The Book Blab Episode 18: Books for Book Club Plus Two Perfect Summer Reads

Jul 30, 2018

When Suzanne and I last chatted, we talked about everything you need to know to start a book club . . . except for the books you might actually want to read at said book club! That's what today's episode is for. Consider this a part two (in fact, you might want to watch part one first if you missed it). It's chock-full of book recommendations (although we did try to show some restraint), and it was fun to get to the heart of what makes a book a great choice for a book club discussion (spoiler: it's not always your favorite book). As always, we'd love to hear YOUR thoughts. What have been some of your favorite books to discuss with your book club?

0:24 - Summer update
1:35 - Today's topic: What makes a good book club book?
2:25 - Tips for choosing books for book club:
  • 2:47 - Favorite books don't always make for a good discussion
  • 3:55 - Choose a book that generates opposite opinions or strong feelings
  • 6:35 - Some ambiguity in the plot/ending encourages discussion
  • 8:15 - This is a simple indicator for knowing if a book will be good for book club
  • 9:58 - Take the length of the book into consideration
  • 12:45 - Be careful of choosing a bestseller 
  • 15:30 - Check if your library has book club sets
  • 16:12 - Identify the unique tastes and interests and commitment levels of your book club
  • 17:22 - Nonfiction is generally a safe choice
18:50 - A few of our favorite book club books
28:17 - Two recommendations for summer reading
  • 29:03 - Suzanne's recommendation 
  • 31:20 - Amy's recommendation
32:32 - Conclusion

Books and links talked about during the show:

The Book Blab Episode 17: Book Clubs (Part One)
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Children Act by Ian McEwan (Amy's review)
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (Suzanne's review)
Educated by Tara Westover (Suzanne's review)
America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy by Judith L. Pearson (Amy's review)
 The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Suzanne's review)
Bomb: the Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (Amy's review // Suzanne's review)
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Suzanne's review)
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (Amy's review)
Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Suzanne's review)
Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Brubraker Bradley (Amy's review)
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows (Suzanne's review)
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (Amy's review)

Now it's your turn: Share your favorite book club reads, and tell us what we should talk about next time on The Book Blab!

1 comment:

  1. Another great Blab -- I picked up a bunch of recommendations. I'm in a variety of book clubs -- one is a bunch of old friends, and we can get away with reading a book that we all love because it just gets us talking about other books that we also love. But I was in a more public club and we actively looked for books that people would need to talk about (and disagree with!). That one read Just Mercy and Heretic and something about scientology and, um, oh yeah -- Po Bronson's NurtureShock, which is applying science to some common sense parenting ideas. But then the librarian running it got assigned to a different branch and it dwindled away...

    I'm hoping for another book pick from you two, even if my library also lags by months. And have you talked about books that didn't work for you once but then you tried them again later on and suddenly you got them?


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