4 Books To Read At Your Book Club In May
There are an estimated 50,000 book clubs in the UK. By our count, that’s a whole lots of people getting together to chat books and, probably (if it’s being done right), a whole lot of wine being drunk, too.
The Girly Book Club, one of the biggest book clubs in the world, is run by London-based book lover Erin Woodward. She came up with the idea in 2008 when she moved to London and wanted to meet new people. She now runs 60 clubs worldwide and has 45,000 members. So that, whether you’re in New York or Toronto, you can find a friendly gang of girls to drink Sauvignon Blanc and talk fiction with.
Here are her favourite books to read in 2017.
5 Must-Reads For Your May Book Club
If you’re going through a period of change…
Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
Despite finding out on page one that Lili’s husband, Dan, is killed in a terrible car accident, this book is lighthearted. Fast forward three years from the accident and life is pretty predictable, which seems to be all that Lili can really handle. Until, of course, a handsome, kind, wealthy farmer enters the picture and Lili has to figure out how to move beyond her deep loss. Waxman’s voice is witty, emotional and often profound.
What to discuss: How and when to move on after life throws you a curve ball.
The Garden of Small Beginnings
If you need to finish it in one sitting…
I Found You by Lisa Jewell
A one-sit-wonder that’ll have you still guessing with only 50 pages left. In the first few chapters we’re introduced to a nameless man – nameless because he has amnesia and can’t remember a thing about his life – let’s call him “Frank”. Frank is taken in by a slightly crazy Alice, who found him alone wandering the beach in the pouring rain. If you can forgive Alice for this recklessness you’re bound to grow quite fond of her as she’s slightly wacky and lovely in a real world kind of way. At the same time, across the country (in London), Lily’s husband has disappeared. Just newly married, Lily is determined to find her husband but has very few clues. Of course, everything comes together in the end – and not in the typical ‘aha’ sort of way either.
What to discuss: When did you realise whodunnit and how much can we really tell about people when we first meet them?
I Found You
If you like a good crime novel…
The Dry by Jane Harper
I’m not really a crime drama fan but this book had some great reviews so I had to check it out. Meet Federal Agent Aaron Falk, who has more skeletons in his closet than clothes. Haunted by his past, the death of his best childhood friend sends him home to investigate. But it’s very clear he’s less than welcome in the town where he grew up and following him as he juggles the “unofficial” investigation with the wrath of the townspeople makes for a very interesting story.
What to discuss: Where do we go from here? This is story one in what will become a series.
If you need a good cry…
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
A good cry is always cathartic and whether you’re a dog lover or not, there is no way around the tears in this book. You’ll have to endure several doggie deaths but, fear not, Bailey is reincarnated every time as he searches for the meaning of his life. Funny, insightful and clever. For anyone who’s ever wondered what’s going on behind those big doggie eyes.
What to discuss: When you’ll have time to see the film together.
A Dog’s Purpose
5 Must-Reads For Your April Book Club
Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero
An intense historical novel set in WWII, that tells of a German doctor who, because of his father’s status in the army, must pretend to be loyal to the Reich. Yet, truthfully he wants to help the Jewish people. Three main characters are intricately woven together in an uncertain time and in an unusual way to create a beautiful yet poignant tale about love and loss.
What to discuss: This book really highlights the plight of not just the Jewish people but of others who suffered in WWII as well. Character development is intense so trying to put yourself in their shoes will provide an interesting perspective.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
All The Ugly and Wonderful Things is just that: ugly and wonderful all at the same time. An epic love story about a very young girl, completely neglected by her drug/alcohol-addicted parents and raised by a family friend. This friend is a very unlikely leading male character who you spend half the book undecided if you love or hate. It’s a very unusual relationship but leads you cautiously down a road where you realise family is no longer defined by traditional roles and in some circumstances love, even when born of darkness, is a true gift.
What to discuss: This book will be the birth of a vibrant debate about the law and societal norms as your book club members will truly be divided by the actions of our male lead. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for this one!
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
Grissom’s first book was The Kitchen House and this is the second book in the series, although it’s a stand-alone novel. It’s the incredible tale of Jamie, son of both a slave and master of a huge Southern Plantation, living as a white man in early 19th century Philadelphia. He sets out to save Pan, a young free boy who was kidnapped by slavers, but to do so he must journey back to the South where deadly secrets await his return and the safe life he built for himself in the upper echelons of society no longer exists.
What to discuss: A curious and difficult time in America’s history. Your members will struggle with the many moral dilemmas Jamie faces, including having to give up his own child to ensure a better life for her.
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
This book tells the story of single father David, a genius who runs a computer lab dedicated to the progression of natural language processing (a computer able to reply to complex questions and conversation). Incredibly intelligent and rather eccentric, we learn he became father to Ada at the age of 48 with the help of a surrogate. The book follows Ada’s home-schooled life and her clear distress as her father starts to decline with the onset of Alzheimer’s. But, just as you think you’ve understood the premise of the book completely, and wonder if there is any point in reading the next 200 pages, it veers off into a realm you most certainly didn’t see coming. You’ll find yourself wondering if anything you learned about David was ever true at all.
What to discuss: This is an unusual tale about all the things that aren’t said in a family. It will provoke conversations about family life and what we choose to leave unsaid.
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner
Ruth tells her own very personal tale about growing up in a Polygamist family where her mother shares their father with two other wives. They have no indoor plumbing or electricity and their mother is forever pregnant. Ruth plays a pivotal role in raising her brothers and sisters all the while supporting her mother who is constantly dealing with her own feelings of abandonment and jealousy. It took an incredibly strong woman to write this book; to rise above the sadness to create something, not only worthwhile, but necessary from such tragedy.
What to discuss: Where to start? There are so many themes running through this book, but first and foremost the polygamist family structure is worth debating.
Here are more of the best new books to read in 2017…