Now that I’ve made room in my office for all the exciting books I discovered at Book Expo America, I can share my top book club picks with you. I’ve already made a list of new sci-fi fantasy books by diverse authors I discovered at BookCon, but today we’re focusing on book club reads.
Whether you’re in a book club or not, add them to your list. I’m excited to read them this summer!
Top Book Club Picks From Book Expo America 2015
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past by Jennifer Teege and Nikola Selmair (April 2015)
About the book: When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognizing photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List—a man known and reviled the world over. The book shares her childhood and what she learned about her family.
Good for book clubs because: I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but I was meeting with a rep from publisher and saw a stack of the books on their display. She saw my enthusiasm and gave me a copy. I can only imagine how horrifying it was for Teege to learn her grandfather’s role in World War II. While there’s obviously racial and ethnic elements in the book, we can all identify with our quest to discover who we truly are and how our family’s past influences our identity.
Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons (May 2015)
About the book: Brittany Gibbons has been a plus size her whole life. But instead of hiding herself in the shadows of thinner women, Brittany became a wildly popular blogger and national spokesmodel—known for stripping on stage at TedX and standing in Times Square in a bikini on national television, and making skinny people everywhere uncomfortable.
Good for book clubs because: Several friends of different shapes and sizes recommend this book to me. I also love that part of the book blurb reads “Fat Girl Walking isn’t a diet book….she reminds us that being chubby doesn’t mean you’ll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show.” No matter what size we are, women can relate to feeling self-conscious about body image. Brittany’s openness will definitely encourage your book club to open up.
Rising Strong by Brené Brown (August 2015)
About the book: The physics of vulnerability is simple: If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall. Brené Brown tells us what it takes to get back up, and how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle, Brené Brown writes, can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to a wholehearted life.
Good for book clubs because: I’ve been following Brené Brown before she Oprah “discovered” her. Brown’s honesty and authenticity on her blog resonated with me. She encouraged us to embrace being vulnerable, something I think many women (especially moms or caretakers) have trouble doing. Her writing is never preachy and encourages us to stop and truly think about how we see our stories.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (September 2015)
About the book: Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion…
Good for book clubs because: I know some people are not fans of Elizabeth Gilbert, but her writing and creativity blows me away. I loved her novel The Signature of All Things. As a creative person, I often hear “I wish I was creative like you!” My belief is that we’re all creative, but we have to discover how that creativity manifests. Just like the title says, fear holds us back from being creative. Maybe we call discover how to unlock it.
Goddess by Kelly Gardiner (Kindle version available now, paperback drops October 2015)
About the book: A sparkling, witty and compelling novel based on the tragic rise and fall of the beautiful seventeenth century swordswoman and opera singer, Julie d’Aubigny (also known as La Maupin), a woman whose story is too remarkable to be true – and yet it is. Versailles, 1686: Julie d’Aubigny, a striking young girl taught to fence and fight in the court of the Sun King, is taken as mistress by the King’s Master of Horse. tempestuous, swashbuckling and volatile, within two years she has run away with her fencing master, fallen in love with a nun and is hiding from the authorities, sentenced to be burnt at the stake. Within another year, she has become a beloved star at the famed Paris Opera. Her lovers include some of Europe’s most powerful men and France’s most beautiful women. Yet Julie is destined to die alone in a convent at the age of 33. Based on an extraordinary true story, this is an original, dazzling and witty novel – a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman.
Good for book clubs because: When the publisher pitches the book as Lady Gaga crossed with Kate Middleton, how could you not be curious? I’m also a sucker for historical novels with kickass women. The fact that Julie D’Aubigny is a real person makes this even more fascinating.
The Secret Chord: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks (October 2015)
About the book: Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage. The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age.
Good for book clubs because: Every book I’ve read by Brooks has knocked me over. She is a brilliant storyteller. My friends and I stood in line for close to an hour to get a signed copy of this book. If The Secret Chord is as good as her other novels, your book club won’t be able to put down.
Which of these books would you read?
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