Top 5: Books for Book Club
Hello all. Here we go with another top 5 list! May I say I really enjoy researching and writing these! This list I have chosen to do a book club approach as I have recently started a book club at my work. I love discussing the books we read each month with my co workers. However each month a new person chooses a book to read and sometimes they have problems choosing this book. They want to choose one that opens up the conversation and is a really great read. I have researched the following books and actually have read all of them. I can see how they are great books for great conversations. I have included questions that may help you open the conversation up in your book clubs are just questions to keep in mind while reading the book yourself. I hope you enjoy!!!
- Educated by Tara Westover
I really enjoyed reading this memoir by Tara Westover. Tara recounts her life growing up in a strict mormon household that also is a doomsday prepper family. She especially highlights that they do not go to school and they are so off the grid they do not have birth certificates. The reader watches as she constantly struggles to follow her parents teaching but also to try and live a normal life and learn. Her father’s beliefs are so ingrained into Tara that even in adulthood she has a hard time coping with regular day activities of a ‘normal’ person.
- how your childhood experiences follow through with you to adulthood and how these affect the man/woman you are becoming.
- How would you feel if you broke away from your family to have the life you wanted
- How would you think it feels to not even know what the Holocaust was
- How would you feel if your parents did not believe you when you told them your own brother was abusing you?
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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To Kill A Mockingbird has to be one of my absolute fav books and it is definitely one that I would take with me to a desert island. The shear innocence of Scout is heartbreaking and invigorating at the same time. It truly is a classic masterpiece outlining the rampant racism and privilege on the old South in the 30’s. Also new for its time outlines what it is like to be a single dad as it was not as common as it is now. Scout’s dad Atticus is a lawyer wh0o defends a local ‘black’ man accused of raping a local white girl. Scout depicts her upbringing and is an awe-inspiring coming of young age tale.
Questions/ Discussion Topics
- What parts of this novel did you really like? Which parts did you not find interesting?
- How do Jem and Scout’s view of Boo Radley change throughout the novel?
- How do you think Atticus managed the role of being a single parent? Compare what it would be like for a single dad in the 30/s and present day.
- How did the trial change the town? Did it change the town?
3. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
For me the Life of Pi ranks up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. It follows Pi and his family while they immigrate to Canada (go red and white!!!). They ship capsizes and the story then follows Pi trying to survive when all is lost. He is stranded or 227 days and to his account he is stranded with a bunch of animals from their family’s zoo.
- Are the animals real or are they metaphors of real people in Pi’s life that his brain concocked to deal with the trauma?
- What if any are the religious cross over into the storytelling?
- How do the people in your life reflect any of the animals and their characteristics?
- How is the concept of Richard Parker echo that of overcoming one’s fears?
4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Still Alice was a very different read. I do not think that there are too many books out there shining a light on what a person with Alzhimer’s experiences- first hand. Alice is a cognitive psychologist at Harvard and she recognizes that she is exhibiting signs of Alzhimer’s disease. The story expressing her journey of from the signs to diagnosis to progression of this relenting disease. It also lets the reader see how her family cope with the news and how this changes their lives and relationships.
Questions/ Discussion Topics
- How would you feel/react if you did not recognize the place you where in?
- What do you feel or think it would feel like to recognize what is happening to you, knowing you were getting the devastating disease and the horrible outcome?
- How do you feel about the family’s reactions? How would you react if someone in your life received this diagnosis?
- What do we gain from seeing this story through Alice’s eyes? Does her job play into this view?
5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I loved loved loved this book! I have read this one soo long ago but instantly thought of it as a great book club book! The setting is a circus. The story is told by Jacob who is 93 and lives in a nursing home. Jacob recounts the years he lived in the circus as he watches a circus set up camp beside his home. He becomes a vet to the circus and becomes romantically attached to the star Marlena who has an equestrian show. She had a jealous husband August who is the animal trainer. He also forms an attachment to an elephant Rosie. It gives the readers all sorts of feels!
Questions/ Discussion Topic
- Is this story an adventure, love, or survival story and why
- Does this book change your point of view of the circus, especially in the recent light of the Ringling Brother’s shut down.
- Who where your favourite characters, animals included
- Where you surprised at the ending? Why? How would you have liked the book to end?
For all of those out there in book clubs or thinking of starting one (I will have a blog post at a later time regarding how to start a book club) I hoped these books and questions have helped. Even if you are not a member of a book club you can always keep these questions floating around your mind and answer them while you read the book. It may help to bring a deeper understanding of view of the book you are reading. Some of these questions are standard so they can be applied to any book not just the 5 I have mentioned. As always feel free to leave comments below. If you are in a book club what are some exciting book that sparked a great discussion with your members?