Quarterly Update on Book Club Books

Covers for 2017 quarter 1 book club booksWhile I’ve shared about my Facebook book club selections, and I end up sharing what my in-person book club is reading thanks to New on the Stack posts, I haven’t been circling back and sharing what I thought of our selections, or how well they work as book club picks.


The Deliberate Reader book club (TDR) read Animal Vegetable Miracle and Broadened Horizons book club (BH) read Ready Player One. Both were great discussion titles (although I sadly had to miss the in-person chat on Ready Player One due to a sick kid. Advantage Facebook for that: I can work around children’s needs easier and not miss out on the discussion. So yes, I’m saying it’s a great discussion title based on reports from my friends.

Animal Vegetable Miracle was super inspiring as far as making me want to plant a garden of my own. Perhaps it’d have been better read in March, when I could move ahead on those urges, instead of January when I got all fired up, and then couldn’t actually do much of anything about it, at least in frozen Indiana. It was fascinating hearing what people across the country had to say about things such as locally-available foods and gardening opportunities. Another advantage for the virtual book club: broader geographic representation was a bonus for this title!


TDR read Moloka’i, and BH read The Year of Living Danishly. Moloka’i is a heart-wrenching book, but such a compelling look at another world and time. I enjoyed the book tremendously and enjoyed getting to talk about it even more. It’s a good one for a book club.

The Year of Living Danishly is much lighter in feel and style, and not a must-read. However, it actually is well-served as a discussion choice -it added quite a bit to the topic by hearing different takes on the ideas from the book, and ways we can bring some hygge into our Midwestern lives. However, I’d say that one is skippable unless you’re going to talk about it with someone.


TDR discussed Emma, and BH chatted about And Then There Were None while we enjoyed our annual tea party. Emma was my least-favorite discussion of the five I participated in for the first quarter, and that says much more about how good those other ones were than anything about it in particular. I think I may have liked Emma as a discussion title the most of all of Jane Austen’s books. I’m not 100% certain of that claim, but I’m leaning that way. 🙂

And Then There Were None surprised me in how discussable it was. I was concerned that it would be a bit limited to plot twists and did-you-figure-it-out questions, but it ended up being more involved than that. Since the nature of some of the questions veers into spoiler territory, I’ll leave it that if you’re looking for a mystery for a book club, two thumbs up to this classic Christie title.

All in all, I’d say these were six winners as far as discussion titles go, it just depends on your sort of book club and what type of book you’re wanting. I’d pick Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as the best option of the two nonfiction choices, and fiction it just depends on what genre or style of book you want: they’re all completely different, so it’s really hard to directly compare them.

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  1. Yeah, I’m not all that interested in reading all these hygge books, per say, but I do think the subject brings up a lot of things to think and talk about with others.

    And I do think our geographic distribution was an advantage for AVM! I was kind of surprised how well that one worked for discussion.

    • One of my local friends attends book club occasionally and I get bossy with her about what she should read (we’ve been friends for 15 years, long before book club; she’s used to me being bossy about books) when she misses book club. Sometimes I tell her she still absolutely has to read a book, even if she misses the meeting.This time I said skip it because it’s not worth reading if unless you’ll get to talk about it.

      The geographic distribution was such a plus. So was life situation too – the in-person group is fairly homogenous, and it’s nice having a more diverse perspective on the books.

  2. My book club read Moloka’i in March. Heart-wrenching is good description of it! 🙂

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