1.31.2012

Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks


To me a great book club pick is one that begs to be discussed. It's not necessarily a book that everyone in the book club will like, but one that each member will have something to say about nonetheless. I've focused my list on fiction, because those are the books I know best. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

The Submission by Amy Waldman: This book is heated. It's subject matter is quite controversial and extremely relevant today, exploring the trials of an American Muslim who was annoymously chosen to design a post-9/11 memorial.

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham: Maugham's writing is truly lovely and his ability to convey ideas without hitting the reader over the head with them is refreshing. This is a book about the human ability to grow and change for the better, leaving much to discuss.

Native Son by Richard Wright: This is a book that truly inspires discussion, touching on topics that include civil rights, equality and freedom.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston: Hurston's novel explores gender roles and examines race in terms of its cultural construction and how ideas of race are spread. It's also a coming of age story, but its much more than that.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach: After I finished this book I wanted to talk to someone who had read it. The characters are all so memorable and fully realized I felt like I wanted to gossip about old friends, except they were really just fictional characters.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: There is SO much to talk about while reading this book because most of the characters are unreliable narrators you can't be sure who to trust or who to blame.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Don't be scared, this novel is not super pervie, nor is it sleazy. The beauty of this novel is that Nabokov treads that fine line of portraying the abductor of a young girl as sympathetic, almost excusable. This device makes for a lot of discussion.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: The novel is about a fictional book The History of Love and the interconnectedness of the of the people this book has affected. Each of the multiple plot lines are creatively linked in a way that makes me think Mrs. Kauss is one sharp lady.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: This is a tough one to read in terms of subject matter; it's infuriating, exposing the dark side of human nature. But it;s a book that you'll certainly want to discuss upon completion.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: First off, read this book in winter. Secondly, you will either love or hate this book. Guaranteed you can have a fun conversation with a group about this one. And while we are on Wharton, I'd also suggest The Age of Innocence, for fun or for book club.

Image from the movie The Jane Austen Book Club, a guilty pleasure of mine. (Leave me alone I know it's cheesy.)

31 comments:

  1. I'm even more excited about some of my 2012 reads after seeing them on your list... Native Son, The Painted Veil, The Art of Fielding, The Moonstones. Now I just need to find a group of friends to read them with!

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    1. Awesome! You've got some solid reading ahead of you :)

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  2. Thank you... I was JUST thinking about this topic last night, needing some fresh advice.

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  3. I hate to only comment on an image, but I LOVE THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB (the movie, not the book -- I hear the book sucks it). I was expecting it to be idiotic and I loved it, soooo...yay.

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    1. Ok so I'm happy to know I'm not the only one :)

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  4. I agree about the best choices being ones you can talk about, not ones everyone will love. I think you've picked some great choices for a bloggers book club, but some of them are a bit long for other book clubs. I can imagine most people struggling to finish The Art of Fielding or The Moonstone in the given time.

    The Painted Veil is a book that has been on my shelf for far too long. I really should read it in 2012. :-)

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    1. Jackie, You think so? Don't most book clubs meet once a month or once every other month? The feel like that's more than enough time to read a 500 page book. Maybe some book clubs meet more often than I'm aware of.

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  5. Good choices. I couldn't decide, so I completely skipped out today. I'm especially onboard for anything by Nabokov. He's always a discussion starter.

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    1. I need to read more Nabokov. Lolita has been my only one of his. Do you have any other favorites you would recommend?

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  6. I agree with you completely. A club read is a book that is screaming to be discussed, maybe a tad controversial and may not be liked by all. Great list. Ethan Frome is on mine as well.

    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews
    My Top Ten...

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    1. Ethan Frome has such a crazy ending I don't know how you couldn't talk about it for awhile.

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  7. Lolita is a great pick! And i really need to read The Painted Veil pronto.

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  8. Lolita to me is the perfect book for discussion...and not just because it may be my favorite book. I also think The Road by McCarthy could be a great discussion book, simply because it seems so divisive. People seem to either love it or hate it. Of course, that could lead the discussion on downward spiral with the wrong group, too. Hmmm.

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    1. I've got The Road sitting at home, I haven't started it yet though. Just bought it a couple of weeks ago. Someone told me to be in a very happy place before I pick it up since it is so bleak.

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  9. Reading The History Of Love right now.....why did I wait so long?

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    1. I know isn't it great? I was a little worried when I first read it that it would be chick-litty because the cover looked like it could be. But it wasn't and was just all around amazing.

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  10. Ethan Frome would be a great choice! I remember reading that one in high school and the discussions that we would have in class about it were pretty heated. I have The Submission in my TBR pile and can't wait to get to it. Great list!

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    1. I can't wait for you to read The Submission!

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  11. I kept on bouncing on The History of Love as a book club recommend. I haven't read it but now, I'm very curious!

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  12. One of our best meetings ever was about Lolita. I think it works especially well if participants are comfortable with each other and the atmosphere is informal.

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    1. That would help a lot. I've actually never been part of a book club, but I imagine if not everyone is comfortable with each other, discussing touchy topics could get awkward.

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    1. No I wish! These are just book I think would be good for a book club ;)

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  14. Lolita is on my list as well. It is definitely discussion provoking. I have quite a few of these others on my TBR, some even for this year.

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  15. I've got a few more months before I get to pick another book club book, but I start thinking about it early, so I'm glad to get ideas! I'm so glad that you mentioned Native Son. I've been meaning to re-read it, but it really would be a perfect choice for a book club--good writing, social/historical relevance, and classic American Lit. I can picture the discussion already. :)

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    1. Let me know what you end up choosing!

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  16. You have so many great books on this list. I love that you picked ones that will encourage discussion, not just books everyone would enjoy. That makes book club so much better.

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