Anyone here belong to a book club? Fifteen years ago, my friend and I decided we needed to read more broadly, so we started a book club. the idea was to create a book list from various genres. My default reading is romance and hers was mystery, so we included those categories, but we added children’s literature, Canadiana, historical fiction, biography, classics and many others. The result was a very eclectic reading experience.
We’ve read some wonderful and less well-known books. Parallel Lives by Phyllis Rose, for example documented the private lives of five Victorian men of letters. Fascinating stuff. I’ll never look at the work of Dickens in the same light again. Old Square Toes and His Lady, by John Adams is a biography of Sir James Douglas, the first Governor of British Columbia. Since the author is local, we invited him to our meeting. That evening was a highlight for our club. God’s Secretaries, by Adam Nicolson is an account of the creation of the King James Version of the Bible. Another fascinating read. Being Canadian, we have a large dollop of Canadiana in our reading including More than a Rose by Heather Robertson
None of the books I’ve mentioned here are best sellers or new, yet we’ve found we have the best discussions around these lesser known works. Perhaps Best Sellers hone in on a popular theme of the day but become irrelevant soon after. Whatever the reason, the books we still remember over fifteen years of reading are the ones that took us by surprise with their charm, information and strength of writing.
If you have a book to recommend to my club, please leave a comment.