“Starting a book club is deceptively simple,” says Sarah Yoon, StoryForge’s lead writer and resident book-clubber. If you are looking to start your own book club, help spice up the one you’re already in or are just looking for some good books to read you are in the right place.
Below, you’ll find a guide for getting a book club started. Then every month, Sarah updates with a monthly book pick – complete with discussion questions and some commentary on how her fellow clubbers enjoyed reading the book.
So jump in and get reading!
“You sit curled in bed with Mockingjay clutched in your hands. Emotions swirl inside your chest. No one at work tomorrow will feel your anguish—but you have to talk about it with someone, right? When I graduated college, my bookish peers suddenly dispersed. The months dragged on, and I needed to create a new community before insanity took over. In response, I started my own book club.” Click to read more.
Monthly Picks by Sarah Yoon
“Many compare Gaskell’s work to Jane Austen because it is a British historical text, but Gaskell published in the 1850s and 60s, approximately fifty years after Austen. Romance is present in the book, but the story focuses on the heavier themes of family grief and industrialization. Published in 1854, North and South faces tough subjects head on, never letting go of the glimmer of hope that comes through faith.” Click to read more.
“The classic whodunit is light on its toes—the perfect read to offset the longer, heavier texts that we have chosen lately. The only element lacking from our evening of laughter, wine and murder was a round of Clue. When the story begins, Dr. Sheppard is shaken by the death of Mrs. Ferrars. Christie guides readers through the gossipy village, steadied the doctor’s even-headed narration. As suicide, blackmail and murder stir the village into a buzz of rumors, Hercule Poirot is close at hand to help weave through lies to find truth. ” Click to read more.
“The Golem and the Jinni is historical fantasy based in the melting pot of late 1800s New York. As immigrants pour into the city, they bring language, religion and mystical entities from across the sea. The golem journeys in a crate until her master is too impatient to wait any longer for his clay bride. He wakes her, but dies even before they reach land, leaving her masterless after only a few hours of existence. Only when she meets the passion driven jinni does she learn to live as an individual and embrace her being.” Click to read more.
“The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick is unconventional and quirky. The book doesn’t skim over messy relationships: it digs straight into the hurt, the dysfunction, and the crazies. And since the story is narrated by the protagonist Pat Peoples, who is unable accept hard truths, the heavy content is contrasted by incessant optimism.” Click to read more.
It’s important to acknowledge the blessings in our lives, just as it is important to work through the difficulties. Interestingly enough, The Fault in our Stars by John Greene does both. Cancer is a difficult topic, which makes an honest, non-melodramatic story difficult to write. Somehow, John Greene pulls it off. His characters approach the disease with jaded resignation, supported by abrupt and matter-of-fact prose. Click to read more.
Morgenstern builds her story around a competition. The instigators don’t explain the rules, but instead train the players in the magical arts and leave them to discover the game along the way. As secrets are answered, the awareness of more secrets only draws you further in. About halfway through, you see the world start to crumble around the characters, and you feel the floor slowly break under your feet. Click to read more.
The Giver is best described as a dystopian thought project. Though it is technically a children’s book, its themes are deeply emotional: from the value of life to the necessity of love. Due to its strong material, the book has been labeled “the suicide book” and (no surprise here) is banned in China. Even some American schools remove it from their shelves, while others embrace it as valuable children’s literature. How can one short story be so polarizing? Well, read and see.