To honour the in-bed-with-a-book desire, I thought I’d outline some of my favourite books I’ve read over the past four years, which is when I first joined a book club.
Six of us are part of the group and we meet every six to eight weeks and take turns hosting. For me, it’s a highlight getting together with a group of women to discuss…books? Well, more like our lives. We usually quickly touch on the book before returning to catch-up conversations about work, kids, recipes and life. My husband calls it Wine Club. Whatever. It’s a good excuse to read a book while having some social time.
But the book club has forced me to get back into reading, which has always been a favourite pastime. Although I’ve miserably failed over the past year since having our son, I’m trying REALLY hard now to get the books read!
We’ve made a list of the books we’ve read over the past four years and here’s a selection of my favourites:
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
1961: On a sweltering summer’s day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright
future she can’t wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything. 2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds–Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy–who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatally entwined…
This book was an easy read and although it’s a long read, it’s so, so worth it in the end. It had us book clubbers shocked and we couldn’t wait to actually talk about it at book club! I recommended it to my sister for her book club’s next selection, and her book club loved it just as much as ours did.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality, as told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. Genova’s debut shows the disease progression through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so readers feel what she feels: a slowly building terror.
For some reason, this book stayed with me. It was told from Alice’s perspective which made it that much more frightening. But it’s real and it’s raw.
The Guernsey Island Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Call me a sucker for historical settings, but this book did two things: it gave me a history lesson on Guernsey Island’s involvement in the Second World War and had a heart-warming story line. Easy read, but filled with good content.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
All I can say is I’m glad I didn’t yet have kids when we read this book. It makes you feel sick to your stomach but you also can’t put it down. An unforgettable read.
Some other favourites:
- The Hunger Games
- Little Bee
- The Glass Castle
- Apparently the Book Thief is amazing, but I was a book club fraud that month and didn’t finish it.
Tell me: What are some of your favourite reads?