book club: january edition

Posted on January 27, 2013

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We resurrected our book club this year, setting the slightly ambitious goal to read 10 books over the course of the year. We also nearly doubled the number of people in the club, diversifying beyond just our immediate group of friends. I’m so excited about the group of girls and I’m really looking forward to the year.

Last year, we picked our books by choosing different genres from a hat, and then finding books that fit within the category, but this presented the following problems: 1) in addition to scheduling meetings, choosing the next book to read at each meeting was difficult, and 2) sometimes people had trouble finding the books and reading them in a timely manner. So this year we took a different track:

Each person came to the meeting with five book suggestions (or more, some people couldn’t resist) and they wrote them on Post-it notes and put them up on a board next to the appropriate genre. Then, we went through one-by-one and briefly outlined the plot of the book and discussed why it might be a good pick for the club.

ImageAfter going through all of the books, we were each given seven gold stars (an arbitrary number, really) and each person stuck them on the books that they would like to read most. The books with the most stars were then moved over to the left side of the board so we could evaluate whether we had a good range of genres, old books and new books, and we checked their availability at the Seattle Public Library.

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Here’s the final list:

FEBRUARY: The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
MARCH: Hells Angels, The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, Hunter S. Thompson
APRIL: Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
MAY: Lamb, Christopher Moore
JUNE: The Sex Lives of Cannibals, J. Maarten Troost 
JULY: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
AUGUST: Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
SEPTEMBER: Wesley the Owl, Stacey O’Brien
OCTOBER: 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
NOVEMBER: Where Did You Go, Bernadette?
DECEMBER: Post Office, Charles Bukowski

Choosing our year of books this way allows each person to start collecting the books whenever they want. I can take the list with me to Goodwill or Value Village and search the shelves each time I go, or I can order it on my iPad, or buy it new – but we’ll all know exactly what’s coming up and can even read ahead if we want to.

But my favorite part (besides all of the great conversation) is that we also have a list of 40 OTHER books that we could read at our leisure. It was proposed that we make it a competition and the person who reads the most books wins a prize, but that was quickly abandoned because obviously I would win. (Just kidding, I rarely even make it past the first chapter of book club books… I’m all about the food.) Here’s the list of the rest of the books that were suggested:

Fiction:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
The Bean Trees
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
12 Tribes of Hattie
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Monsters in Black Tie
A World of Clicks and Class
One Hundred Years of Solitude
War and Peace
Les Miserables
Room
Game of Thrones
Sacre Bleu

Humor:

Bossypants
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns

Graphic Novels:

The Watchmen

History:

The Kingmakers Daughter
Year of Wonders
Let the Great World Spin

Mystery: 

The Racketeer
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Bel Canto
The Stone Cutter

Biography/Memoirs: 

Team of Rivals
The Six Wives of Henry VIII
Memoirs of Grace Coddington
Year of Magical Thinking
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Distance Between Us
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Crazy Love: A Memoir

Romance:

The Reader

Food: 

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well

Young Adult: 

Looking for Alaska
Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Book Thief
Divergent
The Fault in Our Stars

Non-Fiction:

All About Love
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver

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On the menu for this meeting? Smitten Kitchen’s pancetta, white bean and swiss chard pot pie, potato latkes, chocolate chip cookies, and wine.

Posted in: Books