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Books

A Novel Group – My Book Club’s 2017 Picks

My book club – A Novel Group – will celebrate ten years together in September.  We’ve had a few changes in membership over the years, but not many.  We started with six members and we currently have six.  It’s a good number.

A Novel Group – what we’re about

A couple friends from work and I decided to start a book club.  We like to read and it was another way to get together on a regular basis.  Each of us invited one other person to join the group, so we’d have six members.

And of course, we had to have a catchy name.  We came up with A Novel Group.

We take turns hosting and picking the books.  The next host picks the next book, so when we meet at her house, we discuss the book she picked.

As is typical with most book clubs (I think, anyway), we eat.  For me, and I think the others, it’s become a fun way to try new recipes.  I know I save recipes on Pinterest (this will take you to my Recipe Box board, if you’re interested), specifically thinking they’ll be good for book club.  It’s my turn to host this month, so I need to check my list and decide what I’m making.  I don’t always try new things; I have a few favorites that I use too.  And I have to admit, I’ve made some things that I won’t make again.  They weren’t bad; they just didn’t turn out the way I thought they would.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  I’ve also picked up a few new favorites from my book club friends.  I might even share some of those along the way.

We read but talk about more than books at book club

As I mentioned, we also use this as a time to get together.  For some of us, it’s the only time we see each other.  So, we talk about more than books.  We are in different stages of life: some retired, some still working – some have kids in college, some have grandkids – some have moved, some are still in the same house – some have parents who’ve passed away, some are dealing with older parents – some have been recently married, some have been married over 30 years – some have had pets die, some have gained new pets – two have had breast cancer, others are dealing with hot flashes, migraines, and other conditions.

Looking at us, most people probably wouldn’t describe our group as very diverse, but I do believe we bring diverse backgrounds and ideas.  Most importantly, we all like each other and accept each other for who we are.

What did our book club read in 2017?

We read 9 books in 2017.  Our scheduled time to meet is the 4th Tuesday of each month.  Given our busy lives and working around holidays, we can’t always meet monthly and will reschedule accordingly.  That explains why we only read 9 books last year.

We don’t purposely try to select award winning books, and I know anything Oprah recommends has not been well received!!  Many of these books I would have never read if not for my book club.

I have listed them in the order we read them and I’ve included links to Goodreads if you want more information about any of them.  I’ll include my thoughts (and those of the book club members, if I can remember accurately) but I am not a professional reviewer and I don’t feel qualified to provide that level of assessment!!

I’ve included how long it took me to read each book as a guide, but keep in mind – there could be other reasons besides the quality of the book that kept me from reading faster.  It’s challenging some days to find time for everything I want to do!!  Poor me, right?

  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – this was good.  It kept you guessing as to what really happened.  I read this book in 5 days which is a pretty good indicator that I liked it.
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – this was also good even though I’m not sure I liked the main character.  I believe there’s a movie based on this book?  It’s a Goodreads winner from 2012.  I read this in 19 days, so was one I could put down.
  • Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton – I enjoyed this one a lot.  I think that’s because having gone to the Drake Relays for so many years, I am very familiar with Suzy and remember being shocked when this all came to light a few years ago.  That doesn’t mean it was well written, and I’m not sure the rest of my group enjoyed it that much.  I read this in 7 days.
  • Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim – this was a good book.  The story kept me wanting to know more.  The group liked this one.  I read this one in 2 days!!  (and I remember reading it while sitting on my deck – can’t wait for those warm days again)
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt – I don’t recommend this one.  We weren’t sure if we should read it, as the author also wrote “The Goldfinch” and no one in our group who’s read it has liked it.  Since “The Goldfinch” has had so many great reviews, we thought we should give this author a try.  The book wasn’t what I expected (I chose this one) and it wasn’t a favorite of anyone’s.  I don’t think we’ll try anything by this author again.  I read this in 14 days.
  • A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash – we enjoyed this book.  The story was compelling and held my attention.  I read this in 13 days.
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave – not a huge favorite of mine, but I think the others like it.  I read it in 13 days.
  • Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – this was a very good book and based on the real life situation with Georgia Tann in Tennessee and the adoption agency she ran.  She stole children, changed their names and acted like they were orphans needing homes.  It’s a Goodreads 2017 choice.  I read this in 10 days.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – this book was also very good and another Goodreads 2017 choice.  In fact, I believe it was the number one choice of the year.  We all loved it and would highly recommend it.  I read this in 9 days.

Going forward, I’ll provide updates on what we’re reading every month. That way, my “review” can be more accurate and I can solicit thoughts from my fellow book club members.  I read so many books that it’s sometimes challenging to remember each one and why I liked or disliked them.  In other posts, I’ll also talk about the books I’m reading outside of book club.  You’ll soon see that I have favorite authors!!

Feel free to recommend books that our book club should read.  We’d love to have input.

We recently set up a private group in Facebook for our club.  I guess we’re getting older and we needed a way to keep track of when the meetings are and who’s picking the next book!!  At our meeting this week, we took a picture of the group for our page.  I thought it would be nice to share it with you too.

Meet Val, Pam, Mary, me, Louise and Linda – A Novel Group

7 Comments

  • An’Nyce Hoff

    I just read, “The Night She Won Miss America”. It is based on a true story, but it is a work of fiction. I would recommend it.
    Currently, my book is “A Gentleman in Moscow”. A little slow to start, but it came to me with good recommendations. My fingers are crossed.

  • Trudy Huisman

    I’m always looking for a good book to read and haven’t read any of those you’ve listed. I’d highly recommend Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. It was hard to put down!

  • Caroline

    I just added the last two books on your list to my “want to read” list the other day! This list, unfortunately, is very long so don’t know when I will actually get to them!

  • Jen Christy

    Very fun!!! I recently read “Before We Were Yours”….it was very interestingly written! I would recommend Firefly Lane or The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah (or anything by her!). I just started Option B by Sheryl Sandberg (the COO of Facebook)….and appreciate the perspective she offers after facing her own personal tragedy.

    • retired introvert

      I’ve read Firefly Lane and Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah. I also have Night Road but haven’t read it yet. I feel a bit of a connection with her as she’s a member of my sorority.

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