Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Club Recommendation Run-Down

In the summer I joined a book club with some friends. 
As an avid reader I loved the idea of having books recommended by friends and reading books I may not otherwise have known about or given a chance. Not to mention having the chance to discuss plot and characters over food and drinks with good company.
I thought I'd pass along my humble opinion on some of the books we've read so far in case any other avid readers who stumble upon this blog post are looking for suggestions for their next book.

1. Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell). This book is the story of two teenagers from very different families who fall in love and the challenges of that young love. It was an easy read and the story was sweet (I read this while pregnant and hormonal and teared up the first time Eleanor and Park held hands) and engaging. It also made for good book club fodder since the story hints at events that may or may not have transpired. It makes for good discussion. Recommended.

2. Wild (Cheryl Strayed). If you don't already know, which you probably do, this is the true story of a woman who decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to put her troubled past behind her and to come to terms with her mother's death. I liked the way it bounced between her present on the trail and her past. I also cried (her mother owned a horse... and, spoiler alert, her mother also dies). As a fan of the outdoors it also made me want to go hiking. The movie is good but, as per usual, I think the book is better. I missed this book club meeting but from the recap it seemed like our group was pretty split on whether they liked Cheryl or not. Makes for good discussion! Recommended.

3. Still Alice (Lisa Genova). This was my second read of the book and I think I liked the book even more the second time around. This should be a must-read for everyone. It's the story of a woman who is diagnosed with early onset dementia and how it effects her professional life and her family. I feel like I don't need to tell you that I cried but I dare anyone to read this and not cry. It's an incredible book. I really want to see the movie. Alice makes a plan to kill herself when her dementia gets to a certain point. This made for great book club discussion on how we rate quality of life. 100% recommended.

4. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn). This story starts with the disappearance of a wife on her 5th wedding anniversary and explores the did-he or didn't-he involvement of her husband. I can't say much more without ruining the story but if you like smart, twisty and dark stories then drop what you're reading and read this. I loved this so much that I bought the other books Gillian Flynn has written. You love and hate the characters. This might be the ultimate book club book because once you finish it you want to talk to people about it. 100% recommended.

5. Never Let Me Go (Kazou Ishiguro). I had high hopes for this one, having loved the twist of Gone Girl. I was promised a twist and had read that this book was one everyone should read. While it does deal with an interesting ethical question, I found it really slow and hard to get into. I read The Goldfinch in the summer and also found it slow but stuck it out til the end. I couldn't stick this one out.  I may try to go back to this book just to finish it though now that I'm home all day with my tiny one. The general consensus with the book club was that we've picked better books. I'd be interested to here from anyone who read it and really loved it. It might give me the motivation to finish it.

Our book for February is:

6. The Bear (Claire Cameron). This one reminds me of Room by Emma Donoghue (a must-read) in that it's told from the perspective of a child. In this case it is 5 year old Anna who is now caring for her 3 year old brother after a camping trip in Algonquin park gone wrong. As expected, I've already cried. I'm about half way through this book and recommend it already.  It's easy reading and very easy to just want to keep reading. I'll update my recommendation that you read this if I'm not as impressed when I'm finished but for now my verdict is: recommended. 

Any books you'd recommend for my book club's next selection? 

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