So, without further ado, here's Laura.
Non-Conventional Book Club Picks
“Why have you put ‘Wine for Her?’” she asked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that these are wines that women are more likely to enjoy,” said Bruce. . . .
“And why do you think women would want different wine from men? Do they have different taste buds?”
“Yes,” he said. “Women like sweeter wine. And they like bottles with more feminine labels. Everybody knows that.”
--Alexander McCall Smith, Espresso Tales
Books with "discussion questions" at the end strike me as the literary equivalent of a "Wines for Her" shelf. I feel condescended upon, stereotyped: Woman In A Book Club = chick who probably can't finish the book, much analyze it herself, and just shows up for the wine. Grrr.
That's not to say there aren't plenty of good books that have discussion questions at the end. Still, it's a strike against them to me.
In that spirit, here are five non-conventional book club picks that my book club and I have enjoyed over the years.
The Children of Men by P.D. James: Apocalyptic thriller, a real page turner. Chilling, yet completely non-religious, vision of a world that stops having children. Don't judge the book by the movie based on it, which is very different.
The Book of Judith (in the Catholic Bible): Many Bible verses used in honor of the Blessed Virgin are taken from this book. What you might not guess is that Judith was one badass chick, who uses questionable tactics to defend her people. This book raises some puzzling moral questions that are fascinating to discuss.
Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace In Israel by Elias Chacour: A short, autobiographical account of a Melkite Catholic Archbishop, whose community was uprooted from their homeland when he was a child, during the founding of Israel. He weaves his story in with reflections on the Beatitudes and his own quest for peace between Jews and Palestinians.
The Next Step In the Dance by Tim Gautreaux: This book has lots of conventional chick-lit ingredients- -a good-hearted, hard-headed woman and the man who loves her. But it's a beautifully written, clear- eyed look at marriage (my previous review is here), in the Southern literary tradition, with some tall- tale elements thrown in. Delicious.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry by Albert Bernstein: This is psychology/ self-help in a funny, helpful format. This should be required reading for everyone entering the workforce, but if you didn't read it then, read it in your book club!
Thanks for joining us for Five Favorites again this week! Let's hear some of your favorites!