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Topic: Good books for book clubs?

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Subject: Good books for book clubs?
Date Posted: 5/28/2008 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
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Can you recommend some books that work really well for book clubs? We just started up a book club and I'm having a hard time contributing to discussion on what to read next. Our first book was My Sister's Keeper, which most of us found to be a great read (we're all moms).

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,646
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I really like Phillipa Gregory's A Respectable Trade, and always thought it would make a great book club choice.

Edited to add that I think The Kite Runner and Me & Emma would also be really good choices too.  :)



Last Edited on: 5/29/08 3:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/29/2008 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
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Ooh! These all look really interesting! Thanks for the ideas--I'll be suggesting them! :)

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a popular bookclub choice. 

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2005
Posts: 1,563
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I've found that Winkie by Clifford Chase tends to be a good one to bandy about. Lots of things going on in this one, on several different levels.

"With the recent controversy over domestic spying, the literary world is ripe for skewering America's unwieldy War on Terror--but good. In this wryly comic, paradoxically touching first novel, Chase delivers a cleverly original allegory on the absurdities of our terror-obsessed culture. After suffering years of neglect by children who have grown and moved on, a tattered teddy bear named Winkie miraculously discovers the power of movement and runs away to the forest to begin a new life. Unfortunately, this particular forest has been pigeonholed as the hideout for a notorious terrorist, and militant FBI agents quickly surround Winkie with drawn weapons and whirling helicopters. Unsure quite what to make of the diminutive quadruped--Is he a Middle-Eastern midget or a bizarre genetic experiment?--the authorities nevertheless trot out their standard interrogation techniques while charging the little bear with unparalleled barbarism. In the surrealistic courtroom circus that follows, Winkie faces a gauntlet of bizarre witnesses from the trials of Socrates, Galileo, and Oscar Wilde--an ordeal he endures by retreating into memories of the early years that nurtured his awakening. Inspired by a stuffed animal from his childhood (photographs of the bona fide Winkie are sprinkled throughout), Chase turns in a masterfully measured social critique featuring a protagonist as endearing as any from the classics of childhood literature."

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Oh..and March by Geraldine Brooks..it's a good quick read.

Date Posted: 5/29/2008 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,706
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I've always found that you want to read something that perhaps not everyone will love.  The worst meetings in the world are when everyone says, "It was great." and then there's nothing to discuss!

I would second "Me & Emma", and I would also suggest "The Last American Man" by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love fame).  OH...and "Industry of Souls"...I need to find the author.  I want to say Martin Booth...or "Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger.

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 2:38 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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My online book club is having some good discussions on Not Me by Michael Lavigne.  It is a story of a Jewish man  whose father supposedly was a Holocaust survivor who is handed twenty something journals by his father who is in a nursing home.  The journals tell the story (is it the story of his father's life or is it a novel that his father has written) about a Nazi bookkeeper who disguises himself as a Holocaust survivor, moved to America and lived his life as a Jew. 

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 7:15 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 4,926
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How about The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan?  It's all about mother/daughter relationships and how complicted they usually are, and it's told from both perspectives.  It is also just simply beautifully written.  It was the first book by Amy Tan I read, and now I am a big fan of hers!

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 7:56 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Woman Warrior is an excellent book, but I don't think it appeals to the masses. I read it in a Women's Lit class.  It's not very long so I think it would be perfect for a book cllub.  Plus there's a lot of meat to it. It's not exactly an easy read so don't expect it to be considered as a "beach book".



Last Edited on: 5/30/08 7:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,706
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The book discussion group that meets at my library decided to each read a different Jodi Picoult book.  That might be fun; it seems people either love or hate her!

[Thanks for all the great tips here!!]

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 8:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Vicky, I've wanted to do a Jane Austen group for a  long time. I just haven't found the time to organize it.  There's a couple of good movies to add to the theme Becoming Jane, which is about JA.  And The Jane Austen Book Club which is a cute romantic comedy surrounding a ..Jane Austen Book Club...  :)

 



Last Edited on: 5/30/08 9:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/30/2008 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,706
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April, that sounds like it would be fun!  I just read a cute cozy mystery called "Pride and Prescience" by Carrie Bebris.  She's written four or five cozies with Elizabeth and Darcy acting as detectives.  I really enjoyed the first one.  I have another one on its way to me, "North by Northanger".  Those would be fun to add into the mix!

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
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Wow, these are all great suggestions! Thanks! :)

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2007
Posts: 362
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i was in a really active club for about two years. One of our best discussions was after Anita Diamant's Red Tent.  It was well liked but led to ALOT of discussion!

 

 

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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I love my book club! Here's a list of the books that have prompted the best discussions for us:  

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd

Peace Like a River - Leif Enger

Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See

The Ladies' Auxiliary - Tova Mirvis

The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak

 

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2006
Posts: 2,246
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My wife's book club enjoyed My Summer of Southern Discomfort, by Stephanie Gayle.    PBS link: http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780061236297-My+Summer+of+Southern+Discomfort   and http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780061236310-My+Summer+of+Southern+Discomfort

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2007
Posts: 6,066
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My book club just read Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos, and for the first time ever, everyone in the group loved the chosen book.

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 21
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I second the The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd and The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak. Both were great reads and conversational pieces. I just read Secrets of a Lady and that would also be a good book for a group.

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2005
Posts: 10
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I always thought it would be fun to have a book club that reads culinary mysteries and then has a potluck with each member bringing a recipe from the book to share.  :)

Date Posted: 5/30/2008 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,706
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Ooh, Dorinne, that sounds like FUN!

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 8:15 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2007
Posts: 5
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I love all of alice hoffman's books. The secret life of bees is a great choice, I also like me & emma.

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
Posts: 309
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Dorinne - our book group kind of does that! We always do a potluck anyway, but if there's food mentioned in the book, then someone is sure to bring it. We did really well on Ladies Auxiliary night (Jewish food), Snow Flower was Chinese food night. Secret Life of Bees had a lot of honey themed dishes. Our best though, was Tender at the Bone - by Ruth Reichl. A memoir by a restaurant critic, stuffed with recipes! Totally fun.

We've never actually read a culinary mystery, though, we just kind of take the 'flavor' of the book and bring food associated with it.

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 7,886
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I ditto Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.  It was a wonderful book, easy read and would be a great discussion book.  As I was reading it I would read parts to my husband that I found informative.

Date Posted: 5/31/2008 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,646
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You guys have some great ideas!  I love the culinary mystery bookclub idea, too!  I wish there were some bookclubs in my area to join, sniff sniff.

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