My Favorite Book Club Reads

I joined my book club, The Literary Gems sometime in early 2015. We were strangers who met on the streets of Facebook. Three years later, we have read and discussed loads of books over a few glasses of wine.

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We have attended members’ weddings, baby showers, fought, disagreed and shared a lot of laughs.  Our lowest moment as a book club was when we tragically lost one of our members, Vivian who died in a road accident in March, 2016.

One of the best things about being in a book club is that you get to discover books that you would probably never have read on your own. I have enjoyed so many of my book club picks.

 

only 2I have also had moments of rebellion when I refused to read certain books. Recently, the club read Anna Karenina and nope, I didn’t even open the book because I just knew that it wasn’t for me. I would have struggled to read it. In the end, out of 20 members, I think only 2 managed to get to read it.

Here are some of my favorite book club reads:

 

book of negroes

 

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill is one of my favorite books of all time. Aminata Diallo’s story demands to be read. Hers is a story about strength, perseverance and of course, suffering. Aminata is a protagonist that you can’t just read about and forget. Seriously, you are missing out by not reading this amazing book.

 

 

 

Tea GirlThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See – If you enjoy diverse reads then this one should be on your TBR. The writing is beautiful and the imagery so vivid that it took me on a trip to China where I met the tea loving Akha people and learned about their culture. I can still visualize the forests and mountains of Yunnan.

The book club ended discussing this book forever on Watsapp. The conversations about tea went on for a month after the review. At some point, members decided to purchase some of the tea discussed in the book. Three months later, members were still on the tea conversation. I am not so crazy about tea but then again, here I am right now, telling you about it. This book was something else!

 

memoirs-of-a-geishaArthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha creates an entertaining plot full of twists. Some readers describe the book as a fairy tale, the beautiful princess is Sayuri, Nobu-San is the ogre, Hatsmumo is the evil witch and of course every fairytale has a prince, Chairman. Oh and by the way, there is an evil step-mother in the tale. However, you choose to describe it, Memoirs of a Geisha is a fascinating read. It’s the kind of book whose memory will continue lingering long after you turn the last page.

After reading this book, I watched the movie adaptation and guys; the cinematography was out of this world! Of course, there are things that I didn’t like in the movie but it’s still one of my favorite movie adaptations.

 

udala tees 2

 

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta is a coming of age story of a young girl at a time of war. To better understand the story, keep in mind that Nigeria is very religious and conservative. In addition, the book is set in the 1970s where homosexuality was outlawed and punishable by imprisonment or death. There is a lot of conflict between characters. There is also a lot of self-conflict as Ijeoma tries to find herself in a society that rejects her. Her struggles were heartbreaking. The book is very well-written and I think that Chinelo was successful in achieving her goal of giving the marginalized LGBTQ community in Nigeria a voice.

 

Ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman is a story about Ove, a man going through a hard time that makes him seem cranky until you get to know him. I dare you to read this story and not warm up to him. Honestly, Ove is one of the most endearing characters that I have met in a book. I loved reading about him and getting to know his complex but wonderful personality. I also enjoyed getting to know everyone who came into his life. This was such a heartwarming story that I definitely recommend to everyone.

Ps: In December, I got a puppy who I named Ove.

 

112296_paperbacks11/22/63 by Stephen King – I loved the ending of the book. I think at some point in life we all tend to wonder about would happen if we could go back into the past and change something especially the mistakes that we might have made. Read 11/22/63 and find out what our main character, Jack Epping/ George Amberson discovered about changing history.

 

the-boy-in-the-striped-pyjamas-37-IRELAND

 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne – I just have to mention the ending. I never saw it coming until it was happening. It left me with a headache. I don’t think any other book has ever given me a headache. This book certainly broke my heart.

 

 

 

Love-in-the-Time-of-Cholera-Cover-Page

 

Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is not just a story about love. Love is one of the main themes but there is more to the tale than just two people falling in love. There are other themes that come up such as jealousy, infidelity and obsession. There are also heavy themes of sexual abuse and slavery. On the other hand, Marquez tackles other issues such as old age with a touch of humor. There is a lot that I can say about the book.

 

fine-balance

A Fine Balance by Rohinston Mistry is the kind of book that I recommend to everyone. It is very well written; the prose is poignant, flawless, compelling. It is just beautiful. The characterization is great. The characters are so well developed that it is hard to forget them. However, it is only fair that I warn you that this book is heart wrenching. It will mess with your emotions and it may make you cry. It angered me. Life can be unfair and humans can be heartless. However, the question of a fine balance was thought provoking. How do you stay sane in a crazy, cold world when life is continuously throwing punches at you?

 

Blindness

 

Blindness by Jose Saramago is very well written. I found myself getting attached to the characters despite never knowing their names (what is in a name anyway?) I was completely immersed in the world created by Saramago. At times, I wondered what it would be like to suddenly lose the ability to see. Can you imagine that? One minute you are reading your beloved ARCs and then suddenly, you only see white? This book will give you an in-depth look into blindness and what it means to get lost into such a world.

 

fishermen

 

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma is dark, tragic but deeply moving. West Africa has given the world so many wonderful writers such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Ngozi. Chigozie Obioma joined this league with this brilliant debut novel. If you also like mystery, mythological narration then this is the book for you.

 

 

narrow road

 

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan is not the easiest reads. It will require your concentration as a reader. However, once you get through the first 50 pages or so then you will find yourself enjoying the writing even more. It’s a difficult story with heavy themes but at the same time, it’s a story about a man trying to survive an ugly ordeal and fight his own demons.

 

 

sue monk kidd

My book club is currently reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. This is a book that I read in 2016. I loved it then and can’t wait to rediscover it.

Are you in a book club? Which are some of your favorite book club reads? And have you read any of the books on my list?

book club 2

36 Comments

  1. Ah, book club sounds awesome! It’s so cool that you guys actually met in person as well!

    I always had this idea that one day i join a book club and will make actual friends there. But as far as i know (after some googling) there aren’t any like this around my area. Maybe one day! 😀

    1. Yeah, hopefully one day one will come up near you. Book clubs can be a lot of fun and a nice way to meet new people who are readers. They do have their challenges but they are mostly great.

      Thanks Norrie 🙂

      1. I think my colleague was spying on me while i was reading your blog, cuz not so much later she turns around and says… “Are you in a book club? I always wanted to be in one. We should make a book club”… 😀

        1. haha I hope that you and your colleague end up starting a book club. That is definitely how it starts and then you get other members along the way 🙂

  2. Oh congrats on the puppy and I love his name. I guess I’ll really have to read The Man Called Ove. Next time (if it ever happens again) that I’ll win a giveaway I’ll choose this title (you might have to remind me though ;-)). I’m not in any book club. I like the idea of meeting people who like to read too but I’m not sure I want to read what’s decided for me. I’m happy you’ve found such a great book club!

    1. Thanks Inge and I will remind you. A Man Called Ove is such an amazing read. I think you’d like it.

      Think of book club reads as just book recommendations or buddy reads. Someone recommends a book, you check out the blurb and see if its something you’d like then you read it and have fun discussing it with others. You don’t have to read everything. Like I mentioned, I decided not to read Anna Karenina because I don’t like classics. I have skipped 4 reads so far but luckily, the rest have been great picks 🙂

  3. Book clubs can be fun, but I agree sometimes the book doesn’t appeal to me (so I won’t read it either). Sad about the member of the group. We had someone just disappear from our group without a word last year. I never knew why or what happened. This is a great list Diana!

    1. Sorry to hear about the member who dissapeared from your group.That is odd. I hope they are okay wherever they are though.

      Thanks Holly 🙂

  4. This is a great post! You’ve got lots of good ones here. I’ve heard so many good things about The Book of Negroes. I am in a book group as well. I’ve been in it for over 10 years! Various people have come and gone but three members have been in it from the start. I love it.

    1. wow Laila, I hope my book club will be around that long too. Its impressive that you have 3 members who have been there right from the start.

      The Book of Negroes is such a special book. Its the kind of book that you get to and wonder why it took you so long to read it. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

  5. Glad to be in the same book club with you…who would have ever imagined we would be friends after 😊
    From this list I would add Girl on the train. The rest of the list sums up my favorite reads. You should also do your worst reads 😁😁

    1. hahaha my worst reads may offend some people so I won’t list Charles Dickens, Anna Karenina and Moon Tiger although technically, I didn’t read them : D I liked Girl on the Train and I remember its the last review that Viv attended. I don;t think the book had intense discussions though like the one we recently had for Tea Girl. Si we talked about about tea forever haha.

      Happy to have met you through the book club 🙂

  6. These days my book clubbing is Goodreads and WordPress but it’s good you have made such close friends over the years and the club is still going strong. 🙂

    1. Thanks Carrie. WordPress with so many amazing book bloggers is a great book club especially when you find people who read the same books as you 🙂

  7. Awesome list. I found that I couldn’t keep up with being in a book club. The pressure to read was too much. I really enjoyed 11/22/63 by Stephen King and the invention of wings by Sue Monk.
    Might read about the tea girl soon.
    Great post

    1. Thanks Red 🙂 I can understand what you mean about the pressure. We read one book per month in mine so its never too much though there are times when I have fallen behind and missed deadlines so I end up posting online reviews afterwards 🙂

      11/22/63 and Invention of Wings are excellent reads 🙂

  8. Love this post idea Diana! I’ve been in a book club for over 7 years and now I wished I’d kept track of all our favorites! It’s not often we all love and agree on the book chosen which is what makes it so fun…that and wine:) That’s so sad about your book club member who died:( Of your list the one that really jumps out to me and I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t is A Fine Balance. I love when a book makes me cry so this one has moved way up my tbr list!!

    1. wow, its awesome that you have been in your book club for that long Renee. I hope that mine will be around for that long. Its going strong right now, three years and about 15 of the original members are still around. We have had members come and drop off along the way but I think having committed people and a great founding member has worked for us.

      A Fine Balance is a beautiful but quite emotional too. I hope that you will get the chance to read it 🙂

  9. Diana, this is a post I’m saving! I have read a few of these, but not nearly enough, and I would like to read them all. Thanks for taking the time to put them all in one place. I am sorry for the loss of your book club member and friend. It’s truly special that you all met on FB for the love of books and then met in real life and have experienced so much together. I absolutely love it!

  10. Awww, I’ve always wanted to be in a book club. It always sounds like so much fun, just don’t know if there are any in my area or not. After reading this and about all of the different books you’ve read, I definitely want to take a look.

  11. Lovely post Diana! So many of these books that I still need to read including The Fishermen, Blindness, The Narrow Road To The Deep North and Under the Udala Trees! I adore The Book Of Negroes and the Stephen King though. These are all brilliant book club choices though! 😁

  12. I wish I was part of a book club and I admire how the bond among you all seems to have strengthen over time as you all read books together. Thanks for the recommendations here. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane sounds like one I’d really like.

  13. I loved this post Diana. And I’m so sorry to hear about your book club member who was lost. How sad. 😔
    Your book club sounds wonderful!! I’ve always wanted to be in one but I’m reluctant because I’ve thought about all of the books that I have in my house that I want to read, but at my own pace and when I’m in the mood to read them. Have you ever heard of the Silent Book Club? It’s basically where people meet in a specific location and read their own book silently with others. That one sounded appealing to me, but I’d love to be in a group where I’d discuss the book I’m reading, I’d just want to be the person selecting all the books to read. I’m so selfish. 🤦🏽‍♀️ My Book Buddy, Iris, would LOVE your group. She’s read many of the books you all have read, and her favorite book is Memoirs of a Geisha. She’s read it many times.
    I’m actually going to be featuring a book club on my blog soon. Deets coming soon.
    Thanks for this very enjoyable post. 😊

    1. Silent book club sounds great though it does remind me of a library abit apart from the fact that the books are brought by the readers 😀 Your comments about selecting all the books made me laugh. Interestingly, I avoid selecting books from my book club mainly because their choices always challenge me to read outside my comfort zone so I prefer that. Also because I don’t want members to hate a book that I enjoyed and recommended 😀

      Will definitely keep an eye on your blog to find out more about the book club that you will be featuring.

      Thanks Laurie ❤

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