29 Books to Read With Your Book Club
By janssen.everyday on October 29, 2012
- Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chau - This is my pick for my bookclub this year (I'm leading the discussion in December) and I am just really excited to see how everyone feels about this book about Chinese parenting - or at least one woman's take on it - and how it works in America (full review here).
- Nutureshock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman - Ralphie picked this one for her bookclub last year and I loved the amazing discussion about sleep, racism, praising children, and a whole slew of other parenting topics (full review here).
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand - This book is non-fiction but it's so amazing, it's hard to believe someone didn't make it up. Olympic runner Louis Zamperini's plane is shot down in the Pacific during WWII and after surviving on a tiny inflatable raft for 47 days, he's taken prisoner by the Japanese. And compared to being a POW, the raft time looks like vacation. Probably the best WWII book I've read (full review here).
- Wonder by R.J Palacio - A remarkably done middle-grade novel about a boy with severe facial abnormalities who begins attending public school for the first time in middle school. Moving, well-written, and full of things to talk about.
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - This book would be especially fun if you were choosing for October - kind of a gothic thriller/romance. The first chapter (about 30 pages) is a smidge slow, but after that, it is hard to put down! Follows a young woman who marries a very rich widow and feels like she can't escape the shadow cast by his larger-than-life first wife who died in a boating accident.
- Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely - Along the same lines as Malcolm Gladwell's books, but Ariely is a professor and runs his own research studies. You could talk about this book all night long.
- The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine - This middle-grade historical fiction title is set in Alabama during WWI. Dit is anxious for the new post master to arrive, since rumor is that he has a son Dit's age, but when the post master's family arrives, Dit can't decide whether he's more surprised that the family is black or that the promised friend is a girl (full review here).
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman - This is YA fiction at its best. After a horrible car accident, the course of Mia's life is drastically changed and all the plans she’s had for her future are called into question. It's not a very long book, but it is beautifully written. I cried both times I read it (full review here).
- The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls - One of those books that makes your own childhood look really really easy, this is a memoir about growing up in a completely dysfunctional family, where the family keeps moving in the middle of the night and the children eventually realize that the parents are never going to pull themselves together (full review here).
- Red China Blues by Jan Wong - In college, I read this memoir about a Canadian girl (of Chinese descent) who goes over to China during the Cultural Revolution, on fire with Mao's vision. During the years she spends there, she comes to realize that Mao's ideas for China might not be all that she's hoped. This book is absolutely fascinating - I even sent my mom a copy for her birthday a couple of years ago (she loved it too).
- Room by Emma Donoghue - Horrifying, but ultimately full of hope, this book about a little boy raised by his mother in a single room where she is kept by her kidnapper and their eventual escape, explores what happens when the whole world opens up before you (full review here).
- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - One of my very favorite YA books of all time about a very smart girl at a boarding school who discovers her boyfriend belongs to a secret boys-only society and is determined to get in. (full review here)
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson -This was one of the best books we read last year in our book group. It's about 600 pages long, but it reads almost as quickly as a novel. It tracks the migration of black Americans from the South to the North and West during the 40-70s and their experiences assimilating into new cultures (and the lives they left behind in the South). Fascinating.
- That Used To Be Us by Thomas Friedman and Mandelbaum - About China's increasing dominance in the financial and educational world, while America struggles to keep up. This was a fun book to read in an election year and so interesting I read huge passages of it outloud to Bart. You'll want to have a relatively calm group, though, because I could imagine discussion getting a little heated if you have people who are extremely polar on either side of the political aisle (I found the book itself to be very even-handed).
And please tell me what books have been big hits in YOUR bookclubs! I'm always looking for more ideas.
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