What to Read

My “other” book club got started 32 years ago.  With a few exceptions we’ve met every month for all those years.  We choose the books 6-8 months at a time and it has to be consensus and our preference is for books that none of us has read before although occasionally someone will say “I’ve read it but I’d love to read it again and talk about with you all.”

Deciding on the books can be stressful at times.  Two of us are voracious readers, one reads a lot of newer items, two of us read a wide range of genres, one pretty much prefers fiction.  For many years we used to all purchase the book in question but starting several years ago most of us moved to library books instead (money for some, space for others).  This means that the book has to be readily available in our various library systems.

Then there are the other issues that have cropped up over the years.  One of us is sick of “sisterhood” books (Snow Flower & the Secret Fan), one of us is tired of books about China, one of us feels overloaded by WWII titles, one of us doesn’t care for “old-fashioned” language which leaves out a lot of classics.  Three years ago, two of our members battled breast cancer, so books about the big C are still out of contention.  And I suppose it might go without saying that the last year everybody wants lighter fare. 

It’s gotten to be a research project these days to try to find good titles.  One of us doesn’t like to suggest titles; she takes it pretty personally if we end up not liking a book she has recommended.  (This isn’t a problem for me – the three worst books that we’ve ever read (and we agree on these) were all my picks!)  This increases the stress a bit on the rest of us. Hopefully if I start now I can find a few good ideas by next week when we have to come up with the next six months of reads.

Any suggestions for me?

48 thoughts on “What to Read”

  1. One of my groups recently read The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – “A charming and light historical fiction novel about the Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia in the 1930s” (brain child of Eleanor Roosevelt). And there’s apparently even some controversy: ” when another author, Kim Michele Richardson, noted similarities between her book about the WPA Pack Horse Librarians, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek , and Moyes’s novel.” Of course, the chances that your club has read neither of these is slim…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have read both these books, but they were published at almost the same time. Both are fascinating. The content is so similar that these two people must have accessed this history in a similar way. JoJo Moyes ‘ ability to tell a story cannot be matched by anyone.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern – if you want something light (and haven’t read it yet), “Tall Pine Polka” by Lorna Landvik (who you either like or you don’t) are books from the last year that I enjoyed.

    If you haven’t yet read any of the Christopher Moore Shakespeare books, start with “Fool” (the first one) – it’s based loosely on King Lear, but follows the story from the perspective of Lear’s fool. There is…colorful language, so if your fellow readers do not like f-bombs, this may not be the book for you. He’s written a few now, “Shakespeare for Squirrels” is the latest and uses Midsummer Night’s Dream as its backdrop.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. There are two more Rosie books after the first one. The second one is good but not as good as the first. Third one is better than the second but not as good as the first. But I would recommend all three.


  3. Take notice of the books seen on the zoom news show segments. The folks who shelve them with the cover facing out are sending a recommendation message.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I recently listened to Kristin Hannah’s new book, “Four Winds” about the Dust Bowl and the exodus to California. It is as good as her book “The Nightengale” about WWII (that topic I also try to limit–too much). The narrator, Julia Whelan, is a star narrator and the book itself was outstanding.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I loved The Body. But there hasn’t been anything that Bill Bryson has written that I haven’t loved. Anyway non-fiction is sometimes problematic for our group because we don’t really know how to talk about it. Any suggestions about that problem?


      1. maybe you can talk about why it is that you don’t know how to talk about it non-fiction is good reading regardless of whether it’s difficult for a topic discuss why it’s difficult for a topic what parts peaked interest and let your brain to a different area was related to the items discussed in the non-fiction work


  5. OT for THE Concordia Cobber
    Each Wednesday at 12:20 Central Time the Jack Michael’s Show KFNL 740 features Cobber Corner, a sports related segment. I call in weekly on Mondays. Go Dragons!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m not sure how to make it work for a book club, but I once read a cluster of books written about the decadent whites colonizing pre-WW2 Kenya. Two wonderful books about that era were written by women who had been lovers of Denys Finch Hatton. Out of Africa and West With the Night were wonderful reads that I recommend without qualification. I also enjoyed White Mischief about a murder committed in that society at the same time. I have not yet read a book that recently came out about Finch Hatton: Too Close to the Sun, but the reviews make it sound good.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sorry folks, but am I really the only one in this group who bristled at the above comment by Steve?

      I find it interesting (!) that he, a self-proclaimed feminist, would refer to the authors of Out of Africa and West With the Night as “women who had been lovers of Denys Finch Hatton,” as if that were their main accomplishment. Karen Blixen and Beryl Markham were remarkable and accomplished women in their own right, and I find it telling that you’d refer to them in that way.

      Furthermore, I’d like to point out that Out of Africa was published in 1937 and Beryl Markham’s book in 1942; Finch Hatton died in 1941. I’ve read both books, and while I think both are worth reading, Out of Africa is in a league of its own. I don’t attribute the value of either book to the authors’ sexual relationship to Finch Hatton, titillating as that tidbit of information might be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess when I read that comment, I saw the mention of the other two books as a lead up to the fact that there is a new book out about Finch Hatton. I’m thinking that if he hadn’t been leading up to this new book he would not have characterized those books that way.


        1. You are way more forgiving than I am, vs, bless your heart. Also, Too Close to the Sun came out in 2009. Guess I don’t consider that “a book that recently came out,” but I confess, I haven’t read it.


      2. I am stunned at your comment. Of course, the most significant accomplishment of these women was not that their association with Dennis Finch Hatton, nor did I say so. Both were wonderful authors who wrote books of lasting value, which is why I enjoyed them and recommended them. The Finch Hatton connection is a trivial fact, although an interesting one. That connection isn’t the most interesting thing about them. Once again, I never said so.

        Since I have as many faults as anyone, it is painful to be jumped for things I never said nor ever meant.


        1. Steve, I call bullshit when I see bullshit. Sorry if you consider that being “jumped.” No, you didn’t say that Karen Blixen and Beryl Markham weren’t accomplished in their own right, but read again what you did say. I really don’t think I’m being overly sensitive when I say that every feminist that I know, man or woman, would object to being defined by whatever romantic dalliance they’d had. I’d go even further and ask, would anyone even know who Denys Finch Hatton was if he hadn’t been involved in the romance with Blixen?

          Do you think that anyone would define Jean Paul Sartre as the lover of Simone de Beauvoir? Or how would you describe Frida Kahlo?

          Perhaps I should clarify my first comment. I don’t see my objection as an attack on you, though obviously you see it that way. I cannot have a meaningful relationship with anyone who doesn’t allow me to voice a strongly felt opposition if they’ve said something that I found offensive.


  7. Steve reminded me of King Solomon’s Mines by HR Haggard. The African adventure book is better than all the movies that go by the same bame.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m just finishing Chants Democratic, New York City & the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850.
    I don’t think it would work for your book group.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I’ve been thinking I should revisit the Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast books. And maybe a couple o books by Bailey White. Comfort books.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. do you know those circles that have lines come out of them to make them look like a spider and that one connects to that circle and that one connects to that circle on that one connects to that circle and by the time you’re done it looks like a chemistry class experiment do it with the ideas of books write down genres authors titles and each of those will suggest another and another and another and if it doesn’t go to the library online and do a scan which will remind you of authors and genres and titles and use that to fill in the circles and after you’ve been out for an hour you’ll have 100 names write those hundred names down and put them in a hat and that’s what you can choose your next six months readings from

    Liked by 4 people

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