Books on the Nightstand discussion

A good book to start off a new book club

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Anderson | 3 comments Hi everyone,

I'm starting a new book club with my friends, but not everyone knows each other. I have to pick the book to start us off, and am looking for some recommendations!

I'd like something that isn't too far in one direction, ie. crime, thriller, etc. i want to make sure it is one that will result in a lively and interesting discussion at our first meeting to start us off...

My initial thoughts were Justin Cronin ''The Passage', as it seems to be popping up a lot, but would like some recommendations from you guys.I'd also thought of 'Swamplandia' but am worried some members wont like it. Any help would be much appreciated!

message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2802 comments Mod

How old are the members of the group? Are you female or a mixture. Do most of you work and therefore would prefer something under 1000 pages? The Passage (The Passage #1) by Justin Cronin is over 600 pages and might be difficult for some to get done - how often will you be meeting?

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

In the Garden of Beasts (by Erik Larsen) would be a good choice: It is a non-fiction book that depicts Ambassador Dodd's career in the days of Hitler's rise to power. There are lots of things to pick apart and talk about regardless of age or gender. It's a a little under 500 pages, but it's easy reading, has pictures and, is available in hardback, paperback, eBook and audio.

Also, this is a link to NPR's annual feature, "Conversation Starters: 2011's Top 5 Book Club Picks:"

I've only read one of the titles from NPR's list, We the Animals (by Justin Torres.) It's actually a novella (very short) that packs a lot of punch. It's a fictional piece based on the author's childhood living in poverty with his two brothers and their parents. It's not available in paperback yet; but it is in eBook and audio.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn generated a lot of discussion in my book club, as did We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

Believe it or not, The All of It by Jeannette Haien also prompted quite a bit of discussion...much more than you would expect from a book that's only 100 pages or so! Ann Patchett is a huge fan of this book and recently got the publisher to re-release it.

If you have some people in your club that are particularly well read, you might suggest a Simon Van Booy book. I haven't read one myself, but that's what I'm going to recommend to my book club the next time we choose books.

message 5: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Anderson | 3 comments We are in our mid to late twenties, there will be about 11 of us, and all female bar one or two males, if we can convince them to join in! We plan to meet once a month, so under 1000 is probably a good idea.

Thanks for the recommendations so far!

message 6: by Chris (new)

Chris | 180 comments Here are some books that drew good conversations from my book club:

"Elegance of the Hedgehog"
"The Sojourn"
"Cutting for Stone"

This is one I think will draw good conversation, I just read it: "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats."

I've been in a lot of different book clubs through the years and one tip is if mostly everyone works, try to find a book that is 300 pages or less. This allows those slow readers to read the book in time, and those who are fast readers to read another book or two in the meantime. :-) (Right now we're reading "Anna Karinina, but we're taking two months for that. I can't imagine reading a 600 page book in one month for book club, but that's me.) We also try to read books that are in paperback, so those who don't want to or can't afford to buy a hardcover book can get it from the library or purchase a less expensive paperback.

In the many book clubs I've been in through the years, IMO choosing the book each month has always been a stickler. One we had the year mapped out in advance, another someone was the designator selector for the following month, another we just threw out suggestions at the end of the evening. I like having a plan, so the evening doesn't drag on (I've had a few of those when we can't decide!).

message 7: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ some good reads that are quick with interesting conversation are:

We the Animals by Justin Torres Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer Faith by Jennifer Haigh The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain Sex on the Moon The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich Next to Love by Ellen Feldman Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

i think most of these have pretty interesting elements and plot twists. i did put some non-fiction titles that i are think are quick and interesting reads. i hope that helps!

i know it's difficult to get a group off the ground. good luck!

message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2802 comments Mod
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes Packing for Mars The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Zeitoun by Dave Eggers Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

I might also suggest anything by Charles Dickens since it is the 200th anniversary of his birth or anything by Eric Larson

Please let us know what you do choose and how it goes. Good luck!

message 9: by Michelle (last edited Feb 23, 2012 02:54PM) (new)

Michelle | 3 comments Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending is a great choice for a first bookclub meeting. It was short, but very thought-provoking and generated a great deal of discussion in our group. Also, the story was broadly appealing and everyone could identify with it. Best of luck with your group!

message 10: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 24 comments How about: The Help
Cutting for Stone
Still Alice

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

A blogger posted this about her book club and I thought you might find it interesting. It doesn't recommend titles per se; but talks about how her book club grew and how they kept it interesting. It's been around for eleven years! That's the longest running book club amongst any one I know!

message 12: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Roberts | 59 comments I second the suggestion for Still Alice Still Alice by Lisa Genova and Alice Bliss Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

Tanya, my book club started in August of 1997 and we are still going strong. I was single when I started and I'm married with 9 year old twins. We've seen people come and go and lived through a lot together.

message 13: by The Reading Cove (last edited Feb 25, 2012 02:57PM) (new)

The Reading Cove Book Club ❦ (readingcove) | 3 comments Our book club highly recommends MOLOKAI by Alan Brennert! Excellent discussion book! Moloka'i Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

message 14: by The Reading Cove (new)

The Reading Cove Book Club ❦ (readingcove) | 3 comments We're a very active, but cozy online bookclub, and we've been together since March 2000!

Tanya/dog eared copy wrote: "A blogger posted this about her book club and I thought you might find it interesting. It doesn't recommend titles per se; but talks about how her book club grew and how they kept it interesting. I..."

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

That's so cool that Lisa and The Reading Cove have "book families!" I am impressed and very jealous! :-)

message 16: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 790 comments It's important to have certain kinds of books for book clubs or you won't get much discussion. People will just say "I liked it" and that will be the end of it. That's OK if all you want to do is socialize. I like Jodi Picoult's books for book club discussions. The reason is, she always presents some type of moral dilemma, which leads the participants to talk about what they would do in similar circumstances. It there isn't any controversy, it will be a pretty dull night.

message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura de Leon (laura_de_leon) | 9 comments If your city has a One City, One Book or similar program, that can be a good way to start a group. That's what I did for my second book club (in January 2006!), and we're still going strong. My other book club has been meeting since February 2000.

Good luck with your new club!

message 18: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth A (kisiwa) | 193 comments How exciting to be starting a book club. Mine has been going since 1995 and I have met some really wonderful women over the years. I'd recommend My Sister's Keeper. I'd also suggest picking at least several months of books in advance (my group currently has our list mapped out through Nov) and assigning someone to lead the discussion with reading group guides you can find online. Good luck!

message 19: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Anderson | 3 comments Hi everyone, thanks for all your suggestions - i picked "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". The choice seemed to go down well with all our members, but our first meeting is next week so we'll see then !

I've take note of all your suggestions, in case anyone is stuck picking one in the future.

Thanks again!

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