A few of my friends at the office office started a book club, and I figured it could be helpful to share our thoughts in hopes that you might pick one of these books for a book club, or just to read on your own.
It has been a great place to push ourselves to read things we might not normally pick (and of course drink some good wine).
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
This book wasn’t what I expected it to be – a compendium of short stories about her patients, etc – but I think that’s mostly because I didn’t read the back of the book carefully. It isn’t that, and I’m very thankful it isn’t.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone has a lot of heart, depth, and encouragement, while still actually telling a broader story effectively. The story has an overarching journey that Gottlieb is experiencing that is marked by her patient’s and her own therapist’s sessions. There are a few parts of the book where I laughed, a few where I cried, but either way it was a memorable memoir.
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
Each number of the Enneagram (there are nine in total) has its own chapter. Each chapter is broken up into a few separate parts beginning with a list of 10 thoughts, experiences, or feelings related to being that number. I own a hard-copy of the book and checked off each item I thought to be true for myself for each of the numbers – it was interesting to see the similarities and differences between different types, specifically why.
*I will note that this book is written by two Christian authors and there are religious undertones in this book. Due to the history of the enneagram and how it is intertwined with Christianity, it’s hard to research the topic and not find these similarities or commentaries. If this is something you’d like to avoid you could just skip the last section of each chapter.
Norco 80 by Peter Houlahan
This is the unbelievable true story of a bank robbery in 1980 that you (most likely) haven’t heard about.
This book is incredibly interesting, but also incredibly dense. We gave ourselves an extra week to read and I’m so glad we did!
Becoming by Michelle Obama
While there are a few parts that aren’t as exciting, it isn’t because the stories are written poorly. All of us found different points in her life to be “most interesting” to us, and the spots I found a little lacking where perfect for others.
It’s a great read for all ages and backgrounds.
I read the hardcopy (which has a few pictures!), but she narrates the audiobook!
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This book has been on my radar for quite a while now so I was thankful for the opportunity to read and discuss.
I loved the vast, vast majority of this book, but the ending fell a little short for me. Hope, for sure, but not the kind of solid wrap up I was hoping for. The author has a gift for weaving different time – and story-lines together, that’s for sure.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This book was an exciting read because you’re given a snapshot of five years in the future at the beginning of the book and then you have to follow for those years to see how it comes about. There are many twists and turns (some predictable, some not) which make the read even more of a page turner.
I loved talking about this book with my book club friends throughout the month because we were all at different points in the book and our opinions of characters and situations kept changing based on how far along you were.
This was a fun read, but we all agreed that we wouldn’t be super keen on learning what was going to happen in five years.
Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
This book was much more divisive than I had anticipated! I loved this book. I loved the characters, their journey’s, and their development. However, many fellow book clubbers commented that the story was a little predictable. While I’d agree, I think it’s so much more than that.
This book, oddly enough, reminded me quite a bit of Gilmore Girls because of the rebellion and mother-daughter relationship.
I found their connections to be real and honest and messy. It’s a bunch of people trying their best to be happy and to help others be happy, and that’s really what we all are, right?
I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in looking at others battle questions of regret, missed connections, honesty, and more, all while combatting these questions head-on themselves.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
Spoiler alert: this was a very divisive book.
When we were going about choosing a book for February for a Valentine’s Day themed book club, we sought out a romance. What we ended up with was a book that talked about love in all forms – self, familial, relational, right, wrong, etc. – but it sure wasn’t the romance we all were looking for.
It opened my eyes to different perspectives, backgrounds, and dilemmas. The book was very hard to read at times because of how deeply I cared about the decisions that were being made. I simultaneously understood and couldn’t comprehend every motive and plot line. I will say, however, that I had to get past a few things I didn’t want to get past in order to feel this way.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Where’d you Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
This book, now a movie staring Cate Blanchette, was one we’d decided to read a long time ago. When we heard it was coming out as a movie, we wanted to – instead of doing “actual book club” – go see the movie together. Unfortunately the movie’s release date was pushed back a few times, but now that it is officially out we pulled the trigger.
This book was a fun read – light, interesting, and funny. There is a little learning curve because the book has no chapters – only fragments of stories, emails, and letters. Once you get the hang of it, though, it isn’t hard to follow.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I really like this book, but my friends were a bit taken aback at how different the book is from the summary online.
This is a book about a woman dealing with trauma and growing into herself, not the “romantic comedy” you’re seemingly promised on the back cover.
It’s a hard one to read at times, but well worth it.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
This is a fictional retelling of William & Kate. While it definitely felt like the Royal family, she has a lot of fun with the plot.
This was a huge crowd favorite amongst us all and we can’t wait for their next book in June of 2020!
We The Jury by Robert Rotstein
This story surrounds a jury (and members of staff) on a case where a man has murdered his wife. Battered spouse? Or abuser trying to get away with murder?
Each member of the jury, staff member, lawyer, etc., has their own voice and personality which brings a lot to each perspective.
This book is a little hard to get into, but it picks up. One quick note – I don’t recommend the audio version. It’s a much better read than listen.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
This book was given to me by my friend Heather for my birthday this year, so I was excited to have it for our book club!
The Immortalists follow four siblings after their date of death is predicted. How do their lives change? How do they cope with this knowledge, if it even is true?
This book is by far the best book for discussion that we’ve chosen so far.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Spoiler alert – I didn’t actually read this book when we read it for book club, but I did finish this book.
It was well-worth the wait (and the hype). There were parts that had me needing to push through, but all in all it was a fantastic read.
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
We agreed that we would have likely never picked this book on our own, but Reese recommended it so we dove right in. I’m glad that we did because it was full of important topics and gave us a lot to discuss.
How would we have acted as the parent in this scenario?
We gave this four stars.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
My friend Jenna requested that we read this book because we could time it perfectly with the Netflix release of a new movie based on the book and I’m so glad she did. We all loved this book and were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read.
We had some great discussions not only about the book itself but also about how it compared to the book. I always think the book is better, but I would recommend reading the book, watching the new Netflix movie with Lily James and Armie Hammer, and the older Hitchcock film with your book club.
We Are All The Same In The Dark by Julie Heaberlin
We chose this book because it was by a local DFW author and we were thrilled (no pun intended) with the discussions we had the night we all met. This book follows three narrators – the brother of the missing girl and dad, a police officer, and a girl found on the side of the road – discussing different missing persons (that may or may not be intertwined or even crimes at all) that have grabbed the attention of a small town.
Who is the villain? Who is your favorite character? Did you see that coming?
While some people didn’t ~love~ this book, none of us could disagree with the fact that we spent way longer discussing and dissecting this book than we normally spend with other book club reads.
The One by John Marss
This book – which will be a Netflix series soon – was one we all really enjoyed. There are five distinct story lines, but we all seemed to favor certain ones because they’re all so vastly different.
The general plot is that a scientist has discovered a gene that can find your soulmate – regardless of age, gender, or location. When/if you send in your DNA sample and get a match, you can pay to receive their contact information.
Our book club was filled with questions like “Would you take the test? What about if you’re married or in a committed relationship?” and more.
The Last Flight by Julie Clark
The Last Flight was a book that I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did. There are two storylines that intersect in this story: one that is from the past to the beginning of the book and another that is from the beginning of the book forward, but the chapters bounce back and forth.
Both women are running away from something. When they meet at the airport they decide to switch flights. The only catch? One of those flights crashes in the middle of the ocean.
Someone We Know by Shari Lapena
I enjoyed this book because it was 1) good and 2) short. Sometimes books, mysteries and thrillers in particular, are long just to be long. I didn’t feel as if this book had any superfluous information or subplots I didn’t enjoy.
There are quite a few characters involved in this story and you get a fairly deep dive into each. I can’t say that I was surprised with the “whodunnit,” but the story takes you through quite a few twists and turns.
For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt
If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t finish this book. I wasn’t loving it, and it sounds like the book club didn’t either. They did say that the last two chapters and the epilogue made it all worth it!
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
I didn’t love this book. I will say that it kept my interest going and I didn’t want to stop until I figured the mystery out.
The characters were fairly interesting (with four best friends from high school that meet back up because a body has been found), but the story wrapped up very quickly.
We gave it 3 stars.
Poisoned Pen Press
Please note that this isn’t a book per se, but a general recommendation (that I received from Maureen Johnson, the author) for where you can find cool new books, especially mysteries – https://poisonedpenpress.com/
2020 Reading Challenge
read 4 books toward
her goal of
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