To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the most beloved stories in American history, perhaps the most. It centers around the spirited and spunky Scout Finch as she struggles with a world-view shift and comes of age in a small Southern town rife with prejudice. If your book club picks To Kill a Mockingbird to read, I’ve provided book club questions and a delicious recipe for your meeting below! So if you are looking for food ideas and more, keep reading!
The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most renown work. Maybe you know The Great Gatsby from high school English, where it’s often required reading (gasp!–If you’re in high school English now, hi there! Don’t worry, you’ll survive!). Anyway, maybe that’s been a while…but you have a vague memory of parties and wealth along with Gatsby’s doomed obsession for a past love.
Emma is one of Jane Austen’s lesser known masterpieces (often behind Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in readers’ minds). It is a comedy about romantic mishaps and youthful overconfidence. If you’ve read any of her books, you’ll know that Jane Austen is the queen of miscommunication. Her books often revolve around dangers of assumptions. Emma is no different, but I found the heroine to be especially charming in a unique way to other Austen heroines.
The Alice Network is a Reese’s Book Club pick and I loved it. The novel is a dual timeline story featuring two women as they deal with both WWI and WWII. It is set primarily in France. When the two women meet in the aftermath of WWII, their stories converge and they set out on a journey of discovery and revenge. In fact, I’ve read quite a lot of WWII fiction (less WWI fiction) and I have to say that this was one of the only books I can remember feeling excited about throughout the read and happy at the ending.
While researching books for Book Club Bites, I stumbled upon The Invention of Wings. It was released in 2015, but I had yet to read it. The premise was intriguing. In fact, I’m a sucker for Civil War fiction in the same way some people love WWII fiction. This is another book by Sue Monk Kidd with a young narrator. Two young narrators actually–Sarah and Handful. They both have unique voices, like Lily from The Secret Life of Bees. You also have the racial discrimination (civil rights vs slavery) and coming-of-age themes. However, that is where the similarity ends.
Although I read Little Women as a preteen and knew the basis of the story, rereading the book as an adult was a delight. The book is a classic and written for the post-Civil war era, so it isn’t a fast-paced, straight-line story like those we read today. That said, I found so much timeless wisdom in the book. From Meg’s conversations with Marmee after becoming a new mother, to Jo’s struggles as a writer, to Amy’s frustrations at wanting more without losing her character in exchange for wealth.
Did you know that Amazon has it’s own publishing house now? That’s right. Just like Penguin, Random House, and the others. It’s called Lake Union and it’s been putting out some hits. I chose In Farleigh Field quite randomly. character growth or internal turmoil, which are usually in my picks. However, I did enjoy it and learned a few things about the British spy network during the war.
If your book club hasn’t read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I highly recommend it. It will surprise you and leave you smiling. In the beginning, I think it’s safe to say that Eleanor Oliphant is not a very likeable character, but, by the end, I was cheering loudly for her. What a triumphant character and novel.
Jill Santopolo’s writing in The Light We Lost was superb. There were several lines that really made me stop and think. Often, I had to set the book down and walk away for a while to process the reactions it stirred in me. To me, this is a sign of great writing.
If you haven’t read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I highly recommend it. The Nightingale is an all-encompassing experience that wears you out by taking you through the full range of emotions and leaves you contemplating life. And, a book with a steady plot full of twists and turns.
The Goldfinch has been on my reading list for quite a while. Generally, I like to read or at least be informed about Pulitzer Prize winners and usually they are good picks for book club discussions. Although, I will say the last few I’ve read have been hard to read and I’ve taken a step back from the list in recent years. However, when I saw that The Goldfinch was made into a major motion picture, I decided it was time to read it. Here’s why…
When I saw The Great Alone from Kristin Hannah, who is one of my favorite authors, I had to read it. If you’ve read The Nightingale and loved it, you’ll love this book, too, although it’s very different. This novel centers on the relationship between a mother and a daughter. There is a love story and triumph in the midst of (alot) of tragedy, just like in The Nightingale, but this is a very different read centered on the mother/daughter struggle.
If your book club hasn’t read Where’d You Go, Bernadette, I highly recommend it as a read that is quirky, humorous, and still carries enough weight to facilitate a great discussion. The great news is that Where’d You Go, Bernadette was released in 2012, but is still timely and relevant. A lot of book clubs prefer to read books easily found at the library, and, by now, your library should have plenty of copies.
I wanted to share this gem here as a book club suggestion for groups who might be looking for a feel-good inspirational read that still has depth. If that’s your group, I hope you’ll take a chance on this read. I’ve provided book club questions and a recipe for Then There Was You to facilitate your meeting! So if you are looking for food ideas and more for your book club meeting, keep reading!
If your book club needs a good laugh or a feel good book, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is the book for you. From page one, I loved the narrator’s voice and couldn’t stop smiling. This book really was a breath of fresh air to me. I’ll be interested to know if you felt the same. Even though it is a rom-com essentially, I had no trouble finding more than enough book club questions and a recipe (ummm, margaritas anyone?) to compliment the book.