What makes a book worthy of a book club? When I lived in Chicago, I was part of an awesome book club made up of twelve women whom I hadn’t met prior. Along with this group of diverse women came a cacophony of unique tastes in literature.
While each of these women, me included, were tasked with picking a book for our month, we didn’t judge one another on our choices. Rather than reading literary prose or new releases (though sometimes that was the case), book selection was based solely on curiosity and interest. Hence I experienced a deep dive into books that I probably wouldn’t have picked on my own. This opportunity opened my mind to new genres and authors that have had lasting impact on my writing and reading journey and, dare I say it, my life.
Today, many book clubs pick titles promoted by celebrities and ones that are peppered all over social media. Sometimes the book selected is one with a readymade list of book club questions.
I believe that is a great a way to find a good book to read and share. But I’m also going to offer a couple alternative options:
- Browse your own bookshelves and select a book you haven’t read for years (or haven’t read yet). You bought it for a reason. Now it’s time to explore it from fresh perspectives.
- Look at the recommendation list at your local bookstore. Booksellers are well versed in great reads and often post a list of their favorites.
- Try something unique that hasn’t been tried before. Maybe it’s chick lit, a classic, a horror novel, a foreign novel or a young adult book. Turn the tradition around and expose your club to reads that might not be their typical genre but will expand their horizons and make for a great book debate.
- Select a book from your childhood. Something you always loved or maybe remember your parents reading when you were young.
- Look on publishers’ websites. Talk about a great list of books for inspiration and many of them have guides and questions ready for you to use in a book club, classroom, library’s story time or for discussion in the workplace.
Here are some of my favorite book club reads:
- Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
- Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- The Alienist by Caleb Carr
I’d love to hear about yours!