Broke and the Bookish!
First things first - I need to admit that I'm kiiiiiiiiiiiind of cheating on this one. I'm not a book club person. I think I'd be endlessly frustrated having to read books that other people chose, books that aren't necessarily to my interests. Plus, the whole idea reminds me a little too much of high school English, and NO THANK YOU.
That said, I comprised this list a little differently than I think was intended. Instead of going with books that I haven't read but would be interested in reading as part of a book club, this list is instead comprised exclusively of books that I've read already and think would be very interesting to sit around a table and discuss with people. They're not necessarily books that I loved, because I honestly think that spending the entire time fangirling over the book would get pretty boring pretty quickly. Yes, some of them are books that I loved, but they're generally books that were quite polarising or had some kind of contentious issue that it would be interesting to discuss as a group.
1. Nona and Me - Clare Atkins
This book is about a white teenage girl living in a remote mining town in Arnhem Land and her former best friend/adoptive sister, Nona, who's Yolngu. Rosie, the narrator, makes some truly terrible decisions and the book gets pretty racist at times, and it would be really interesting to discuss the conflicts between Indigenous Australians and white Australians, especially as it's set in the lead up to the 2007 election and Kevin Rudd's apology.
2. Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy
I really didn't like this book. Alice was a truly awful human being. Harvey was a doormat from start to finish. The story often made me want to punch Alice in the face for her truly terrible life choices and her inability to Use Her Words. And yet, I know people who gave it five stars. I want to discuss it, to see what they saw, to see if maybe I was looking at the book at surface level, to see if I was missing something.
3. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
I love this book. I love the characters, I love the way the story is told through emails, I love the feels and the squees and pretty much everything. But really? Lincoln's decision to continue reading Beth and Jennifer's emails is pretty dubious, and it gets to a point where it almost borders on stalking. And I think it would be really interesting to discuss that side of things.
4. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling
I think a lot of people went into this book expecting a grown-up version of the writing we got in Harry Potter. Instead, they got ten years worth of swear words and sex scenes that Joanne had been hoarding while writing Harry Potter. There are so many characters and so many concurrent stories that link together that I think this one would be really interesting to read and discuss as a group.
5. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick
I have suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I think it's a really important story to tell, and it was incredibly moving and said a lot about the power of good teachers. On the other hand, it was an indescribably disturbing book and I spent at least half of it feeling very uncomfortable. So I think it would be a good one to discuss with others.
6. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
This one seems to be a book that people either love or hate. It's full of unreliable narration and unlikeable characters and I really need to reread it now that I've seen the movie to see how the two differ. Which would add an extra layer to any book club discussion!
7. Life After Life - Kate Atkinson
This one was totally mind-bending. It follows Ursula from birth to death, but when she dies, she goes back to the beginning again and the decisions that she makes change the path that she's on and how she ultimately dies. It was fascinating and complex and often a struggle to keep track of what happened in what version of her life, so discussion would be fabulous if only to sort out all the threads of the story in my mind!
8. Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas
Look, mostly with this one I'd want to see if people guessed who did it before it happened. I'd be like a creepy stalker, texting them constantly to find out where they were up to and who they thought committed the murder at various points of the story. Kind of like watching Broadchurch, really.
9. More Than This - Patrick Ness
Frankly, I would read the Yellow Pages if it was written by Patrick Ness. And I really enjoyed this book and its existential "what is life?" questions. But it's a book that raised a lot of questions and which had kind of an uncertain ending, so I think there's the possibility for a hell of a lot of discussion about it!
10. Alex As Well - Alyssa Brugman
This book is fascinating because it demonstrates really clearly how there are two sides to every story, and both of them can be massively unreliable. Both Alex and her mother are incredibly unreliable. After watching an interview with the author where she talks about the narration and how much of Alex's story takes place inside Alex's head, I'd love to reread this one and discuss it with a group.
What's on your list?