A Goodreads user
A Goodreads user asked:

Hello! For those of you who have read this book, do you think it would be a good choice for a book club read?

Stacey Falls it depends on the nature of your book group. some book groups, i think, are just an excuse to get together and drink, snack, socialize, and very little book discussion happens. if your book group is like that, this is a fun book, and i am sure it would be appropriate.

i am in a book group that is NOT like that; we actually discuss the book, and in that case, having a book that is complex and layered and needs dissecting and processing is essential. for a book group like that, i would say, "no" this book isn't fabulous for that.

i mean, don't get me wrong, the book is fabulous, but there really isn't much to discuss. brown spells out all the details. you read it, you get his point, you feel moved by it, and it might be fun to share your reaction, but you don't need to process through what happened. you don't need to discuss deeper meanings or conundrums. you won't gain any extra insight by talking through the subtle details, because it just isn't that subtle.

it is a great book, but read it on your own, unless you and your book group just like to get together after reading a book you all enjoy and lounge around relaxing in each others' company.
Karen Yes! There are so many metaphors of life woven into the story of each boy's position in the boat! It is such a well written book. It draws you in and makes you fall in love with the characters. It is our book club choice for November.
Becky In addition to what everyone else has said- Brown does a superb job of weaving other facts into the narrative that would create excellent sidebar conversations. Such as when he mentions that Seabiscuit's owner was inspired to change the horse's diet after hearing how the Seattle boys were eating.
Tom Ranken Yes. The book has several different lines in it: The sports story and rowing as a sport, the main characters compelling childhood, living in the NW during the depression, and the rise of Nazi Germany.
Jim Tracy NO. It just sounds contrived. Here's a non-fiction book club recommendation: Privileged Information by Tom Alibrandi.
Marek Absolutely. There's so much to talk about and Joe's story is especially fascinating.
Bahbrogan Absolutely - Includes a personal story, great time period in history, explanation of a team sport.
Enlightening and Entertaining. Rich discussion topics.
Highly recommend
Paul Neuss Yes it would. The author makes a very interesting story especially following Joe Rantz one of the rowers which brings history to life.
Gwen Pryor I would say that it depends on how long they have to read the book. It is kind of long at 404 pages. Some people read slower than others. But I think it can provide good discussions. I have in the past not been particularly interested in rowing but this so far has given me a new respect for it and I will certainly be more interested in watching it at the next Olympics.
Michelle Going tonight to discuss this book at our NonFiction Book Club dinner. There are lots of great questions online, google Boys In The Boat Book Club Questions for many great discussion questions. I am using this one tonight:
LOVED the book. Enjoy.
Susan Brooks Yes, a good read for a variety of people in a book group. A terrific mixture of a good story and documentary. In fact, the notes at the end make it all the more impressive. They demonstrate the prodigious amount of research by the author, astonishing me all the more that he didn't make it all up. I also appreciate the poignant description of life in the northwest during the depths of the depression, as well as the efforts by Nazi Germany to create its own fairy tale.
Tom Absolutely. 40% through it and find it entertaining and well-written.
Maria Yes, my book club read it. There is much to talk about: the sport of rowing, the rise of Nazi Germany, Olympics, family relatons, the Depression and the rewards of perserverance.
Barb Yes. Should lead to a good discussion and there are interesting facts not only of the Seattle area but the east coast of the US and the Nazi's getting ready for the Olympics. We are reading it in 2 of my book clubs.
Dawn yes it would this is our book club book for January.
Gail Smith Yes, yes and yes! Our book club is very diverse, and EVERYONE loved this book. That has never happened before! It has great discussion points, wonderful life lessons, and great descriptions of pre-war Germany, the rowing experience, and role models.
Anne fabulous!!! In my book group, the men and women all loved it and my college aged kids loved it too!
Donna Lazzell I read this for one of my book clubs and it was pretty good. The first half of the book is great as you follow the lives of everyone involved up to the point of becoming a crew team. The second half was a really good account of what it took to get to the Olympics and to hear about the history during that time from a real life perspective of kids from America. Of course, the last couple of chapters were really good as you hear the race announced by every detail. The epilogue was really nice as you got to hear about what everyone did with their life after Berlin. I think it will draw good discussion from a book club. I look forward to discussing this with my club next week.
Beth Neu Yes. Although it is a little long. It took me a few weeks to get through it, but it is a very compelling read. I think there is much to discuss at a book club including surviving the Great Depression, Joe Rantz's family, College sports (then and now), The Olympic Committee's decision to compete in Berlin - in spite of the suspected (and some known) atrocities Hitler was implementing in Germany, etc.
Cynthia There is a lot to discuss - from the main character's life to the sports story to the depression and especially to what happened when they went to Nazi Germany. It was very well done. We read it for book club and had a good discussion. We always try to find the publisher's guide questions and that gives us a good start.
Nanci Thanks to all who responded. We did read it and everyone enjoyed the book. Great discussion.
I don't seem to be able to delete the post and don't need any more feedback. Anyone know how to delete my original post? When I click on "Delete" it doesn't work. Thanks!
Julie Akemann This was a runner-run for our book club, and I wished we could've read this one too! I would definitely recommend it - a lot to discuss: depth of character, historical context, the underdog story, all the makings of a lively discussion!
Claudia Without a doubt.
Patricia Verdun Well my book club group read it and loved it although we all live in Washington and had some ties to both University of Washington and some of the boys' hometowns.
Kathleen Yes - and ours discusses it this coming Wednesday
Carol No. Our book club is reading it. It is dreadfully boring. Most of us have given up.
Cheryl Smith Yes!! We discussed this book at our club last night, and there was plenty to talk about. Not only do you get an education about the 1930s and the Berlin Olympics, but you can relate how different life is today. You can dissect the characters, the setting, Hitler, racing, etc. We all enjoyed the book and were excited to talk about it with one another.
Amelia Not only is there a much to discuss about the history, there is also much to discuss with how it relates to current events & social issues.
Not mention the topics that deal with life & triumph against the odds.
Just comparing values back then to now would take an evening.
I personally wouldn't recommend it to a book club because it's not a fast read & likely not everyone's cup of tea.
Melanie Wissel Absolutely. My book club is reading it now!
George Clark Go for it. "The Boys in the Boat" starts well and keeps getting better.
Jeannie It was our book club selection last month.
Toni We used it as the Pierce county reads book for 2015. We had hundreds of people read it. There were a few groups who discussed it. At least one group had about 20 people. It seemed to be very popular.
Mary I am currently reading the book for my February book group meeting and think it is excellent for a group. There's a lot to discuss! Historical--the Depression, and personal character aspects. Individual vs. group dynamics.
Tiffany Yes! My book group just read it and had a lively and interesting discussion.
David Powell I am sure that I am late in answering this, but being in a book club, the important issue is whether there is enough to provide meaningful discussion, and, yes, this book has it all over the place. I am a retired English teacher, and as you might guess, I have read a few books. This one stands out, for me, as one of the best I have read in years.
Kerry Edwards YES! Enough said!
Donna Wenker I am reading it for my bookclub right now and I think it is a great choice for a bookclub. I think it is interesting how many fascinating people went to the 1936 olympics, Jesse Owens, Louie Zamperini and Joe Rentz.
Pamela The State of Maryland has chosen this book to be this year's choice for: One Maryland, One book program. Books are distributed throughout the state and local libraries host book discussions. Just starting it now, but I've heard great things about it.
Elizabeth Sulzby It was for my book club and I did not expect it to be. I just wrote a brief review. I agree with all those who said yes because of all the contemporary histories that Brown wove into it. It also made me interested in people and a sport that I did not have much interest in originally.
Mikaela Yes, great read and incredibly informative.
Monica Dashwood Yes! In fact it was on my Book Club's reading list this year and might have been the most widely appreciated and enjoyed book of the year for us. Sports, history, a compelling story of hardship and work ethic...has very broad appeal, and lots to talk about!
Janet Definitely. I read this as a book club choice. There's so much I want to discuss with other readers.
Joan B Yes!! we are "doing" it tonight!... it's a great read...
Karen We read it for our book club and our meeting is tonight (3-11-15). I found it fascinating!
Dorie - Cats&Books :) In spite of a few too many technical terms it is a good story. Two bookclubs in our area have done it with good ratings. Hope that helps.
Janette yes I feel it would be a great book for a book club to read. I enjoyed the book very much. There is so much one can learn from reading the book; The Boys In the
Boat. There is so much wisdom there. The different characters just keeps one involved in the story. I liked the quotes made by George Pocock.
Joe Rantz was one of the main character. For he had so many things to over come. And I got to see the change in him. I cheered when they won. To be caught up in a moment of victory that happen so many years ago.
Megan Shank Absolutely!! Very easy read with lots of wonderful history but light on the intense Nazi part. Great characters and awesome literature!!
Janet Absolutely...I think it would make for great discussion!
Beth DuFault Absolutely! Lots to talk about for a book club.
Image for The Boys in the Boat
by Daniel James Brown (Goodreads Author)
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more