Fictional Castaways: Top Ten Tuesday

Ahoy, Bookworms!

It’s time for some Tuesday fun, and today I’m making a list with the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish. Today we’ve been tasked with listing the book characters we’d like to bring with us on a deserted island. I mean if you HAVE to be stranded somewhere, you might as well make it interesting, right?

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1. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter : Ain’t no such thing as “stuck” on a deserted island when you’ve got the cleverest witch of her age on your side. There’s sidelong apparation, right? Plus, I’m sure she could whip up a port key in no time flat. Even if we WERE to be trapped, Hermione and her wand would be dead useful. Fire? Water purification? There’s a spell for that!

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games : I can’t have a witch or a wizard accompany me on my island because I’m a muggle? Well. That’s rude. But if I must take another muggle with me, I may as well bring one with some survival skills. Katniss knows all sorts of stuff about foraging for food. She might be a little moody, but girl’s got baggage okay?

3. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser from Outlander: What? You cut your foot while hunting for firewood? No biggie, our girl Claire has a penicillin home brew cooking. She’ll stitch you up and send you home with a tot of whiskey.

4. Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind: She’s a pretty terrible human being most of the time, but girl’s got GUMPTION. She was never more admirable than when she was scratching out a living post war on Tara. If you needed someone to pick cotton while acting snooty and superior, Scarlett is your lady. Beware, though, she might try to steal your beaux. (review)

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5. Cinder from CinderCyborgs, yo! Cinder is like 40% computer or something. She can do just about anything you might need, except, perhaps, resist Prince Charming. (review)

6. Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins: Side Note: I want to have a book named after me. Really though, Mary Poppins has a bit of magic here and there. We could hop into a chalk painting for a nice spot of tea when things got too harsh. (review)

7. J Maarten Troost author of Headhunters on My Doorstep: A little bit of cheating, because he’s a real dude, but hear me out.  He’s lived on or visited all the mostly deserted islands left on earth. He’d have to have some useful tips. (review)

8. Jon Snow from A Game of Thrones: They never said it was a WARM island we’d be deserted on, and if it happened to be a post apocalyptic Greenland, Jon Snow would come in mighty handy. Plus, you know. Since this is an imaginary scenario and all, I might just be able to show Jon Snow that about which he knows nothing. #dirtyoldwoman

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Alright Bookworms, what fictional (or not so fictional) book character would you bring with you on a deserted island? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Zdravsvtvuyte Bookworms!
That was a Russian greeting, because I’m all about setting the scene, and I recently finished reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I’m not hugely into YA fiction, but I read an article on Book Riot last year and the series landed on my radar. Kit Steckliener wrote the piece, and I typically trust her opinion. I figured if anyone was going to steer me toward YA that I’d enjoy, Kit would be a good bet.

shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024 Shadow and Bone is set in Ravka, which has a Russian vibe about it. The country has been divide in half by something called a Shadow Fold, which is dark and full of man-eating creatures who take large chunks out of those who would try to pass. Alina Starkov is a bit of a misfit- an orphan with no discernible talents. She’s serving in the army with her BFF (who happens to be a super handsome boy she’s a little bit in love with) when she’s required to cross the Fold. In the midst of the chaos, she busts out with some magical skills she was unaware she had, and is swept into the world of the mysterious Grisha. The Grisha are people with magical talents who get to wear these sweet robes and live in a castle. Swank digs and duds aside, Alina has to navigate this new world and, you know, try to save the world while she’s at it.

There were some elements of Shadow and Bone I really liked. I thought the whole Grisha concept was pretty cool. I don’t run into a lot with a Russian folklore twist to it (though, I really have no idea if this is based on folklore at all, being unfamiliar with Slavic mythology, but it feels sort of fairy tale-ish.) I’m down with magic. I like dark and mysterious. I like cool outfits. I wish I could keep it positive, but I had some issues with this book, too…

The way the Grisha do magic reminded me a LOT of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (review). Only… The Name of the Wind did it better. Plus there was a love triangle, and now that I am a grumpy, jaded old person, I have no patience of love triangles. Sadly, for me the bad outweighed the good. I don’t know if I’ll bother with the rest of the series. Sad trombone.

Tell me something, Bookworms. Have you ever run across two similar story lines but thought one was done much better than the other? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry: A Fellowship of the Worms Fun-fest

Salutations Bookworms!

smarty-mcwordypants-199x300Who is excited and has two thumbs? THIS GIRL! Why? The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session!!! This month we took on The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, on your own blog. A linky list will be provided at the end of this post for anybody who has reviewed The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry on their own blog, even if it has nothing to do with the following discussion questions. Don’t be shy, please link up! (I’m looking at YOU, every book blogger ever!)

1. First things first. How much did you love all the book references? A.J. was constantly talking about the books he carried in his store, the books he recommended to his customers, the books he despised. What was your favorite book reference moment? I very nearly died laughing when the old woman came back to the store and yelled at AJ for recommending The Book Thief (review). The minute she said that it was narrated by Death I knew what she was talking about and I couldn’t help myself. It certainly IS rather traumatizing, if you’re not prepared for it. I’m not sure it’s worth berating a bookseller over, but I love quirky elderly characters.

2. How much did you love the AJ and Maya relationship? Am I the only person who got a MAJOR Silas Marner vibe here? Bitter man hoards riches and has heart opened by mysteriously abandoned child? I absolutely ADORED the thawing of AJ. I loved the way he interacted with Maya and conversed with her. Such a funny pair, these two! I think George Eliot would approve.

3. How did you like AJ and Amelia’s love story? Did you find it believable that such an intense relationship could AJFikrydevelop at a distance, especially considering the rocky start they had? I really enjoyed AJ and Amelia as a couple. Thank heaven for Maya- if it weren’t for her melting AJ’s frosty exterior, he never would have opened up to Amelia. I also rather liked the scene at the wedding when Maya gave Amelia the orange nail polish, “A Good MAN-darin is Hard to Find.” My not-so-secret career ambition is to be the nail polish namer for OPI. I’m so good at puns. SOMEBODY HIRE ME!

4. The book Amelia first tries to pitch to AJ was marketed as the memoir of an old man falling in love and getting married late in life. It is later revealed that the “memoir” was a work of fiction by a young female writer. Do you find it problematic that a book be falsely promoted in such a manner? Since I already name dropped George Eliot, let’s talk about pen names. Back in the day, it was SUPER common for female writers to use a male pseudonym to publish their work because a female name wouldn’t be taken as seriously. Even now, I see a lot of female writers using initials to publish as opposed to using their full names in an apparent effort to avoid being pigeon-holed into a lady genres (which is a sad reflection on the state of gender equality, but I digress.) I found it rather interesting that the author not only chose a pen name, but chose to call her novel a memoir. It actually reminded me of the whole hullaballoo when it was shown that James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces embellished his “memoir” so significantly that Oprah felt betrayed. I really liked that Zevin found a way to incorporate some of the dirty little secrets of publishing into her lovely book about books.

5. It turns out in the end that Ismay stole AJ’s copy of Tamerlane. Do you think his story would have gone the way it did if he’d been able to hold on to the valuable manuscript? I did not see this one coming! I mean, it made sense that is was Ismay, because she was one of the only people who knew he had it, but holy smokes! Much as I would have liked to, I found myself unable to hate Ismay. She was a hot steamy mess, that one, and I felt more pity for her than anger. I always love when I see flaws in a books heroes and humanity in the villains. It was really a blessing that AJ lost that dang book though. If he’d kept it, he’d have no Maya, no Amelia, and a whole lot more vindaloo on the wall.

Your turn, Bookworms! Tell me what you thought of this one! If you’ve responded to these discussion questions or reviewed The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry on your own blog, please link up!

Beyond Books: Top Ten Tuesday

Aloha, Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday again (where does the time go?!) The ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have offered up another fun topic for this week’s listy goodness. It may be hard to believe, but we book bloggers occasionally do things other than read. Today we’re talking about our favorite movies and TV shows, though I’m going to try and keep things bookish because I like a challenge. Shall we?

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1. Gilmore Girls- This has been off the air for years, but I’m still a huge fan. Rory Gilmore is the coolest bookworm to ever grace the small screen and the rapid fire banter is endlessly entertaining. The quirky small town characters are hilarious. I own all 7 seasons on DVD and it will never get old. Never, I tell you!

2. Game of Thrones- The hubs and I have been binge watching this show and I know I’m going to go through withdrawal the minute we finish. I have read all the books, but it’s been so long I’ve forgotten a lot of the details. It’s been really fun to relive it, and point of the differences I can recall between the books and the show. Hubs and I took the quiz to find out our professions if we lived in Westeros. I was a noble. He was a whore. He’s taken to calling me Tyrion, which is pretty sweet, because he’s the best character. I guess that makes Hubs Shae. I cannot stop giggling!

3. The Pillars of the Earth- Starz did a mini series of this novel (review) and I thought it was fantastic. It didn’t hurt that Eddie Redmayne played Jack (hello, gorgeous!)

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4. Fried Green Tomatoes- I saw this movie ages before I read the book. Things are quite a bit different, book to movie, but they are both so well done that it’s hard to take issue with it. I love them both on their own merits.

5. The Walking Dead- I really just need to read the doggone comics already (I say this ALL THE TIME and haven’t done it yet… Though I did read one of TWD’s novels, so I’ve got that going for me…) This show was my gateway drug into the zombie genre and I haven’t looked back… Well. I’ve looked back to make sure I’m not being followed by zombies, but that’s about it.

6. Little Women- Little Women is one of my all time favorite novels, but I have always loved the 1994 movie version. I’ve seen it more times than I can count (it was a slumber party favorite for my BFF and I) and it never fails to bring me back.

7. Outlander- Okay, it’s not out yet, but I’m verra excited and cautiously optimistic. I’m putting my faith in Starz because Diana Gabaldon has been involved with the production AND they did a stellar job with The Pillars of the Earth

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I’m throwing in the towel at seven. I think that’s sufficient for today. What about you, bookworms? What are some of your favorite bookish TV shows and/or movies?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Hello Bookworms!

I am SO EXCITED today! I’m going to my very first author event tonight to meet Jo Baker at my local library. I’d had Longbourn on my shelves for a while when I saw the announcement for her visit and bumped it up my reading list. I have to send a big thanks out to Kelly from Read Lately for sending me her ARC of Longbourn just because I commented that I was excited to read it. Book bloggers can be super nice, in case you didn’t already know that.

longbournLongbourn follows the events of Jane Austen’s fabulous and much loved Pride and Prejudice, but this time it’s from the perspective of the servants. The only reason the five lovely Bennet sisters were able to spend their days playing piano, working on needlepoint, and worrying about attracting husbands is because they had people doing their cooking, cleaning, and laundry for them.

Sarah is the main protagonist and a servant at Longbourn, the Bennet homestead. Sarah was orphaned as a child and eventually landed a place in service at Longbourn. While it’s a good deal better than a workhouse, it’s not a glamorous position. I mean, it’s the early 1800s. There are chamber pots to empty, fires to light, and (GAG) menstrual rags to launder.

You guys, I LOVED this book. One of my favorite things about reading historical fiction is the dirty gritty stuff. I like to know what MY life would have been like if I lived back in the day. It de-romanticizes things for me and makes me super grateful for indoor plumbing and electricity. I certainly wasn’t raised a destitute orphan, but I wasn’t born into an outrageously wealthy family either. I don’t know that I’d be in service, but I probably would have to get my hands dirty from time to time.

If you enjoy historical fiction, Jane Austen, or classic story re-tellings, Longbourn is fabulous. Oh, and never fear, Bookworms, I’ll be sure to inform you of all the different ways I manage to embarrass myself in front of Jo Baker.

Tell me something, Bookworms. Does historical fiction ever make you grateful for living in the here and now? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Six Degrees of Separation: The Goldfinch

Good Day Bookworms!

It’s time again for one of my FAVORITE monthly memes, Six Degrees of Separation hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. They choose a book as a starting point, and then we create a chain of books connecting them in any old way we please. Seriously. I once connected two books using yogurt. It’s awesome. This month I’m happy to announce that I have indeed read the starting point book, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (review). Ready set? Let’s do this!

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1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: Ooooh yes. I went there. Boris was my favorite character in The Goldfinch and seriously, if he had been born in 19th Century Paris, he would have been Gavroche! Gavroche was, no surprises here, my favorite character in  Les MisérablesI love a plucky street urchin.

2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (review): I’m switching gears from Paris to Georgia here. Two sweeping epics full of political unrest and corsets? They didn’t specifically mention any hoop skirts in Les Misérablesbut I’ve got my suspicions. And did you see Samantha Barks’s teeeeeeeeeny tiny waist in the movie version of Les Misérables? You know there were corsets all up in there. How could I not connect these two?

3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: Sometimes I get cheeky, and “sometimes” is now. Clearly I’m connecting Gone with the Wind to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter through the American Civil War. They’re both fiction… The latter is just a bit less realistic. (Spoiler Alert: Vampires aren’t real. I’d have been eaten by now, if my attractiveness to blood sucking insects is any indication.)

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4. World War Z by Max Brooks (review): Vampires are mythological creatures that feed on humans, zombies are mythological creatures that feed on humans. It works.

5. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (review): A zombie apocalypse will bring about the end of the world as we know it just as easily as nuclear war will. Of course, nuclear war is ACTUALLY a thing that could happen, so it’s even scarier…

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (review): Speaking of terrifying potential dystopian scenarios can we TALK about The Handmaid’s Tale?! Women sold and used as breeding stock? Women forbidden to read? Worst nightmare, much?

There we have it! The Goldfinch to The Handmaid’s Tale in six easy steps… Including pit stops for corsets, vampires, and zombies. So much fun! Alright Bookworms, tell me something. What book would YOU link to The Goldfinch

#6Degrees Rules

 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Good Day, Bookworms!

You know how exciting it is when one of your favorite authors releases a new book? I discovered Eleanor & Park (reviewmostly by accident last year and loved it. Shortly thereafter, I went to BlogHer where I was able to snag an advanced copy of Fangirl (review), which I also loved. Since there was only one remaining Rainbow Rowell book I hadn’t yet read, I chose Attachments (review) for last September’s Fellowship of the Worms. Needless to say, I’ve been desperate for more Rainbow Rowell since finishing Attachments. I unabashedly emailed a representative from St. Martin’s Press to beg for a copy of Landline before its release on July 8, 2014. Thankfully, the obliged me, and I’m here to tell you all about it! (Without major spoilers. Because I’m not a monster.)

landlineGeorgie is a TV writer in LA working for a moderately successful (though tacky and horrible) television show. She married her college sweetheart Neal and has two little girls. She and Neal love each other, but Georgie’s hours on the show and the pressures of life in LA have taken a toll on their marriage. They seem to have reached a breaking point over Christmas 2013. Georgie is offered a big opportunity writing a new show, and chooses to stay in LA and work while Neal takes the girls to visit his family in Omaha (because Rainbow Rowell loves her some Nebraska, y’all. Midwest love!) After her family leaves for the airport, Georgie realizes that she may just have finally broken everything. Desperate to reconnect and dealing with unanswered cell phone calls, Georgie discovers a bizarre way to communicate with Neal. Only. Well. There’s a magic phone involved. And it kind of, sort of calls Neal’s parents’ landline… In 1998.

Rowell is in fine form as she effortlessly weaves elements of science fiction (Dr. Who style) into an astoundingly realistic story of a marriage in trouble. She also name drops Amy Sherman-Palladino (she wrote Gilmore Girls!!!) which thrilled me to no end. Rowell has a knack for putting together fabulous casts of quirky side characters I can’t help but adore. I mean, a 4 year old who wants to be a cat? A mother obsessed with breeding pugs and velour track suits? What else can I say to convince you that you need to read Rainbow Rowell?!

The whole premise had me enthralled. How bizarre would it be to speak to your spouse as they were when you first met? The idea of speaking to a 2003 version of my husband both amuses and disturbs me… Of course, it WOULD give me another opportunity to read him Harry Potter over the phone (well, the first 4 books anyway… I wouldn’t want to spoil the end for him before the rest of the books were released.)

What about you, Bookworms? If you had the opportunity to speak with a past version of your spouse/significant other, would you do it?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

Blogging Confessions: Top Ten Tuesday

Howdy, Bookworms!

As always happens, Tuesday has rolled around yet again. This week, the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list our deepest, darkest secrets. It’s time to hit the book blogging confessional! I’m a little nervous, kids. I hope y’all still like me at the end!

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1. I rarely read author interviews. I feel like I ought to have some interest in author interviews, but I really don’t. They always turn into long discussions of the writing process and I just get kind of bored. I want to read author interviews that ask the things I’m interested in… Weird, stupid, hypothetical beauty pageant type questions are more my style. Explain to me what animal you’d be and why, and I’ll totally read your interview.

2. I normally don’t enjoy award-winning books. Pulitzer, Nobel, Man Booker… I often haven’t read anything on the short lists for these prizes. I am a story gal, pure and simple. Language alone is not enough to hold my attention. I feel like a book failure for admitting this, but me and literary fiction have a tempestuous relationship.

3. I’m terrible at commenting on other blogs. LIFE, you guys. It just keeps happening regardless of whether or not I’m commenting on other blogs. Much of the time it’s all I can do to read and put together my own posts, but then I feel like a grade A jerkface because so many other bloggers are so awesome at commenting on MY blog. Other bloggers who read more and work more and have children to take care of. I have no excuse and ALL THE GUILT.

4. I’m bad at keeping tabs on publishers. You guys, it would be a rare thing indeed if I could tell you who published most of the books I read. I pay no attention, unless I’m trying to track something specific down. (I know that Rainbow Rowell is with St. Martin’s Press and that Emma Donoghue is with Little Brown, & Co. and that’s only because I begged for ARCs of their latest books. I’d know Diana Gabaldon’s publishing company too, if they bothered with ARCs.)FAIL

5. Hey, jealousy! I get jealous. I see other bloggers talking about having free reign over entire publisher catalogs and getting all kinds of traffic and I get a bit green. Then I remember that I’m too lazy to pay attention to who publishes what, and that I can’t be bothered to make much of an effort, and it all makes sense. I’m REALLY GOOD at mediocrity. Wahoo!

6. I intentionally avoid blogging about controversial topics. I know that tackling controversy is a great way to generate traffic, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I have opinions on plenty of things, but I have no desire to get into fights on the internet. Is Amazon the devil? Did Goodreads ruin a cool platform with censorship? Should adults be embarrassed to read YA? My answers are no, maybe, and sometimes, though not necessarily in that order. If you were to meet me in person, I wouldn’t discuss politics or religion with you either. Well. Maybe I would, but probably only if I had an idea where you stood on the issues. I don’t like conflict, okay?

7. I’m terribly suspicious. I’m not deluded enough to think that I’m a big important blogger. That said, sometimes I’ll be approached to join an event or promote something that sounds a little shady. I will often consult with a circle of blog pals to see if the things I’m being approached to participate in are on the up and up.

8. I tried and failed to read The Lord of the Rings. I’m pretty ashamed that I didn’t enjoy these books. They mean SO MUCH to SO MANY PEOPLE and have been crazy influential. I made it through The Hobbit (review) and The Fellowship of the Ring (review) before giving up the ship. Now I only attempt a few pages if I’m having trouble sleeping…

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9. I really value my regular readers. That doesn’t sound like a confession, it just sounds obvious, but seriously. If I’ve seen you around and commenting for a while, I get attached. Sometimes I have more physical books on my shelves than I need. Sometimes I get something cool and want to share it. Sometimes I send people presents just because I like them. (Although ALL THE TIME I send EVERYONE BOOKMARKS if they want them. You want a sweet Words for Worms bookmark? Email me your address!)

10. I don’t pay much attention to cover art. All due respect to my favorite #coverhos, I don’t usually get very excited about book covers. I do most of my reading digitally, so the cover art isn’t really part of the experience for me. I like pretty things, so I don’t mind reading the occasional post showing people’s favorite book covers, but the idea of a “cover reveal” is beyond me.

 Anybody out there want to join me in bookish or blogging confessions? Please? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site I’ll make a small commission. Confession: I suffer no ethical conundrums over making a few dollars off of this blog.*

Book Club Selections: A Cheat Sheet

Howdy Bookworms!

Show of hands, how many of y’all are in a book club (you know, in real life?) How many of you book clubbers get sweaty palms just thinking about the pressure that comes with choosing the next read for your club? Fear not, my friends, today I’m providing you with a handy cheat sheet for selecting a winning book!

*This post is being generously sponsored by Harlequin Mira in conjunction with the June 24th release of Heather Gudenkauf’s new novel, Little Mercies.*

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Pretty cover, right?!

1. Choose a book with your club in mind. This seems pretty obvious, but hear me out. My neighborhood book club is a group of women in their 30s, most of whom have children. If you want to choose a book that encourages conversation, pick something your crew can relate to. I know that my neighbors are more likely to engage with a book that discusses family dynamics than they would with a history of the fall of Rome. That’s not to say that variety shouldn’t be encouraged, but a book club is something people do for fun. I always try to find a book that the majority of the group won’t view as a chore. (IE, If I’ve got a hankering for an epic war saga, I usually save that to read on my own time.)

2. Look for a book club guide in the back of the book. If you’re unsure of a book, flip to the back. Tons of books these days include reader’s guides and discussion questions designed specifically for book clubs. It’s a good indication that the book will spur some lively conversation. Plus, you don’t want to deal with coming up with your own discussion questions (ain’t nobody got time for that!) these guides are a huge time saver. Some books, like, oh, I don’t know, Little Mercies, for example, have an entire book club kit you can access online. How sweet is that?! Especially if you don’t want your only question to be “how much did you want to punch this character?” Not that I know anybody who asks some variation of that question in nearly every online book club she holds, or anything…

Lookie here! Little Mercies did all the work for you!

Lookie here! Little Mercies did all the work for you!

3. Keep it short. As much as I absolutely adore Diana Gabaldon’s 850 page chunksters, it’s not cool to ask your book club to chew through a book that size in a month. You might be the speediest reader in all the land, but picking a book over 500 pages is a pretty huge time commitment for those in the club who might not read at breakneck speeds. The longer the book, the less likely the group will have finished it, and THAT is a serious discussion killer.

4. Don’t panic if you pick a dud. It happens to the best of us, kiddos. Sometimes despite your best efforts, the book you choose will flop. It’s rare that I choose a book that I’ve already read, so the suck factor is always a risk. It’s okay! If your book club is full of folks you like and respect (and I hope that it is!) they’ll understand. You’ll laugh about it and drink a little more wine. No big deal.

5. Check out some book blogs. Ah, shameless self promotion. You saw that coming, right? Seriously though. If you poke around in the book blogosphere a little bit, you can discover a ton of great titles you may not have heard of otherwise. PLUS, if you can find a blogger whose tastes jive with that of your book club, you can trust their recommendations.

What say you, Bookworms? Have you got any tips for the masses on how to choose a fantastic book for book club?

For more information on Little Mercies: