What Makes a Good Book Club Book?
What Makes a Good Book Club Book?
Book clubs are a great way to gather with friends, meet new people, and hang out while chatting about a great read. The social aspect of book clubbing is really what draws us in. Connecting and getting into the books that really hit the spot — and those that don’t — is all part of the fun.
So if you’re looking to host a book club of your own or join a book club, how do you choose which book to feature? Read on for some thoughts on how to make or narrow down your choices.
While a big book can be full of great plots and characters, a lengthy read might be a turn-off for some. A decent-sized book can encourage readers to take the plunge and stay with it through to the end, just in time for your meetup.
2. Book-to-Movie Adaptations
Books turned into movies are great for book club discussions because you won’t just be discussing the book, but also what worked and what didn’t in the adaptation. Which was better? What do you think about who was cast? What was changed or even missing?
For instance, in the movie adaptation for Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, detective Pendergast, a key figure in later books in the series, doesn’t appear at all!
3. Controversial Content
Nothing gets people talking like plots or characters that some love while others hate. Maybe it’s the author’s writing style or humour that walks a fine line between comedy and offensiveness that provokes a lively discussion.
Whatever it is, polarizing books can keep things interesting and make for a spicy discussion. Even if you don’t agree with other readers, you might hear new perspectives that really get you thinking thanks to a friendly, respectful debate.
4. A Feel Good Read
On the other hand, sometimes we just want to feel good. Choose a book about love, hope, relationships — something that’s an easy read and well-written — and it’s a surefire winner. These picks are made to bring out the best feelings in us and are perfect for bringing a group together to share thoughts and maybe even some laughs.
5. Massive Twists
Did you see it coming? If the last category inspired warm, fuzzy feelings, this one is for the books that shock the system. Sneaky twists can either leave us feeling wowed or can derail the story, but when it works, it works. A great writer knows how to wind us up then bring the whole story crashing down in a totally unexpected way. And if it doesn’t work, well, then there’s even more to talk about!
6. Orphaned Ending
These are the books that leave us with a million questions after we’ve finished. Where’s the rest? What happens next? Open endings can either leave us wanting more in a good way or yearning for a re-write.
While these books can leave us with the feeling that things are unfinished, they’re great for discussions. What would you have liked to see happen to the characters afterwards? Does the ending make you go back and question key plot points? If you’re part of a virtual brunch club, try putting any lingering frustrations to bed with a group re-write and a toast to fan fiction.
Perfect for when you don’t have time to commit to a new read, re-reads are a fun way to look back on a beloved book from the past. If you’ve re-read it lately, years after reading it for the first time, do you still feel the same about it? Or have your feelings changed? These books can be great starting points for discussions about their relevance today.
There are tons of things to look for when choosing a book club book. Hopefully, the categories above help you with your next choice. Or maybe it’ll just come down to taking the chance on a good book synopsis that pulls you in right away. Either way, as long as YOU love the book, and love talking about it, you can’t go wrong.
Which books have you read that you’d put in the above categories? What do you look for when choosing a book for your own reading group? Let us know here. We always love hearing about what Brookies are reading!
If you’re interested in joining one of our virtual book club meetups, we’d love to have you! Check out all of our upcoming events here.
Keisha Paterson is a lifetime writer of sticky-note poetry who enjoys comfort foods, self-care holidays, and Hawaiian dance. A prolific wanderer, she loves to discover and take home old orphaned books and eclectic records. She is an office manager, private yoga instructor, and freelance editor in Toronto.
Favourite Book: Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou
Favourite brunch spot: Sisters and Co.