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Help with my snobby bookclub

(256 Posts)
HeartsTrumpDiamonds Thu 05-Feb-15 12:16:42

It is my turn to pick our next book for our book club and I am stumped. And a bit scared TBH.

It needs to be fairly highbrow and literary I'm afraid. I don't know the other women all that well (apart from the friend who introduced me to the group) and they have all been picking books that are either literary classics or modern winners of Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. So no chick lit - I think I would be kicked out of the group grin

I'd like to do something English or British because our current book is Runaway (Alice Munro) set in Canada.

I've already read lots of classics myself but don't really mind a repeat. I just want a book that won't make me look stupid.

So wise MNers - any recommendations?

BitOutOfPractice Thu 05-Feb-15 12:18:04

Suggest Tolstoy - in the original Russian!

Greenstone Thu 05-Feb-15 12:20:39

John Banville

That'll learn 'em

frasersmummy Thu 05-Feb-15 12:21:49

I would go down the classics route .. little women, wuthering heights etc

I read phantom of the opera recently that might work

baskingseals Thu 05-Feb-15 12:24:31

I actually got kicked out of a snobby book group for talking too much. What about

The Heart of Darkness Joesph Conrad

A Clergyman's Daughter George Orwell

The Mill on the Floss George Elliot

Good,luck, dont't let the bastards grind you down grin

BossWitch Thu 05-Feb-15 12:25:17

Angela Carter stuff is fab - Wise Children is probably my favourite.

Scarlett Thomas The end of Mr Y is brilliant, a proper metaphysical head fuck! In a good way!

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks is a bit of a beast but great book club fodder, there are even discussion questions in the back of my edition!

BossWitch Thu 05-Feb-15 12:26:31

<off downstairs to look at the bookshelf>

CheeseBadger Thu 05-Feb-15 12:26:31

I quite enjoyed Lights Out in Wonderland, but anything by DBC Pierre should serve your purpose...

WipsGlitter Thu 05-Feb-15 12:26:57

Ian McEwen?
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - nice and short!
Just google the booker list and pick something from that.

BOFster Thu 05-Feb-15 12:26:59

You might be surprised- I started going to one recently, and recommended a brilliant thriller, while stressing that it wasn't highbrow and I wasn't nominating it as a group read as such, and after I'd gone they looked it up and agreed it sounded great and picked it anyway!

KateMosley Thu 05-Feb-15 12:27:26

'Levels of life' by Julian Barnes

LurkingHusband Thu 05-Feb-15 12:27:39

Don Quixote ?

RocketInMyPocket Thu 05-Feb-15 12:27:58

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville.
Bore the bastards to death.

LurkingHusband Thu 05-Feb-15 12:28:09

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_and_Opinions_of_Tristram_Shandy,_Gentleman

flancake Thu 05-Feb-15 12:28:45

I'm reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Set in Amsterdam in the 1600's. I think that would be suitably high brow for them, plus Jessie Burton is coming to MN this month for a webchat!

Enb76 Thu 05-Feb-15 12:28:58

I'd go with The Girl with all the Gifts - Peter Carey.

It'll be different to their usual fodder but is well written and thought-provoking. Be confident whatever you choose - they probably also agonise over book choices so as not to look stupid in front of others.

lollygagger Thu 05-Feb-15 12:29:23

The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies. It's a fantastic book and one that will have them reaching for the dictionary as some of the words he uses are so obscure, yet perfect.

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 05-Feb-15 12:30:05

Waterland - Graham Swift
The Siege of Krishnapur, Troubles, the Singapore Grip all by JG Farrell

Anyway OP if you feel the group is snobby and highbrow they are probably a bunch of pretentious idiots anyway, so find something that will take the piss a bit, some Sartre, some Tolstoy yes. and make a point about how much better it is 'in the original'.

And if you can get the word 'Weltanschauung' into the convo, so much the better.

LurkingHusband Thu 05-Feb-15 12:30:56

If it's pure boredom you want, then "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by the Other Bronte. It comes with the added advantage as you trudge through it, that you are reading a proto-feminist work of great importance. So you can ignore it when people complain about the style.

Oh, and good luck discussing "-- --". I had several arguments with my Eng. Lit teacher over using that in essays (danger of outing myself here) ...

flancake Thu 05-Feb-15 12:31:22

Alternatively - find a friendlier book club grin

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 05-Feb-15 12:32:58

you mean the W word, lurkinghub? We used to use it as a game between ourselves, who could work it into an essay. Ahhhh happy days.

OTheHugeManatee Thu 05-Feb-15 12:32:58

The Faerie Queen, by Edmund Spenser.

Beautiful, poetic, dreamy, indisputably a classic, pretty abstruse by modern standards and arguably a forerunner of modern fantasy fiction.

That'll confuse 'em grin

SunnySomer Thu 05-Feb-15 12:33:14

My book group (middle brow) recently read The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble. That was really successful and people keep referring back to it several months later.

MrsTawdry Thu 05-Feb-15 12:33:53

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by Eimar McBride. Definitely.

jeee Thu 05-Feb-15 12:34:40

I don't think you should worry too much about your choice.

However, a popular (and fairly high-brow) choice in our book club was 'Alone in Berlin' by Hans Fallada - everyone had plenty to say about it.

The last time I chose, I went for a favourite book from your childhood. Which again led to good discussions.

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