6 Books for Your Neighborhood Book Club

When starting a book club, it's important to choose books that your group members will enjoy reading and discussing. The right selections can spark lively discussions and even lead to new friendships!

BlogEducation6 Books for Your Neighborhood Book Club

When starting a book club, it's important to choose books that your group members will enjoy reading and discussing. The right selections can spark lively discussions and even lead to new friendships!

There are many types of book clubs, including the traditional ones that meet in person. Here are 10 books that would make great picks for your neighborhood book club.

1) Detransition Baby by Torrey Peters

In Detransition Baby, Torrey Peters takes on a topic that's been weaponized into transphobia: "detransition."

Her witty and elegant debut novel breezily plays with the structural conventions of literary realism. It tells the story of Reese, a cisgender woman who has always wanted to become a mother, and Ames, her ex-partner, who is living as a man after detransitioning.

Reese and Ames' relationship is a long and complicated one. When Reese's ex asks her to help him raise a child with his new girlfriend, she is furious at the request. She feels betrayed and doesn't want to disappoint her former partner, whom she loves.

When Reese and Ames agree to parent their child together, they form an unlikely family unit. But will the relationship survive?

In a world of trans-on-trans attraction, it's difficult to know what's real and what isn't. But Peters's characters are unafraid to push the limits of their sex and friendship.

This novel is a great read for anyone who wants to explore the complexities of relationships. It's also a wonderful book club selection for anyone who wants to learn about the issues surrounding gender and relationships.

A trans writer, Torrey Peters has a knack for telling stories about the messiness of life. Her books have been a huge hit in the LGBTQ community and have received much praise. She's a writer to watch. Check out her website for more information on her work.

2) Happily Ever Afters by Kate Quinn

A bestselling author of historical novels, Kate Quinn began her career writing stories set in Renaissance Rome and continues to write books with themes of war and justice. Her latest novel, The Huntress, tells the story of three women who are entangled in a quest for justice in the world of war.

In The Huntress, a Russian female bomber pilot, a former Nazi hunter and an aspiring photographer are all brought together in a story that explores the price of justice and the cost of buried secrets. The characters in this book are surprisingly complex, which is the hallmark of Quinn’s writing.

The Huntress is a great read for the entire family, but it’s particularly appealing to teenagers. It’s full of angst and intrigue and is well-written with engaging characters.

I also loved The Marriage Portrait, which takes readers back to Florence in the 1550s and focuses on Lucrezia, who is forced into marriage by her sister. It’s a heartbreaking story that will stay with you after you finish it.

I would recommend this story for a book club, too. It’s a fun and romantic second chance romance that will have you tearing up. The best part is that it’s an easy listen and there are a lot of laughs along the way.

3) Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr's latest novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land, is a fascinating mashup of historical fiction, fairy tale, social commentary and science fiction. It's also a heartfelt tribute to literature and storytelling, and an urgent call for stewardship of both.

In this novel, Doerr binds together five disparate stories, spanning centuries and continents. The story of a lost Diogenes book (Cloud Cuckoo Land) is the central narrative thread, and all the characters are linked to it: Anna in Constantinople hundreds of years ago; Omeir in rural Idaho in 2020; Zeno Ninis, a boy in Lakeport who lost his father during WWII, and his friend Seymour, who carries out a domestic terrorist plot.

The book reimagines and rewrites these lives, re-ordering events to fit the stories we are told about them. Doerr is a master of weaving these narratives into a single tapestry, and the result is a story that makes us believe in the power of storytelling.

It takes a lot of skill to pull off a book like this. In order to make all the links, Doerr stretches his story into 600+ pages and he has to keep a steady flow of narrative threads moving forward. This is why Doerr's writing can seem slow at times, but it does deliver a rewarding reading experience.

4) Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan

Sarah Langan has written one of the most disturbing deconstructions of suburban American lives I have ever read. Her unflinching prose exposes the ugliness beneath the pretty facade of suburbia and forces us to look at our own neighborhoods with new eyes.

Good Neighbors tells the story of a family on Maple Street who just want to be accepted. Gertie and Arlo Wilde aren't exactly clean and polished, and they don't have a lot of money.

As they start to settle into their new neighborhood, they are belittled by their neighbors and forced to fight for their rights. Especially when neighbourhood Queen Bee Rhea Schroeder reveals her own issues with her husband, family and career.

While there are a few plot holes and some story-telling gimmicks, Good Neighbors is a good choice for book clubs that are looking for a scary story with an edge of horror. The main drama doesn't start until almost 100 pages in, but it is well worth the wait for that.

As much as I liked Good Neighbors, I think it could have been done better. It is a pastiche of tropes that have died out and stereotypes that are only derived from lack of research, and it includes a number of plot-holes that should have been avoided. It also contains a few nitpicky details and too many changes in points of view.

5) The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey is one of the greatest epic poems ever written. It tells the story of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home to Ithaca after defeating Troy. There are many detours and monsters that he has to face during the journey.

Homer uses several different literary techniques to make his poem more accessible. He uses epithets, repeated background stories and long epic similes to make it easier for his audience to understand the story.

He also uses a lot of description and detail in his verse. This is to help the reader remember who the characters are and what they look like.

In addition, he tells us how to pronounce their names correctly. He also provides information about the Greek gods and goddesses.

During the Odyssey, Odysseus faces many challenges and detours during his ten-year journey back to Ithaca. He encounters monsters, gods, goddesses, natural disasters and death. He has to endure all these things if he wants to get home to his wife and son.

6) The Mongoose Train by Helen Oyeyemi

The premise of Helen Oyeyemi’s seventh novel is that newlyweds Otto and Xavier Shin and their pet mongoose board a train they have never seen before. It’s a train that was once used to smuggle tea, and it has a sauna car, a library car, and a greenhouse car. It also has a slew of dark mysteries that will be sure to get your book club talking.

As you might expect from Oyeyemi, this book has an unsettling lilt that is both whimsical and discomforting. Like expansive window-framed landscapes, Oyeyemi’s sentences sway in and out of focus as characters and plots shuffle in and out of the story.

One of the things I love about Oyeyemi’s novels is that they refuse to accept straightforward interpretations. She tries to make sense of the world through stories that feel more like the string strings of a marionette show than straight narratives.

Throughout the novel, she asks her readers to consider how it feels to be made into exactly what someone wants and then blinked out of their lives, as though you were never there at all. And it is this question that she leaves us with at the end of the book.

If you’re looking for a book that will spark your conversation about race, shame, and love, The Mongoose Train is definitely worth reading. It’s a wild (train) ride that is just about impossible to disembark from, but it will leave you with plenty of interesting questions.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023