Well, it appears that I totally skipped the 2016-17 list. If anyone is interested, let me know and I’ll unearth it and post it. The books we read are always interesting, but I won’t pretend they’re always light-hearted or fun.
October 2016: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I guess it tells you a lot about my reading habits that several of my book group found this to be a dark read, and I did not. Horror and psychological thrillers give me a decent tolerance for the dark side.
November 2016: Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan. The group was mostly positive on this one, a tale of family secrets that twist and bind and separate two sisters who immigrate from Ireland to the U.S..
December 2016: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. It’s been a long time since a book split the group this strongly. Some vehemently disliked it for the violence inherent in the story of an immigrant Dominican family. Others fell in love with the wild and provocative writing style. I came down on the “love it” side. I thought the writing was refreshing, unique, evocative and beautiful. Absolutely too depressing of a story for our December read, though. We try to avoid that.
January 2018: Killer of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. This is a hard book to read, because it takes an unflinching look at American settlers and their despicable treatment of Native Americans, in a particular time and place. Hard to “like,” but more people should read this.
February 2018: Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. Spoiler–I’ve already read this. Devoured it. Really liked it, because I could relate so strongly to the main character. Although who the hell names their child Timby?
March 2018: Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo. Among other accolades, Huffington Post lauded this as Best Feminist Book of the Year. But you all know HuffPost are boogerheads, right? This is the story of a marriage, set in Nigeria. I’m looking forward to learning more about a culture I’m currently ignorant of.
April 2018: Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can’t See Clearly by Isaac Lidsky. The memoir of a man losing his sight to a blinding disease. I have trepidations about this one. Not sure why.
May 2018: The Nix by Nathan Hill. This one fascinates me. A man encounters his mother, Faye, decades after she abandoned her family. From Amazon, “The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true?” High expectations for this one.
June 2018: Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow. An historical novel about a dressmaker who spies for the rebel cause in Revolutionary-era Charleston. I like a good historical. I like a good spy story. I love strong female characters. High hopes.
July 2018: 11-22-63 by Stephen King. Disclaimer: I did NOT submit this proposal to the book group, but I was happy to see it and voted for it. I already know it’s one of my favorites. Looking forward to the chance to re-read it and discuss it with other smart, funny women.
August 2018: Born a Crime: Stories for a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah. Memoir by the new(ish) host of the Daily Show. He’s funny, smart and articulate on TV, so here’s hoping that transfers to the written page.
In September we have The Choosing, which is a potluck dinner where we talk about all the proposed books for the following year, and then we vote. This year Jennifer read the proposed titles and their descriptions, and she was so hilarious that I would like to nominate her to do it every year.
If you’ve read any of these, what did you think?