Book clubs are becoming more and more popular in the modern world. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, homeowners and everyone else have been forced to spend more time at home, and this means quite a bit more free time than is common during the typical day. For many, this additional time was spent crafting, baking new confectionary items, and taking up new hobbies.
One of the many new additions to people’s lives was the introduction of virtual and household book clubs. A book club is a great way to share a passion for reading with those you care about, and in the United States, book club membership soared during lockdown. This is perhaps a product of the imaginative escape that reading imparts in our psyche. A new book offers a brand new adventure for the reader, and during these many stressful months (that have quietly turned into stressful years before our very eyes) a good adventure is just what the doctor ordered.
Creating a book club with friends and family members in order to connect over Skype, Zoom, or Google is a great way to enjoy this experience with others who share the same passions and interests as you, but selecting great reads for your book club can take some work. Many begin with Oprah Winfrey books (either Winfrey’s writing itself or Oprah-selected titles) to kick off their new project in the reading space, and Oprah has truly given some wonderful recommendations in the past and written a number of excellent reads herself. Oprah Winfrey-curated books are a great starting point, and these features (in addition to and within Oprah’s choices) may just offer what you’re looking for to put your club over the top.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
This title is on Oprah Winfrey’s list, and it represents an admirable choice for any reading circle. The narrative follows Scout Finch as she navigates the racial tensions and challenges of Alabama during one of the most fraught times in American history. To Kill a Mockingbird challenges our notions of the full scope of savagery that racial animus plays in our world. The nuanced grammatical forms and even the structural content of the story itself play an integral role in developing the thesis that Lee advances throughout her novel. In short, the story reminds us that people are deeply complicated, flawed, and, if you give them a chance, will often surprise you in more ways than one.
Revenge of Geography, by Robert Kaplan
This nonfiction work offers a unique counterbalance to the tone struck by Lee. Kaplan offers well-researched points on the ways in which people are anything but complicated. This work will frustrate and challenge many readers, which is often the point of reading itself. A New York Times bestseller, Kaplan has written many critical book-length works that challenge the ways in which people think about their environment and the social cues that come from these spaces. A steep departure from Lee, this work will reward anyone who takes the time to delve into the arguments made within its pages, and the deterministic tone taken by the author will provide many hours of great debate during book club sessions.
First-time book club participants will be wowed by these narrative choices. The style and content of these works are fascinatingly divergent, providing readers of all interests with something to think about and to enjoy. No matter what kinds of books and television shows you enjoy, sitting down with one of these is sure to provide a rewarding and fulfilling experience that can be taken directly into a discussion with your reading group.