Monday, March 22, 2010

What Should the Book Club Read?

We have two great libraries nearby that do book club sets. The way it works is,  I check out the whole set (usually 15 books) and distribute them to the book club members. The books check out for six weeks, which lets us have time for the month to roll around and get them all gathered up again to take back. But the sets are becoming so very popular that we, as a book club,  need to figure out what books to reserve way ahead of time. So this past week, I went through the list and come up with these few "potentials" for us to pick from. The book club members will vote for at least one per category. 

So, what would be your votes? Do you have any words of persuasion for us to choose one book over another?

Literary Fiction

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
These is My Words by Nancy Turner

YA Fiction

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pffefer
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston


Founding Mothers: The Woman Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
84 Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff

The Big Read for our community this fall will be The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin... so we've added that one as a "for sure" to our schedule. And we'll probably talk about the new Hunger Games book at our first meeting in September, along with whatever summer theme we choose this year.

The sad thing about this list is that I've read most of them... BUT that's okay. I'm sure we'll also add a couple of books, probably newer ones, not available at the moment through the book club sets, but I haven't figured out that list yet!


  1. I loved the Hurston book, but many people in my book club found it difficult to get through. It seems most people love LIfe As We Knew It. I wasn't personally a fan, but it will probably provide a good discussion for you.

  2. The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book ever, so I have to vote for it. It's huge, though. If the library has the abridged edition, I'd go with that. Otherwise, take two months.

    84 Charring Cross Road is lovely.

    I loved Cold Sassy Tree and have heard great things about the Potato Peel Society.

    I'd love to hear what you go with!

  3. I’d recommend the Guernsey book – my book club had a GREAT discussion of that one. The Hurston book is one of my all-time favorites so I’d suggest that one as well. The dialect takes a bit of effort to read but it is very worth it. And I’d also go for the Cokie Roberts book – I’ve already got it on my TBR list. :)

  4. I read Cold Sassy Tree for a book club a while back and loved it. I also love When You Reach Me, but depending on how much time you actually spend discussing the book you might run out of things to talk about.

  5. I'd vote the YA fiction. I liked Life As We Knew It and loved A Long Way from Chicago (one of my favorites).
    I've heard fantastic things about Pie Society and I've read These is My Words. It is very well written and an interesting story, but I personally had a hard time with the graphic assault scene and would not recommend it.
    There's my two bits. :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Based on a mixture of personal preference and hearsay, I would choose:

    Literary: Guernsey
    YA: Life as We Knew It
    Classics: Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Non-Fic: 84 Charing Cross


  8. My 2 cents:
    Literary: Guernsey was fun, and generated a fair amount of discussion, but These is My Words is SO much better.

    Life as We Knew It will generate lots and lots of discussion, if the dystopian aspect doesn't throw people off (or the diary format, which Amanda didn't like). When You Reach Me is great, too, though I don't know how it'd be in a book group setting.

    Count is fabulous. Huge. But absolutely fabulous.

    Founding Mothers drove me bonkers, but it made for some good discussion. On the other hand, LOVED 84 Charing Cross road, but the discussion was "I liked it, how about you." "I liked it, too." Not very exciting.

  9. I would go with Potato Peel Pie - I have not read it yet but hope to soon. I think it would be a wonderful discussion and it has been recommended for my own book club.

  10. I loved Guernsey but I missed our book club discussion because I was out of town. I still feel bad about that. We're reading These is my Words in a few months and I'm looking forward to it. I haven't read any of the YA except When You Reach Me and I wonder if there's enough there for a lot of discussion.

    Our group read The Count our first year as a book club and had a wonderful discussion. We did the unabridged version and all of us finished it but I have to wonder if we would do that now. Then everyone was more gungho about the book club than we are now. However, it is a page turner so it might still work. I do recommend the unabridged if you do read it. It's wonderful.

  11. I haven't read very many on your list. These is my Words is amazing. I've heard good things about the Potaoto Peel Society.

    My church club is reading Sarahs Quilt this month which is #2 of These is my Words. Good luck deciding, there are so many good ones.

  12. The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my all-time favorite books, if not *the* favorite. I'm biased on that category -- go for The Count.

    I also thought Life As We Knew It was a book worth talking about.

  13. I'm behind the times and just recently read Life As We Knew It and *loved* it. It definitely seems like the sort of book that would be conducive to a good discussion.

  14. I'm feeling a bit jealous of your book group. Seriously, mine is a very transient group - all of us are in school (or married to someone in school) and planning to move in the next few months/years. Each time I've tried to get opinions about what they want to read, we get nothing. I've picked the last 2 books and put 2 more on reserve from the libraries. I wish we could get input AND I wish we could plan a year in advance.

    Anyway, now that I've complained, I'd say one from each category:
    Loved Guernsey (and Cold, Sassy Tree)
    Any of the YA (we are reading When You Reach Me this month)
    Count of Monte Cristo = all time fave
    Loved 84, Charing Cross

    Have fun!

  15. As someone who used to be in a bookclub we always liked reading book that had bookclubs in them and the Guernsey book had one and is such a great story with so many characters for people to pick their favorites so that would be my vote :)

  16. Thanks so much everyone for all the insights you have into these books! I hope some of my book club people stop by to see what you are all saying...even if it may totally confuse them further on what to vote for!

    I didn't realize so many of you loved the Count... I loved it too and would look forward to a re-read here. I have no idea what version the book club sets are, but my guess is it's probably abridged.

    Thanks for all your thoughts.

  17. Here's my vote, for what it's worth:

    I want to try Cold Sassy Trea, Life as We Knew It, When You Reach Me, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Founding Mothers.

    Does the one library's list open up tomorrow? Thanks again for another year of fun!



Related Posts with Thumbnails