Thursday, October 21, 2010

Good Picks for Book Clubs

As the member of several book clubs, past and present, I was interested by the Top Ten Discussion Books list compiled by Reading Group Guides. I have read eight of the ten, all with a book club of one kind or another:

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (I read this one on my own at the end of 2009, and it made the list of my favorite books of the year. It was also a pick of the Book Buddies online book group this year.)
  2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (I read this one with my long-time book club in January and posted a review.)
  3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (I read this one with my long-time book club, back in October 2006 before I started book blogging. I did post a few thoughts on my "other" blog. In January 2007, another book club I met with briefly read the book, but the discussion was less than satisfying for me, as I explained here, and I stopped attending this book club.)
  4. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (This was a pick for my long-time book club in 2006, and in January 2009 I re-read it with my church women's group book club, which is now defunct, and posted a review.)
  5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (This was the "book club" read for my annual women's retreat in June 2008. I started it there and continued reading it through the summer.)
  6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (I read this with my "book lunch girls" in February 2009 and posted a review. Then in June this was the "book club" read for my annual women's retreat.)
  7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (I first read this one with my long-time book club in the summer of 2005. My church women's group book club read it in January 2007, and I posted a few thoughts.)
  8. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (I haven't read this one yet, although my mom recommended it to me not too long ago.)
  9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (I read this one with my long-time book club in May 2009 and posted a few thoughts about it.)
  10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (This one has been on my to-read list for several years, but I've not yet read it.)

As a fan of young adult and children's novels, I was also interested in the Top 10 Young Adults/Kids Books list. Of these, I've read eight, many of them with a reading group:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (I read this one on my own at the end of 2009 and posted a review.)
  2. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Although I read two of DiCamillo's other books in a mother-daughter book club - The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - this one remains on my to-read list.)
  3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (I read this with the "book lunch girls" early in 2009 and posted a review. It was also the 2008 Salt Lake County "One County, One Book.")
  4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (I read this one with the Book Buddies in November 2007 and posted a review.)
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry (I've never discussed this all-time favorite with a group but have always wanted to. I posted a few thoughts on re-reading in January 2008.)
  6. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (I've not read this one yet.)
  7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (I read this one with the "book lunch girls" in the summer of 2009 and posted a few thoughts.)
  8. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (I read The Deathly Hallows - the seventh book of the series - during the summer of 2007 and posted my review. My church women's group book club met to discuss it shortly thereafter. I read all the other books in the series on my own, pre-book blog.)
  9. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (I picked The Hunger Games for both the "book lunch girls" and my long-time book club in the summer of 2009, and I posted some discussion questions. I've since read the other two books in the trilogy on my own.)
  10. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (I chose Twilight for my long-time book club in June 2007 and posted a few thoughts and some discussion questions. My church women's group book club met to discuss Twilight a few months later. I read the rest of the series along with my daughters, including a formal discussion of New Moon at a lunch outing.)

What books have you enjoyed reading and discussing with a book group?


  1. We've read several of these books with our book club and then I've read most of the rest on my own. The Glass Castle was a great meeting! A book I read on my own that I think would be great for book club is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Great book with so much to talk about!

  2. My pick for our book club next year is Wait Til Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I'm excited!

  3. Trish: It's been a long time since I read The Poisonwood Bible, but I liked it a lot and agree that it would be a great book club read. My long-time book club read Kingsolver's The Bean Trees several years ago - it was a re-read for me - and that was fun too.

    Janssen: I have Team of Rivals on my to-read list, but I'm not familiar with Wait Til Next Year; I'll have to check that out. Does your book club pick a year's worth of books in advance?

  4. Thanks for the list, Alison!

    I'm so happy to know that I've all the ones listed in the YA category except the first two titles.

    As for the first list, I'm familiar with the titles and some are already in my pile. I have enjoyed THE KITE RUNNER and SNOW FLOWER very much, both which I'd read a few years ago. :)

  5. wow -- I've read all 10 -- either independently or as a book group. Didn't do as well on the YA list.

    The Red Tent caused the most controversy in our book club...I loved it...but the author writing about beastiality (sp??) nearly put some over the edge.