Fall is a wonderful time for cozying up with a good book, and can be a fabulous time for a book club meeting — as long as everyone’s schedules align! This is definitely the time of year that it gets tricky for everyone to get together. (That’s one of the reasons I prefer regular standing meetings, such as something on the first whatever-day of the month.) I encourage you to keep on it! Once a few meetings get skipped, it’s hard to get back into the swing of things. Plus, I’m sure you and your fellow members will enjoy the time to just relax and talk about books. Who wouldn’t?
If this is your first time checking out the Book Club Wrap-Up, I suggest hopping over to my first post, in which I describe each of my different book clubs. It’s a helpful reference. 🙂
And now onto what we read and discussed most recently:
Traditional Book Club
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
We actually read this book back in August (before I started doing this wrap-up series), but we’re not meeting for our “October” book until next week, due to scheduling conflicts. We all really loved reading and discussing this novel, so I thought I’d share our experience. It’s a book I think most people wouldn’t even know to pick up, but everyone I’ve recommended it to has loved it. As host, I chose it, and I’m happy to report that it was a good pick!
Hucklebridge’s first novel — he’s written a couple nonfiction books — follows a pair of people stranded on a tiny, deserted island. One of our members said it starts like the movie Six Days, Seven Nights, and it does a little bit, but honestly, it was the instant action that hooked most of us right away. And, trust me, it’s not all romance. It’s got a little bit of everything, and on top of that, it’s just really engagingly written. Our group, which is pretty diverse in its tastes, all really enjoyed it and we had plenty to talk about.
What we ate: Since I hosted, I made some book-themed food to go with our discussion. When I blogged about it a while back, I made some really delicious banana fritters (which I can’t recommend enough!), but they are a little fussy for a weeknight book club meeting. So, I found a simpler, make-ahead recipe for Banana Coconut Muffins — a definite hit! — and I grabbed some plantain chips and seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s to channel the island’s menu. In honor of the French main character, I also served some Tarte au Brie et aux Tomatoes (another TJ’s find).
Meetup Book Club
Beloved by Toni Morrison
After Toni Morrison’s death, our book club decided to read one of her novels at our next meeting, so we started a poll between Song of Solomon and Beloved. Beloved won the overwhelming majority of the vote.
I have to admit, I didn’t finish this one — though I did attend our meeting. I got about 40 pages in and couldn’t get into it / was a little freaked out. Most people said it probably wasn’t the best book to read while pregnant (which I am), but also that they probably wouldn’t have finished it if it weren’t for our meeting.
All that being said, it did make for a very lively discussion. For those that finished it, there was a lot to talk about. Morrison sure packed this one full of interesting things to discuss… it’s just not for everyone.
Diversity Book Club
Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement
(Topic: Hispanic Heritage Month)
This novel by Mexican-American author Jennifer Clement centers on a group of women living in the mountains in rural Mexico. It’s a story of friendship, family and determination. We had a good turnout at the office, and because of its length, a lot more people finished it quickly or last minute than usual. I had read it for my Meetup book club a couple of years ago, so I knew it would be good for discussion — and though this discussion was different, in that it was a little more guided, it still went really well.
Are you in any book clubs? Tell me about them in the comments. It’s always so interesting to hear how people do them differently.
What book(s) did your group read and enjoy in October? I would love to hear your recommendations below!