Customer Reviews of The Readers' Choice: 200 Book Club Favorites
Find Great Books You've Never Heard of!
"What have you read that's good?" We've all asked that question of our best-read friends. Now, The Readers' Choice lets you find out the answer to that question from a variety of book clubs in California, Oregon, Colorado, and New York.
The book is organized to provide around one page (often a little more) on each book. This information includes a brief summary of the book, its appeal, how it differs from the movie (if it is a novel), and the author's background. A section in italics at the end gives you questions to guide a book club discussion or to illuminate your own reading of the book.
In a separate section, Ms. McMains also describes how to start and run a book club, in case that appeals to you. As she points out, you like to visit your friends. A book club can give you more chances to do that, and something new to talk about.
The book has a helpful index so that you can locate books by subject, in order to more quickly locate titles that match your needs. About three-quarters of the books are novels.
Since I read a lot, I assumed that this book would not tell me much. Boy, was I wrong! Of the 200 titles, I had only read 7. I had only heard of another 4 more. So these are books I would never have considered.
As the author points out, these are well-written books that seldom reached a broad audience. They are for people who want high quality writing and thinking.
I checked out the 7 books that I have read, and found the material on them to be accurate and useful. So I have to assume that it is also for the other books on the list.
So I'm looking forward to reading many more outstanding books as a result of this valuable reource.
Since the book clubs who contributed these ideas are mostly in the western United States, you'll find many novels with western themes in them. If you are looking for that, you'll find the book all that much more helpful. If you are not, give one a try. You may find that you like western-oriented books.
If you are already so backlogged with reading that you won't get to another book for some time, obviously this resource won't do you much good.
Do realize that this book was published in mid 2000, and was based on reading that occurred before that. So the offerings will mostly be of books written in 1999 and earlier.
After you finish reading this book, I suggest that you think about why you read. Having understood that, are there other reasons to read? For example, can reading people who express themselves well make you a better communicator?
What Have You Read That's Good ?
WHAT HAVE YOU READ THAT'S GOOD?
That's the question outsiders ask book club members that has prompted this collection of favorite books to read.
If you would like to explore the world of fiction and nonfiction books, and don't know what to read, examine this paperback by Victoria Golden Mcmains. She has chaired, since 1977 the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association and has a column published monthly and is also an author with short stories published in literary magazines.
The book is more than a start, it is a treasure! She endorses book clubs, the benefits and recommendations on how to form a book club. One helpful hint is on how to choose a book club.
McMain says that something wonderful is happening to books, people are reading them. Oprah's Book Club has certainly rejuvenated the art of reading and also brought little known writers to attention. In this collection are very few Oprah's recommendations.
Each book review listed is limited to one page, and at the bottom of each page are several questions to ask about the literature. You are asked questions about a quality of a character, how he/she makes you feel, situations, choices made, predictability of story, idea of change in the story, contributions, transformations, etc.
Answering and analyzing these types of questions will give you an increasingly better insight into the author's mind.
And, if you do belong to a book club, the author says these are questions to provide discussion and food for thought.
Some of the Choices:
Included are stories about war, love, fantasy, political intrigue, biography etc.
Bless Me Ultima - Rudolfo Anaya - A boy's life is altered, his aunt Ultima, a curandero, (healer) visits.
Wild Swans - Jung Chang. True account of one family's life in China; violent revolution of Chairman Mao.
Black Boy - Richard Wright. A classic childhood memoir. Also read "Native Son".
The All of It - Jeanette Hainen - deathbed confession in Ireland creates dilemma for local priest.
Lake of the Woods - Tim O'Brien - A mystery about a married couple, his wife turns up missing.
All Over But the Shoutin' - Rick Bragg - a poor white southern boy tributes his mother.
Fire on the Mountain - Edward Abbey - bold and strength, a rancher & U.S. gov. trying to claim his land.
Rose - Martin Cruz Smith - an explorer sent to Africa to find a missing young minister.
Daughter of Persia - Sattareh Farmaiian - A women's journey from her father's harem to Islamic revolution
Bitter Grounds - Sandra Benitez - rich and poor families tied to El Salvador's coffee plantations
Animal Dreams - Barbara Kinsolver - finding sweet life among sweet good people.
No Ordinary Time: F. & E. Roosevelt, the home front in World War II - Doris Goodwin Kearns
Errands - Judith Guest - a family faces death of its father, their lives crumble.
There's plenty more, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who has ever asked, "What Have You Read That's
Buy this one before you go back to the bookstore!
This useful guide of book club favorites was given to me by a good friend, and has really served me well. I loved the author's sense of intimacy with both her readers and the books.You can see that this is a person who really loves books as the imaginative creations that they are, and loves to share them with others. It empowered me at the bookstore recently when I was able to find new three books that I have since loved and shared, instead of spending hours looking for something of interest. With 200 reviews, I look forward to using this guide for quite a while. The author's book club group in northern California sounds like so much fun that I hope that one day maybe I could get an invitation ...
Very highly recommended for book enthusiasts.
The Reader's Choice is a treasury of 200 book club favorites and provides a set of 'top picks' by over 70 reading groups and clubs across the country, from Oprah and NPR to regional book clubs. Selections avoid best-seller top lists and provide 'midlist', thoughtful books in a range of themes and subjects. Recommended for book enthusiasts seeking something other than the Top 10.
The Readers' Choice: 200 Book Club Favorites
This is a great book that covers books of all types.
I have reviewed the books that are included in this great book and have acquired several of them which I truly loved. If I didn't have this book, I would have truly been missing out on some great reads.