Saturday, December 26, 2015
2015 Favorite Book Club Selections
2015 Book Club favorites. I am in two book clubs. For this reason sometimes books will end up on my end-of-the-year list more than once. This year I asked the gals in my clubs, SOTH and RHS, for feedback. Their top three selections will be noted within my list of favorites. Keep in mind I select my favorites based not only on how much I liked the book but also on how well the book generated a discussion. I also factor in an educational aspect. Did I learn something new by reading the book? If so, bonus points.
1. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (2013, Viking Press)...this book was featured as the All Pierce County Reads book of the Year. It is about the rowing team from the University of Washington and how they won the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. It is much more than a sports book, however, it also a book about the lives of the rowers and their coaches, the Great Depression, and Hitler and the beginnings of the Nazi movement. This is the second year on my "favorite book club selections" list. (SOTH #1)
2. The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (2014, Algonquin Press)---I really liked this book when I read it last year. In fact it was my go-to-book for recommendations for a while. There is lots to talk about with this book and it is just charming. (RHS #1)
3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013, Little, Brown and Co.) ---I spent the whole month of December 2014 reading this book in preparation for book club in January. At 775 pages I would not recommend this book for the average book club but if you have the fortitude for long books this book is SO good. One take away, the trajectory of your life is one event away from spinning off into a completely different direction. (RHS #2)
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014, Scribner)---This was my favorite book read in 2015. I listened to the audiobook and my experience with this format was so positive, I can't help but recommending it to you. several gals in the club didn't like the book as much as I did because the story travels back and forth in time and between two characters who don't meet until nearly the end of the book. I attended an author event with Doerr which increased my opinion of the book.
5. The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (2008, Viking Press)---This is another book which I consumed in the audio format which was a very enjoyable experience, the narrator was very good. The story is really the history of a special book, a Jewish Haggaduh, a prayer book. We meet characters who "touched" the book back to its inception. Running concurrently was the story of the gal who was hired to curate the book. The phrase "the people of the book" relates to the three religions which descended from Father Abraham---Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. This was a very timely read since there is so much news of the strife in the world related to these religions. A note, however, some gals in the club had a hard time with the book and several didn't finish it. But I loved it.
6. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (2014, Viking Press) ---I read this book in 2014 also and just loved it. There is so much to learn from it about the abolition movement, and the early feminists, The Grimke sisters. This book should have been higher on the list but the day of month we were discussing it was the worst storm of the month. The storm, not the book, took center stage of our discussion. My advice, read it! (SOTH #2)
7. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (2006, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)--- This has long been a favorite book of mine. The theme was about the education of children in one-room schoolhouses back in 1910s and the characters who were hired as the teachers. If you have never read anything by Ivan Doig, I really recommend you start with this gem.
8. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (2012, Scribner)---Another book I read last year and another book which looks at the consequences of our decisions. It gave us lots to talk about. (SOTH #3)
9. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (2015, HarperCollins)---This book has to be considered the most controversial book published in 2015. First, there is evidence that Lee never wanted the book to be published at all, Secondly, our beloved Atticus Finch isn't who we thought he was from To Kill a Mockingbird. For these reasons and many more, we had a wonderful discussion.
10. Deep Down Dark by Hectar Tobar (2014, Farrar, Straus, Giroux) ---This is a nonfiction account about the 33 miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in Chili in 2010. This book recounts their experiences before, during, and after the mine collapsed and their miraculous rescue. Reading the book is a little overwhelming since there are so many people to keep track of, but it was so interesting, too. (RHS #3)
Honorable mention: To the Field of Stars by Kevin Codd---several members from our church walked this year the Camino de Santiago, or the Pilgrim's Way, in Spain. This book is about one man's experience walking the Camino. We had an excellent discussion about the book. But I recognize this is a very specialized book, not for the average book club.
My favorite 2014 Book Club Favorites. Click the link.
My 2013 Book Club Favorites are here. Click the link.
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, if you are looking for more suggestions. click the link.