I'm not sure which of my friends suggested a book club, but we have been enjoying meeting up and eating cake and discussing our reads for about three years now. There are five of us in total, when we meet the person who is hosting gets to pick the book we read. We have made a pack that we should be open minded and read any book that is suggested. This has as you imagined caused some very lively discussions and also some sheepish phone calls late at night, admitting and apologising for sometimes not being able to stick with chosen book. (This has only happened to me a few times; culprits being Tony Blair a journey and Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver)
We are currently reading the teen novel - Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis and I think it is going to be a good read. I have only read the first chapter but I'm already being dragged in by it's lead character, Jezza who has just found a very spooky book.
My favourite top 10 book club books would have to be:
1) Sarah Waters 'The little Stranger' This was probably my most memorable book club book. As a group we all met up and a heated discussion soon developed; "it was too long winded".."The characters were unrealistic". But then we got talking deeper about the plot lines, about how we felt - Petrified! (Even though I was lying on a sun lounger in Kefalonia at the time) By the end of the book club meeting, everybody had changed their minds, and were recommending the book to anybody who would listen.
2) David Nicholls 'One Day' - I loved every second of this book, I especially loved to hate Dexter and Emma all at different times, but also loved them and felt that they were long lost friends. The narrative concept of the novel was effective, but saddening reminding the reader how short our lives are. Situations resonated with me, we have all been Emma at some points in our lives, and Dexter is a character that many people can identify with knowing. David Nicholl's has a way of capturing an era, his attention to detail and nostalgic references are exceptional. But the magic is in his characterisations, he masterfully makes it look easy, his characters seem so real they could walk of the page.
3) Jo Nesbo 'The Redbreast' Last winter I fell into a winter hide of Norwegian crime, reading first Stieg Larson's incredible trilogy, I wanted more. After recovering from reading the terrifyingly brilliant 'The Snowman' I suggested to book club to read The Redbreast'. Harry Hole, the lead detective is a likable and intelligent protagonist but is flawed and lost in many ways. A maverick himself the reader is always on tender hooks. What unfolds is a very complicated twist uncovering a distasteful dangerous underbelly of WW2 Nazi sympathisers in Oslo. Murders begin to take place, and Harry is sent left right and centre over the city of Oslo, somebody out there is seeking justice and will do anything for sweet revenge.
This is a list of my final recommended book club reads;
4) Bad Science - Ben Goldacre (I will never trust a word Gillian McKeith says ever again)
5) The Hand That First Held Mine - Maggie O' Farrell
6) Skippy Dies - Paul Murray
7) The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter
8) The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
9) Hand Maids Tale - Margaret Atwood
10) Notes on an Exhibition - Patrick Gale
Happy page turning!