I love to read and I love to discuss books. Should be a no-brainer that I would gather with ‘my people’ on a regular basis to talk books. Alas, no.
I’ve been a member of three book clubs, each more annoying than the last. A range of irritations put me off: the bombastic older man who kept talking about “the canon.” Then there was the woman who never finished the book and screeched like a demented parrot if anyone dared mention the ending. And my last hurrah: it came after we discussed Breakfast At Tiffany’s and some members were blithely referencing the film, not the book. Yuk!
Maybe I should start my own club? First, I need to find books to shake up the discussion. This list from Kirkus Books has some great suggestions:
1. The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
When Mina meets Michael: what happens when a gifted Afghani-Australian girl meets a private school boy whose family opposes Muslim immigration? Abdel-Fattah gives us both points of view in her engaging novel.
2. A Separation by Katie Kitamura
Kirkus calls this novel, Kitamura’s third, “a hypnotic meditation on infidelity and the unknowability of one’s spouse.” Bound to get the discussion flowing, especially if you have couples in your group.
3. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
In a world fought over by militias, fundamentalists and a repressive government, young lovers Nadia and Saeed do their best to keep their heads down. Suddenly there’s a way out: a portal to a place outside their besieged and dangerous world.
4. Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke
Writer and illustrator, Kristen Radtke’s inspiration for her memoir came after the death of her uncle when she became “consumed by the question of how something that is can become, very suddenly, something that isn’t.”
5. The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam
“Which God or Gods had built that world?” Nadeem Aslam puts this question into the mouth of the main character, Nargris. Her world is driven by division and she struggles to keep a secret that her family has concealed for a lifetime.
6. Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century by Chuck Klosterman
This book of essays would only fit your book group if the members are into pop-culture. Klosterman has built his career as the “anti-critic critic.” His opinions are bound to cause discussion, and probably a few groans of embarrassed recognition.
7. Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer
When Claire Dederer re-read her teenage diaries, she not only took an uneasy trip down memory lane, she was also inspired to write her funny, honest and at times, uncomfortable memoir.
8. Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki
A mother of two hires a nanny so that she can work on her memoir. Seems straight forward until it turns out the nanny has a project of her own. Both women take turns as narrator.
9. Change Agent by Daniel Suarez
The year is 2045 and there is a black market in gene editing. Interpol agent, Kenneth Durand is on the frontline of this war until he falls victim, and is turned into the spitting image of his arch-enemy, the head of a human trafficking cartel.
10. No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak Of Mental Health In America by Ron Powers
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Ron Powers casts a forensic eye over mental health care in the United States. That his two sons suffer from schizophrenia makes his work even more compelling and insightful.
So, there we have it: 10 suggestions that are sure to shake up anyone’s book club discussions.
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