"Lists were always her comfort....for years she had made lists about books she must read, good habits she must acquire, things she must do to make herself prettier--like brushing her hair a hundred strokes at night and manicuring her fingernails and doing calisthenics before an open window in the morning (that one hadn't lasted long)." -- Betsy and the Great World, by Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy loved lists and so do I, and I really love seeing lists other people make--it's an immediate challenge to me -- have I read all the books? can I? should my group? Reading Group Choices has announced their new list of the most discussible books from the past year, which many of you, along with reading group leaders representing more than 50,000 book group members, helped to select! Below, Barbara Mead, of Reading Group Choices, shares her thoughts on the new list, which then follows. Looks like my own group is well on our way towards completing this list!
The list shows many repeats from one year to another--clearly, "reading group classics." The phenomenon of the memoir is still strong with three appearing on the list. And reading groups don't discriminate-- number 9 is a YA book! The discussion topics from all of these books could be considered similar, but manifest themselves in different ways in the various books -- love, cultural and social issues, controversial topis, history, and personal struggle. That's what reading groups are all about -- books, conversation, and fun. Who says the American literary dialogue is dead?!
#1 Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
#2 The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
#3 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
#4 A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
#5 The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
#6 TIE: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
#6 TIE: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
#7 My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
#8 Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
#9 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
#10 Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Daivd Oliver Relin
--Barbara Mead, President, Reading Group Choices
In addition to the top ten, or I guess, eleven books, many other titles were standouts for generating a lot of discussion, including The Year of Magical Thinking, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Diana Lively is Falling Down (this title is so great, I have to check it out), The Shadow of the Wind, The Space Between Us, and Atonement.