Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.
We’re giving away a stack of our 20 favorite books of the year. Click here to enter, or just click the image below.
The biggest book club news of the week: PBS and the New York Times are launching an online book club together. Now Read This is “a monthly collaborative book club with planned audience engagement across both outlets and on multiple platforms.” Meaning it’s a Mega Fancy online book club. Will you be tuning in? Their first pick is Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing, which for my money is a super-smart pick. It’s a National Book Award winner and a novel by a woman of color — an excellent combo.
The best book group picks of the best of lists: Reading Group Choices checked their own recommendations from 2017 against the Best Of lists and has a list for you! I was actually surprised to find books that hadn’t been on my radar, and it’s a nice cross-section of well-known and some surprises.
Get more meta: read some books written by fictional characters. I myself have read one of the Richard Castle books and while it wasn’t life-changing, it was fun to compare what I thought of the TV character and the book that he “wrote.”
Read like Roxane Gay: her 2017 favorites post is, as usual, a joy to look over. It’s not restricted to 2017 releases, just what she read during the year, and the categories always crack me up. For example: “A Memoir that Was Really Very Extra but the Writing Was Fine and the Book Certainly Held My Prurient Interest”. Lots of great discussion fodder here!
Read like Gabrielle Union: her 10 favorite books. Related: I just finished We’re Going to Need More Wine and can unequivocally recommend it for discussion — the tone is conversational and quick, she’s hilarious bordering on crass in a delightful (but also sometimes disturbing) way, and there are so many heartbreaking and surprising stories to learn about our favorite teen cheerleader. It’s also a very interesting example of the Celebrity Memoir as a genre. Trigger warning for discussion of her rape.
Get into the Middle Ages: here’s a list of 100 books that showcase the time “in all its colorful, contradictory, and mind-bending splendor.” My book group dream: read a Sharon Kay Penman novel and then one of these nonfiction picks and dig right in.
Diversify your romance reading: here are some romances by Native American authors! My TBR, it explodes.
And that’s a wrap: Happy discussing! If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations (including the occasional book club question!) you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.
Your fellow booknerd,