Tag Archives: The Invention of Wings

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: BOOK CLUB PICKS

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What factors lead to successful Book Club Reads? Book clubs are made up of individual readers; so as we might expect, choices can be personal and passionate. Are there common denominators that make for successful book club choices? Discussion and deeper understandings are goals for most clubs. Does the book offer the possibility of varied viewpoints? Are there points to discuss? Seems to me there are always aspects of character, plot, writing, ideas, you name it, to be discussed. When experienced readers get together it’s likely varied viewpoints will attend the meeting.

Broad appeal and availability are usually considered important. These days with electronic readers becoming more and more popular, access to particular books is less of an issue. Members usually consider a book more successful for their group if the majority of the members find it interesting and enjoyable. If too many hate it, not a good choice.

Is the book well-written? Is there interesting structure? What of clearly and beautifully written sentences? What do you think adds up to a successful book club choice?

Whether you personally are looking for a good read, or your book club is making decisions, I offer the recent choices of two book clubs for your consideration.

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Any Bitter Thing. Monica Wood.
Here are characters who struggle with heartbreak and loss. Different voices create a moving experience for the reader. A profile of Monica Wood was posted on the Writing page of this blog on July 10, 2014 under the title “Meet Monica Wood.”

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Annie’s Ghost. Steve Luxenberg. Non-fiction.
Chosen as a notable Michigan book for 2010. Memoir, mystery, history. A story of searching family secrets and family heartbreak at Eloise Hospital, a bygone psychiatric facility in Wayne, MI.

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Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.
This historical novel tells the story of a woman who accompanies the young Louise Brooks to NYC in the 1920’s and the changes that await them. Readers I’ve talked to are enthusiastic about this book and this author.

The Invention of Wings. Sue Monk Kidd. Unknown-3
This novel has been on the NYT Best Sellers List for a number of weeks. It is about the relationship between a wealthy girl who will become a prominent abolitionist and the slave who is a gift to her on her eleventh birthday. Those who have read this book liked it very much.

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Necessary Lies. Diane Chamberlain.
A young social worker defies conventional thinking in 1960’s North Carolina. Ms. Chamberlain is a popular author with many novels to her credit. To my surprise, this story and its characters have stayed with me.

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Orphan Train. Christina Baker Kline.
This novel can be placed on the shelf titled: Made Popular By Its Readers. It tells the story of the past and present of an orphan taken from the streets of New York and transported west to a new home in the 1920s.

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The Secret of Raven Point. Jennifer Vanderbees.
Book review available on this blog under the title, “Mystery, History, Romance” posted on Aug. 4, 2014

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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. Gabrielle Zevin. Novel.
This story is set in a bookstore. I recently heard from a reader who loved this book. See “Five Things to Like about The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry” posted on this blog on June 4, 2014.

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Molokai. O. A. Bushnell.
This is a work of fiction based on the history of a leper colony in Hawaii during the late nineteenth century. Not a new book and an unexpected pick, perhaps. We shall see if book club readers like this one.

Do let us know if you would recommend one of these for your book club? Everyone likes to hear ideas on book picks.

SEVEN NEW BOOKS YOU MAY NOT WANT TO MISS

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How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson (Jan. 2014)
This author is one of my favorite poets. I loved her biography in poems of George Washington Carver. She has been a National Book Award Finalist, recipient of the Robert Frost Medal and a Newbery Honor winner. Here her poems tell readers about her development as a young woman and as an artist. I’ve added this book to my library and can’t wait to read more of her powerful poems.

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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Jan. 2014)
This novel delivers a fascinating story of brave women who meet life’s challenges at a difficult time in our country’s history. The story is set in the South before the Civil War. There are two central characters and two narrators.

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My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. (Jan. 2014)
According to those who have written about it, this is a book about a book. The author celebrates George Eliot and makes you want to read Middlemarch. It might be described as part memoir and part biography, a bibliomemoir. It was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review by Joyce Carol Oates and sounds to me like a must-read.

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Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen. (Jan. 2014)
This novel may well have you thinking about change and second chances. This writer has many fans. She is a prize-winning writer.

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The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart (Jan. 2014).
The author writes a tale set in the Shaker Community in 1840’s New England. A fifteen-year-old girl sets fire to a family farm. She finds shelter with some Massachusetts Shakers. Early reviews and summaries suggest you will find mystery and inventiveness in this beautifully written story.

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Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser. (Jan. 2014)
This book has been described as conversational and insightful. I always think I love to read about reading. Can’t wait to take a closer look at this book.

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Your Life Is Calling by Jane Pauley (Jan. 2014)
This favorite former news anchor and television personality writes about change. And especially, if you are a fan, you’ll find stories of her life interesting. I love how she is always up for what’s next even when she doesn’t know what that is to be.

I do not read all the books I dream of reading. Still, the dreaming is part of the fun. Which of these would you pick up first? Which one have you already read? Do let us know what you think.