Every other week when I lived in Manhattan, I gathered with a group of aspiring writers I met from a Greenwich Village writing class I took after my long residency hours at 9 pm on Tuesday nights. We held our book club type meet-ups in our cramped living rooms where we would just talk about writing, books and literature. We discussed everything from how to write dialogue to our favourite book that month and we really just let the words take us. Whether we were discussing something we had written or read, it was a great excuse to get together and discuss our love for literature. Let’s just say that books and writing have always been my escape 😉
Fast forward almost a decade, I realized how much I miss that…and how as a momma, I try to carve out time for “girls night”…so I decided to add in good books convo to girls time…plus allow me to keep up with reading novels since mommy-hood can take over. That’s why I started a local book club! We have been going strong for a few months and here are some recent books we have read for you book club mommas that need inspiration!
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: I had heard about this from a friend and saw it at Barnes and Nobles awhile back even though I normally don’t read this author, but glad I picked it up! We started our club with this book and it was perfect for book club discussion for sure. In this story of Ruth Jefferson, a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion when during her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patien since the parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child…and the hospital complies. It gets deeper when the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery and Ruth gets charged with a serious crime when hesitating to perform CPR. We read this right after the presidential election and all of us are women of color so to say it was timely was an understatement.
- The Golden Sun by Shilpi Somaya Gowda: This author is local to SoCal and a book club member found out she was having a luncheon and reading at a Nepalese restaurant in San Diego so it was perfect for us to make it the next read. Plus some of us had read her other novel Secret Daughter and enjoyed it. Most of us in the group are from first generation immigrant families (Indian) so Shilpi’s eloquent words really spoke to us in this novel. The novel revolves around Anil Patel, first of his family to go to college and the golden son, who carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his tiny Indian village in Gujarat to begin a medical residency in Dallas, Texas, at one of the busiest and most competitive hospitals in America. The story unfolds to illuminate the ambivalence of the characters…mostly caught between past and present, tradition and modern life, duty and choice. It is the push and pull of living in two cultures as Indian Americans and most immigrants often face and the pain that can come with certain choices.
- The Best American Short Stories of 2016 by Junot Diaz: For book clubs that meet pretty often, this is an excellent choice. You can read a story for every meeting or for book clubs that have much longer intervals between meetings and busier lifestyles, this works too since you can focus each meeting on a short story and not worry about where anyone is in the book. This short story collection comes out every fall and a different author choose stories for the collection and since I am a big fan of Junot Diaz and have read all his books, I was excited when this came out. I have it on my night stand right now to start! The inside flap reads: From a Nigerian boy’s friendship with his family’s former houseboy to a sweatshop girl s experience as a sister wife, from love and murder on the frontier to a meltdown in the academe, these stories, for Diaz, have the economy and power to break hearts, bones, vanities and cages.
Plus, some other older books that I think are awesome for book clubs if you haven’t read them yet: Shantaram, followed by Gregory David Roberts’s second book Mountain Shadow, Kite Runner to recent And The Mountains Echoed and A Thousand Splendid Suns for that matter too, Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok and so many more! Always poll your book club for what older books they have or haven’t read- for instance none of us had read Jean Kwok’s book that was out in 2011 so we added it on to our list recently (and it was great!).
Let’s read on mommas 🙂
So, what’s your book club currently reading? Comment below!