What to Read: A Novel Idea for Book Club

Don't assign a book.

For the last few years, I facilitated a book club with a my mom, sister, and some of our friends. Almost every month, we would get together to eat, drink, and, like many other book clubs, discuss just one book. For our last meeting, though, I decided to do something different. A member had suggested The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt for our next book, and at the time, I just wasn't in the mood to read a historical autobiography.  I wanted something lighter that I knew I could easily get through so as not to be the dreadful attendee that ate the food and drank the wine but had not read the book...again. 

When I looked up the recommended book on Amazon, I saw a link to My Year with Eleanor. With a promising cover and a description that mentioned another author that I enjoyed for light, entertaining reading, I saw my out. There were so many books by Roosevelt (28, to be exact) and about Roosevelt, that it would be great to get different perspectives.  Instead of choosing a book, we would just choose the topic/author and let each member choose their title. I gave the following suggestions but also mentioned that anything else relating to Roosevelt would be great:

by Eleanor Roosevelt

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock

And I think it went over well.  Roosevelt was a fascinating lady, whose life, I'm sure, could garner great discussion, but the meeting was scheduled for April 19th, and Will had arrived a week late on April 2nd. I was only at the meeting long enough to cry to my mom about my baby not gaining weight, eat all the food without dairy in it, sip my first glass of wine in months, and leave before the discussion started.
But I'm excited to try this format again. (I'm really curious to see who reads what.) I think the authors and lists below would provide a great variety of choices:
  • Allow each member of you group to transport themselves to Paris with this listthis list, or this list of books set in the romantic city. I've been wanting to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog...such an intriguing title.
  • Everything I have read by Ann Patchett has been striking and beautiful, and she has a nice variety of subjects, from a hostage crisis to research in the Amazon to magic, in which she weaves her words. 
  • Pulitzer Prize Winning Fiction almost never disappoints. I just finished The Orphan Master's Son and couldn't stop researching North Korea after I was done. Also, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is one of my all time favorites.
  • Many of Micheal Critchon's sci-fi thrillers have been made into movies. Each member could be responsible for reading the book and watching the movie to provide a variety of perspectives. 
  • Or each member could read a book a different book about Zombies and compare notes.  You know, because even the CDC thinks we need to prepare ourselves.
Really, any topic would work--marriage, dogs, Africa, the American Dream--and if someone loved their book (and you trusted their opinion), you would have your next good read.

Are there any other lists, topics, or authors that you think might work? Has your book club tried something like this out?

Also, at one point, we became a gambling book club. So, you could try that if you need another novel idea.

Top Photo Credit: National Park Service

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