Thanks to everyone who made suggestions to me for books to add to my reading group's list for 2005.
Picking books for a reading group is much harder than picking books for yourself. There are a lot more considerations. Although I read some SF or fantasy myself (especially what has been recommended to me through this blog!), it is a genre that has held absolutely NO appeal for the other women in my group--no matter how good I tell them it is! (I tried hard to sell Ender's Game but it was a no go.)
Also, because of time constraints, we try to keep the books to a "reasonable length." While I read A Fine Balance this year, and so did the other maniacal reader in the group, we would never have gotten to it in group. Doesn't mean it's not worthy, it just means that at least for now, most of us are too busy to read that long a book to a specific deadline.
Some books don't make the book club list, but are passed through the grapevine and read by almost everyone over the course of the year. This year those books were The Secret Life of Bees, My Sister's Keeper and Our Lady of the Lost and Found. Part of every meeting is taken up with the "Great Book Swap" where we trade around non-group books that we have read and enjoyed during the month.
A few personal comments:
Julie: See above--we LOVED My Sister's Keeper!
Jamie: Loved Perelandra--we read it two years ago and were so impressed that I went on to read the second book. The third still awaits me on my "To Read" list.
Roz: I read all four #1 Ladies Detective Agency books this year. Those four books are currently making the circle of the group in the book swap.
Kashi: I put Jonathan Strange.... on my personal list. I read the reviews over at Amazon, and it sounds like something I would like.
Polish Prince: I've a whole shelf of deWohl, but we can't read him in book club. Most of us have already read his stuff!
Erik: All of the Don Camillo books are treasures. I reread The Little World every year. It makes me smile every time. I wish they were better known! And we read Russo's Empire Falls last year--and gave it a big thumbs up. My next post will be about Straight Man which I finished yesterday!
So, my list of suggestions will be (drumroll, please):
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
The Endless Knot by William L. Biersach
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hadden
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
Rose by Martin Cruz Smith
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
The Dog of the South by Charles Portis
Sister of the Heart by Chitra Divakaruni
Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson
Deafening: A Novel by Frances Itani
Other people will bring their selections as well, and we will hash them out over cheese and broccoli soup. I'll post the final list when we have it.
One thing I should do is post the list of books we've read over the whole course of the club. It's an interesting list.