- Books, Literature, and Writing
2014 Best Books to Read in Your Book Club
Books to Read in Your Book Club
Book Clubs can be one of the greatest social networks regardless of your schedule, lifestyle, or book tastes. The book club I am in does not have a specific theme or genre, so we try to mix it up as often as possible. Picking upcoming books can be stressful and fun, and depending on your club you may have different methods of choosing what to read next. Below are some of the best books my Book Club has read, including ones that drew the greatest discussions. I am sure you will enjoy many of these!
The Fan Favorites
Of the books listed here, which is your favorite?
Born to Run
This one almost didn't make the list because it is such a unique topic, but we were all grateful for the change in pace. Born to Run is very well written, and will keep you flipping to the next page. My current book club is all women, but many of our husbands read this book with us and it was a huge hit with the men. So if you have a co-ed book club, this could be a great pick! It touches on healthy eating, healthy living, remote global communities, and the human ability to push our limits. You will be blown away by some of the facts and stories you read and will be introduced to communities you never knew existed. I would recommend this book to anyone.
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.
The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale is considered by many to be a classic, so it is certainly a worthy contender for your Book Club's next book. The dystopian story takes place in the future where birth rates have dramatically dropped, leading women's rights to be turned upside down in an effort to remedy the problem. Every time you think "no, this never could happen", your mind will pull you to all of the atrocities that have happened in our history that should never have happened. This book will lead to some very interesting discussions.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.
Room is one of those books that you will not be able to put down. It is disturbing, yet riveting and you will easily become attached to the characters. This is one of the books that every single person in the club finished (that doesn't always happen for us!) and the discussion was able to go in many directions. This is definitely a book I would recommend to others.
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack's curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
The Help was a huge hit in my Book Club and definitely a must-read for any book club looking for good discussion. As an added bonus, the motion picture version of The Help had great reviews and can be an extra fun night to plan for your book club after you've discussed. This book will take you back in time and give you a glimpse into life in the South during the 1960's. It is dramatic, heart-wrenching, entertaining and hilarious. Absolutely a must-read.
Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.
Middlesex was a surprisingly great book that everyone enjoyed reading. The description - a story of the three generations that led to the birth of Callie, the main character and a hermaphrodite - may leave you worrying that the book is a little too far out there and maybe even a bit scandalous for a book club. However, the author does a phenomenal job of connecting you with each and every character and you will be riveted by each generation's story. This book is one that you won't be able to put down.
In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry blond clasmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them--along with Callie's failure to develop--leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.The explanation for this shocking state of affairs takes us out of suburbia- back before the Detroit race riots of 1967, before the rise of the Motor City and Prohibition, to 1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie's grandparents fled for their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and one rare genetic mutation, set in motion the metamorphosis that will turn Callie into a being both mythical and perfectly real: a hermaphrodite.
The 19th Wife
The 19th Wife is technically fiction, but follows the memoirs of Ann Eliza Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, leader of the Mormon Church. It uses excerpts from not only Ann's original memoir, but from various other periodicals that help you follow the complete story of Mormonism and Ann's crusade to end polygamy. If your book club is interested in exploring a unique religion with historic elements, then this would be a great selection.
It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives. Yet soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds—a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. As Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.