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November 8, 2018

Reader Recommendations for a New Book Club

Posted by tom

If a book group was brand new, what book would you suggest that they start with? We posed this question to our readers, and you came up with some terrific ideas. Many thanks to all who shared their recommendations with us; as always, your feedback is much appreciated!


Mary: You’d want a book for a new group that 1) had a great plot; 2) wasn’t terribly long; and 3) had a lot to discuss. I just finished re-reading WALKING ACROSS EGYPT by Clyde Edgerton. Another suggestion would be THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini or A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles.

Jill G.: My suggestions are THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah or BENEATH A SCARLET SKY by Mark Sullivan.

Sarajane: THE SPACE BETWEEN US by Thrity Umrigar

Lana: Our book club’s first meeting was October 2017, and our first book was A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles. I loved it, but some of our members were lukewarm on it. The two books that have been the most strongly liked are THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah and EDUCATED by Tara Westover. Interestingly, the book that generated the most discussion, BOYS IN THE TREES by Carly Simon, was universally disliked by all of the members.

Jill B.: INTO THIN AIR: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer, or SEABISCUIT: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand

Jean: A book that my book club liked in the beginning of our group was A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. It was a whole different world, and we found a lot to talk about.

Shirley: For a new book group, I would suggest THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST by Ann Hood because it would give the group something to think about in suggesting books for the year. I thought that this might be a light read, but the author developed the characters and their motivations for choosing their books. I think that it is good for new book clubs because it provides a blueprint for book selection and accepts each person's book for the month. 

Janet: ELEPHANT COMPANY: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II, by Vicki Constantine Croke

Cookie: I’d recommend that a new group start with A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman. It’s funny. It’s tender. It has characters who grow. It’s an easy read. And it’s a delightful film.

Erin: In no particular order, but these are all Tales & Talk Book Club favorites that we think would make great first book reads for a new group --- humor, love, relationships, life:

  • WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? by Maria Semple
  • BE FRANK WITH ME by Julia Claiborne Johnson
  • THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin
  • Anything by Joshilyn Jackson. Our faves are BETWEEN, GEORGIA and ALMOST SISTERS

Jeanie: How about THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows? Also, DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay was one of our best discussions early in the life of our book club.

Gretchen: THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah is a winner for a new group to read --- a WWII story about the Resistance, family and survival. I won't say any more so as not to be a “spoiler.” My group rates books and gave it a 4 out of 5 rating, the highest they have given.

Muriel: My suggestion would be TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE by Mitch Albom. There is just so much wisdom about life in this book.

Karen: I would suggest THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah.

Judith: Our book group started with THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows --- and is still going strong almost 10 years later! For most of our starting members, this was their first experience with a book group; apparently it made a good start. The only way we’ve ever lost members was through death or moving away, and we have had many new ones joining. A good storyline rooted in a historical time and place always seems to be a winner.