Favorite Book Club Picks

The Tracy Public Library’s book club has not met since February, and I am really missing it! I have been a part of the book club since it started in 2013. That was before I started working at the library.

We’ve covered about 80 books throughout the years, and I’m sure there will be many more to come. This week, I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite book club picks.

Watership Down, Richard Adams

“Watership Down” was the first book our book club read, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s a new classic, but other than its name, I had no idea what this book was about. Like many book club books, this book about rabbits who face the destruction of their home due to the invasion of humans is likely not one I would have picked up on my own. It’s a very compelling story, although some in our club were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of description.

Sutton, J.R. Moehringer

“Sutton” by J.R. Moehringer is based on a true story about America’s most successful bank robber, Willie Sutton. At a time when banks were unpopular, the public cheered on this unlikely hero over a three-decade bank-robbing career. In Moehringer’s fictionalized account of Sutton’s life, he explores the motivations that made the man into a myth.

Plainsong, Kent Haruf

I knew the minute I read this book that it would be a great book club selection. “Plainsong” is a quiet book, a character study of a small town in Colorado. Haruf captures small-town life, the relationships within it, and the landscape surrounding it perfectly. If you haven’t read anything by Haruf, I highly recommend giving him a try.

O Pioneers!, Willa Cather

I read Willa Cather’s “O Pioneers!” in college, and revisited it along with our book club years later. Along the way, I somehow forgot just how beautiful this little book is. The main character is Alexandra Bergson, a strong-willed Swedish immigrant who inherits her family’s farm. A lot happens in this book, so don’t let its short length fool you. It’s perfect for book clubs who want to read a classic, but are looking for something that’s not too overwhelming.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is one of my favorite book club books, but I have a confession to make. I almost didn’t finish it. It’s written using dialect, meaning the author writes how the characters sound. I struggle with this a lot, for some reason, and sometimes it can make a book downright unreadable for me. Because this book was for book club, I had to finish whether I wanted to or not, so I found the audiobook version. It completely blew me away. It’s read by actress Ruby Dee, and she brings the story of free-spirit Janie Crawford alive.

The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls

Jeanette Walls’ memoir, “The Glass Castle,” is unforgettable. In it, the author recounts her nomadic childhood with parents who were anything but ordinary. The romance of this lifestyle faded for Walls and her siblings as they grew, and each began to plot his or her way out. It’s a story of unconditional love in an unconventional family.

All of these books provide plenty to discuss, which, to me, is the mark of a great book club book. I always say that it doesn’t matter if everyone likes the book or not. What matters is that we have something to talk about. These books are also great for reading on your own.

Happy reading!

~Val