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Book Club Picks: Summer Reads

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks. This was my kids' last week of school for the year, so I have summer on my mind. Most book clubs like to discuss "meaty" books that prompt serious discussions about a variety of topics. But it's hard to sit on a beach, relaxing in the sun, and immerse yourself in a serious story that may require careful reading or may invoke feelings of depression rather than joy. If your book club is looking for a lighter summer read that still prompts interesting discussion, I've got a list for you!

Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion questions 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 Lake House by Marci Nault
Published May, 2013; 400 pages
This novel takes place in a lakeside community, and features scenes of friends and family enjoying the beach during the summer. It's definitely a summer read full of humor and emotion but it also offers plenty to talk about. Book clubs can discuss the feelings and actions of the senior citizens who live in the community and are trying so hard to hold onto their independence. They can discuss what binds friendships and relationships together and what causes them to break apart.
My review
Discussion questions

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Published July 2009; 404 pages
Summer is a good time to pick up a humorous novel, and Jonathan Tropper is a great author to turn to. His novels are full of humor but also tend to deal with some serious topics. With this one, book clubs can talk about the family's response to their father's death and to the shiva they are all forced into. Other topics include issues around family expectations, the effects of tragedy on people's lives, relationships with parents and siblings, and much more.
My review
Discussion questions

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Published April 2014; 272 pages
This is a novel for book lovers, making it a good choice for book clubs! It also has wonderful characters who have difficult decisions to make but is light enough for summer. Discussion can revolve around the decisions the characters must make, moral issues around a missing book and an abandoned girl, e-readers vs. paper books, and the concept of family. There are lots of books referenced throughout the story as well, so book clubs can talk about the different books and may find some new ones to read.
My review
Discussion questions

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Published July 2014; 384 pages
This Jojo Moyes novel is a bit lighter than her Me Before You, so I'm including it in my list of summer reads. There's still plenty of drama going on, and the characters are all dealing with some serious issues in their lives. As I mention in my review, this book includes themes of poverty, abandonment, living up to a parent's expectations, the difficulty of supporting a gifted child and bullying. It brings up moral issues as well; both main characters take certain actions that are not technically right but perhaps are justified.
My review
Discussion questions

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Published September 2008; 384 pages
One of the ways to deal with finding a lighter read in the summer is to go with a young adult book. This is one example of a book that's pretty easy to read, but still offers several topics for discussion. There are plenty of moral issues throughout the novel, and book clubs can also talk about all the political aspects of this world. Discussion can also revolve around the comparison of the games in the book with the reality TV shows of our real world. If everyone has already read this one, choose a different YA book to read and discuss.
My review
Discussion questions

What are some of your recommendations for summer reads that would work well for book clubs? I'd love to hear some more ideas that I can share with my own book club.

Next week, Sue from Book by Book will be here with a guest post. She'll be sharing a list of memoirs that she recommends for book clubs. 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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  1. I loved the Hunger Games books and of course movies. I gave my books to my adult son who stayed up all night reading them until finished He's dyslexic, so I love how they captured his attention.

    1. That's great! My son liked the first two Hunger Games books but didn't get into the third. I figure he'll pick it up eventually.

  2. Oh, and so glad to see you on Bound By Books link up! For What It's Worth-Jeannie

  3. Great list, as always!

    I loved This Is How I Leave You - hilarious! But also, as you said, serious at times, too. I always like Tropper's books - I loved The Book of Joe and the TV show they made from it, October Road.

    I gave AJ Kikry to a good friend so I'm glad to hear you recommend it!

    I totally agree with you on The Hunger Games and YA books in general. The entire Hunger Games trilogy is perfect for book groups - I love how Suzanne Collins writes entertaining stories but filled with real-life issues and parallels with our own world.

    Happy Summer!


    1. Happy Summer! I need to try some other Jonathan Tropper books. I started one but couldn't get into it at the time. I may try it again this summer.

  4. You were chosen as a feature on Bound By Books! Check it out here!!!


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