 - You First Meeting

I'm going to share a secret with you that all members of book clubs know...not all "good," or even "great," books make for good discussions.  It's true.  There will be times when your discussion won't last past much everyone saying they liked the book.  And that's gives you all time to visit about other things and just enjoy time together.

There are also times when your club will read a book that will be universally hated.  Honestly, these meetings can actually be quite fun!  But, you wouldn't want every book club meeting to centered around a disappointing book.

To help you all get started, here are 11 books that have led to some fabulous discussions in groups I have been in.  To be honest, I had a horribly difficult time narrowing down this list and, I could probably recommend dozens more...but here you go.  The links for each book will go to the GoodReads page, unless I've previously reviewed it on my blog--in which case it will go to my review.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
We read this one within the past year and most people enjoyed it, although some members of my book club were very troubled by it.  In any case, there was much to discuss!

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
This one is for some of the more ambitious book clubs, as it clocks in at over 700 pages.  That being said, it is fascinating and has one of the best endings I've read in a long time.  Think of it as a vampires for smart people!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
If your club is open to or interested in non-fiction, this would be one of my top recommendations.  Skloot tells a fascinating story about a complex situation in a way that will keep pretty much anyone's attention.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This is probably a pretty obvious one--it is especially popular since the movie (which I have yet to see!).  But it is a great allegorical book that isn't too high-minded.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Okay, I get it.  This book deal with one of the most unsavory subjects possible and, honestly, it wasn't exactly "fun" to read.  However, the very best book club discussion I ever had was about this book.  We're talking over 3 hours...of talking about the book!  So, if your group can stomach it, this is great book club fodder!

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Jeffrey Eugenides is really hit and miss with me, but this is his hit--in a big way.  There's much to discuss in this book, and it is incredibly fun to read.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is one of those books that is incredibly original, a bit creepy, and great fodder for discussion.  I won't say more about it than that...

Quiet by Susan Cain
This would be my other must-read non-fiction book for book clubs.  If you choose to do this, it is fun to have your members take a Myers-Briggs test before the discussion!

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
About 5 or so years ago, every book club was reading this one.  I'm not sure if it is still popular, but it should be.  It's the story of Dinah from the book of Genesis--and a wonderful feminist take on it.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I'll come clean...this is probably my favorite book, not just in terms of book clubs.  I've read it with every book club I've been in, except for the two I'm currently in--and one of those will be reading it in October.  Yes, it's that good.  And it is dark and twisty...a good October selection!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Let's be honest...this list would not be complete without this book.  'Nuff said.

Tomorrow, I'll finish up this series with some fun ideas for your book club.

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