In The Club

In the Club Aug 1

Welcome back to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met and well-read. Let’s dive in.

This newsletter is sponsored by Epic Reads.

an illustration of a woman in an orange dress standing on top of a green island. the outline of the island is also the profile of a face.Jennifer Gilmore deftly explores the role that chance and choice play in shaping the lives of two teenagers separated by sixteen years, but whose lives are intertwined.

BEFORE: When Bridget imagined her life at sixteen, it didn’t look like this. She didn’t think that her boyfriend would dump her for another girl. And she certainly didn’t think that she would be pregnant.

AFTER: Ivy doesn’t know much about her birth mother. She knows that she is now the same age Bridget was when she placed Ivy for adoption. She knows that Bridget was the one who named her. And she knows that fifteen years ago Bridget disappeared from Ivy’s and her adoptive moms’ lives.

August is Women in Translation month, and there are a bunch of ways you can participate.
Book group bonus: This is where I give a shout-out to Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette. It’s short, it’s beautifully written and translated, and there is a TON of fodder for discussion!

Book club field trip! There are many book adaptations coming to theaters near you this summer. Related: did you know it’s common for writers to adapt other writers’ works for the screen?
Book group bonus: It blows my mind that Faulkner co-wrote the screenplay for The Big Sleep with one of the writers of The Empire Strikes Back. If ever there was a wacky read-along/watch-along to do, it’s that.

Adventure time: If you’re looking to have some armchair hijinks, this list of adventure novels can help you out.
Book group bonus: You can learn a lot about a person from their ideal adventure. Jungle treks, cave spelunking, the Grand Canyon, space? Have each member spill the details on theirs.

Read more plays: I just finished a reread of Twelfth Night, since it was this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park in my neighborhood, and it reminded me how much I enjoy plays. This list of Arab plays that read like novels is therefore perfectly timed!
Book group bonus: I cannot recommend highly enough reading a play and then going to see it performed. Find something in your area and dive in.

Read like writers: Emily Temple crunched 68 interviews with authors about which books they recommend, and tallied the top results.
Book group bonus: Here’s where I pitch our podcast Recommended, which is 100% interesting book people and authors talking about their own favorite books. You could have a lot of fun doing a read-along, and seeing how your group’s opinions match up to the recommender!

Simon and Schuster wants to help you out with book club — they’re hosting a bunch of discussions in various places online.
Book group bonus: Does your group ever read along with online programs? It might be an interesting thing to add to the mix — or to talk about why you don’t want to.

Gender is a spectrum, and if you’d like to read more authors who identify as non-binary then we’ve got a list for you!
Book group bonus: Here’s a piece from NatGeo outlining some of the recent science and cultural studies about gender; it’s a good starter-read for discussion.

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,

More Resources: 
– Our Book Group In A Box guide
– List your group on the Book Group Resources page