Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Book club recommendations

I often get emails asking me to recommend books for book club selections. The idea of a book club is not that everyone has to love a certain book, but that everyone should be able to be engaged enough to finish the book, and have something to say about it when they're done. Here are a few good picks for some common book club parameters (links are to Goodreads for more information).

Fiction, YA. The book club I went to in Ithaca ended up doing a lot of YA fiction, not really by design, but because we were all busy women who might not get through a thick non-fiction tome, but who could toss off a slim YA novel within a month. YA fiction is also fairly non-threatening and often low on offensive content, which makes it even more attractive for book clubs.

Like No Other. Great discussion potential for Mormons.

Hattie Big Sky.

Keeping the Castle. This could be fun in conjunction with some Jane Austen books.

For Darkness Shows the Stars. My dream is to read Persuasion one month, and this one the next, and then discuss.

The Book Thief.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

Between Shades of Gray.

Code Name Verity.

Fiction, Regular ol'. I feel like this is the most dangerous category because straight-up fiction can be weird, or offensive, or long, or too off-putting for a general book club pick. That said...

A Town Like Alice.

The Virginian.

Papa Married a Mormon. (This would be interesting to non-Mormons, too.)

These is My Words.

The Night Circus.

Non-fiction, Heavy Issues to Discuss. Some book clubs want this kind of book; others don't.

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. Dysfunctional African childhood!

Nothing to Envy. North Korea!

Desperate Passage. Donner Party!

One Day in September. Munich Olympics massacre!

Logavina Street. Siege of Sarajevo!

Non-fiction, Fun & Accessible.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Consider the Fork.

The Princes in the Tower.

One Light Still Shines. Lovely lovely book.

Global Mom. Especially for expats, or Mormons. OR MORMON EXPATS.

Ghost Soldiers. OK, this is about a WW2 POW camp, so maybe not "fun," but I would recommend this instead of Unbroken for a book club book. It's shorter and punchier, with some of the same emotional impact.

Surviving the Angel of Death. Also not "fun," but it's a WW2 concentration camp memoir written for a juvenile audience, so it keeps things lighter than it might otherwise have done.

Classics. No specific title recommendations for this category. Pick a classic, any classic. Thomas Hardy will always give you something to discuss (just don't let it be Jude the Obscure, mmkay?). Our book club in Tucson always, always picked classics, and it was a great strategy. Best-case scenario, you read it and loved it. Worst-case scenario, you read it, maybe didn't like it, but now have another classic to cross off the to-read list.

I hope you can find some good general recommendations here. If you want something more specific, let me know and I'm happy to make a more tailored suggestion!

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