Dewey Read-A-Thon Mini Challenge: Book Club Recommendations

Hey there all you read-a-thoners…. how YOU doing?  😛

Had a little Joey from friends flash back…


This challenge is now completed – the winner using random.org is Shel from The Hungry Readers!  Congratulations Shel!  😀  Please email me at journeythroughbooks@gmail.com with your book choice from Amazon up to a $15 value.

Ok…. on to the Mini Challenge!  It’s no secret I LOVE talking books and honestly – not all books are “chat worthy”.  I have been in my book club for 10 years now and the book reviews I enjoyed the most and remember the most are the ones that really brought out great discussion.  My challenge for you today – if you choose to accept it, is to share with me in the comments a book you would recommend as being very chat or discussion worthy.  You do not have to be part of a book club to do this challenge, I am just looking for a book title with author that you would recommend as being a great thought-provoking and/or discussion worthy book.

***For a bonus entry – add in a menu that would go along with the book discussion – (my book club loves to theme food around the books we review).

That’s it!  I plan to eventually make a post of all the book club recommendations that show up on this post and link back to you as suggesting that book (if you have a blog).  Yes, it is ok to put down a book that someone else recommends, I am looking for a list of different reads but certainly will count your entry even if someone else already suggested it.

When this mini challenge ends I will choose one winner using random.org to choose a book I can purchase from Amazon.com that is $15.00 or less and I will send that book to you.


Oh – and get up and stretch your arms and grab a fresh cup of coffee, a bottle of water or a granola bar…. stay strong and keep on reading!!! 😛

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on April 9, 2011, in Book Giveaways and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 150 Comments.

  1. Well, I’m a horror fanatic so going to have to leave a suggestion in that genre, but I will go with…

    Dweller by Jeff Strand

    It’s one of my faves and it’s not only a horror story, but it’s also a coming of age, drama, romance, etc… It’s just a good all-around mix.

  2. My book club had a really good discussion when we read Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt – it wasn’t a particularly long book but there was plenty in there to talk about! I would also recommend The Winter Rose, which I just read – it’s actually very long, but has tons in it and would spark a great discussion.

    The Winter Rose would have to be a healthy menu, as India is a doctor and goes around recommending broccoli to everyone, and the book gives off quite a chilly feel, so I think broccoli & stilton soup would be perfect. You’d also have to have a great drink to go with it, for all of the Londoners who drink in the book!

  3. I love Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson – there is plenty to talk about with family and social issues on the list. I would serve very southern food – BBQ, cornbread, potato salad.

  4. My book club had a fascinating and somewhat heated discussion over Norah Vincent’s “Self-Made Man.” The author dressed an acted like a man for a year, and the book chronicles her experience. Our group had a length, thought provoking, and wide-ranging conversation about feminism, gendered society, and a bunch of other stuff.

    The book was a great read too.

  5. My Name is Mary Sutter is a very ‘chat worthy’ book. It got quite gruesome at times, but then, the subject was gruesome. Some people thought perhaps too much so. I didn’t think so. It goes with that era in history so why sugarcoat, you know?

  6. The book I would pick is my bookclub’s current selection. Very Valentine by Adriana Trigaini.

    The menu would be Chicken Parmesan, salad, rolls, white wine, and cake.

  7. It’s been so popular this past year or so but The Help by Kathryn Stockett. An amazing book that definitely brings out a great discussion!

  8. Oh what fun! I have so many to recommend.

    1. Anything from Mitch Albom, but specifically Tuesdays with Morrie

    2. A Million Little Pieces (primarily because there is so much to discuss)

    3. The latest of the Sookie Stackhouse books
    With that you gad have tomato juice/bloody mary’s and BBQ

  9. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. Lots to discuss in there. Mexican history, art, cold war and of course the amazing characters in the book. Food would have to be Mexican of course (maybe with apple pie as dessert since it’s partly set in the US).

  10. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates — generated our best discussion ever. We *still* talk about it.

  11. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest a YA novel called “Stolen” – there are so many things to talk about and everyone I know who has read it has strong opinions about the quality of the writing and the themes.

    A menu?

    Vegemite sandwiches.
    Macadamia nuts.
    Jaffa.
    Meat pies
    Australian wine?

  12. Oh, I have read some great books for discussion! One especially discussion-worthy book I just read this year is Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich – amazing book which will generate a lot of controversy! For food – hmmmm, I would say finger foods like devil eggs, cheese dip with veggies…and definitely a bottle of wine! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  13. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This whole trilogy causes a lot of debate. It’s so engrossing, so dramatic and thought provoking. There is a lot of discussion of food in it. You could easily make a stew (they eat quite a lot of stews), cheese rolls and a decadently decorated cake. Oh and berries…berries are very important in the book so you have to make something with those.

  14. Anything dystopian like Ender’s Game or Memento Nora is very discussion worthy. Or in a totally differnt direction, I thought Boy Toy by Barry Lyga was very thought provoking.

  15. My book club recently did a read of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. There is so much to this story to discuss, especially when it comes to feminism and how easily society can be changed and controlled. To go with it food wise is hard to say – it’s a dystopian world so maybe a simple salad and some wine would be good to go with this discussion. Whatever you eat would be something you could be thankful for as in the book everything is rationed.

  16. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – I think it’s classic material. Lots to talk about and interesting to read. Hmm, a menu is hard to think of… Since the books is a mix of different styles, places and times, I guess the menu should be fusion cuisine of some sort. David Mitchell is a Japan fan so maybe Japanese fusion?

  17. Because I’m a medical person and find a lot of interest in medical things, I’d recommend The Select, by F Paul Wilson. It’s about a group of students selected to attend a medical school for free, and it has a lot of room for discussion about ethical issues and the advancement of medicine.

  18. I would suggest all the books from the TAIREN SOUL series by C.L. Wilson. The first books is called
    Lord of the fading lands!

    I would serve on of my favorite dishes, italian bruschetta with a plate of cheeses and olives! And red wine, of course(we deserve it!)!

  19. We read Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld for my last book club. It brought up the discussion of WWI and how not many of our group knew much about WWI. So it led to us learning more about WWI and comparing it to the alternate history.

  20. I run a real-life book club and we read The Help by Kathryn Stockett an while ago. This was very good for discussion. The unequality of black and white, rich and poor, the awful women that “lead” the pack, laws of the country, etc.

  21. I’d pick The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. It’s an odd book and you wonder throughout what is real and what is not real. You wonder throughout what is really going on.

  22. Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

  23. A book that sparks great discussions… Nobody’s Boy, by Hector Mallot. I remember reading it a couple of years back and it just brought so much emotion. The characters are very interesting and I think they alone will cause great discussions.

    And food that would go along with it… something with cheese: cheese sticks or whatever is crispy and has cheese. 😛

  24. This one is easy for me, I would recommend Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Lots to talk about with that book, I’m not saying what because it’s a book best left unspoiled. For the menu I would have fish and chips and yorkshire pudding since it’s set in England.

  25. I’m going to have to go with “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. It’s an amazing book, but it definitely brings out strong opinions in people. I wanted to talk about that book with everyone after I read it. Happy reading!

  26. Not food themed, but VERY discussion worthy…
    IN THE FIRST CIRCLE by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It is 784 pages and filled with so very much to discuss. I adored this book and would recommend it to anyone.

  27. I don’t really like “Book Club” type books, at least not the type of books my library book club has been reading.

    Though if it was for a young adult book club I would recommend Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. A man born a woman and struggling to become the man she should have been. Another woman tortured and raped and managing to kill her abuser and survive and find love.

  28. I’d recommend Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy for a book club discussion! There’s all sorts of things to discuss, Gender Politics (Man the Aggressor, Woman the Inscrutable; in the books, Man has Noise, which means their every thought is broadcast to the masses. Women don’t have Noise, which lead to one city of men becoming very untrustworthy of the women, and killing them off. The basis of the novel’s conflict is a war between a man’s army and a woman’s terrorist organization.) Then there’s the terrorist organization itself, and if that sort of violence and terror is justified if it’s against a corrupt and controlling government. You could discuss man’s treatment of the Spackles, the nature of Noise and whether we have a similar jumbled broadcast of our every thought today, through the overuse of technology. These books are so rich and complex, there’s a wealth of discussion topics I think a group would love sinking their teeth into.

    I’m not sure what I’d serve, maybe something that emulated a life on the run in the wilderness – some kind of hearty soup, crusty bread, that sort of thing.

  29. There are two books that I could recommend for this, and since I can’t decide just one to share they are…

    The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky which is a coming of age novel that deals with so much and is such a fantastic book I think everyone should read it.

    The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta which is another personal favorite. This one deals with the messages we send to our children, religion, parenthood… all sorts of ‘big’ topics.

  30. We just read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for one of my book clubs, and that lead to quite a lengthy discussion. I think the book itself has some flaws, but the subject matter is so fascinating that it lends itself quite well to book club conversations. (And we had some great southern-themed food to go with the book. Black-eyed peas, green bean salad, collard greens with pickled apples and rhubarb cake… yum!)

  31. What a challenge! I’m going to go with One Day by David Nicholls – because love it or hate it, you’re going to want to talk about it.

  32. Little face by Sophie Hannah, we did an online bookclub with this and had lots of interesting discussion.

  33. The best book club discussion I ever had was over Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. For some reason we always go back to our discussion of that book and I don’t even know why.

    For my menu: hmmm…my favorite Southern foods-

    Fried Green Tomatoes
    Chicken Fried Steak
    Red Velvet Cupcakes with a Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

  34. Miss Scarlett’s School of Patternless Sewing by Kathy Cano-murillo And would probably have to have some kind of pastries – I think that is what she used to bring to class.

    Another one would be The Proper care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins – but have no idea as to the type of food! The only food that I remember being talked about was Macaroni and Cheese.

    Can’t wait to see the list of books!

  35. I would definitely recommend The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon….great book, very thought-provoking.

  36. I think this is already a pretty popular book overall, but I would have to recommend Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (maybe because I just finished Hannibal last hour).

    I just think it’s a great thriller with a lot of twists and turns to get people talking — especially when it comes to the murder/cannibalism/what-have-you taboos. And for those who have only seen the movie and think they know the whole story, the book will add in new snippets and situations to surprise them all over again. Plus, who can resist Hannibal Lecter’s gentlemanliness?

    As for the menu for this book… something sophisticated, fine dining. Quail was just featured in Hannibal, so I’ll recommend that. Oh, and wine would be an absolute must. And I really can’t think about this anymore without making a fava bean and Chanti joke, so I’ll leave it at that.

  37. I am going to have to go with The Hunger Games trilogy. I know, I know, this is probably over done, but I love the series and I think that it is thought provoking. How far are you willing to go for freedom? What is true love and what will you do for it? How do you deal with the loss of a loved one? etc.
    For a menu, I would have a bunch of nature foods such as nuts and berries and such, since a lot of this book has to do with Katniss in the arena and surviving on what she can scrimmage from the earth.

  38. I have been reading the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer and I think that these are great books to discuss because there is a bit of a controversial note to them that you don’t really expect and they’re rife with feminist issues of the period. I think, because of that, they’re especially good for girls.

    As for a menu, hmm, I’d say some sort of fish with tropical salsa. Jacky spends a lot of time in the Caribbean. Maybe some pineapple or coconut themed cocktails too (virgin, if need be)!

  39. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton would make a fantastic book club selection. There is a lot for discussion in this book.
    Five very different women become friends. They are all married and trying to have or have children. The book covers the 1960s to the present and some of the major events that marked this period.

    Great challenge!
    Good luck & Happy Reading!

    ~ Amy
    Aimala127@gmail.com

  40. My YA book club LOVED Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix (they are in 7th grade). I am looking forward to reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I really want to start having book related menus, but right now we are so fortunate to have a local pizza shop providing snacks for us!

  41. Several books popped into my head at the mention of your challenge, but I think I’m going to recommend The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. There are lots of great messages about the purpose of story, the nature of good and evil, etc. Plus there’s this really interesting narrator, that people can’t help but debate whether he/she is over the top or just right. The story can also be read as an allegory, with lots of potential meanings. I highly recommend it for starting a conversation.

  42. How to Buy a Love of Reading by Egan Gibson. Just superb! You could go either way with diet food or junk food for the menu. 🙂

  43. I would have to say Delirium by Lauren Oliver… between the political aspects, the emotion of love, and the different world period leaves plenty of open points for discussion.

  44. I would have to say The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell if you haven’t already used it. I think it brings up some very interesting topics about religion and faith without being at all preachy or biased.

    I’m not sure of a menu… something alien? Astronaut food?

    Great challenge and thanks for hosting 🙂

  45. A discussion-provoking book (in part because it’s based on real life) is Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins. There’s a lot to talk about in that book.

  46. great question! i’m tempted to say something along the lines of “reading lolita in tehran” or “the dressmaker of khair khana” because they raise some interesting issues that could build a great discussion – but, you know, book clubs are already up on that idea. Instead, I’d say something by Judy Blume – maybe “Forever”? I’ve been rereading her stuff recently and it’s so interesting & strange to reread it as an adult – to see how she raises issues like sex, religion, family relations. It would be a lot of fun to hear people’s memories of these books from when they were growing up, and how they view blume’s writing today. For the menu, I’d go the childhood comfort food route, mac & cheese and brownies. or maybe fondue, which makes an appearance in “forever”?

  47. I’m not in a book club, but I have two suggestions. 1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, this is a non-fiction book but very well written. It brings up a lot of ethical dilemnas in scienctific research as well as providing personal stories from the Lacks family which makes it less scientific/formal and more personal.

    I also just read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. I thought this book was very enjoyable and I think it would be great to discuss how book groups bring people together, during war times and during peace.

  48. Substitute Me by Lori Tharps was a really good read and great for book club discussions. It started a series of “What If?” questions that help you learn more about other book club members. The main character is also a chef, so there are plenty of recipes and food ideas right in the book.

    Happy Read-a-Thon, Day! Love this mini-challenge.

  49. Substitute Me by Lori Tharps was a really good read and great for book club discussions. It started a series of “What If?” questions that help you learn more about other book club members. The main character is also a chef, so there are plenty of recipes and food ideas right in the book.

    Happy Read-a-Thon Day! Love this mini-challenge.

  50. stilettostorytime

    Well…I am a children’s librarian so my answer is going to be a little different. One of my favorite book clubs I did was when we read “How to Eat Fried Worms”. It was interesting because the discussion went from would you eat them to important issues such as bullying and peer pressure…WOW. It was an amazing book related experience to have with a group of kids. And of course I served gummy worms in Oreos or “worms in dirt”. Thanks for the challenge!

    • What a neat idea! I’m the children / youth services person at my library. I may have to try this with one of my summer reading groups.

  51. Mine would be Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell. I think that would be a great choice for a book club discussion! Full of heart-wrenching moments of despair and bliss.

    Hmmmm…as far as the menu, “borscht” comes to mind. I believe that the families that the story is centered around are Ukranian. And they were poor most of the time, so they would have lots of potatoes and veggies that they grew, but may not always have meat. So, yeah…borscht comes to mind. And maybe apple pie during better times.

  52. I would recommend “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz. My book group read it and we had the largest turnout ever.

  53. I had the most fun discussing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There are lots of things to talk about and it can be very polarizing. Thus more fun because you have people who have strong opinions about things.

    I would try to make bread to go with this, but I’m not strong on my bread recipies (since Peeta is the ‘Boy with the Bread” and there is a discussion of the different types of breads each district has).

  54. I would recommend “Isaac’s Storm” by Erik Larson. This is about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. It leaves a lot to be discussed about the then and now of forecasting and about the vanity of men. Pretty good read even though we all know how the hurricane turned out. For a menu?? Well, it’s set in Galveston on the coast of Texas so I would go with seafood–yum!

  55. I’ve got to say WICKED by Gregory Maguire. It’s a divisive book–people typically either love it or hate it, which I’ve found provides plenty of good discussion fodder as each side defends their position. If your group comes down primarily on the love-it side, the book is also chock full of discussable themes, like the nature of evil and the role proaganda plays in any political administration.

    Menu-wise: anything green. Cucumber sandwiches, green tea, green veggies with dip… things like that. And no water, please; the Wicked Witch of the West is allergic.

  56. Darn, Elle stole mine… *thinks* This may be a classic book club book but one of the few adult books I’ve read and loved is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Actually anything by Ann Patchett I would highly recommend.

    Since it’s set during a opera performance of sorts, I’d recommend some of the finer foods you’d find at these – finger sandwhiches, cavier, small deserts, etc.

  57. A book that generated a lot of discussion for an online group I’m in was Little Bee by Chris Cleave. We had many opinions about one of the main characters. The menu would be Nigerian food in honor of Little Bee’s home country. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough foods from the culture to suggest an actual menu.

  58. I’m a big fan of multi-media, so the last time I was in a book club that actually included discussions of the books (long story), I selected Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow. I didn’t go quite so far as to set up a video to discuss the plot choices in the film version, but I did bring in the sound track from the musical for background.

  59. Hmmm…. I’m going to go with Still Alice by Lisa Genova for fiction, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely for non-fiction.

  60. Oh my, I think Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte would be a great discussion book. Some love it for Jane’s independence and the fact that she finds some happiness yet some view the book with disgust since she fell for Mr. Rochester and he is demeaning. Because people have such varying opinions on this book, I would say go with an opposits menu. Coffee and Smoothies (hot & cold); chocolate dessert and a spicy main dish (sweet & spicy)..you get the gist.

  61. It’s already been mentioned, but the first book that popped into my head was The Hunger Games. It would definitely spark discussion in my opinion (I have pushed this book on my brother and some friends and we’ve been talking about it a lot). As for food that would go with it: bread of any kind in honor of ‘the boy with the bread’ and berries and for the meat side of it: I’d never eat it cause I can only think of cute bambi-animals, but something you can hunt like deer or rabbit.

  62. Poison, by Chris Wooding. The whole story you go along expecting something to happen and the ending completely shocks you ! It’s my favorite book but I have to admit I hated the ending. Still, worth talking about!

  63. I would choose The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. It’s YA but there’s so much going on and the language is quite advanced. It totally gave me some food for thought and you can discuss the relationship between the MC and Pellinore. It’s fabulous.

    ALSO:

    It’s the eye of the reader, it’s the cream of the fight
    Risin’ up to the challenge of our bloggers
    And the last known survivor stalks his books in the night
    And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the tiger

    You can do it and rock the roof off the readathon!!!

  64. Honestly, one of the latest books I’ve read that I thought would make an EXCELLENT book group discussion book is Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. Another recent one is Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  65. I’d choose The Demon’s Lexicon and The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan. At first glance that might seem as an odd choice, but there’s so many interesting layers to peel away and the characters, especially when you get to know them better in Covenant, are incredibly interesting and worth discussing. 🙂

  66. although our book club is only about 4 months old, i think we learn toward books with more action. we have read titles such as Dan Brown’s Deception Point and Michael Crichton’s Timeline, we are currently reading The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen, and (so far) it is my favorite. and it being the first in a series, I have a feeling i have a long, pleasurable journey ahead…

  67. I listened to Gayle Tzemach Lemmon speak this week about her book The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. Amazing book about five sisters who survived the Taliban by being seamstresses. Great for conversation as the author has an MBA and sought out the story because it is both a financial story and a story about women being resourceful.

    The menu:

    Stuffed Peppers

    Green salad with lettuce, walnuts and fresh pomegrante seeds

    dessert: baklava made with pistachios

  68. If you haven’t read it yet I really recommend The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. It’s on of my favorites and there is just so much to it!

    I think you could have a lot of fun with it, food wise, as well, since the book is set mainly in Prague, maybe an eastern European inspired meal? I know potato pancakes and pirogies are always a A+ choice in my book! Or if you’re looking for something sweet, Slovak honey cookies are absolutely to die for – here’s a good recipe http://www.slovakcooking.com/2010/recipes/decorated-honey-cookies-medovniky/ – but i know there are easier ones out there.

  69. Little Bee – Chris Cleave
    So Cold the River – Michael Koryta
    City of Veils – Zoe Ferraris
    Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay
    Room – Emma Donoghue

  70. I’m going with The Hunger Games. It’s my first time reading it and I wish I was reading it with a group of people. So much to talk about!
    A menu with lots of berries, rabbit and bread would be perfect.

  71. I’m in a book club but the book I’ve chosen is one that I read in an eb nglish class my senior year of high school: Beloved by Toni Morrison. The story is multifaceted and open to a few different interpretations. There were some who absolutely loved the book, some hated it, others were on the fence. But the class discussion was wonderful, and exactly what I would want from a great book club. I’ve had trouble reading other books by Morrison because I miss the chance to discuss them with others.

  72. I loved “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell. The sheer number of ridiculous anecdotes about historical figures I had never heard of before make it PERFECT for discussion groups. 🙂

  73. I have 2 recommendations, both of which I’d love to discuss with people.

    First off, Cell by Stephen King. A post apocalyptic novel based on the fact that our cell phones, something everyone has and uses, could turn against us.

    Second, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, the story of a teenage boy who fought against a police state using an Xbox.

    As for food, I don’t know what you’d eat for Cell, but for Little Brother the food of the book seems to be coffee and burritos. I’d also suggest typical gamer fuels: soda and junk food 🙂

  74. One of the best discussions our book group had was when we read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

    We also had a very lively discussion when we read Virginia Woolf. Each person read a different book (I read Mrs. Dalloway) and we all hated it! Sometimes the books you hate offer up the best discussions.

  75. Abarat by Clive Barker. A friend and I have discussed it quite a bit. Especially the world building. Such an interesting idea. Now, if he would just publish books 3 and 4.

  76. I just had an informal discussion about Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go on my blog last month. There was a ton to talk about: the narration, the characters, the story, the bigger issues surrounding it. I loved hearing what everyone had to say. Another one I loved was One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I read it on my own, but when I finished it, I just wanted to discuss it with someone! Neither really focuses on food, though, so I can’t help much there.

  77. I’d recommend what my YA book club just read: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. With an original setting, believable characters, a driving plot, and strong themes, I think this is a great book club pick!

    A fun menu idea would be 18th century French food, or perhaps just classic French food, as part of the story involves that Period. 😉

  78. “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel is really thought provoking. The ending added a twist that made me go back and read certain passages over again in a whole new light. Definitely discussion worthy!

  79. I would recommend Purge by Sofi Oksanen. It is originally written in Finnish, but the translation is very good. There has been so much hype about the novel here in Finland (it won the Finlandia book prize, the biggest book prize in Finland and it has been translated to many languages.) I think reading this book would be interesting for people who have not read Finnish literature before. The way the novel is written (time jumps etc.) makes it very interesting and discussion worthy.

  80. Great question, Sheila! I just read The Help by Kathryn Stockett and thought it was fantastic. My mom, sister, and cousin all read it with me and I definitely think it would be a great one to discuss–on so many levels.

    A menu? Pecan Pie because it’s southern. I also imagined myself reading the book on the porch drinking a mint julep.

  81. I recently read Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay in a book club and it stirred up a lot of discussion. It’s about

  82. I recently read Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay in a book club and it stirred up a lot of discussion. It’s about concentration camps in France during WWI. It brings up a lot of discussion about the Holocaust and how people choose to react to things. Do you try to forget? How do you remember without going crazy? Why did the French people act the way they did? (They not only followed the Nazi’s orders, they went above and beyond them.) It was a great book. For a menu, I guess you could do French or Kosher food. Baquettes, cheese and wine are always good for something simple.

  83. I’d suggest Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, or Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

  84. I’d say House Rules by Jodi Picoult. My book club recently read that and it was one of the best discussions we’ve ever had.

    Green Monday menu

    broccoli florets, snap peas with spinach artichoke dip

    green apple slices with lime yogurt dip

    lime sherbet champagne punch

  85. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr (which I read this morning…first book of the readathon). I’d recommend this mostly for a book club that includes teenagers or focuses on that kind of book. It’s a contemporary novel. Fantastic writing and a lot you could talk about (oh yeah, and a reading discussion section in the back, always useful).

    I’d recommend have frosted sugar cookies for a book club meeting…but that’s probably largely because of the cookie on the front that has me craving those!

  86. City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell. Will and Katherine meet as young adults as Mennonite missionaries in China in 1906 and wed and then spend the next 40 odd years serving the people. They leave America before WWI and return after WWII after living through the decades long civil war in China. There is much to discuss from history, comparative cultures and how both American and Chinese cultures changed over four decades to what it means to dedicate ones life to serving others.

    A menu would have to include tea, millet gruel, steamed bread, noodles, garden veggies, rice and pork seasoned as the Chinese of the north plain would have at the turn of the last century, bearing in mind that rice and meat were extravagances for the peasants of that place and time.

  87. I just recently read Loon by Jack McLean. I think it would be great for a book club discussion, because it’s about Jack’s service in Vietnam. Vietnam is definitely a hot topic, and the book could spur discussions about when the US should go to war in general, as well as conscientious objection, the draft, how religion and military service intersect, etc.

    For a discussion about Vietnam, you could serve pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup) and Vietnamese dumplings.

  88. What a fun question. I would suggest Waterland by Graham Swift. It is a contemporary British novel about a family and history. It is complex, but wonderfully readable and beautiful and strange. I read it for school and it provoked great discussion.

    It is about life in a fishing village, but cooking a lot of fish might be difficult. There is a scene involving an eel, but bbq eel isn’t everyone’s taste. So, for the menu, I would go with:

    Bagels, lox and fixings bar
    A good English ale.

  89. Whoa. Look at all your responses!!! Ok, here is mine. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf. I am the moderator of a book club and this is the first book that was chosen. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is a link:
    http://www.amazon.com/Weight-Silence-Heather-Gudenkauf/dp/077832740X

    Thanks for the challenge. 🙂 Good luck!!!

  90. Rebecca by Daphne Du Mauir turned out to be a great read for my book club, also, even though it’s a bit younger, Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge is a great read- it features a young girl who can read in a world where reading books has been banned!

    For Rebecca, I’d suggest doing a English Tea type deal, with lots of tea and cakes. Fly By Night features some floating bars and pubs, so I’d do a seafood menu- like fish and chips.

  91. I would say: All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann. It is a book I recently read and it is about slavery. There is a lot to discuss about this book and I would greatly recommend it.

    As for a menu. The main character is very good at cooking and several pies are mentioned as well as menu’s. But also foods from fresh produce from your backyard would be great because they grew their own veggies to keep themselves from starving.

  92. One of our book club’s more memorable discussions was a few years ago when we read The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts. It’s about whether you should go back to work after you have children. Everyone in my book club is in their 20s and none of us at the time had children but want them someday so this really stirred up some serious discussion because we didn’t know what was right. This book presented some serious arguements and got us all stirred up! Maybe some good food for this would be something lighthearted to keep the discussion free and easy like wine and cheese!

    Another great discussion we had was when we read Stiff by Mary Roach. A. it grossed a bunch of us out but was totally fascinating and b. it made a lot of us reconsider how we wanted to be buried. For the menu, I guess it depends on your sense of humor!

  93. I’m in a graphic novel book club, and we had a great talk about Maus by Art Spiegelman. It’s a true story about the author’s parents’ Holocaust experience, so it’s not always an easy read, but it’s very well done and creatively presented.

    Not sure I’d base a menu on that, though…

  94. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney!

    It’s about a school where the students have to take charge of justice because the administration doesn’t do much to punish bad behavior. A girl gets sexually violated and The Mockingbirds help find justice. They use themes from To Kill a Mockingbird so it has lots of discussion pieces!

    I’m not sure of a menu for this – the only thing I could think of would be something high schoolers like to eat (I tried to search for a recipe to do with birds but it’s hard to find anything that isn’t real birdseed) 🙂

  95. So many good recommendations here! I’m in a book club with one of my ex-roommates from college and her friends from high school, and one of the best meetings we’ve had so far has been when we read Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. An oldie but a greatie, and it was my introduction into her awesome works! (RIP, DWJ.)

    YA is such a good genre for book clubs, I think, because it’s so important to look at the books that contemporary kids and teens are reading and talk about the effects the most popular books might have.

    • Oh, also, we had bacon and eggs when we read that one because, well, how could you eat anything else when reading Howl’s Moving Castle?

  96. Gotta be the book I am currently reading: All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. The subject is inherently interesting to home owners and those who aspire to homeownership, as well as those affected by the economic downturn (pretty much everyone). It requires some thought, but offers greed, political debate, ideological confrontations, and the stuff of dreams. Densely written, but well-drawn, it is the kind of book which will make people on every side feel they were in the right, while still wondering about their allegiance.

  97. Some ladies I know just started a book club and I got to pick the first book…City Of Bones. I think it will be interesting to see what everyone has to say and see if we can guess whats going to happen in the next book.

  98. I’d go with a classic:
    “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen
    I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I think it has many, many great discussion points, it hits on so many topics and issues and every reader has a different view of the book.
    And of the characters, of course, hate Fanny Price or love her? And what about Edmund that old cry baby? 😉 And why isn’t Mary Crawford the protagonist? She would have been an interesting charcter?

    Much room for discussion!

  99. I’m going to recommend Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Obviously some sort of Chinese menu would be in order for this one

  100. The Girl in the Steel Corset. It comes out in May. It was fun, action-packed, and had great characters. As a category: YA Historical Fiction of the 1800’s.

  101. Most of the books I read are YA, so my pick is coming from there. When I was in high school I read two books that have continually stuck with me throughout the years since. The first is More Than You Can Chew by Marnelle Tokio. This one was actually a book club pick. It’s about a teenage girl who has an eating disorder and her struggles in a treatment facility. The second is The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. I read this one after it was recommended by the librarian. It’s about a boy who begins to commit suicide by fire and changes his mind after the match is lit. The bulk of the story is his fight to overcome his circumstances after burning most of his body. Both are autobiographical, the first is a novel while the second is a memoir. Both feature teens who overcome a great deal of hurdles.

  102. harry potter and the half-blood prince its really interesting and you go into another world when you read it
    pumpkin juice and pudding

  103. The best discussion I’ve ever had with my book group has been with Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. It was a fantastic book was lots to discuss, plus you could make traditional British food to go with it. 😀

  104. The book that my book club most liked (and we’re on something of a mission to get everyone to read it) is: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson about the great migration of blacks from the south to northern and western cities in the 20th century.

    There are terrific food tie-ins. Page 481-2 describes how Ida Mae Brandon Gladney cooks in Chicago in much the same way she did in Mississippi: sweet potatoe pie, collards and mustard greens, cornbread with butter and buttermilk. Page 490 mentions the menu of a soul food restaurant in California near where Robert Foster settled after moving from Louisiana: yams, collards, smothered chicken.

    My review of The Warmth of Other Suns is here:
    http://www.joyweesemoll.com/2011/01/28/book-review-the-warmth-of-other-suns/

  105. I am currently reading “Sea Jade” by Phyliss Whitney. I recommend any of her books for the romance and cant wait to see how the story ends suspense that are built into her stories. For this story, I would recommend tea from China, and sandalwood incense.

  106. I’ve just started reading Packing for Mars by Mary Roach this past hour, and although I’m only 15 pages in, I can heartily recommend it for a book club. There’s a lot of possibility to discuss how members would fare in tests or under astronaut conditions, and of course, you can enjoy Tang and eat freeze-dried food!

    Failing that, Stiff by the same author is really enjoyable, but less conducive to eating, being about corpses and the research done on them…

  107. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin – I’ve been reading this the last few hours, and it’s intriguing. The worldbuilding is glorious – not as expansive as Middle-earth, but the most intriguing fantasy premise I’ve read since Tolkien, plus there is a mystery central to the plot and once a snippet is revealed new layers are added, so that certainly should offer food for discussion – plus issues like colonization, proselytism, social and historical criticism – within the fictional world, mind you – but it’s still amazing.

  108. The City of Ember books by Jeanne DuPrau are a set of books I’ve had some amazing conversations about!

    To theme food around them, you should definitely eat anything from a can… 🙂

  109. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler with some food by your favorite restaurant. Or you can read Someone Else’s Garden by Dipika Rai along with some nice Indian food.

  110. I’ve always wanted to belong to a book club. But there’s always something, scheduling or book choice… there was one that started up local to me, but it was just as I was moving! And they were reading the Unbearable Lightness of Being, so I was skeptical.

    I wish I’d read Gatsby in a book club.

  111. I would chose possession by A.S. Byatt. An amazing book set in contemporary and victorian England. A masterpiece Id suggest you all go to an afternoon tea to discuss yum. scones!

  112. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. There are themes of age, religion, sexuality, friendship, good and evil. And, though it is often classed as a YA or even a children’s novel, the language is incredibly poetic and oftentimes elusive. I have great success with it in my “intro to fiction” classes

  113. Saving Francesca or The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta!

    To be read with S-Biscottis! Recipe from the author!
    http://www.cuisine.com.au/recipe/sicilian-s-biscotti

  114. It’s probably a bit of a downer, but one that I LOVE & stirs a lot of discussion, is The God of Small Things. It’s a Booker Prize winner, and one that I just couldn’t stop thinking about.

    It is center on a family in India, so I’d say some great Indian food would be the best. You could have Samosas or other finger foods. That sounds cliche, but the book is straight forward and would lend itself well to good food and good chat!

  115. I would DEFINITELY recommend Lust for Life by Irving Stone. It’s a beautiful fictional biography/biographical memoir of Vincent van Gogh.

    Menu items? Hmm.. I think I would go with some French delicacies, since most of the book takes place in France. Maybe some little mini-cakes and flavored espresso. 😛

    Hope everyone is enjoying the Read-a-Thon!

    roofbeamreader(at)gmail(dot)com

  116. I’ll recommend The Secret Daughter by Gowda (eating Indian food along with it) or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Skoot (eating southern food: collard greens, grits, etc)

  117. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. The book tells a story of two friends growing up and continuing their friendship as adults. For food items, have each member bring his/her favorite dish as teen to share with the group. As a bonus, have each member bring a playlist of their favorite teenage songs.

  118. A discovery of witches I just read it and loved it could talk about it all day its by Debroah Harkness

  119. I would recommend We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. We read it at my book club years ago and it still gets talked about. The discussion and debate about nature vs nurture it created just ran and ran and ran. Brilliant!

    I’m a crap cook so I’m afraid to recommend any food for fear of poisoning you lovely ladies 🙂

  120. My book club had a great discussion on The Kite Runner. I was very surprised at some of their reactions. For that meeting, I made naan bread from India. It was awesome!

  121. snow flower and the secret fan by lisa see….one girl had the actual shoes worn by the women which made it really cool chinese food of course!
    the tortilla curtain by t corrigan boyle…one of the mebers is hispanic so the issue of immigration was huge..can’t tell you how loud this discussion got! mexican food of course!

  122. My bookclub read This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper and there was lots to talk about (dysfunctional families etc) but it is also a funny (in a dark way) book. In the same vein, The Financial Lives of Poets was another book that I think would lend itself well to a bookclub!

  123. If you like fantasy, I recommend “Curse of Chalion” and “Paladin of Souls” from Lois McMaster Bujold. They are set in a secondary world with family-themed gods (the Mother, the Father, the Daughter, the Son, and the Bastard) and have pretty unusual protagonists. In Curse he’s a broken man in his mid thirties and in the Paladin she’s a middle-aged widow.

  124. i would recommend Joe Amaral’s new release “Understanding Jesus”. just amazing new perspectives when you understand the context of which He was part and which His parables related…

  125. Love the Joey clip!

    I’d recommend Falling Through the Earth by Danielle Trussoni. It’s a beautiful memoir about a woman’s relationship with her father and the time he spent serving in Vietnam. It’s well-written, and it brings up so many topics for discussion — everything from war to familial relationships.

    Hmm, for the menu, I’ll suggest Vietnamese food (:

  126. Here’s the menu to enjoy with Understanding Jesus:
    Falafel served as you wish ~

    As a main dish, it is served as a sandwich, stuffed in pita bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. As an appetizer, it is served on a salad, or with hummus and tahini. Falafel is a favorite among vegetarians.

    EnJoY with wine to complete your book discussions!

  127. I’m not here for the mini-challenge, but it looks like you’ve got lots of folks who are! I’m just stopping by in my official capacity with the cheer squad to wish you an excellent Readathon!

  128. I just read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and I think that would be an excellent book club read. You could have pancakes! They eat pancakes in the book.

  129. Not sure if either of these have been mentioned, but Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, or House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Actually, anything by Jodi Picoult will work.

  130. We had a pretty great discussion about The Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin on my weekly book chat on Twitter, TuesBookTalk. It’s historical, but also a murder mystery/thriller and it was very interesting and entertaining. A menu for this book would good Medieval fare, like huge turkey legs and meat pies…LOL!

  131. I have had many great book conversations, both in school and while working as a librarian. I don’t know that I can pick just one!

    I did have a series of great conversations with a lady about Olive Kitteridge a couple years ago. It was right after that book won the Pulitzer, and it was fascinating to hear what another person thought of a book I loved so dearly. My 88-year-old grandmother recently read the book, also, and she and I chatted about it a bit at my baby shower last weekend!

  132. I definitely have to recommend the book I just finished reading during the #readathon. Already Home by Susan Mallery was wonderful. And I have to admiit that it comes with a pre-planned menu (although you don’t find that out until you get to the end of the book so I’ll share it here.
    Drink: Margaritas (@Sanddanz will love that)
    Appetizers: Jalapeno Poppers
    Meal: Jenna’s Mocha Chili (recipe included in the book – Location 5475 for you Kindle readers)
    Dessert: Apricot Fluff

    This is a great book about love and family with great characters.

  133. My friend Monica just had to call me and let me know that I won your mini-challenge. I have participated in every read-a-thon for the past three years and have *never* managed to win anything (thus, I had stopped even looking at the winner announcements).

    Thank you so much! How should I contact you next?

    YAYZ!!!!!!

    • Hi Shel – I left my contact info up in the post where I announce you as the winner! 😀

      my email is: journeythroughbooks@gmail

      I so glad you had your first readathon win here 😀

  134. Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak.

    It is all about the darkness within us, which we have to face and ultimately overcome. A coming-of-age novel, with a satisfying end.

    You can read my review here:

    http://readbookswritepoetry.blogspot.com/2009/09/teaser-tuesdays-wait-until-twilight-by.html

  135. Hey, congrats to Shel!

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