"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Book Club Favorites

2013 Book Club favorites. I am in two book clubs. Out of the 20 books I read, here are my favorites. I am basing my decision on these criteria: readability, value to me (did I learn something new?), and the discussion that the book generated. Please let me know the titles and authors of books you have used in your book clubs that meet these criteria. We are always looking for good discussion books. Thank you.
My 2012 Book Club favorites are here. Click the link.
My 2011 Book Club favorites are here. Click the link.
My 2010 Book Club favorites are here.

Flight Behavior1. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver---I always learn something when I read Kingsolver. The theme of this book is climate change and personal politics that surround the issue. Very insightful. (HarperCollins, 2012)

The Paris Wife2. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain---this book was the "All-Pierce County Read" book for our area. In addition to our book club discussion, we attended an author event. I became obsessed with Hemingway for a few months afterwards. (Ballantine Books, 2011)

Still Alice3. Still Alice by Lisa Genova---Alice, a college professor has early onset Alzheimer's. We learned so much and had a fabulous discussion.

Dreamers of the Day4. Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell---historical fiction set in the Middle East around the time of Lawrence of Arabia. I knew nothing about the events covered in this book prior to reading it. Very readable author. (Random House, 2008)

Saving Ceecee Honeycutt5Saving Cee-Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman---a light read but delightful. It is about the importance of family and making connections with other people. This was a clear book club favorite. (Penguin, 2010)

And the Mountains Echoed6And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini---I liked this book better than others in my group which meant that we didn't have a very good discussion on it. The book group discussion questions were excellent, however. Hosseini is a very strong writer and knows how to weave a bunch of stories together. (Riverhead, 2013)

Orphan Train7The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline---another book about a deplorable piece of American and Canadian history-Orphan trains. The book generated lots of discussion and we all found it an enjoyable read. (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013)

The Language of Flowers8The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh---Victorians believed that specific flowers carried specific messages. Diffenbaugh took this theme and wove it into a fascinating story of an orphaned girl and her connections to other people and her ability to communicate best with flowers. There were lots of things that bugged me about the story but others in my group really liked the book and we had a fun discussion. (Ballantine Books, 2011)

The Light Between Oceans9. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman---the consequences of our decisions can have long lasting effects. We had a lively, thoughtful discussion.  (Scribner, 2012)

The Orchardist10. The Orchardist by Amanda Chopin---set in Central Washington around the turn of the 20th century we all fell in love with the characters and with Chopin's writing. (HarperCollins, 2012)

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His GirlNoteworthy: Wesley the Owl: the remarkable love story of an owl and his girl by Stacey O'Brien---not sure why I am including this book on the list because no one really liked the book and the writing was very poor, but we had the most fun at book club with this book of any all year. We invited a veterinarian who specializes in birds to the meeting and we all learned a lot about birds of prey. It is now a topic of jokes among us. (Free Press, 2008)

I also liked: The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout; A Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; and Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. 

Since I am in two book clubs some years one club will select a book I've read in previous years with my other club. If that is the case I did not list those books here. Look at my list from previous year favorites for information about Sarah's Key by De Rosnay, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Barbery, and Half-Broke Horses by Jannette Walls.

Please let me know titles of your favorite book club selections this past year. I'm always on the hunt for good discussion books.


  1. Well, since I'm in one of you Book Clubs, I'll just echo your appreciation of Language of flowers, Light between oceans and And the mountains echoed. :-)

  2. Thanks for providing this list. I'm going to come back to it when it's my time to choose for our book club. No one wants to choose a bad book.

  3. Anne, I love looking over your lists as I think about potential titles for my book discussion. Ones we had an especially lively time discussing in 2013 included "Crossing to Safety" by Wallace Stegner and "Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock" by David Margolick. In the first, the story of the lifelong friendship of two couples, we had such differing opinions about the characters that one question about them kept us going for some time. The second was about the two women in a famous photograph from desegregation in Little Rock, and our group dived right in to talk about race relations and whether anything has changed since that time.

    1. Mary, thanks for your suggestions. I read Crossing to Safety many years ago and became a big Stegner fan after finishing it. I will definitely suggest it as a possible book for consideration. Two women of Little Rock is right up our alley, too. Sounds good.


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