Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Middle of Our Life Book Club

Last month, I wrote a small blurb about the book I read for book club – The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  The premise being a mother/son book club that took place during the mother’s battle with cancer.  I’d say about a quarter of the book was heart wrenching – “watching” the mother die of cancer and her family (her son) deal with her death.  But most of the book celebrated books and reading.  The author reminds us of that oh-so-common question, “What are you reading?”  It is such a simple question, but, as this book reminded me, the answer(s) can be very satisfying and open your eyes to so many new experiences.

June’s book club book was The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  It took awhile to get into, but once I did…well, it is a beautiful book.  Tonight’s get together marks the end of our tenth year reading together.  Although I’m an avid reader life sometimes gets in the way of reading for pleasure.  Book club has forced me (in a good way) to read regularly, even if I don’t really have the time.  It has also pushed my reading interests outside the box as some of my favorite books were books I’d never have read if it weren’t for book club. 

There are 8 members and we each get one time a year to host, approximately every 5-6 weeks apart, taking summers off.  The 80 books below make up our reading library, in no particular order (bolded titles are my favorites)…
The Elegance of a Hedgehog
The End of Your Life Book Club
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Gone Girl
The Housekeeper and the Professor
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
The Silver Linings Playbook
Year of Wonders
Fifty Shades of Grey
The New York Mormon Single's Halloween Dance
Bel Canto
Change of Heart
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Hunger Games
Tommy's Tale
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Last Lecture
The Help
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
A Very Private Gentleman
Have a Little Faith
The Physik Book of Deliverance Dane
A Reliable Wife
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Swallow the Ocean
The Lost Symbol
Loving Frank
The Poisonwood Bible
The Whistling Season
Eat, Pray, Love
The Book Thief
Shadow of the Wind
Three Cups of Tea
The Friday Night Knitting Club
The Shack
Still Life with Crows
The Historian 
The Other Boleyn Girl
What the Dead Know
No One Belongs Here More Than You
Water for Elephants
The Tortilla Curtain
Shattered Dreams
Notes from a Small Island
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
The Barrytown Trilogy 
Mirror, Mirror 
A Long Way Down 
My Sister’s Keeper 
The Five People You Meet in Heaven 
The Year of Magical Thinking
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter 
In Cold Blood
The Davinci Code
The Birth of Venus 
The Thirteenth Tale
The Family Tree 
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books 
The Kite Runner 
Other People’s Dirt: A Housecleaner’s Curious Adventures 
Little Children 
Love in the Time of Cholera 
Breathing Lessons
The Great and Secret Show 
The Life of Pi 
The Power of One: The Classic Novel of South Africa 
The Time Traveler’s Wife 
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time 
Mrs. Dalloway 
Good Omens 
The Secret Life of Bees

PJ O’Rourke once said, “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”  Some might be a bit trashy, not terribly deep or well written, nonetheless, they’ve all made for great discussion with good company.  I’m always disappointed when the first person decides it’s time to leave…there’s always more to talk about with a book, even one that’s only kind of good.

*For “one-man’s” opinion on the books we have read, check out The Jason Show’s review.  Although I disagree with a few, our tastes are fairly similar so why reinvent the wheel. 


  1. That's pretty impressive. Yes I can crank myself through a volume of stuff when I need to but it's really driven by need.
    I've only heard of a good handful of them. I expect being in such a club means you'll 'have' to read stuff you'd not approach in a month of Sundays.

    1. Hmmm, I posted a reply, but I don't know where it went. I'll try again...Yes! Going outside of my comfort zone so to speak of detective/spy and chick lit has been eye opening. Life of Pi, The Thirteenth Tale, and The Kite Runner are on my top all time favorite list, and I'd have never touched them without book club. Now I probably would, but before, never.

  2. It is neat that your club reads such a variety of books--some I've heard of (I've read a number of them and a few of them I've reviewed). I like the way the novel "End of the Life Book Club" is structured.

    1. That one struck such a chord with me. Whenever I think of it, I just shake my head it's hard to express everything I liked about it. I connected with it on numerous levels.

  3. I can sincerely say that this book club has been one of the highlights of my life. Sounds kinda hokey, but it's true. I feel such a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when I think about our 10 years and 80 books.

    Thanks for the linky love!

  4. I have read some of these books and have been interested in some of the others