Our new Book-Club-in-a-Bag sets are ready and available to check out! The new titles are:
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Somebody’s Memoir by Ashley C. Ford
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
We choose the titles for book clubs because of their timeliness, quality of writing, and how well they will lend themselves to lively, interesting discussion. Malibu Rising meets all of those criteria! It’s a family drama by the author of the wildly popular Daisy Jones and the Six set around an annual party thrown by the children of a legendary rock singer. The party takes place at their father’s Malibu mansion, and by the end of the night, things get wild and there’s some reckoning to be done.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is a beautifully written allegorical fantasy with magical beings, a fascinating setting, and a sweet ending. The story is about all types of relationships and finding family and defining what home is. This book will be good for book clubs that have just a few fantasy enthusiasts but a lot of members who enjoy good writing.
The Lost Apothecary is a character-driven novel with a dual story line and setting: an 18th-century secret apothecary shop in London and modern-day London with an historian who discovers evidence of the shop and ties it to some unsolved murders. This book has so many discussion possibilities: women’s lives throughout history, herbal remedies and pre-modern medicine, friendships, and historical research.
The other historical novel in this group is Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter. Based on actual events and people, it is the love (and life) story of two artists in World War II – era Europe. It is a fascinating glimpse into the art world of early 20th century Europe featuring such interesting real-life people like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Peggy Guggenheim, among many others. This is book will work well for book clubs with members who are interested in history and/or in art. To add depth to the discussion, members research any of the other characters featured in the book.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is a multi-layered, highly emotional crime and family drama that involves very rich and gritty characters and a decades-long broken friendship and its healing process. This book will be a good choice for men’s book clubs or clubs that have both men and women. Be prepared for a heavy character dissection and discussion!
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is a Gothic thriller and modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre. It is set in the south, around Atlanta, and has lots of Southern charm and “Southernisms.” The discussion of this book could include a contrast and comparison with Charlotte Bronte’s original classic.
The last-minute addition to this round of Book-Club-in-a-Bag sets is Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarity. All of the author’s books have been masterfully suspenseful, and this one does not disappoint readers who like to be kept on their toes. It’s got a mystery, family drama and secrets, and a little bit of dry humor. This book is already optioned for a mini-series; a good discussion point for book clubs is which actors will be cast as each of the characters.
The new nonfiction sets are Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir by Ashley C. Ford and Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker. Somebody’s Daughter is a brilliantly-written memoir by a victim of sexual assault who shows that with enough grit and an open heart and mind, even the toughest of childhoods can be overcome. Ford’s story is truly about her life-long journey to discover and affirm that she is somebody’s daughter. To truly understand the beauty of the book, book club members could research Ashley Ford and her life now and how she has used her past experiences to do a lot of good in the world.
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family is the story of the Galvin family, Mimi and Dan their twelve children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Less than one percent of the world’s population has been diagnosed with this illness, so what an amazing story it is that six people in one family were! Robert Kolker interviewed members of the Galvin family and applied his experience as journalist to give an empathetic glimpse into how schizophrenia affected the whole family. He also gives a clear, readable history of the study and treatment of schizophrenia and society’s perception of it. Book club members could research the history of the study and treatment of mental illness in the United States or members could find the documentary on Netflix and watch it together.