Top Ten Tuesday: Best Book Club Picks

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is rewind to a top ten Tuesday theme you missed. For this one, I chose to do “10 books that would make great book club picks.”


kitchen god's wife

The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
Genre: Literary Fiction

Back Cover Description: Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terrible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events that led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.


immortal life of Henrietta lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Genre: 
Non-Fiction

Back Cover Description: Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.


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So Far From God by Ana Castillo
Genre: 
Magic Realism

Back Cover Description: Tome is a small, outwardly sleepy hamlet in central New Mexico. In Ana Castillo’s hands, however, it stands wondrously revealed as a place teeming with life and with all manner of collisions: the past with the present, the real with the supernatural, the comic with the horrific, the Native American with the Latino and the Anglo, and the women with the men. With her talkative, intimate voice and stylistic narrative freedom, Castillo relates the story of two crowded decades in the life of a Chicano family.


borderlands

Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa
Genre: 
Non-Fiction

Back Cover Description: Anzaldua, a Chicana native of Texas, explores in prose and poetry the murky, precarious existence of those living on the frontier between cultures and languages. Writing in a lyrical mixture of Spanish and English that is her unique heritage, she meditates on the condition of Chicanos in Anglo culture, women in Hispanic culture, and lesbians in the straight world. Her essays and poems range over broad territory, moving from the plight of undocumented migrant workers to memories of her grandmother, from Aztec religion to the agony of writing. Anzaldua is a rebellious and willful talent who recognizes that life on the border, “life in the shadows,” is vital territory for both literature and civilization. Venting her anger on all oppressors of people who are culturally or sexually different, the author has produced a powerful document that belongs in all collections with emphasis on Hispanic American or feminist issues.


bloody chamber

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Genre: 
Short Stories

Back Cover Description: From familiar fairy tales and legends–Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, and werewolves–Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.


gilda stories

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez
Genre: 
Horror

Back Cover Description: The Gilda Stories is a very American odyssey. Escaping from slavery in the 1850s Gilda’s longing for kinship and community grows over two hundred years. Her induction into a family of benevolent vampires takes her on an adventurous and dangerous journey full of loud laughter and subtle terror.


flaubert's parrot

Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
Genre: 
Literary Fiction

Back Cover Description: Which of two stuffed parrots was the inspiration for one of Flaubert’s greatest stories? Why did the master keep changing the colour of Emma Bovary’s eyes? And why should it matter so much to Geoffrey Braithwaite, a retired doctor haunted by a private secret? In “Flaubert’s Parrot”, Julian Barnes spins out a multiple mystery of obsession and betrayal (both scholarly and romantic) and creates an exuberant enquiry into the ways in which art mirrors life and then turns around to shape it.


perfume

Perfume by Patrick Süskind
Genre: 
Horror

Back Cover Description: In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift — an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume” — the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.


uncommon reader

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Genre: 
Literary Fiction

Back Cover Description: When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.


4070095

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Genre: 
Graphic Novel

Back Cover Description: Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about?

As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin to understand this confounding yet fascinating character, and how he’s gotten to where he is. And isn’t. And we meet Hana: a sweet, smart, first-generation Japanese American artist with whom he had made a blissful life. But now she’s gone. Did Asterios do something to drive her away? What has happened to her? Is she even alive? All the questions will be answered, eventually.

In the meantime, we are enthralled by Mazzucchelli’s extraordinarily imagined world of brilliantly conceived eccentrics, sharply observed social mores, and deftly depicted asides on everything from design theory to the nature of human perception.

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9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Best Book Club Picks

  1. Angela Carter would be such a fantastic book club selection! I absolutely love her short stories, they’re so chilling and unsettling. I’ve not read The Uncommon Reader yet, but it’s been on my radar for a while – I love meta books like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I love Angela Carter’s short stories. I’m very tempted to try to convince my book club to give her stuff a shot. Maybe I can get them to read it in October this year. 😛

      The Uncommon Reader was great and a really quick read. If I’m remembering right, it’s under 200 pages.

      Like

    • Henrietta Lacks was a really interesting read. I don’t read too much non-fiction but that one really held my attention. The Uncommon Reader is a good one if you’re looking for a quick read. If I’m remembering right it clocks in at under 200 pages.

      Like

    • The Gilda Stories is fabulous! It was one of the most unique vampire books I’ve read in a long time. It’s actually the anniversary (25th… I think) of when the book was originally released. So the publisher is releasing a nice anniversary edition. Definitely check it out if you have the chance! 🙂

      Like

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