Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Club Picks for 2015

I have always loved to read, but lately I find that I have to make time for myself to read. A book club is a wonderful way to read a book every month, interact with others, and have a productive discussion. What makes a good book club book? Book club books should be long enough to promote a good, healthy discussion but short enough to read comfortably in a month with everyone’s busy schedules.

Books inspire and delight me. A good book takes me to another place or time and gives me a glimpse into another world that might not necessarily be mine. I think that variety is important for a good book club. By mixing non-fiction with fiction and including books with characters from different time periods, ages, and cultural backgrounds, every book offers something new.

Reading is so enjoyable, but it’s even better when it is shared with others during time spent together. Add some delicious food and drinks and it is the recipe for a perfect evening.

Book Club Picks

The Perils of Pauline is a hilarious romantic comedy about the trials and tribulations of motherhood and marriage. Life seems perfect for Pauline until she receives a termination letter one Friday. One event changes the course of everything in this witty and honest book that portrays a woman who does the best she can given tricky circumstances. It's a story of finding out who you ae and what's really important while answering the scariest question of all: "What now?"

I have read the book The Distance Between Us: A Memoir in English and Spanish. My Advanced Studies students read the Spanish-language version of the book and enjoyed Reyna Grande's brutally honest account of growing up in Mexico without her parents and her difficult journey to the United States. My students made dioramas to demonstrate understanding of the text. I love what the students made.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel is a hilarious look at Bernadette Fox. From Amazon, "To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic."

History buffs will love A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire. This interesting non-fiction book recounts the history of one of the world's most valuable commodities of past, cochineal, a vibrant red dye from Mexico that catapulted Spain's economy. With a story that reads like a spy novel and characters including pirates, explorers, kings, and cardinals, history comes alive with this book. I was particularly interested in this book because I visited a cochineal farm in Oaxaca, Mexico.


My daughters and I concurrently read two different books that have a similar theme and discussed them together. Natalia and Alexia read Trash and I read Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Although the characters in the two books are on opposite sides of the world, both books portray the lives of young trash pickers. The three of us developed a deep appreciation for the lives and opportunities that we have and have tried to be more grateful for what we have. One of the most powerful quotes from the Behind the Beautiful Forevers relays this thought, "It seemed to him that in Annawadi, fortunes derived not just from what people did, or how well they did it, but from the accidents and catastrophes they avoided. A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught." So powerful.

The Husband's Secret is coming up on our book club list. I'm curious to learn what the husband's secret is in this New York Times Bestseller!

Do you participate in a book club? What books are you reading this year?


  1. I did not do a book club but I took an online literary genre class from Wilson College this fall and it was nice. It was very busy and time consuming though. We would read two shorter stories than a novel weekly and discuss daily in forums. I was one of the older ones in the class along side a few others, most were young inexperienced girls 19-25. It led to so many different interpretations of the material that it made it very eye opening and sometimes frightfully shocking. As you said the variety is a great key to a book club or discussion class.
    I am not currently in one and do enjoy reading. I find not reading real literature leaves me longing to read and wasting that time reading fluff and garbage on social media following endless rabbit trails. Not to mention spending money I would otherwise save or use wisely by following those rabbit trails.

    I see there is so much on your blog I have not kept up with, my apologizes, I do love reading it but have been enjoying your post on instagram. Good thing it looks like we will have another snow day tomorrow to catch up :)

    1. Isn't it interesting to hear different points of view? I saw The Distance Between Us through completely different eyes when my students discussed it. Their ideas and interpretations of the text were amazing.

      So glad that you enjoy the blog! It feels great to be writing.

  2. I'm in a book club and we just read The Light Between Oceans. It was a good read. For February we are reading Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland. I've read other books by her and enjoyed them!



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