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message 1: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2364 comments I'm enlisting your help. My real life book club has a fun way of picking the books we read for the year. In our January meeting, everyone brings 4 book suggestions to the book club. We pitch them and then the members vote on which they'd like to read, and we read the winning book. Everyone gets a month to host and we read one book selected by each person.

But my book club has a rule that I struggle with: no depressing books. I personally love depressing books, so I always struggle with what to pick. To add another element, everyone in my book club is pretty conservative, so I try to keep my selections pretty light on the swearing and sex. And I strive for the books I suggest to have a level of depth that encourages good conversation.

So pretty hard, right? Any book suggestions/ recommendations that I can take to my group next week? Thanks!

message 2: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3784 comments Mod
I'm really bad about noticing the risque elements like language and sex so hopefully I'm not making dangerous suggestions. But focusing on encouraging discussion, I would say:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Defending Jacob by William Landay
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

It Ends with Us has some really good elements for discussion but is a Colleen Hoover book. So I suspect there is some sex. I don't remember any specific scenes.

I didn't realize how many of my favorite books have some sort of depressing part to them!

message 3: by Ann (last edited Dec 31, 2017 06:18PM) (new)

Ann S | 605 comments I lead three book clubs at senior centers near me, so I am with you on having suggestions that are light on depression, sex, language. Here are the ones most loved by my people. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society /// Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet but then we live in Seattle area. Doc I have 5 guys in my clubs Little Century Historical fiction is always popular Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space was popular in one and should be in the others.

Hope this helps. Need more, let me know.

message 4: by Katie (new)

Katie | 2364 comments I am so bad at remembering it in books I read too, Laura. Then I'm always worried about recommending books in cases like this, so I look for other people to confirm for me, haha.

Thanks for the recommendations, both of you. Ann, if you have more, keep them coming.

message 5: by Pam (new)

Pam (bluegrasspam) | 2636 comments The no depressing element is a tough one! Two books that might fit your criteria, which I liked are: The Best Laid Plans by Canadian humorist author Terry Fallis and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Maybe The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I haven’t read it but have heard it is good.

message 6: by Peter (new)

Peter | -20 comments I've recently discovered that I tend to like quite dark books.... but here are a few that might work.

11/22/63 - It has a bit of a melancholy undertone to it, but not depressing. There is some violence, and possibly language though. But it's such a great story!

The Old Man and the Sea - A man's struggle against nature. A rich story well deserving of its label as a classic.

The Great Train Robbery - Victorian era bank heist.

The Caine Mutiny - World War 2 novel about the struggle of a minesweeper crew against the idiosyncrasies of their captain. It was one of my favourites from this year.

And because I know you're a non-fiction lover:

Through the Glass - This is a good book, but deals with some very mature themes. I wouldn't call it depressing because ultimately it ends with a positive outlook, but there are some depressing points in the book. It examines the (Canadian) Criminal Justice System from a unique perspective and addresses the questions of how the criminal justice system deals with victims of violent crime as well as how it deals with the family members of the perpetrators. It might be good for a book club discussion.

A House in the Sky - Another one that goes to some very dark places, but ultimately ends on a positive note emphasizing forgiveness. Current affairs bonus, the trial for one of the perpetrators just concluded a couple weeks ago here in Canada.

The Grand Design - Another nonfiction, this one has no emotion whatsoever. It's all about the nature of the universe and some pretty serious physics concepts explained in layman's terms by Stephen Hawking himself. This one will definitely stimulate some conversation!

Outliers: The Story of Success - No emotion in this one either. A look at how arbitrary societal trends factor into the success or failure of people.

message 7: by Bryony, Circumnavigation Mod (new)

Bryony (bryony46) | 1081 comments Mod
That is a pretty hard set of requirements for a book. How about an Agatha Christie book? I’ve never seen any swearing or anything else offensive in her books and although they’re not really deep and thought provoking, the mysteries often have lots of plot twists or surprising revelations that might be good prompts for a discussion. I read The Mysterious Affair at Styles last year and I think that might work well for a book club.

message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann S | 605 comments They have liked an Agatha Christie book in the past. A Man Called Ove was popular but controversial, which is good for a book club. For non fiction: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America// The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl were interesting. Some of them liked The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, but some felt it was silly. This particular orphan train was very popular Orphan Train.

message 9: by Cheri (new)

Cheri (jovali2) | 542 comments One of my favorite books last year was Lab Girl, in fact I read it twice -- once for myself and then for my book club. I was only going to skim it the second time but it was so good I reread it cover to cover. The author definitely has an unusual lifestyle, but I don't think it's offensive. Hope Jahren is a fantastic writer with an amazing life story. And the book is a bit different in format, too: chapters about her life alternate with chapters about plant biology, which are short, fascinating, and metaphors for human life. It's great for a book club -- we talked and talked, and everyone loved the book.

message 10: by Ann (new)

Ann S | 605 comments Cheri, Lab Girl sounds like a good one. I will look it up, tho my readers hate books with every other chapters like that. I am limited in what I can get for my clubs by what is offered in the library system in KITS, 10 books and reader's guide. My seniors can't afford to buy books and some can't get to the library, so getting a kit is easiest for them. That limits our book choices to about 350 books. I will read it and then put in a suggestion to the library.

message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann S | 605 comments OH WOW!! I forgot my favorite book. Broken for You Controversial again, I love controversy in book club. Great book, fun book, interesting book.

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