Book Club Picks

Here is a list and a short summary of the books my Real Life Book Club has read since we began meeting in March 2007:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

This amazing book was our first group selection, and the gold standard by which we measure all other books we select! Historical fiction at it’s best, this story is about the life-long friendship between two women in 19th Century China. The footbinding section is particularly gruesome, but fascinating. All members of our book club loved this book.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid

This was our 2nd selection. An easy read. Most liked it, some loved it, some thought it was just ok. Can easily imagine it as a movie. We had a great discussion about race relations and family secrets.

Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge

This was our 3rd selection. We had an interesting book club meeting, with the author calling in on speaker phone. Lively discussion about food, eating disorders, family ties, secrets and lies, caring for a loved one with a terminal illness. It’s all there. Great book for a book club.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Our 4th selection. Everyone in our club really enjoyed it. Set in 1931 during the depression and prohibition, an old man in a nursing home reflects on his past as a veterinarian in a travelling circus. Very well written and entertaining.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Our 5th selection. Set in Afghanistan, and in the US, and back.. it is the tale of a friendship between Amir and Hassan, a wealthy man’s son and the son of their servant, raised like brothers until a terrible twist of fate pulls them apart. We had a great discussion about loyalty, class differences, politics, love, etc. The reading guide/discussion questions at the back of the book were excellent. Even though there were a couple of very brutal scenes, this is one of my all time favorite books, a modern day classic. Can’t wait for the movie.

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

Sept. 2007. This book is a delightful, very quick, easy read. The parents of 27 year old Tami send her to America from Iran in the hopes of finding a husband before her visa runs out. We loved the romantic ending. Many funny, laugh out loud moments. The author got the “voice” of Tami just right. We talked about cultural differences between Iran and the US, parental expectations, marraige, OCD, stereotypes, etc. We had a fun meeting which included the author by speakerphone. Highly recommend.

1.000 White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, reviewed HERE

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory, reviewed HERE


Summer People by Brian Groh, reviewed HERE

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, reviewed HERE

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, reviewed (sort of) HERE

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, discussed HERE

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski, reviewed HERE

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, reviewed HERE and discussed HERE

The Sweet Potato Queens First Big Ass Novel by Jill Conner Browne, reviewed HERE

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, with a book club wrap-up HERE

Three Cups of Tea:  One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace.. One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Relin, reviewed HERE

Peony in Love by Lisa See, reviewed HERE

Kandide and the Secret of the Mists by Diana Zimmerman

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, reviewed HERE


Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe, reviewed HERE

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, reviewed HERE

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay  320 pages, reviewed HERE

The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein  336 pages, reviewed HERE

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini   432 pages, reviewed HERE

Still Alice by Lisa Genova, reviewed HERE

Life of Pi by Yann Martell

Lottery by Patricia Wood

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne, reviewed HERE

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Clapton, the Autobiography by Eric Clapton

City of Refby Tom Piazza

Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Dracula, My Love by Syrie James

People of the Book by Geraldine March


Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Imperfectionists


Beneath a Marble Sky

Little Bee

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

The Book Thief

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli


Digging to America by Anne Tyler

My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand


The Gap Year by Sarah Bird

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson, reviewed HERE

Waiting by Ha Jin, reviewed HERE

The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Steadman

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel


The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Dinner by Herman Koch

I Couldn’t Love You More by Jillian Medoff

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Serena by Ron Rash

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James  Brown


The Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (of all the books we’ve read together, this is my least favorite)

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

China Dolls by Lisa See

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield

The Martian by Andy Weir

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My Fat Dad by Dawn Lerman

Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey


Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Cafe by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Girls by Emma Cline

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan


News of the World by Paulette Jiles

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty

Beartown by Fredrik Bachman

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

800 Grapes by Laura Dave

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Dry by Jane Harper

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin


Less by Andrew Sean Greet

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Winterdance by Gary Paulsen


Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

The Bride Test by Helen Huang











11 Responses

  1. I love that you list your book club selections here on your blog – I may have to steal this idea!

  2. What a great idea to post your book club’s book choices on your blog! My real life book club read a lot of these titles in 2007 also. I’m on to read your 2008 picks next 🙂

  3. Great blog! I would like to suggest a few more books that your club might enjoy:

    The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain is terrific, as is her most recent novel, Before the Storm.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed “The Year of Fog” by Michelle Richmond.

  4. I had no idea that you read Loving Frank in the book club. I’m reading that right now.

    Did you like it?

  5. Great list! What did your group make of Life of Pi?

  6. Greetings,
    How would I go about offering or submitting a book?
    I have just completed a Bible study book so revealing, TV preachers hope you won’t read it.
    It is for sale on the book title website, Google Books, and Dightmans Bible Book Center.
    After over 5,000 readers, “LIES a preacher told me?” has been getting rave reviews, from clergy and congregations alike.
    Thank you for your help, Shalom and God bless,
    Peter Nagy

  7. I have read almost every one of these books either by my own choosing or the book clubs I belong to.

    Great idea to post them for new ideas….I see a few I need to “check” out.


  8. I found several of your reviews were spot on with what our book club thought about the books! Thanks for posting the reviews. I can’t help but notice that your club reviews ended in July of 09. Will you be posting more reviews?

  9. I love your choices.
    Where are you located and are you open to new members?
    Robin Savitt

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