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.

January

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!

February

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.

March

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.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of CivilityRules of CivilityRules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles by Amor Towles

One of my book club’s picks for our book flight in September, and I hadn’t quite finished it before our retreat. I was determined to finish it however, and I’m *so* glad I did – what a thought-provoking read!

While having been a part of the discussion in advance did end up spoiling me as to some of the specifics of the novel, it ended up not keeping me from enjoying the book. If anything I might have enjoyed it more, as I was seeing how Towles’ structured the story and gave some hints as to what would happen.

The pacing is excellent, and it’s a book to savor (I’m so glad I didn’t rush through it to hit the deadline). I don’t often say this, but I’d *love* to see this one turned into a movie.

Very worth reading, but this is one where it’s better to have someone to talk about it afterwards – there is a lot to talk about, and reading it without having that chance to discuss would be missing out on some fabulous opportunities.

It’s not a perfect book, but for a debut novel it’s impressive.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar with her boardinghouse roommate stretching three dollars as far as it will go when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a tempered smile, happens to sit at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a yearlong journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool toward the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of CondĂ© Nast–rarefied environs where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

Wooed in turn by a shy, principled multi-millionaire and an irrepressible Upper East Side ne’er-do-well, befriended by a single-minded widow who is a ahead of her time,and challenged by an imperious mentor, Katey experiences firsthand the poise secured by wealth and station and the failed aspirations that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life, she begins to realize how our most promising choices inevitably lay the groundwork for our regrets.

Book Details

Title: Rules of CivilityRules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles
Author: Amor Towles
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Asleep by Molly Caldwell Crosby
Two years ago: Content Warnings: Kids’ Books

60 Great Kid Lit Titles for Your Grown-Up Book Club

The heart of a great book club is great discussion books. Not sure about including children’s and young adult books in your book club selections? Give it a try – they can provide a lot of depth, and are generally quicker reads, which may help balance your yearly reading calendar.

If you’re looking for a juvenile title for your book club that will provide plenty of material for discussion, here are 60 possibilities. And if you need still more ideas, many of the authors mentioned below have additional titles that would make fantastic discussion books. Don’t forget to see what else they’ve written!

Be aware however, that simply because these are considered “juvenile” titles doesn’t mean they are all aimed at children. Many of the ones listed below are young adult books, with challenging themes and mature content, so keep that in mind when you are deciding if they’re an appropriate fit for your book club.

A heads-up! I haven’t read all of these, but I’ve compiled the list based on my own reading, and thanks to recommendations from trusted resources, particularly Amy from Stack Worthy. Titles I’ve read are marked with an (*)

Booked {Reading Together} | 60 Kid Lit Books for Your Grown-Up Book Club

Contemporary* Novels

  1. * Tangerine by Edward Bloor
  2. Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
  3. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  4. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg
  5. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  7. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
  8. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  9. A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
  10. Schooled by Gordon Korman
  11. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Historical Novels

  1. * Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  2. * Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  3. * Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  4. * Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm
  5. * Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
  6. * After the Dancing Days by Margaret Rostkowski
  7. * The Land by Mildred D. Taylor
  8. * Never Fall Down: A Novel by Patricia McCormick
  9. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  10. The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell
  11. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  12. Jim the Boy by Tony Earley

Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Dystopian

  1. * The Giver by Lois Lowry
  2. * Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  3. * The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  4. * Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  5. * Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl
  6. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
  7. The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli
  8. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  9. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  10. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  11. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  12. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

Classics, Modern Classics, and Future Classics

  1. * The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  2. * The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  3. * The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  4. * Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  5. * Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  6. * When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  7. * The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  8. * Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer
  9. * Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
  10. * A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  11. * Hatchet by Gary Paulson
  12. Watership Down by Richard Adams

Nonfiction – Memoirs, Biographies, and Narrative History

  1. * Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
  2. * Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang
  3. * The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig
  4. * The Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
  5. Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy by Rhoda Blumberg
  6. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
  7. Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
  8. Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers
  9. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
  10. I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch
  11. Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
  12. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Booked | Reading Together | A Series All about Book ClubsBooked: Reading Together

This is part of the Booked: Reading Together series. Throughout October, I’m writing all about book clubs.

Check out the archives in case you missed a post.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: What the Kids are Reading (in October 2014)
Two years ago: 31 Days of More Great Nonfiction: Maman’s Homesick Pie
Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: Me, Myself, and Bob

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

72 Great Nonfiction Titles for Book Clubs

The heart of a great book club is great discussion books, but a great book isn’t necessarily the same thing as a great book club book. Not sure about including nonfiction in your book club selections? Give it a try – narrative nonfiction and memoirs make great choice to promote conversation, because of their emphasis on a story.

If you’re looking for a nonfiction title for your book club that will provide plenty of material for discussion, here are 72 possibilities. And if you need still more ideas, many of the authors mentioned below have additional titles that would make fantastic discussion books. Don’t forget to see what else they’ve written!

A heads-up! I haven’t read all of these, but I’ve compiled the list based on my own reading, and recommendations from trusted friends and resources. Titles I’ve read are marked with an (*)

People are Fascinating

Booked {Reading Together} |72 Great Nonfiction Titles for Book Clubs

  1. * A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
  2. * A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel
  3. * Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life by Eugene O’Kelly and Corinne O’Kelly
  4. * A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband ‘Master’ by Rachel Held Evans
  5. * The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan
  6. *A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
  7. * Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist
  8. * Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
  9. Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg
  10. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
  11. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
  12. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

People are Fascinating, part 2 (non-United States settings)

  1. * The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Mother’s Wartime Courage by Clara Kelly
  2. * The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway
  3. * Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller
  4. * Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
  5. * Casting with a Fragile Thread: A Story of Sisters and Africa by Wendy Kann
  6. * An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography by Paul Rusesabagina with Tom Zoellner
  7. Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang
  8. Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C. S. Lewis
  9. The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
  10. A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story by Qais Akbar Omar
  11. Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China by Jian Ping
  12. A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka by Lev Golinkin

Bringing History to Life

  1. * The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
  2. * In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut Opdyke
  3. * The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan
  4. * The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
  5. * Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene
  6. * Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
  7. * The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln by Kate Clifford Larson
  8. Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
  9. Dancing to the Precipice: Lucie Dillon, Marquise de la Tour du Pin and the French Revolution by Caroline Moorehead
  10. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
  11. Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World by Andy Bull
  12. The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz

Adventure/Survival

  1. * Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  2. * Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
  3. * The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic by Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury
  4. * The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk by Jennifer Niven
  5. * In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton
  6. * The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander
  7. * Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
  8. Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff
  9. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  10. Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson
  11. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides
  12. Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident by Donnie Eichar

Other Nonfiction

These titles that weren’t easily grouped elsewhere, but are so worth discussing I couldn’t leave them out.

  1. * Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  2. * Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  3. * The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs
  4. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  5. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  6. Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
  7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  8. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  9. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
  10. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
  11. How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
  12. The Republic of Imagination: A Life in Books by Azar Nafisi

For the Right Kind of Book Club…

These titles won’t fit all book clubs, whether due to language, subject matter, or length, but if your book club is a good match for them they’d provide a wealth of discussion material…

  1. * Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  2. * Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
  3. * 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
  4. * The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
  5. * Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  6. * Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  7. * Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer
  8. * 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
  9. * The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight
  10. * Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
  11. The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
  12. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Looking for more discussion books for your book club?

Try 72 Great Novels for Book Clubs

Booked | Reading Together | A Series All about Book ClubsBooked: Reading Together

This is part of the Booked: Reading Together series. Throughout October, I’m writing all about book clubs.

Check out the archives in case you missed a post.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: The Mislaid Magician
Two years ago: 31 Days of More Great Nonfiction: Devil in the White City
Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads: Team of Rivals

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

72 Great Novels for Book Clubs

The heart of a great book club is great discussion books, but a great book isn’t necessarily the same thing as a great book club book (More on this later). If you’re looking for a fiction title for your book club that will provide plenty of material for discussion, here are 72 possibilities. And if you need still more ideas, many of the authors mentioned below have additional titles that would make fantastic discussion books. Don’t forget to see what else they’ve written!

A heads-up! I haven’t read all of these, but I’ve compiled the list based on my own reading, and recommendations from trusted friends and resources. Titles I’ve read are marked with an (*)

Thought-Provoking Fiction Titles for Great Book Club Discussions

72 Great Book Club Novels

Classic Novels

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  2. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  4. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  5. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  6. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  9. The Odyssey by Homer
  10. * Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  11. * The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Diversify Your Reading

  1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  2. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  3. Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende
  4. Silence by Shusaku Endo
  5. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
  6. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  7. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  8. The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
  9. * A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri
  10. The Tiger’s Wife by TĂ©a Obreht
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

Modern Classics

  1. * A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  2. * Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  3. * Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  4. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
  5. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
  7. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  8. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  9. * Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  10. * To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  11. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  12. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Experience Another Era

  1. * Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
  2. The Heaven Tree by Edith Pargeter
  3. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  5. The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith
  6. The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
  7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  9. * Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  11. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  12. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Contemporary

  1. * Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright
  2. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  3. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  4. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
  5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  6. * The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  7. * What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  8. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  10. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
  11. Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  12. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Try a New Genre

  1. * The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  2. * The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  4. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  5. Shane by Jack Schaefer
  6. * Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
  7. A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell
  8. A Taste for Death by P. D. James
  9. * Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  10. * The Martian by Andy Weir
  11. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  12. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Booked | Reading Together | A Series All about Book ClubsBooked: Reading Together

This is part of the Booked: Reading Together series. Throughout October, I’m writing all about book clubs.

Check out the archives in case you missed a post.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Recent Readaloud: Dinosaurs Before Dark
Two years ago: 31 Days of More Great Nonfiction: The Grand Tour
Three years ago: My One Tip for How to Read More and 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: Heat

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Quick Lit for March 2015: Recent Re-Reads

I seem to go on re-reading kicks, and lately I’ve been on another one. Happily, they’ve all been great books to read again:

The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker ConwayThe Road from CoorainThe Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway by Jill Ker Conway

Rereading this one because it was book club’s March pick. I picked it up with some trepidation, because I was the one who pushed for it to be the month’s pick – what if I ended up thinking that I shouldn’t have recommended it? Instead, while the very beginning was a bit slower than I remembered, the rest of it was as strong as I’d recalled. It’s a very thoughtful book, but so worth reading (just be warned that it can be a tough one too – there are difficult events recounted). It also made for a *fabulous* discussion book – I was supposed to facilitate the discussion, but most of it ended up being organic as there is just so much to talk about in the book. (Read my original review on it)

The Eyre AffairThe Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next NovelThe Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde by Jasper Fforde

Reread to prepare myself for reading additional titles in the series (and because it’s an easy read, so reading it again wouldn’t take long.) It’s such an odd book and premise, but lots of fun. It also makes it very hard to ever read Jane Eyre again without imagining agent Thursday Next’s behind the scenes role in that story. 🙂

Princess BrideThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High AdventureThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman by William Goldman

Reread after reading As You Wish, and because it’s August’s book club pick. Super fun, especially after having just finished Elwes’ memoir.

The ThiefThe Thief The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner by Megan Whalen Turner

Reread as I get ready to finally read the last in the series – A Conspiracy of KingsA Conspiracy of Kings (Thief of Eddis). Or at least the last one so far – there’s still supposed to be more books, but there’s no indication on a publication date. I adore this series and almost don’t want to read the last one, as it’ll mean I no longer have it to look forward to reading eventually. (Read my original reviews on The Thief, and the second and third in the series – The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia).

CinderCinderBook Review: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer by Marissa Meyer

Reread as I waited my turn at FairestFairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer. I love this series too, and it was maybe even more fun the second time through it. Will I reread them all before WinterWinter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer is published? Perhaps… (Read my original reviews on Cinder, and also Scarlet, Cress)

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Friday the Rabbi Slept Late

Friday the Rabbi Slept LateFriday the Rabbi Slept LateFriday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman by Harry Kemelman

A very easy to read and enjoyable mystery. It’s quite dated at times, but overall it still stands up fairly well over 50 years later. I liked the mystery and figuring out who did it (and how they would prove it), and I liked seeing how Rabbi Small reasoned.

The strength of this book isn’t with the mystery itself, but with the characters and development of their stories. The Jewish perspective and background is also very interesting, and I enjoyed the brief asides as Rabbi Small explained or discussed issues with others, especially with the Chief of Police.

While it wasn’t the best mystery I’ve ever read, I enjoyed it enough that I’ll be looking for additional titles in the series. It shows a lot of promise to be a great series, and I’m excited to see if it lives up to that promise. Next up? Saturday the Rabbi Went HungrySaturday the Rabbi Went Hungry by Harry Kemelman, book two in the Rabbi Small series.

I’m very curious to see how this is as a discussion book at our April meeting. It’s evident with some titles that they’ll lend themselves to lots of conversation, but this one is not quite so clear-cut. I’m also very curious to see if everyone figured out the solution, as it seemed glaringly obvious to me.

[Read more…]

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

Parnassus on WheelsParnassus On WheelsParnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley by Christopher Morley

January’s book club pick, selected in large part because of its short length. Our meetings are early in the month and that doesn’t give a lot of time to read after holiday craziness ends. This title ended up being an ideal choice – it’s easy to read, and quite enjoyable.

The description of the book didn’t compel me to try it, so if that doesn’t catch your attention either don’t be dissuaded. Helen’s voice is strong and it was easy to follow along with her new adventures as she raced away from the endless procession of meals and laundry.

The ending was easy to predict, but that didn’t diminish my overall pleasure in the story. Quick and easy it’s a great pick if you have trouble devoting a lot of time or mental energy to a book.

There’s also a sequel, The Haunted BookshopThe Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley, although I haven’t read it yet.

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Publisher’s Description:
Parnassus on Wheels is Morley’s first novel, about a fictional traveling book-selling business. The original owner of the business, Roger Mifflin, sells it to 39-year-old Helen McGill, who is tired of taking care of her older brother, Andrew. Andrew is a former businessman turned farmer, turned author. As an author, he begins using the farm as his Muse rather than a livelihood. When Mifflin shows up with his traveling bookstore, Helen buys it–partly to prevent Andrew from buying it–and partly to treat herself to a long-overdue adventure of her own.

The first of two novels to be written from a woman’s perspective, as well as the prequel to a later novel (The Haunted Bookshop), Parnassus on Wheels was inspired by David Grayson’s novel, The Friendly Road, and starts with an open letter to Grayson, taking him to task for not concerning himself (except in passing) with his sister’s opinion of and reaction to his adventure.

Book Details

Title: Parnassus On WheelsParnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley
Author: Christopher Morley
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

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Book Club Choices for 2015

2015 Book Club Selections

Parnassus on WheelsJanuary
Parnassus On WheelsParnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley by Christopher Morley

Why did we pick it? Anne recommends it, and it fits the requirements for a January book (short and easy-to-read! There’s not much reading time post holiday craziness before our early-in-the-month meeting).

A Prayer for Owen MeanyFebruary
A Prayer for Owen MeanyA Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel by John Irving by John Irving

Why did we pick it? It’s a modern classic. And February is a good month to fit in a long book like this one.

The Road from CoorainMarch (tea party)
The Road from CoorainThe Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway by Jill Ker Conway
(I’ll be facilitating this discussion)

Why did we pick it? Because I pushed for it a tiny bit, both because I think it’s a great book, and because I think one memoir or biography a year is good for our reading mix.

Friday the Rabbi Slept LateApril
Friday the Rabbi Slept LateFriday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman by Harry Kemelman

Why did we pick it? To round out the type of fiction selected for the year, and because a previous Kemelman pick was a popular one. That was before my time with the group, so I’m excited to try one by him.

HeidiMay
HeidiHeidi by Johanna Spyri by Johanna Spyri

Why did we pick it? May is bring your little reader month, and this seemed like a good fit for the kids and grownups.

SeabiscuitJune (picnic)
Seabiscuit: An American LegendSeabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand by Laura Hillenbrand
(I’ll be facilitating this discussion)

Why did we pick it? Because I pushed for it a bit – I’ve been holding off on reading this one on the assumption that it would be a good book club choice. I loved Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken, but think this will be a better fit for our group. Plus June is a good time to read a longer book.

PossessionJuly
PossessionPossession by A.S. Byatt by A. S. Byatt

Why did we pick it? It’s on a lot of lists for great books, including The Well-Educated MindThe Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer, and it helps provide variety to our selection for the year.

Princess BrideAugust (book & a movie)
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High AdventureThe Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman by William Goldman

Why did we pick it? It’s been on our list of books to consider for ages, and it finally is getting its chance. Plus the movie is fun too.

Northanger AbbeySeptember (dinner party)
Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen by Jane Austen

Why did we pick it? We’ve read every other book by Austen, so why not complete them all?

When You Reach MeRules of CivilityThe Great Bridge

October (book flight at retreat)
When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead by Rebecca Stead
Rules of Civility: A NovelRules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles by Amor Towles
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn BridgeThe Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough by David McCullough

Why did we pick them? We are going for a theme of “New York” for the book flight, and wanted a young adult, fiction, and nonfiction pick. I loved When You Reach Me and encouraged it to be picked. The Great Bridge is another one I read and loved, and also felt like it was a good choice especially since last year’s Eiffel’s Tower was pretty popular. Rules of Civility fit the theme, and gave further variety to the time periods being featured in the flight.

A Good Man is Hard to FindNovember
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other StoriesA Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O’Connor

Why did we pick it? Variety – we haven’t read any short stories for awhile, and we’ve never read anything by O’Connor.

84 Charing Cross RoadDecember (Christmas party)
84, Charing Cross Road84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff by Helene Hanff
(I’ll be facilitating this discussion.)

Why did we pick it? I pushed for it a bit because I love it. We always try for something light and easy in December, both because reading time is limited for most of us, and because the December meeting and party don’t lend themself to much discussion time. I think this will be a perfect way to end the year, with a fun epistolary title.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!