It’s that time of year again; book clubs are organizing their lists for monthly discussions. How do you pick books for your book club?
When my book clubs identify books a few years old, I’m often reluctant to reread, especially if it would require me to take notes on the characters; however, a time-honored book by one of my favorite authors is never a chore, and I relish immersing myself in the story again. Wallace Stegner’s Crossing Into Safety appears on one list, and the title jarred me into remembering why I liked it so much – it’s worth rereading to get that feeling again.
Not many book clubs identify best sellers or just published books – maybe because those books are not readily available in the library, or maybe because they just haven’t come to the attention of the group. Sometimes when I am reading a new book, I wonder what others would think about it, but it’s often years before it appears on a book club list. My good friends across the waters often save me with immediate discussions by email.
Now and then, a book I’ve missed appears on a book club list – usually nonfiction and finally in paperback – and I am grateful to know it. Book clubs can trigger a new interest or provide an informative window. I still remember reading and discussing Barbara Chase-Riboud’s Hottentot Venus and Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, and gaining new insights into areas I never would have picked to read about.
Here are a few selections for discussion from book clubs I’d like to join. Have you read any? Are any on your list of books to read soon? The first set is from my friends in California, the second is closer to home.
- The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
- The Good Daughter by Jasmine Darznik
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegman
- Prairie Fires: The American Dream of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
- The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
- The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
- The Overstory by Richard Powers
- Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan
- All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski