10 Incredibly Popular Book Club Choices of the First Half of 2017 with Links to Book Club Questions

  1.  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (August 2016) – This is a novel about slavery and the underground railroad, which in this novel, becomes a virtual railroad.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  2. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance (June 2016) – This is a memoir from a young man who grew up living between Kentucky and Ohio in the hillbilly culture.  A few things steered his life away from the direction he was headed.  He ended up going on to Ohio State for college and to Yale Law School.  He writes about his experience growing up as a hillbilly as well as the hillbilly culture at large.  There is a political bent to the way he thinks and this book has been touted as one of the best books to read to understand Trump’s presidential success.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthini (January 2016)- This book is a memoir of a neurosurgeon who is faced with a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer at the age of 39.   He has grappled with the meaning of life since high school and his search for life’s essence led him to a career in neurosurgery.  Having spent so much time reflecting on life’s meaning, makes his memoir especially poignant.  That combined with his medical background and longtime interest in writing creates the right conditions for a well versed and thoughtful memoir on death and dying.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  4. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (September 2016) – An aristocrat  is found guilty of writing a poem inciting resistance to Bolshevism.  He is placed under house arrest in the Hotel Metrol in Moscow over a period of 30 years as the world outside undergoes tremendous change.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (February 2015) – A beautiful emotional novel about two sisters in France during WWII and the ways in which they resist the Nazis.  It is a love story, a story of loss and tragedy and a wonderful tribute to all the women who played important and dangerous roles in WWII behind the battle lines.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  6. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (September 2016) – This novel shows how a seemingly enchanted moment in time completely disrupts two families resulting in divorce and remarriage, leading to neglect, anger, and distance.  It is beautifully written, each chapter effectively it’s own short story.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  7. My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (June 2015) – A fairy tale of a novel in which an 8 year old Elsa and a dying grandmother have a very close relationship.  The grandmother weaves complicated fairy tales that after her death help to make sense of the world around the young Elsa.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  8. Born a Crime:  Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (November 2016) – An amazing collection of autobiographical essays about Trevor Noah, a boy born to a black mother and a Swiss/German father under apartheid in South Africa. The essays are incredible, shedding much light on life in South Africa during and after apartheid. There is so much heart, courage, strength, humor and tremendous good fortune contained within these essays.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  9. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (June 2016) – This is an epic novel spanning hundreds of years, beginning in Africa and following two sides of a family as one side is sold into slavery and brought to America and the other side remains in Africa. It is a story of race, roots, and remembrance.  Review & Book Club Guide.
  10. The Girls by Emma Cline (June 2016) – This novel is Emma Cline’s re-imagining of Charles Manson’s ranch.  It is much less focused on Charles Manson and more so on “the girls” who are drawn to it.   It imagines the allure of the ranch to these girls, their connections to each other and to the outside world.  It is told from the viewpoint of a woman who had been a young girl at the ranch, at a point in time when this grown adult encounters another “girl” who could have just as easily been pulled into the ranch’s enticements.  Review & Book Club Guide.

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