Thursday, 29 June 2017

Book Club Books #2 2017

Hey there. Yes you - curled up in your favourite chair, reading this before you pick up your book, I'm talking to you.

Are you looking for some recommendations for book club books?

This may be useful - some recommendations, together in one place, so your shopping is sorted.

I'll limit myself to the amount I can carry physically - since most book clubs still work like that.

If you click each cover image, you'll link to my full review. Here, I've given you the reasons you should buy them, and where there are blurbs, they're copied from online sources.

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton

I think I've said this before about something by Sharon Bolton - I inhaled this book. A little gory psychological thriller that will keep you reading into the night. 

From Goodreads:

Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor.

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime.

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . .

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Some people in your book club will love this and others will hate it. I was a lover. I thoroughly enjoyed the two COMPLETELY different perspectives in this story. It's well written (maybe a bit too well written for book club - me and ours, anyway) but even if you don't get all the literary references, you'll love discussing it with a friend over a glass of wine.

It tells the story of Lotto and Mathilde. Basically a love story. What I loved about it was its uniqueness and unforgettableness. You will too.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I know, I know this is an old one. But you know what, you have to read it. Again, if you have before. 

Here are some reasons why: 1. It's just the best feminist read, and from 1985. 

2. Even though it's futuristic, and I know that puts a lot of people off, it's so accessible - not sci-fi, with bots and gadgets. Ms Atwood limited herself to only including stuff that had already been discovered/happened at time of writing - so nothing too weird. 

3. It'll (hopefully) change your outlook, it's that good. 

4. It'll lead to great discussions and 

5. The series is out - I haven't looked, but if not on TV soon, it'll be on Netflix, or something similar, and you know you have to read it before you watch it. 

Lastly, you may not even have to buy it - just ask everyone to check their shelves. Someone is sure to have it. Or buy it, it's a classic you'll want to own. Forever.

My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Yes, I know this is older, and that Anything is Possible (the follow up) is available now. But this is an instance where, IMO, you definitely are the better for having read Lucy first. I really don't think I would have "got" Anything if I hadn't read Lucy.

From the blurb:

"Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lies the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters."

So lovely, not too long, and a gentle, slower-paced book.

Peacekeeping by Mischka Berlinski

This is an interesting book. Read the Goodreads blurb: 

"When Terry White, a former deputy sheriff and a failed politician, goes broke in the 2007-2008 financial crisis, he takes a job working for the UN, helping to train the Haitian police. He's sent to the remote town of Jeremie, where there are more coffin makers than restaurants, more donkeys than cars, and the dirt roads all slope down sooner or later to the postcard sea. Terry is swept up in the town's complex politics when he befriends an earnest, reforming American-educated judge."

The characters in this story were well drawn. I loved the descriptions of the ex-pat life. Not having ever done that, it felt like it had the right balance between reality and adventure. Also a good one to discuss - so many issues.

{Little editing note - how embarrassing, I haven't actually reviewed this one yet - the cover link is to some excerpts and thoughts, I'll get my review up soon - apologies.}

1984 by George Orwell

If you've read this one at school, keep scrolling. No reason to do so again. I read it just before A Handmaid's Tale, and far preferred the latter. But this is interesting to read again now, in the context of today's #FakeNews, current political climate, and bleak economic outlook. Another one that you can get off someone's old bookshelves, no need to buy it.

The plot and the clever ideas are the winners here, and thankfully so, because otherwise it would be too depressing.

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when you have bought and read this one, and you hold it up to recommend it to all your girlfriends. You probably couldn't, with a straight face, and in all honesty, I probably shouldn't recommend it here, for so many reasons. But we need to read stuff that we wouldn't normally read, and if someone reads The Rosie Effect (same author) and picks this up because the loved that one, they will probably land up reading right out of their usual genre.

I suppose it was realistic. Not my favourite book of the year, but interesting. And again...those discussions .... I'd love to listen.

Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Ok, ok, if you get this one for your Book Club, you have to have a Rule, like Fight Club. 

No one, and I mean no one, talks about this book before everyone (that wants to) has read it.

Really. Because it's that easy to spoil. I promise you. If you've read it, think about what you'll say, and then think how that might ruin the book for someone else. (I kid you not, I've just had to change the way I said that, because there was a potential spoiler right there.) Then, when everyone has read it, you can have a lovely chat.

You should be able to read my review (click on the cover), because I have checked and rechecked, and I don't think I've done any damage. (but I completely understand if you don't). But don't read too many previews, or even the blurb, to really enjoy it. 

Last round of recommendations - Book Club Books 2017 #1

Best books of 2016.

Books of 2017 (so far).

Have a great Book Club evening, ladies. And remember, if you're boozing, to get a safe ride home.

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