Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Club Picks: Nonfiction

Welcome to my Book Club Picks series. This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite nonfiction books for book clubs. Included are memoirs, biographies and general nonfiction books that would be great for book clubs to discuss. My book club doesn't read a lot of nonfiction, but we have read a few on this list, and the discussions went very well. We learned a lot about the topic or the subject of the book, and our eyes were opened to situations faced by others. 



Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same.

 
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
Published in 2005; 288 pages
This memoir reads more like fiction, or at least the reader wishes it were fiction. The situations and experiences that Walls and her siblings lived through, and the fact that they survived, will provide book clubs with plenty of discussion material. Topics of neglect, abuse, perseverance and so much more can be covered with this one woman's life story.
My review
Discussion questions

 
The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew - Three Women Search for Undertanding by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner
Published in 2006; 320 pages
Religion is a touchy topic that many book clubs try to avoid, but this book, written by three women in the aftermath of 9/11, can work as a book club selection. The authors share their personal stories about their quest to understand one another, while also sharing many facts about their religions that others may not know. Book clubs that are willing to delve into a topic that is often taboo will find a great deal to talk about and share with one another.   
My review
Discussion questions

 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Published in 2010; 384 pages
This nonfiction selection reads like a biography of Henrietta Lacks, a memoir of Rebecca Skloot and a general nonfiction book about HeLa cells! It's an amazing story of the cells that were taken from Henrietta in the 1950's and are still used by scientists today. Book clubs can talk about the science, which is fascinating, but there is even more to talk about when it comes to Henrietta and her family.
My review
Discussion questions

 
My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor
Published in 2008; 192 pages
This memoir is written by a scientist about her own personal experience with having a stroke and subsequently recovering from it. Book clubs that enjoy nonfiction, particularly about science and medicine, will especially enjoy this one. The description of her stroke is fascinating, but the details about how she felt and what she really needed during her recovery will also give book clubs the chance to talk about the things they've learned and how it may help if loved ones become ill.
My review
Discussion questions

 
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Josh Foer
Published in 2011; 320 pages
This book about memory is pretty amazing. Book clubs will spend plenty of time talking about memory and the ways in which this book helped them understand it more and improve their own ability to remember things. I read this book in 2011 and some of the things Foer covered have stayed with me since then. 
My review
Discussion questions

What are your favorite nonfiction books? Do you have any that you'd recommend for book clubs to discuss?


Please let me know if you have suggestions for other topics to cover, or if you would like to write a guest post for my Book Club Picks series. I'd love to hear about your book club or your favorite books for discussion!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reading Recap

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It's been three weeks since my last reading recap and sadly, I've only read two more books! But it's been a fun summer! Good thing I took a break from taking on too many review books because there's no way I would have gotten through them. At this point, I think I'm caught up on all of the books I took on for review (just one review to write but the book has been read). That's a nice feeling! I am going to spend some time reading a few books from my shelves and then start accepting books for review again.

So, what have I been reading?

Since my last update, I read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. It's been a couple weeks and I haven't decided what I think of it yet. On the one hand, it was simpler than I expected. On the other hand, it was compelling and unique. I'll eventually pull my thoughts together and write a review!

I also read The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. I need to write my review of that as well, but I have a giveaway going through the end of the day if you're interested in winning a copy for yourself! Be sure to at least visit the giveaway page and watch the trailer for the movie that's being made based on the book. It stars Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth.

I'm now reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which I have been wanting to read for a while. I'm excited to finally get to it!

Reviews

I've written quite a few reviews since my last update:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

Kids Reading

My kids have been reading so much this summer! M, who will be starting 3rd grade next week, has been reading the Percy Jackson series. This summer, she has read The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters and The Titan's Curse.

C, who will be starting 6th grade next week (middle school!!!) spent some time re-reading the Harry Potter series, which he originally read a few years ago. He also read The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. I'm sure he's going to want to read the next one in that series as well.

What have you and your kids been reading this summer? 

This post includes Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase something using my link, I will receive a very small commission but your price does not change. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Club Picks: Book Lists

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks. This week, I am sharing a list of lists. As a member of a book club, I find it challenging to choose a decent list of books for my group to pick from when I host. In our case, the host always offers three options and then the group votes for the book we'll actually read and review that month. This means that the hosts don't just come up with one book; they have to come up with three! Following are several book lists that will hopefully provide plenty of choices to book clubs.





Awards lists

Sue at Book By Book has a great list of award lists on her blog. She shares links to the short lists, long lists and winners of several book and literary awards.

Best books of 2013 and 2014

This Simple Home blog has a list of favorite books of 2013 that includes some great choices for book clubs, including nonfiction and fiction selections.

Wired has a great list of the top 10 books of 2014 that would all work well for book clubs.

Book club favorites

Mom's Small Victories blog has a list of top 10 book suggestions for book clubs that features several great choices.

The LitLovers Top 50 is a list of the most popular books on LitLovers, a popular website for book clubs and avid readers.

The Golden Spoons blog has a list called books that may become my favorites and every one of them would be great for book clubs to discuss.

Hot Eats and Cool Reads blog has a list of 5 summertime favorites that are all about families, a great topic of discussion for book clubs.


Do you have a list of books that would be great for book clubs? Share it below in the comments.


Please let me know if you have suggestions for topics to cover, or if you would like to write a guest post for my Book Club Picks series. I'd love to hear about your book club or your favorite books for discussion!

Don't miss out on another edition of Book Club Picks. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Giveaway: The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham


I have a great giveaway for you this week! I'm giving away a copy of The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham. According to the publisher: "This darkly satirical novel is a perfect fit for the dog days of summer: Ham sets her tale of haute couture and revenge in small-town Australia, where the nosy neighbors think they know all your business and don’t like any of it one bit."

The main character is Tilly Dunnage, who left town many years ago but has returned to take care of her mother. The townspeople hate Tilly because they think she killed a boy back when she was a child. They also look down on her mother, whom they call Mad Molly. I'm only halfway through, but it's an entertaining story and has just started to take a dark turn, I believe. I'll write a full review once I'm done.

In the meantime, you can win a copy of The Dressmaker by completing the Rafflecopter down below. Also, be sure to check out the movie trailer. The Dressmaker will soon be out in theaters starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth.



This giveaway is open only to U.S. mailing addresses per the publisher's request. To enter, complete the following Rafflecopter by midnight Eastern time on August 18. The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway