Welcome to our Book Club Corner, where each month we highlight books new to paperback we think would make perfect picks for your next book club discussion.
If you’re looking to join a book club, we host a wide variety of free, bookseller-run book clubs right here at BookPeople. Join us! We love to talk books.
Featured Books of the Month:
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Ryan’s characters alternate chapters as they describe life in their Irish town in a time of economic downturn. This novel read like classic fiction. Fans of Faulkner will find a lot to love in Ryan’s portrayal of a number of distinctive voices conveying their overlapping stories. This novel won the Guardian Book of the Year Award; two Irish Book Awards: Newcomer of The Year and Book of The Year; and was longlisted for both the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Man Booker Prize.
Consuelo highly recommends this book: “The Spinning Heart does what all great fiction does – tell a specific story to explore what’s universal. Each character has a distinct voice and what I found most interesting is how each perceives themselves and one another. These perceptions reverberate to create a whole picture of this Irish village at a very particular moment. So good.”
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adichie recently took home a National Book Critics Circle Award for this novel about a young man and woman who flee Nigeria to find a new home – and new struggles – in America. This novel will have your group discussing issues of race, globalization, the post 9/11 immigrant experience, and the power of friendship and love.
Katie P. highly recommends this book: “The politics are current, the cultural references are timely, the neighborhoods and residents and topics of conversation are instantly recognizable. Adichie has done something more than write a realistic novel – she’s written a State of the Union address. Americanah shows us the world exactly as it is, and dares us to talk about it.”
The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma
If your club enjoyed discussing books like The Imperfectionists, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Big Fish, and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, you’ll want to check out this debut from up-and-coming writer Kristopher Jansma. A young man proves to be an unreliable narrator as he aims to become a famous writer, traveling the globe from Manhattan to Sri Lanka. You’ll discuss the art of storytelling, truth telling, the role of fiction, and how we tell the tales of our own lives.
Emily highly recommends this book: “Each chapter is a fiction in and of itself, pulling us in and then slipping away to reveal itself to have been a story within a story. One begins to feel as if Jansma is granting a forbidden peek into the mechanics of the writer’s inventions, his narrative fantasies. A quote of Hemingway’s had come to mind: “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you…” As the writer writes and re-writes his life, patterns and people ripple and echo into each other and the suspicion begins to grow that none of the story is reliable, but somehow, all of it is true.”
Songs of Willow Frost by Jaime Ford
From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a novel set in Depression-era Seattle about a mother, son and the experience of Chinese Americans during this period of American history. You’ll talk about America during the Depression, racism, the Chinese experience in America and the bond between mothers and their children.
Katie highly recommends this book: “Willow’s history is fraught with illness, abuse, and disenfranchisement at the hands of a racist city that refused to treat Chinese women in hospitals, routinely forced sterilization upon minority populations, and removed healthy children from single-mother homes for “morality” reasons. The sights, sounds, and smells of the Great Depression in a port town vibrate off the page with the same intensity as William and Willow’s emotions. Ford is a careful writer, who discernibly strives for a poetic turn of phrase. His attention to detail is this novel’s saving grace. It would have been easy for Songs of Willow Frost to be consumed by the epic nature of the tragedies inherent to its protagonists’ lives, but in Ford’s confident, poetic voice, it stays exactly where it should: at eye level with a pair of human hearts.”
Featured Wine of the Month:
Here in Austin, the skies are starting to turn towards the sun once again. Clouds are parting, temperatures are rising, and it’s about time to uncork something a bit lighter than winter’s Malbecs and Cabernets. At a recent event with Austin author Bill Cotter (Parallel Apartments), we sampled a lovely Petite Sirah from McManis Family Vineyards. We found the layered, rich flavors of this wine berry, jammy and delightful, a wonderful burst of fruit to get us excited for the warmer months ahead.
Featured Book Club Event:
Tuesday, April 15 at 7pm
The Burgess Boys
If your book club loved Olive Kitteridge, you won’t want to miss this free event with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout. She’ll be here at BookPeople with her new novel, now in paperback, The Burgess Boys, a story about two brothers who return to their childhood home to help their nephew and long-buried tensions rise to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
Invite your all of the members of your book club down to tonight’s discussion! We’re raffling off a basket of soon-to-be-released books at this event perfect for group discussion.