I have been getting a few questions like this one wondering about the best books we’ve read in my book club.
I love that you have done book reviews from time to time because it motivates me to find time to read in my busy life. Some of my friends and I are talking about starting a book club. Could you provide us with a top-ten “must read for book club” list? (Ones you particularly enjoyed, as well as ones that lend themselves to great discussion.) Thanks!
First of all, let me say that there’s nothing like a book club.
The beauty of being part of a book club
When Dave and I moved to D.C. shortly after we got married a friend and I started one. I’ve been in one ever since. It’s so important to me because I’m not the type that will soak in the tub at night and read. Or sit down and read during the day.
No. I’m the type that will wait until the last three days and cram in that book every second I get…at the dentist, at the gym, at a stoplight while rushing a carpool somewhere, etc. BUT, I get the book read because I have a deadline and I love it.
I love to be taken into such a different world as I read. I love to be transported into a girl’s mind as she struggles as to whether she should keep having her life turned upside-down being the never-ending “donor” to her terminally ill sister (My Sister’s Keeper), or to be swept away to medieval times and wonder in awe about the bravery of one woman in Pope Joan…or to think about ancient China, and the customs of the time when women had to bind their feet in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Oh, and to be able to root for a the main character in an amazing story of triumph and resilience as she overcomes all kinds of obstacles including homelessness and a dysfunctional family in The Glass Castle.
Books take me to “places” I’ve never been and make me think about things outside my little realm of changing diapers and dusting blinds and hugging my kids to smithereens. Which is all good, but I want so much to be open to the bigger world…to see outside my little bubble here at home. I want my kids to see that too.
I love to savor those last few pages of a book that I love. For really good books I will plan out a time to soak in the ending. No reading the end of those books while listening to my kids’ piano lessons or in snippets while dealing with kids fighting in the back seat on a road trip. The surroundings have to be perfect for that.
I love for my kids to see me reading. They love it too. When I’m in crunch time for book club they always want to know what’s going on in my book. I love explaining things to them, and telling them the story. And then each time they see me reading after I start the story, they want to hear an update on what’s happening next.
East of Eden was probably one that they loved hearing about the most. A lot of times when they see me cramming they’ll pull out their books too and come sit by me, and we’ll have a little impromptu “Read-A-Thon.”
I have somehow found myself in three book clubs right now. The one I’ve been in since we moved here six years ago, a ward one, and a Mother/Daughter one. Elle and I have had such a fun time in the mother/daughter one (it just started a couple months ago). We’ve read most of the two books so far together. One will read and the other will do the reader’s hair. Usually I’m the one who gets to read while Elle experiments putting my hair up in all kinds of different hairstyles. I love it.
My favorite “book club discussion” books
I wrote a book review about a couple recent favorites, but here’s a quick list of books that have created great book club discussions in addition to the ones listed above:
Cold Sassy Tree — I think this one might be my second favorite. Maybe just because of the thought process it made me get into all about the power of telling stories. Ok, and for the writing too. All those “boy howdies” and adventurous shenanigans pulled me right in.
Pope Joan — I mentioned this one above, but there’s nothing like a great historical fiction book about a strong woman. Loved this one so much!
The Thirteenth Tale — This was one we read a long time ago that made for a really good discussion. It’s a really good mystery one. Details are a little hazy so I hope there’s no questionable parts I’m forgetting about.
Unbroken — I wrote much more about this one in that link above, but I think everyone should read this book. Great for discussion and understanding the history around World War II. I have written more about this one in another post.
East of Eden — This one’s long but really one of my very favorite books about the generations of families and their struggles and triumphs. Loved our discussion about this one too.
The Red Tent — This one sure made me think a lot about the Bible…made stories come to life (I’ve heard of some people who were offended by it…you definitely can’t take it too literally, but I went back and read the Bible with a new light).
The Book Thief — Oh I loved that one. One of the most beautifully written books I’ve read. It’s based in Nazi Germany and is about a girl who learns to prize and protect books.
Rebecca — I know this is an old one but we had such a fun book club succession about it right around spooky Halloween 🙂 I really love how Daphne du Maurier writes.
Jane Eyre — Gotta love this classic, especially when your maiden name is Eyre.
These is my Words — Great book…it was hyped up a little too much by some others who read it so I wasn’t completely over-the-moon about it, but I think it may be my book club’s very favorite. Great story of life on the American plains.
The Help — Loved this one. Loved the movie too. But loved the book even more.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn — One of my ALL-TIME favorites. Not only is it an incredible story, but those well-developed characters taught me so much about parenting.
Other posts about books:
- The best books for young readers
- My collection of favorite children’s books
- One of the best gifts we can give our children
Please send other suggestions. I love good book recommendations.