Back in 2012 I joined a book club with my friend and have never looked back. We meet once a month in a local pub and there around ten of us who read a book and then chat about it. I love it and have made friends there and have visited book events with others from the group. You can read our book club reviews here if you are so inclined.
At the end of our meet up we suggest books for the next month and they’re usually ones that people have read about, have read recently and want to share the joy or ones that have been recommended. I often end up Googling ‘book club reads’ on the day of book club for suggestions and realised that a handy list of books for other book clubs would be a good idea. So here you are! Twelve books which should keep your book club going for the next year or so.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband’s home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.
The One That Will Divide You
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn’t want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not . . .
Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan’s earlier life is revealed. A life in which – remarkably – he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.
The Translated Fiction
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
I have a rule with series of books that they should be read in order but I am making an exception for this. Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series of books are some of my favourites and reading these books are what got me into translated fiction. The Snowman is book 7 of 11 (soon to be 12, YAY!) but is a great way to enter the genre if you are new to scandi-noir. If you are a purist like me, the first book in the series is The Bat.
One thing, if you have seen the film, please disregard it. It is terrible. Not even Fassbender could save it.
Soon the first snow will come
A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Outside, he sees her favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.
And then he will appear again
Detective Harry Hole soon discovers that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.
And when the snow is gone…
When a second woman disappears, Harry’s worst suspicion is confirmed: a serial killer is operating on his home turf.
…he will have taken someone else
The Famous One
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Who are you?
What have we done to each other?
These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?
The One You May Have Missed
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski
If you haven’t read one of Matt Wesolowski’s books, why not? Told in a podcast style they are incredible and inventive pieces of writing and unlike anything else out there at the moment.
One body. Six stories. Which one is true?
1997. Scarclaw Fell. The body of teenager Tom Jeffries is found at an outward bound centre. Verdict? Misadventure. But not everyone is convinced. And the truth of what happened in the beautiful but eerie fell is locked in the memories of the tight-knit group of friends who embarked on that fateful trip, and the flimsy testimony of those living nearby.
2017. Enter elusive investigative journalist Scott King, whose podcast examinations of complicated cases have rivalled the success of Serial, with his concealed identity making him a cult internet figure. In a series of six interviews, King attempts to work out how the dynamics of a group of idle teenagers conspired with the sinister legends surrounding the fell to result in Jeffries’ mysterious death. And who’s to blame…
As every interview unveils a new revelation, you’ll be forced to work out for yourself how Tom Jeffries died, and who is telling the truth.
A chilling, unpredictable and startling thriller, Six Stories is also a classic murder mystery with a modern twist, and a devastating ending.
The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts
THREE CHILDREN WENT OUT TO PLAY. ONLY TWO CAME BACK.
The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.
One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.
Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.
And the Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…
The Young Adult
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?
I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.
Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.
Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.
But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.
Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?
The Christmas One
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
Our Christmas book (the only rule of book club is that we read a Christmas book) is notoriously hard. Every single year we start to discuss it in about August and every single year we are disappointed until 2017 when SUCCESS! A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig was a most definite hit with all of us.
BELIEVE IN THE IMPOSSIBLE
You are about to read
THE TRUE STORY OF FATHER CHRISTMAS
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away.
(Because this book is FULL of impossible things.)
Are you still reading?
Then let us begin…
The Famous Book Club Book
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
The Dry by Jane Harper
WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?
I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier.
Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.
The One That Became A Film
The Martian by Andy Weir
A survival story for the 21st century and the international bestseller behind the major film from Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain.
I’m stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.
If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.
So yeah. I’m screwed.
The Non-Fiction Book
Names For The Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss
Sarah Moss had a childhood dream of moving to Iceland, sustained by a wild summer there when she was nineteen. In 2009, she saw an advertisement for a job at the University of Iceland and applied on a whim, despite having two young children and a comfortable life in Kent.
The resulting adventure was shaped by Iceland’s economic collapse, which halved the value of her salary, by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and by a collection of new friends, including a poet who saw the only bombs fall on Iceland in 1943, a woman who speaks to elves and a chef who guided Sarah’s family around the intricacies of Icelandic cuisine.
Moss explored hillsides of boiling mud and volcanic craters and learned to drive like an Icelander on the unsurfaced roads that link remote farms and fishing villages in the far north. She watched the northern lights and the comings and goings of migratory birds, and as the weeks and months went by, she and her family learned new ways to live
If you have any suggestions for great books we can read at my book club please drop them in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.