I've been asked to chose the first book for a new book club eek!

(33 Posts)

It's with like minded mums I met at the school in their last year but now I'm feeling the pressure to pick well! I read fairly widely and enjoy period classics, historical fiction and a touch of wizardy stuff (nothing too woo) as well as the usual water cooler fodder.

Do I pick something I've read before and then read it again or pick one I've heard is good and we all read it for the first time for the club? Don't want to sound overly wanky so want to make sure it's accessible for everyone as well as being a good read.

Was thinking about
The Power of One - not read but had great reviews
I Capture the Castle- read it years ago and loved it
Whatever the first Rebus novel by Ian Rankin was- read later ones so curious about earlier
Gone Girl- it's on my shelf and most people seem to have heard of it this year or already read it

Any suggestions gratefully received!

By the way this club will involve both wine andbiscuit

Inkspellme Sat 26-Oct-13 11:52:04

Try to go for something not too long til you figure out does everyone actually have time to read a big book. Def not too bland - nobody really has anything to say about it so not a good book club meeting (apart from the wine of course!). I would also agree with not something you really loved - it's horrible hearing something you thought was fab being slated. Feels oddly personal no matter how constructive and nice they are about it!

In our book club sometimes the chooser nominates 3 books and we decide ourselves which to go for as a group or other times the chooser just picks a book they really want the group to read. Either method works fine.

We read gone girl and it was hated by everyone but the chooser and she had nominated cos she loved it. She didn't seem to mind but I'd have hated that situation.

A book club is great for broadening your horizons on books - its why I enrolled my kids in ones. My only regret about the book club I helped set up is that we didn't bring in the rule of you must read the first 100 pages before dismissing the book. (I'm thinking here of the girl who has turned up in my book club for the last 5 meetings with "oh, I didn't read the book, in fact I haven't got it yet" . ggrrrr....)

How about The Strangeling's Tale ? It's brilliantly written and great for a book club as each chapter can be taken as a separate story, but they all tie together in the end.

marilynmonroe Sat 19-Oct-13 21:36:04

I picked for our first book group. I went this where 'd you go Bernadette by Maria Semple. Great book and easy to read but lots to talk about. We all loved it.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Sat 19-Oct-13 09:12:18

Also highly recommend 'Sophie's Bakery For The Broken-Hearted' by Lolly Winston.

FuckyNellItsHalloween Fri 18-Oct-13 23:54:58

How about the testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

OinkGlitter Fri 18-Oct-13 23:44:19

In our club, the picker chooses 2 and the others choose between them. Takes the pressure off a little. Also means you can choose something safe and something a bit more out there or niche genre or whatever.

limitedperiodonly Fri 18-Oct-13 23:37:19

Sorry, I went off on one completely and ignored your question.

I'd go for I Capture The Castle. I haven't read it but people say good things.

I've read a Rebus and he's not that great. BTW, I'm heavily lobbying for my suggestions for your next book club choice grin

Tinlegs Fri 18-Oct-13 23:36:34

Also, for something I have just finished with loads to talk about, "The Husband's Secret"

ScaryFucker Fri 18-Oct-13 23:33:34

can't beat (anything by) Margaret Atwood

Tinlegs Fri 18-Oct-13 23:33:33

Recent good ones include: "The Testament of Alex Woods" and Ben Elton's "Two Brothers", also, "The Song of Achilles" and "After the Fall".

limitedperiodonly Fri 18-Oct-13 23:29:29

My all time favourite is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Deeply subversive anti-hero in 1960s New Orleans. Very funny but warped, so maybe not everyone will like it.

John Irving's A Widow For One Year. Makes you feel great for being a sexy woman of 40 and well above. He's not pervy, he's deeply appreciative of the older woman grin Hilarious in parts with a good thriller plot tacked on.

Beautiful tale of 19th century country romance, betrayal and triumph - Precious Bane, by Mary Webb. Or you could try the jolly send up of the genre, Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons.

The Waiting Game by Bernice Rubens. Deeply, darkly funny murder mystery in an old people's home.

Michael Frayn's Spies, a short Home Front mystery of small boys' tragic misunderstanding. Or his Headlong, which is a slightly longer comic tale of greed and snobbery and inherited art.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Yes, the Jude Law film. The film's not bad. The book's better. I was desperate to read the end of it at a bus stop as the light was fading and a woman next to me said: 'Tell me what that book is. It's got to be good.' It was. I cried.

Maggie O'Farrell's After You've Gone is moving and layered. Her books don't reveal immediately; her stories are confusing but you have to trust her to explain at the end, which she does, and this works really well. I like other things of hers but that's the first and the best IMO.

LaQueenOfTheDamned Fri 18-Oct-13 16:08:13

I would recommend Mrs Kimble by Jennifer Haigh - elegantly written, often poignant and a fascinating look at the lives of 3 very different women, all married to the same man.

Been out for a few years though.

Several notches above your typical bleddy Richard & Judy drone-fodder.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Thu 17-Oct-13 20:01:24

The Night Circus is brilliant smile I recommend that to everyone grin

dalek Thu 17-Oct-13 19:40:44

Under the Skin by Michel Faber - not too long and lots to talk about. Recently read Gillespie and I by Jane Harris but that is quite a long book. Good luck with whatever you chose.

tumbletumble Tue 08-Oct-13 15:49:41

Don't choose a long book - I can guarantee some people won't finish it! Our book club had an interesting discussion about The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne. I'm currently reading The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and I think that would work well as a book club book. Or The Help by Kathryn Stockett?

IME you need something that is a fairly easy read but quite thought provoking, so you can have a good meaty discussion.

tripfiction Tue 08-Oct-13 15:40:02

Some super choices. I think personally I would avoid Gone Girl because it's been out a while and some people struggle with the theme.

There has been a fair amount on Twitter about The Disappearance of Emily Marr, by Louise Candlish as being a good choice for a book club and there are some thought provoking questions for groups at the back - and it is set in such a beautiful part of the world, Ile de Ré which some of your members might know, and might just add a bit more.

Hope whatever you choose turns out well!

MrsAMerrick Mon 07-Oct-13 21:55:30

Let the Right one in is a good book but not everyone likes vampire stories. I don't like vampire type stories usually, but did like this one but it's a bit of a gamble.
Personally, I'd stick with I Capture the Castle but another good one would be something like The Secret River which is a relatively easy read, gripping story and lots to talk about. Most people in my book group hated The Other Hand including me, and I'd be really put off a book group if that was the first choice.
Recently my book group has enjoyed A Perfectly Good Man, the Art of Hearing Heartbeats and March (by Geraldine James). Gone Girl had a very mixed reception...

Ooh thanks for all the advice, ok not a book I love. Was considering Let The Right One In. Has anyone read it and think it might be decent for book club?

valiumredhead Tue 01-Oct-13 13:17:20

I agree about not choosing a book you love in case everyone slates it!

valiumredhead Tue 01-Oct-13 13:04:25

Oh God not Gone Girl, ANYTHING but thatgrin

juneau Tue 01-Oct-13 12:36:24

Our group really enjoyed Still Alice, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away and The Other Hand.

penguinpaperback Mon 30-Sep-13 23:35:59

I Capture the Castle...good choice smile

maillotjaune Mon 30-Sep-13 23:16:02

Book not nook!

maillotjaune Mon 30-Sep-13 23:07:48

Don't choose a nook you've read before unless you won't mind having to defend it if other people slag it off!

Stoner by John Williams was a really good one to discuss (and everyone liked it).

CheeryCherry Mon 30-Sep-13 22:58:35

The Book Thief. Gave our book club a lot to talk about, fabulous, unusual book.

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