For about 2 years now, I’ve been a part of a little book club with a few of my dear friends and I LOVE it. We got our start reading the works of Jane Austen, but have branched out into other books with strong female characters, writers, and themes. It’s empowering to discuss these stories with women from all walks of life. We each have our own interpretations and ideas, and when we come together to talk, it’s amazing what happens.
This book club has been by my side during some of the best and worst days of my life…and I love each and every member for different reasons. We can fight and disagree about Emma, but when we’re done and it’s time to eat burgers and drink beer, we’re the best of friends who love and support each other no matter what.
OK ENOUGH GUSHY STUFF!
Now, if you’ve ever thought about starting a book club, I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s a great way to encourage yourself and others to read and you might be surprised what you discover and learn along the way.
As I’ve made my way through several books, I’ve noted those that I think would be great for a book club setting. I’m not talking about those fluff books like The Girl on the Train and The Lovely Bones (both of which are good, by the way!), I mean books that get under your skin and encourage discussion. Books that make you uncomfortable, that open the door for learning and understanding, and that will make you a better, stronger, smarter person for having read them.
For Groups with Wanderlust:
Off the Beaten Page: Written particularly for book clubs and avid readers, Off the Beaten Page is a travel book that encourages readers to get up off their couches and go explore the world they’re reading about. With chapters that cover all areas of the US, this book offers helpful restaurant and tourist suggestions, as well as book suggestions about and taking place in those same areas. A fun book for any club that is looking to spice things up, Off the Beaten Page offers easy itineraries that you can customize to best suit your group.
For Groups Who Want to Talk Nitty Gritty:
The Faith Club: Breaking the cardinal rule of most book clubs, this book is all about religion. In an effort to better understand and make sense of religion, three women (a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew) gather together and discuss controversial topics, each offering a unique perspective based on their faith. A book that’s sure to encourage discussion, especially in mixed book clubs, The Faith Club is a great way to get people talking and encourage conversation.
For Groups Looking for an Open Discussion:
Disgrace: Set in South Africa, this searing novel tells the story of David Lurie, a 52-year-old professor of communications who considers himself an all-around happy guy…that is until he seduces one of his students and his whole life (professionally and personally) is turned upside down. A novel that will get under your skin and stay there, Disgrace is one book you’ll be begging to discuss as soon as it’s over.
For Groups Looking to Learn:
Creativity, Inc.: What’s it like to work at Pixar Animation Studios? Written by Pixar co-founder, Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc. gives you a little look into what is quite possibly everyone’s dream job. Besides being the tell-all book you want it to be, Creativity Inc. is also an amazing how-to story for managing a team, leading that team to victory, and encouraging a healthy and productive work environment. This book would be great for any work-related book club or groups looking to have real discussions about happiness in the workplace.
For Groups with a Large Age Group:
Being Mortal: OK, this book gets a little real. Tackling real-world topics like disease, sickness, and death, Being Mortal discusses how medicine has evolved to extend and improve quality of life, especially for those who are nearing death. Often uncomfortable and sad, Being Mortal is a humanizing book filled with real-life stories that are sure to stick with you for years to come. Full of eye-opening research, Being Mortal shows readers how to have a happy life and a happy ending.
For Groups with Married, Young, or Divorced Members:
Revolutionary Road: Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a happy and beautiful couple. They entertain and get together with friends often; however, behind closed doors, Frank and April are not as happy as they appear. Hoping beyond hope that happiness is right around the bend, the couple try everything to maintain and improve their marriage, but often with little success. A heartbreaking and relatable story, Revolutionary Road would be a fascinating discussion for groups of all ages.
For Groups Looking to Relive Their Youth:
Lord of the Flies: If you read it in middle school or high school, I strongly encourage you and your group to give Lord of the Flies another chance. A fascinating story about “the haves” and “have nots”, Lord of the Flies is a coming-of-age story that might mean more to you as an older adult than it did the first time you read it.
For Groups Who Love to Eat:
Eating Animals: I didn’t read this book in a book club setting, but I so wish I did. After I read it, I wanted nothing more than to discuss it with someone else. An eye-opening look into how our meat is prepared and packaged, Eating Animals is just as addicting as a big ol’ plate a bacon. While it’s not meant to encourage readers to NOT eat meat, it is a book that will teach you how to make smarter, healthier choices that are better for you and better for the world at large.
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.
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