When putting together last year’s best book club picks, I mentioned looking for titles that could spark discussion around interesting topics or debatable characters and the same holds true for 2014. Each book has an element that will get readers standing up for their opinions, questioning conventions or searching for answers. Take note! Here are eight great new book club picks.
I feel like I’m constantly pushing for book clubs to give nonfiction a try because it can lead to some of the best group discussions. In On Immunity, new mother Eula Biss examines the fears, truths and myths around modern immunization and how those ideas impact society as a whole.
Short story collections can work well for book clubs, as they allow for discussion around common themes as well as individual stories. Stone Mattress is perfect for this, as the collection’s stories are incredibly strong on their own but are also bound together by several different themes.
An Untamed State can be a difficult book to get through on your own, which makes it perfect to read with a supportive group. But the novel also begs to be talked about upon finishing, as it touches on numerous challenging and important topics.
Another great piece of nonfiction, Dataclysm focuses on breaking down and finding patterns in the data gathered by different social media networks. Though it sounds technical and dry, Christian Rudder presents the information in a way that will have you itching to discuss his findings with someone else.
Just before How to Build a Girl was published earlier this year, I took part in a readalong with several other bloggers. Based on our weekly talks alone, I can attest to the fact that Caitlin Moran’s sharp, funny novel on growing up is perfect for reading with a group.
One thing guaranteed to bring a group of people together is looking back to the whirlwind of adolescence. Brutal Youth follows several teenagers as they navigate the bully-infested waters of their early-90’s high school. Both the characters and the challenges they face create ideal opportunities for discussion and flashback.
Though I’m far from Brooklyn and don’t have children, I saw many recognizable faces in Cutting Teeth. As their stories collide in a weekend away at the beach, Julia Fierro’s characters create a great space for open dialogue on modern parenthood and it’s expectations.
After a crisis wipes away the world Cal and Frida once knew, the pair seeks shelter in the California wilderness. When Frida discovers she is pregnant, they are forced to make decisions about their future that will have groups asking questions, making predictions and puzzling out answers.
What 2014 titles would you recommend to book clubs?