Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten (or More) Books for Your Book Club

Woohoo! I'm participating in The Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday meme for the first time in years, here at the request of my book club (Alexa, Jen, Lili, Kristin). Since this week's topic is about books you'd recommend for a book club... well, we thought it'd be a good idea for us all to make these lists.

I'm going super overboard (24!) the required "ten" books because Jen, I think, if I'm not mistaken, you're not always a huge fan of fantasy and I realized that most of the ones on my list are. Whoooooops. I've checked out Goodreads and it doesn't look like y'all have read these...?

Everyone else, recommend us some books!! :)

  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman. A.) I have never read a Neil Gaiman novel, and I'd love it if we got to try one. It seems like he's held as a classic or upheld as an extremely high standard in various literature genres. B.) This one is being compared to Magonia, an upcoming HarperCollins release, so it has specific applicability to our blogs. C.) A movie adaptation has been made and we could totally discuss the differences in book and movie. D.) It sounds like so much fun! Fairy tale esque and light and flowery and awesome.
  • The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Another book that was made into a movie, and you can't go anywhere in children's literature without people mentioning the His Dark Materials trilogy. None of you seemed to have it on your GR read list... Plus, a short story was recently released for the world, so it'd be interesting to compare that with what we read. 
  • Mistborn (Book 1: The Final Empire) by Brandon Sanderson. You definitely can't go anywhere in fantasy without hearing Brandon Sanderson's name. He has another YA fantasy series out, The Reckoners, but it seems like he might be most famous for this trilogy and finishing Robert Jordan's series. I'd like to see what the hype is about - and that's always a good discussion opener.
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. This won the National Book Award and was a Printz honor finalist. If that doesn't mean someone out there thinks it's discussion-worthy or a children's classic, well what does. 
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This one's about to become a movie. Just like how we're rereading the Duff before seeing the movie, time to read this book before the movie comes out? Plus I feel like the success of this book led to a lot more YA horror, so it'd be interesting to look at the original stem of that genre.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. To be honest, I don't know that much about this book, but the title sure seems appropriate for a NJ/NYC centered book club, no? Also I've said it referred to in a bunch of YA books, and it seems to be one of those older classics a lot of other people have read. Via GR and the selected quotes, the writing looks really beautiful too.

  • Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Small Review recommended me this book: "It's like a fantasy Pride and Prejudice with an imperfect main character who grows throughout the book, a swoony slow burn hate-turned-love romance, and lots and lots of political intrigue. Since you liked Grave Mercy, Graceling, and P&P, I think you'll like this. It's one of my Special Shelf books. Make sure you get either the omnibus edition (reprinted now as just Crown Duel) or both books in the duology (Crown Duel and Court Duel)." Tell me, does that not make you want to read and discuss this book??? Small also recommended me the Queen's Thief series, which I LOVED, so I 100% trust this recommendation.
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley. Like Lips Touch, this book was a National Book Award finalist, and I've heard it also has really beautiful writing. I don't know too much about it, only that reviews seem to say that it's a really unique YA book, and if that claim's not discussable in and of itself...
  • A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn. Kristin Cashore blurbed this. As did Franny Billingsley. It got a starred review from Kirkus and was named one of its best books of 2014. The review says, "A dreamlike, poetic fantasy bildungsroman explores the power of choice and the meaning of home." Book club and discussion worthy? Sure sounds like it.
  • Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen. This was all over the blogosphere in the summer, I think. Strange Chemistry is gone now too - but anyway, I've heard mostly good things about Stolen Songbird. Certainly seemed like a favorite among many bloggers. I don't know how book club or discussion worthy it is, but if y'all are up for it so am I.

  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I know when I mentioned this book the first time, some of you were hesitant because you'd heard this book had different writing or was different from most YA. But that can be really good. We all took a chance on Brown Girl Dreaming despite none of us being huge fans of verse novels, and look! It was the first novel among three that all of us have liked! Plus this is a Morris Debut 2015 Nominee.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Where can you go in YA without hearing about Patrick Ness? I've heard beautiful things about this novel and his other series, and I'd love to give it a try and discussion illustration in YA if y'all are up for that.

URBAN FANTASY/PARANORMAL ROMANCE (i.e. contemporary/realism + fantasy):

  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. This one seems to be "the" historical fiction YA referred to whenever anyone mentions YA historical fic lit. Time to try it for ourselves.
  • Earth Girl by Janet Edwards. I believe Ms. Edwards is from the UK, and so some of the hype of this one didn't quite make it to the U.S., but this sounds like a really interesting and unusual science fiction novel. Has some great reviews among fellow bloggers too.

  • Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert. "An aspiring film writer tells about her troubled teen years in the Chicago suburbs when she and her friends tried to escape the pain of their lives through rock music and drugs." We all really liked This Song Will Save Your Life, and the blurb of Ballads of Suburbia sounds like it might appeal to those fans, though the book also sounds grittier, darker.
  • Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar. Some international diversity here, with an Australian author tackling a tough issue and tough issues are always good discussion material.

  • Rooms by Lauren Oliver. Oliver is huge in the YA world, so I'm curious to compare and contrast her previous works with her adult fiction debut.
What's on your list this week? If you've read any of these, recommended discussion topics? Are they good for discussion among a book club? Let me know! And feel free to recommend us some books as well :).


  1. Stardust is a great book for a book club for all the reasons you've mentioned.
    I think Miss Peregrine will give you guys some things to talk about. I really liked it.
    I'm also curious about Rooms. I have a love/hate relationship with Oliver and I want to see if I like her adult work as much as her MG books. Great picks :D

  2. Whoops -- didn't realize this was THIS Tuesday and honestly, with all this blizzard hysteria, I wasn't even sure if today was Tuesday or not.
    Soooo. No, fantasy isn't my preferred genre, but I loved Chime. It was really good! I've been meaning to read A Monster Calls since forever. I'm not such a mermaid person so I'd prefer Plus One to MB. Luxe is totally fluffy (think 19th century Gossip Girl) but fun. And I'd totally be up for Raw Blue. I'm a huge fan of Aussie YA.

  3. The Golden Compass!!!! That is a fantastic book club book! So much to discuss with those books. I should have included it on my TTT this week. I loved Texas Gothic. That is a really fun and interesting book.

  4. It looks like you have a pretty good list already! The only recommendations I have are either The Giver by Lois Lowry or Unwind by Neal Shusterman. They are both dystopians, so they raise the questions about the future of humanity. I have gotten into some great (and long) discussions about both of these!

  5. I really enjoyed Texas Gothic but I read it a long time ago! I remember it having bits of humor in it and that it reminded my of a modern day Nancy Drew. Monstrous Beauty was a dark and brutal tale! I listened to the audio version (which was wonderful!) and I think it greatly enhanced my experience. I have the hardcover of Lips Touch and the illustrations are beautiful. What would I recommend? Well, this is an adult read/series, but no sex scenes: Written in Red (The Others). The series is just amazing! Wonderful post, Christina! :)

  6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs would probably be an easier read if there were someone to talk to about it! I can't believe I haven't read any of the others on this list! I need to get reading!

    Em @ http://theyabookbutterfly.blogspot.com/

  7. Aw, man, Jen. I looked up all the Goodreads links with the hopes of having chosen only books that no one had read and then you've already read Luxe and Chime :P. And hahha, yeah, I chose lots of extra books because I'd chosen so many fantasy novels and I know you're not a fan, but looks like there are a few books we agree on and could potentially suggest to the group!

  8. I probably read those before I started blogging. But I'd definitely read them again! Blizzard was not as bad as warned -- but our dog was so happy!

  9. Yey!! I hope I can convince them to read Stardust & Miss Peregrine. I feel like any book turned movie has got to have some things to discuss :D. And I wonder if you'll like Rooms... I've heard such varying things about it from her fans too!

  10. Heheheh, I would LOVE to finally get to read the Golden Compass because I heard it's a fantastic book to discuss & a kidlit classic. And yay! So glad to hear that about Texas Gothic. I feel like that's a title that went really under the radar.

  11. Ah, the Giver. I read that for my kidlit class and since I'm avoiding titles anyone might have already read, that might not make it. But also because while it is discussable, I dislike that book lol. I've definitely take the Unwind suggestion though! Do you have a blog I can visit, Tessa?

  12. A modern day Nancy Drew???? SOLD. I mean, I was already sold on Texas Gothic, but now EVEN MORE SO. And ooooh, thanks for the audio rec for Monstrous Beauty; I need to get back into my audios while walking home routine. And right??? Jim Di Bartolo is such a fab illustrator - loved his work in In the Shadows too. Ooooh, Written in Red. I've got to check out that series now. Thanks, Rachel :)

  13. *I* need to get reading, Em. So many books still to discover... and I figured a horror book would be better to discuss among a group, esp since I SUCK with all things horror.

  14. Yep! You can find me at Crazy for YA.


  15. Alright, I seriously need to get into Chime. I have heard SO MANY good things about it, and people keep buzzing about the writing.

  16. It's always hard to think of books that would make for good discussion. Like Stolen Songbird…absolutely loved it, but I'm wondering what we would talk about. Dystopian are sometimes easy, because you can talk about politics, women being treated like second class citizens (that happens a lot), etc. Sort of The Handmaid's Tale type book. That lends itself to discussion.

    The History of the Future…I've been waffling about this book. Honestly, if literary people like a book, I usually don't (same with movies, what does this say about me?) And I've never read A.S. King either.

    Raw Blue…haven't heard anything about this book, but yes, issuey books made for good book club books. And Aussie writers…why are they so amazing? I finally read Jellicoe Road and I loved it and wondered why I waited so long. That book would make for good discussion. You know when you finish a book and you want to talk about it with someone, you have questions, etc., that's when I want to force my friends to read it and talk about it with me. We're meeting next week to discuss The Girl on the Train so I have to read it soon and hopefully it will lead to a good discussion.

    Great list! ~Pam

  17. Right???? If you want to end up reading Chime and want a read-along buddy, let me know :).

  18. I would SO love that! Would you like to pencil this on for March or April?

  19. True true. Since I haven't read these books, I don't know how well they would adapt to discussion. You're on point about dystopians though - they definitely lend to discussion and lol women as second class citizens does tend to happen often. (I wonder if that's part of their appeal? Though I tend to love discussion and am less a fan of most dystopians).

    "Honestly, if literary people like a book, I usually don't" -- that seems to be most of the blogosphere. I feel weird for being that person who agrees often with Kirkus. But there have to be some expections to what you said, like aren't you a fan of the Daughter of Smoke trilogy? Richelle Mead and Stephanie Perkins have gotten some favorable reviews among "literary people" too and aren't they on your auto-buy list?

    Aussie writers. I feel like there is a cult of bloggers who love Aussie writers but it might be because there are specific ones like Melina Marchetta who are soooo good. Yes, I completely agree with Jellicoe Road being one of those books. I hope you enjoy your Girl on the Train discussion - I've heard lots of good things about that one and it certainly sounds very discussable!

  20. :) Sure. I can do any time in March/April except: ~March 6-14th and the last week of March into the first week of April. Other times would work for me, so let me know when works for you!

  21. March 23rd to the 27th would be perfect!

  22. Cool beans! I might be a bit bad to respond to an email right after the 27th because I'll be at a conference that weekend, but the actual read-along dates should work :)

  23. I am so excited! If we need to move up the date, let me know! Also, let me know what date we want to post a review or a discussion (those are my favorite to do for the blog!)

  24. Ooh, maybe we can move it up a week? That way we can chat about the book in the following week at an easier pace (rather than my undoubtedly infrequent responses during the conference).

    The review/discussion is up to you :).


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