Several months ago, I gave some suggestions for books that encourage discussion. Since that post, I’ve read several other books that would be great for book clubs, talking about over dinner, or reading with your family.
Whether you’re looking for a new book to bring to your group or just like a book that really makes you think, here are 8 more Books that Encourage Discussion.
8 Books that Encourage Discussion – Part 2
For Interracial Groups:
Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult – During her shift at a Connecticut hospital, Ruth Jefferson begins a routine checkup on a newborn baby, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents of the newborn, who are high-ranking white supremacists, don’t want Ruth, an African-American nurse, touching their child. But when the baby goes into cardiac distress, Ruth is put in a tough position…does she safe the child or obey the parents’ wishes and leave the baby to die? An emotional and extremely relevant book, Small Great Things tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and acceptance with great empathy and candor.
For Groups with History Buffs:
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders – Set over the course of one night, Lincoln in the Bardo is an amazing novel about death, grief, acceptance, and understanding. Two days after his young son Willie dies, Abraham Lincoln goes to visit his son’s crypt in the dark of night. As Lincoln sits with his son’s body, the cemetery comes to life with ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, talking about death, grief, and the powers of good and evil. With dark humor and grace, Saunders’s novel is unlike anything I’ve ever read and will surely encourage discussions not only about Lincoln himself, but about fathers and sons, life and death, and all the other big and small choices along the way.
For Feminist Groups:
Becoming Unbecoming, Una – A devastating personal account of gender violence told in comic book form, Becoming Unbecoming is about a woman’s struggle with shame and social responsibility after she becomes the victim of a very violet act. Set against the backdrop of the 1970’s Yorkshire Ripper manhunt, this graphic novel interweaves two emotional stories into one.
Read more by visiting my Becoming Unbecoming review.
For Groups with Lots of Millennials:
The Circle, Dave Eggers – When Mae Holland is hired to work for The Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms, the flurry of activities and clubs to join – it all seems too good to be true. But as Mae begins to learn more about The Circle and her role there, important questions begin to rise about privacy, history, and personal connections. This book is sure to get under your skin and will certainly make you think twice about every email you send, every bill you pay online, and every picture you share – either privately or publicity.
Read more by visiting my The Circle review.
For Groups Wanting to Talk About the Tough Stuff:
A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness – Around midnight, 13-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom…but this isn’t the monster that’s been haunting Conor’s dreams for the past few nights…this is a new one…it’s ancient and wild. It’s goal is simple…all it wants from Conor is the truth. A book that will shake you to your core, A Monster Calls is about the things that haunt us, both real and imagined, and how sometimes acknowledging those fears is the best way to start healing. Bring tissues for this one, guys.
Read more by visiting my A Monster Calls review.
For Groups Going Back to the Classics:
Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee – For those book clubs that want to dive back into the classics, there’s no better place to start than To Kill a Mockingbird. A story that can speak to any generation, TKAM is basic book club 101. And if you’re looking to further your conversation, consider the sequel to TKAM, Go Set a Watchman. Set 20 years after we last left the Finch family, Scout returns home to visit her father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, Scout begins to realize how small-minded Maycomb, Alabama remains, even as the rest of the world begins to move forward. Adding depth, context, and understanding to its companion novel, Go Set a Watchman shows readers that things aren’t always what they seem, and sometimes it’s just as hard to come home again as it was to leave in the first place.
For Groups with Dreamers:
Daytripper, Fabio Moon – What are the most important days of your life? The day you met your spouse? The day your child was born? The day you got your dream job? Or maybe it was just one Thursday when everything just seemed to go right. In this stunning graphic novel, Bras de Oliva Domingos explores the days that changed him. Days that helped make him who he is. A mysterious and moving story about life itself, this journey uses the quiet moments, the stolen glances, the quick brushes of the skin, to ask the big question…what’s it all about?
Read more by visiting my Daytripper review.
For Groups Looking for YA Books:
Everything Everything, Nicola Yoon – Maddie is sick. She’s allergic to the world. She doesn’t leave her house and spends her days in her white, clean, pristine room. But when a moving truck arrives next door and she sees a tall, lean boy step out, everything (everything) changes. A story about living, in whatever form that may take, Everything, Everything is a modern take on John Travolta’s Boy in the Plastic Bubble, and will surely encourage discussions about what it really means to live your life.
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.