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.

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New on My Bookcase (vol. 24)

library haul 24A really small library haul this trip because I know my reading time will be very limited. But I couldn’t resist grabbing a few new items, since I had to make a visit anyway to return some other books and get fresh reading material for the kids.

Nonfiction

Letter from New YorkLetter from New York/BBC Woman's Hour Broadcasts by Helene Hanff by Helene Hanff
Love her books 84, Charing Cross Road and Apple of My Eye so I’m hoping to like this one as much.

Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Book storeShelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Book store by Suzanne Strempek Shea by Suzanne Strempek Shea
A memoir about a year working in a bookstore? Of course I want to read it.

Kids’ Books

Five Children and ItFive Children and It (Dover Children's Evergreen Classics) by E. Nesbit by E. Nesbit
Couldn’t resist trying it after Catherine’s comments about it.

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31 Days Of Great Nonfiction: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Day 4 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader84, Charing Cross Road84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff . Day 4 of 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books / Great Nonfiction Reads by The Deliberate Reader by Helene Hanff

A slim volume (a break from some of the lengthy books also included in this series) of a selection of the correspondence between a New York writer, and the staff of a London bookseller. Their mutual love for books shines through the brief letters, and you can see how the friendship grows throughout the twenty-years they exchanged letters.

The book is charming and heartwarming (and a little bit heartbreaking too), and Hanff’s wit and exuberance sparkles.

There is a book based on the movie as well, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, although I’ve never seen it and am slightly afraid to; I don’t want to risk it tarnishing my joy and delight in the book if it doesn’t live up to my dreams.

Publisher’s Description:
It all began with a letter inquiring about secondhand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the staid and proper Frank Doel of Marks & Company, a relationship blossoms.

31 Days of Great Nonfiction Books

If you enjoyed this book (and if you didn’t, please don’t tell me; I’m not sure I could bear hearing it), you’re in for another treat. I actually had a hard time deciding which one of Hanff’s to feature in the series, so don’t miss Apple of My EyeApple of My Eye. which is basically a love letter to her home of Manhattan.

To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads, go to the series page.

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