Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme:
Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks
I've belonged to a couple book clubs, and loved them. I think the key to picking a good book is to find a novel with layers - not something you just breeze through in a sitting with a cuppa tea. It should stick with you, give you something to think about, have characters you can root for or against. A bit of controversy never hurt, either, but stick with fiction - unless you want real arguments. I also like reading something that had a connection to your geographical locale, which is admittedly easier to do if you're reading in New York than Oklahoma.
My book club did read this, and I'm so glad. I probably never would have picked it up otherwise. If I remember, pretty much everyone loved it, but there was still plenty to talk about. I hate when you get a book about which everyone says "This was great!," and then...nothing. There is so much going on in this story that it is sure to lead to engaging conversations.
The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood.It's a retelling of a classic, so people will be familiar with the general story. It's a great book to take a character's side - do you think Penelope's full of it? Is Helen unfairly demonized? What's really going on with the maids?
It's short. Yay! And there's a lot packed into this novella, so there's still plenty to talk about. Plus, if people like this, maybe they'll be willing to tackle Middlemarch the next time you suggest it. Which is, um, not short.
The last book club I was in was a group of lawyers. We often picked books with a bit of a legal angle, but not anything too close to work. This would seem to fit that. It's about a woman who loses her house because she ignores notices and tax bills, and what happens to her and the new family of recent immigrants who buys the house. I can imagine people having very strong reactions to this and being firmly on the side of one or the other characters.
I really wanted my book club to read this, but for some reason the others didn't seem to be as fascinated with it as I was. I love the title, and it has to do with a girl growing up in Algeria, and there's war and independence and the role of language. This is the only book on my list I haven't actually read yet, which needs to change, asap.
Because it's good. And you get to talk about race and addiction and family issues. See? Interesting conversations, I promise.
Sometimes picking a classic means that more people show up. Either they've read it before, or it's one of those books that they will read if they're just given a bit of a push.
Sula, Toni Morrison.Morrison is intimidating, but this book is pretty straightforward and accessible. The are no Beloved type ghosts to confuse the heck out of everyone, but it's still a wonderfully written, beautiful book. Plus, the friendship of two young girls is at its core. I know there's plenty to talk about there.
Again, this one is short but powerful. It has a lot of references to Jewish culture, so it helps if people have at least a working understanding of Judaism. Warning: it's a bit of a downer.
Another classic, this time with an ambiguous ending, drug usage, plenty of scandal. Perfect.