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Category Archives for "Literary and Upmarket"

Find book discussion guides for your favorite literary and upmarket fiction. And, much more, including memorable quotes and recipes! Thanks for stopping by!

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News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For News of the World, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
Homemade Divinity
Homemade Divinity

Today’s post features News of the World, a finalist for the National Book Award. It’s also slated to become a movie later this year starring Tom Hanks (who doesn’t love Tom Hanks?). Maybe before now you had not heard of News of the World or its author, Paulette Jiles.

This novel is one of the more literary novels featured on Book Club Bites to date, but like the others (The Goldfinch, Peace Like a River, etc), News of the World has both strong characters and strong plot. Sometimes that is not always true of literary novels, which tend to focus on character development over plot.

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Before We Were Yours Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Before We Were Yours, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Before We Were Yours Book Club Questions and Recipe
Before We Were Yours Book Club Questions and Recipe
Before We Were Yours Book Club Questions and Recipe
Before We Were Yours Book Club Questions and Recipe

Do you love novels based on true life events? If so, you should check out Lisa Wingate’s novel, Before We Were Yours. The novel centers around the true life events that occurred in the early half of the 20th Century at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Georgia Tann, who took over the Society in the 1920s, began trafficking children through the organization. She often took children away from their poor mother’s and placed them for adoption with wealthy parents, to her profit. The novel follows a fictional girl as she and her siblings fall into the hands of Georgia Tann.

Before We Were Yours is a dual timeline novel, meaning that half of the book follows the children and the other half follows a young attorney, home on leave, who discovers a hidden secret in her grandmother’s past and works to uncover the truth.

I actually began reading this book about a year ago and set it aside. While this book does deal with a heavy topic, I wish I would have pursued and read it earlier because it is a wonderful story about the question of the meaning of family and the way both main characters’ understanding of family evolves.

Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate

If your book club hasn’t read Before We Were Yours, I recommend you consider it for an upcoming pick. Beyond learning about a part of American history that was brushed under the rug for many decades, the novel delves deep into the culture of the people who live on shantyboats along the Mississippi River, which was fascinating to read about.

If you loved books like Where the Crawdads Sing and To Kill a Mockingbird, you will love this story about another fiery young girl fighting the odds in the American South.

If your book club picks Before We Were Yours to read, I’ve provided book club questions and a delicious recipe for your meeting below!

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To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For To Kill a Mockingbird, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe
To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe
To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe
To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe

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.

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

While To Kill a Mockingbird is a story many people read during school, maybe you didn’t. Somewhere between changing high schools three times, I missed the required To Kill a Mockingbird reading. It wasn’t until after college that I decided to read it and see what all the fuss was about. So, if you haven’t read it yet, there’s no shame!

I’m going to guess that even those in your book club who have read it will be delighted to read it again. It’s one of those books you can read multiple times and still turn the last page with a smile and that nostalgic feeling that comes after you’ve enjoyed a good visit with old friends.

To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe
To Kill a Mockingbird Book Club Questions and Recipe

To Kill a Mockingbird is written in the Southern Gothic style, which means that there is a dark feel to elements of the story. It is also told in first person from the view of Scout, who is almost 6 years old when the story begins. This is a coming-of-age story, and while usually characters emerge from such tales with jaded outlooks, Scout manages to emerge from her ordeal hopeful for the future and fighting the prejudices that rage around her.

“You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

-Scout Finch, Chapter 31, To Kill a Mockingbird

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it seems all of us could use a little dose of Scout Finch and her moxie anyhow. Maybe a little wisdom from the ever poignant Atticus Finch, too. So, if members of your book club haven’t read (or re-read) To Kill a Mockingbird, there’s no better time than right now.

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The Invention of Wings Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Invention of Wings, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Invention of Wings Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Invention of Wings Book Club Questions and Recipe

One of my favorite books is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. If you haven’t read it, it is chock full of friendship, mother-daughter relationships, and Southern flair. And, of course bees. The narrator is also a spit-fire girl who comes of age during the story. It’s one of those feel-good books that you think back on and sigh with happiness. I knew the Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Mermaid Chair shortly after. For some reason, it didn’t appeal to me personally. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your thoughts.

However, when researching books to feature here. 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.

The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd

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.

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Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Little Women, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe
Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe
Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe
Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe

This post is the beginning of a new series of posts I have decided to create for Book Club Bites featuring The Classics. I’ve had Little Women on my re-read list for a while and with the new movie coming out this winter, I decided it was the perfect start for this series.

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

If you don’t know much about Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, I suggest you take some time and read a little about her (even if it’s just her wikipedia page).

Louisa May Alcott led a fascinating life. She was raised by her parents among transcendentalists, including many famous thinkers of the time such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

She grew up to be an abolitionist and a feminist. In fact, her family helped Frederick Douglass and others during their work in the underground railroad. Despite all of this adventure, Little Women is based on what Louisa held closest to her heart–her own sisters and her mother. Her three sisters inspired the characters Meg, Amy, and Beth, and Jo was based loosely upon her own life and character.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book Club Questions and Recipe
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Book Club Questions and Recipe

Wow. This book. Gail Honeyman, you are amazing. This book dealt with so many HEAVY topics with humor and grace. That’s probably why this was featured for Reese’s Book Club. Rumor has it that Reese (Witherspoon) is planning on making it into a major motion picture soon!

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. If your book club hasn’t read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I highly recommend it. It will surprise you and leave you smiling.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

I was actually able to listen to it on audiobook, which was fantastic. I loved listening to Cathleen McCarron’s Scottish accent. She also nailed Eleanor’s sarcasm and the bone-chilling Mummy voice. If you’re able to, I recommend listening to it.

If your book club is reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I’ve created some book club questions and a recipe to facilitate your group meeting!

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The Light We Lost Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Light We Lost, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Light We Lost Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Light We Lost Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo was a book that kept surfacing in various places on the internet for me, so I decided to read it. It’s been a featured book for Reese’s Book Club and received rave reviews many places. I, personally, have decided not to “review” books here and offer a star rating and I think this book is a perfect example of why.

The Light We Lost
by Jill Santopolo

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.

All of that said, this book seems to be very polarizing. You either love it or hate it. You can read the wide range of reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Again, this is what I think makes a great book club book–one that gets you thinking and talking whether you love or hate the characters. It is a great example, though, of how people can experience books so differently based on their own life experiences, opinions, and values. The very reason I steer clear of rating books.

I hope your book club will consider featuring The Light We Lost if it hasn’t yet. It will definitely spur a good discussion. Below, I’ve provided your group with several book club questions and a recipe for The Light We Lost.

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The Goldfinch Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Goldfinch, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Goldfinch Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Goldfinch Book Club Questions and Recipe

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.

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

Here’s the deal about Hollywood that doesn’t always apply to acclaimed literary fiction–they (usually) produce movies with a good plot. Literary fiction doesn’t have to have much of a plot to still win awards. The writing and character development are more important.

So, I figured that The Goldfinch would be a good merger of quality writing, character development, and plot.

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Where’d You Go Bernadette Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Where’d You Go, Bernadette, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Where'd You Go Bernadette Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where’d You Go Bernadette Book Club Questions and Recipe

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? This book ranks alongside other fantastic works like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine that deal with mental health with humor and grace. 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.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple

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. You can also buy it in mass market paperback for fairly cheap.

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The Rosie Project Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Rosie Project, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Rosie Project Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Rosie Project Book Club Questions and Recipe

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. As someone who works in a business office during the day, I have met so many Don’s that I can’t count them. Too bad they weren’t as funny or redeemable.

The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

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.

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