February 2, 2023

Save the Net Books

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8 Fascinating Books About Book Clubs

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We know that books about books are popular with readers – and so are books about book clubs. This particular category is about more than the power of books in a person’s life: it’s about their power to foster connection and community. Isn’t that one of the main reasons people join book clubs? We want to discover new books and gain knowledge, yes, but we also want to express ourselves in the company of other book lovers. Books about book clubs capture and fulfill that desire.

Knowing this, I was a little surprised by the plethora of books that have book clubs as a starring role. In many of the titles below, book clubs aren’t just backdrops: they’re catalysts, whether for plot advancement or character development. Granted, it might be a little self-centered (I mean, we’re not getting into “Dante writes self-inserted fanfiction praising him from Virgil” territory, but we’re readers who enjoy reading about other readers). But it’s also fascinating. I marvel at this need to commit ourselves to this cause we love.

The books I have listed here all address this need. They’re mostly fiction, but the appeal of book clubs (and their power) is very real.

The Perks of Loving a Wallflower (Wild Wynchesters #2) by Erica Ridley

Philippa York’s life has few bright spots. One of them is her reading circle, a group of bluestocking friends who meet at her house every week to discuss books. When one of the members’ ciphers is stolen by her uncle, Philippa recruits Tommy Wynchester, part of a robbery family.

Cover of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

Nafisi, an Iranian professor, gathered seven of her students to read Western classics. But this book club came about at immense risk: it took place during the Islamic Republic of Iran, when fundamentalists controlled universities and killed even the slightest dissenter.

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Cover of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, translated by Ina Rilke

Two city boys exiled to a mountain village during China’s Cultural Revolution meet a young seamstress and discover a stash of banned Western classics translated into Chinese. Soon, the boys are retelling the stories they have learned in their newfound books, to the delight of the villagers.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

One of my absolute favorite books, this epistolary novel tells the story of a London author and the book club members she comes into contact with. Set in post-war Guernsey, it’s a delightful and moving tale of the power of community and books in hard times.

Toni Morrison Book Club cover

The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson and Piper Kendrix Williams

Group reminders are not very common, making this a rare gift. Four friends find that Toni Morrison’s novels are wonderful springboards for the necessary conversations about racism in all its forms.

Meet Cute Club book cover

Meet Cute Club (Sweet Rose #1) by Jack Harbon

Jordan Collins is concerned about the dwindling membership of his romance club. Worried enough, in fact, to accept Rex Bailey, the pesky new clerk at his local bookstore, if he wants to get in. But there may be more to Rex than meets the eye…

Cover of The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams

The Secret, Book & Scone Society (Secret, Book & Scone Society #1) by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington, owner of Miracle Books, has a gift: she can always recommend the right book to the right person. That’s what a visiting businessman wanted…but before he can keep her appointment, he’s found dead on the tracks. Nora founds the Secret, Book & Scone Society, determined to find out the truth behind the man’s death.

Cover of the Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Patricia Campbell isn’t happy with her life. The only thing she enjoys is her book club, founded by Charleston moms with a taste for true crime and suspense. When a handsome stranger comes to town and local children go missing, Patricia’s suspicions are raised. But even she could never have guessed the damn truth behind the disappearance.

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