This week’s top ten Tuesday is all about our recommendations for book clubs. I’ve joined book clubs in the past but being a true introvert with social anxiety I often have a difficult time really getting involved unless the current book deals with some deeper issues. I love books that get me thinking about different things going on in society. You can also check out all the other posts for this weeks theme by heading over to The Broke and Bookish.
- Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness – While a series may not always work for every book club I still highly recommend at least the first book in this series. The series touches on a number of topics like sexism, feminism, class, and more. I’d love to sit down with a group and talk over how closely events in this book could relate to what’s gone on in our own history.
- The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry – This is another series where I truly believe the whole series could lead to some amazing discussion but the first book could be a great choice by itself. I’ve read the Giver at least fifteen times and only recently read the other three books. You’ll find discussion topics related to government regulation, personal freedom, and more all in the first book. Further on in the series class, sexism, corruption, and greed all get added to the mix.
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – Thus far this remains my favorite book from Jodi Picoult. It explores family dynamic in a way I’ve not seen in a book before. In my imaginary book club, I’d bring up how love can push us to be selfish, selfless, and how the two can often look like each other from the outside. All of the tough topics surrounding cancer in children would also be great conversation points.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I admit this is probably among my top five if not my favorite read of 2016 so far. Poverty, the power of class in society, corporations as personal entities, debtors prison, technology, virtual reality, autism are all topics I’m sure I’d bring up. I’d also join in on a lengthy discussion about the health, or lack thereof, in getting so immersed in the past that we can’t really enjoy the present. I’m sure some chats about the wonder of the 80’s would also come up due to the complete immersion you get in this story.
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – I nearly ugly cried at the end of this book. It brings up incredibly heavy topics like our own mortality and the length we might go to in order to prevent our ultimate demise. Like the other books in this list class also comes up but in a slightly different way which I find incredible.
- Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson – The biggest reason I recommend this book is how much I related to so much of it. She talks about her struggles with mental illness but also just about life in general. I think a book club could get quite a lot of mileage out of the concept of being furiously happy even if they don’t happen to struggle with mental health issues themselves. The fact that this book is also hilarious is a major plus.
- Flawed (Flawed #1) by Cecelia Ahern – If you make as many unintentional mistakes as I do this book might be both incredibly interesting as well as alarming. What if we were judged for the rest of our lives due to one dumb moment? Let’s take that even further, what if it wasn’t even really a mistake but one of those weird morally gray areas? What if it was actually the right thing to do but seen as wrong by others? We all strive to live by our ideals and values but what if to do so would get you marked as a social outcast for the rest of your life? To delve even deeper I’d love to discuss the parts of the world where things like this actually happen in day to day life.
- Fury (The Cure #1) by Charlotte McConaghy – Due to the fact that I deal with a number of mental illness-related issues I can completely relate to the concept of ridding the world of certain emotions. This first book in the series deals specifically with anger and all of its cousins like rage, frustration, irritation, etc. While I’m getting better at dealing with my emotions, anger is one that remains tricky and I think this is common for quite a lot of people. A discussion related to how anger in its various forms both helps and can harm us would be amazing. I love how the book explores both sides of this topic. It’s fascinating to really sit and think about who I’d be without ever feeling at all angry. On the other hand I’ve got some personal experience with what happens when you have too much of a specific emotion. The series goes on to explore other emotions as well which have the power to both harm and help us, who would you be without love?
- The Beauty by Jeremy Haun, Jason A. Hurley – I’m a little hesitant to add this one to the list because you don’t often see graphic novels being discussed in book clubs. That being said, the discussion that could take place around this series is too good to pass up. Media is completely saturated in the ‘ideal’ form of standardized, impossible for most, beauty. This series explores the outbreak of an STD which grants that most prized concept with unknown effects. I both want to scoff at the idea and secretly admit I’d be tempted. I’d love to have a conversation about how in a way this happens in our own culture through various means.
- The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – World peace is one of those concepts that I think everyone wishes for but also finds somewhat mythical, like unicorns and money trees. It’s really amazing in theory but most likely not something we’ll see in our lifetimes if it ever happens at all. This story explores the idea that peace might be possible but at a cost. While it might seem worth it in the short term to sacrifice one person for the peace of an entire country, it’s just as possible to justify the death of that person for things like access to water.
What about you? What books would you like to suggest to your real or imaginary book club? Are you the type of person that gets involved in book clubs or are you more like me and for the most part avoid such a social gathering? Let me know in the comments below!