Thursday, April 14, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Discussible Books of 2010

In Wednesday edition of Shelf Awareness, a publication you certainly should be reading if you are not already, was the results of an interesting little survey.

The  following were the "favorite discussible books of 2010" as chosen by a  survey of thousands of reading groups representing more than 100,000  members conducted by Reading Group Choices:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
3. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
7. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
8. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
10. Little Bee by Chris Cleave

So, how many of those have you read?

I imagine a fair number of you may have read them all.
I am ashamed to say I have read exactly half of them, five.
The Help, Cutting For Stone, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. And I have Still Alice sitting in my TBR pile, calling at me from time to time.
Not bad, in the world at large, but amongst book bloggers, I feel like a bit of a slacker.
So many book, so little time....

Now I am sure these are all excellent books, and I know that I loved the ones from the list that I read, but what do you think makes these 10, as opposed to all the other best sellers of 2010, what makes these particularly discussable?
Is it the plot...or the characters or the setting or a certain style?  All the books on the list are that an issue or did you read a non-fiction book last year that you would consider especially discussable?
What is it about one book that makes us want to run off and share it with our bookish friends and maybe not another?

I have never, sadly, belonged to a book club, but I know that many of you do. What makes one book ideal to share with your club and not another, even if it is a very good book?
Is there a book that you read last year that you think should be on that list and didn't make the cut?

Oh, I am just full of questions today and so very short of answers.
So I am really hoping that if some of you have some ideals, you might share them with us in the comments.
And so ahead, tell me how you have read them all. I can take it.
Come on..I know you have an opinion!


  1. Sign me up for the "slacker" club because I only read 5 out of that list. When I did belong to a book club, it was always a struggle to come up with a list of 9 books to read. How we came up with the list was just by suggestions from everyone ( if I remember correctly, we had about 14-16 members) and then narrowed it down from there. The suggestions were just books people had heard about and wanted to read. It wasn't the fact that someone had already read the books and said, hey, this is a great one, lets discuss it.

  2. i didnt read any :( but i'm not "hip" when it comes to reading books. i just read what looks good. someone recommended still alice to me. but ill read it when i get around to it. lol im still on stephen king bc i have NO TIME

  3. I have only read one on the list, number 6 "The Guernsey Literary and...." I wonder what that says about me? I have never joined a book club, well unless you count reading the book blogs and reading a book suggested by one of them. No that's not a book club.

    I enjoyed your post today, Happy Reading...

  4. well, there are some good ones on that list for anyone looking for something to read. Loved The Help...

  5. Don't feel bad - I've only read 3 of the 10. I have 6 more of them on my shelves, if that counts for anything.

  6. These are definitely book club books. Let's see - I've read 5 of them - all with my books clubs (I'm in two). Three others have been considered or are being considered for discussion and the other two, we've talked about in a meeting (not to discuss, but someone had read them). Now, I will admit that until the end of last year, I was the leader and moderator of both the clubs and I did use Reading Group Choices as a resource. We had excellent discussions of the 5 I've read.

    I had never been in a face-to-face book club until I was asked to start one at my workplace (branch library). I kind of made it up as I went along and was very nervous and intimidated by the people that joined, most of which HAD been in book clubs. It worked out OK though and I discovered I loved moderating discussions and seemed to have a knack for it.

    The books that made for the best discussion were ones that members disagreed about, frankly. If we all loved the book, it was OK, but boring. The best part was getting to know the members and finding commonalities among us all. After a time, everyone felt more and more comfortable sharing with each other.

    After that first group, I went to my branch manager and asked if she'd consider letting me start another club, devoted to mystery reading. She said yes and the second group was born. It's a little more tricky discussing mysteries, but that group has managed to thrive as well. Not as much deep thoughts on the writing or whatnot, but we branch off into movies and TV and I think there is much more "what have you been reading" and "let me tell you about this great crime novel I just read". It works. In that group, I loved bringing some of my favorite mystery authors to the notice of the members.

    Well, that's been my experience. I stepped down from leadership of both groups at the end of last year. I have taken a break from both of them, but I'm going back this month to each of them. Looking forward to being "just a member".

  7. that is a very good point Kay, that something controversial, something people will disagree about, would make for a good discussion. So long as it doesn't get out of hand and a fight breaks out.
    Then not so

  8. Kathy! 3 out of 10!
    I must admit that I am surprised. ;-)

  9. I've only read three of these, but I find that any book that allows for so many different points of view is a good bookclub book. I also think most groups (?) are women based so any book that details a woman's life we can discuss is a good one.

  10. 'Slacker' here. A measly 2 is all I've read. Never been in a book club, but I enjoy seeing what they are reading, and add those to my list. Now I have a new one from you!

  11. Major slacker here. I haven't read any of them, but I have at least heard of 5 of them, does that count? I belonged to a book group, and what I found discussable was rarely what the other members thought was, so there's definitely variation.

  12. gosh, I am feeling better that no one else so far has read them

  13. I've read seven of them, and have two more on my shelves! We have read some really good books in my book clubs, but just because they are good doesn't mean it illicits good conversation. There has to be questionable actions, a hate-able character, something to argue about. Even though I HATED Freedom from a moral point of view, we certainly had a spirited conversation...

  14. I read 8 of them, and I would have to disagree that Cutting for Stone is "discussible." I loved it - I thought it was one of the best books of whatever year I read it in, but to me there wasn't much more to say than (1) I loved this! and (2) anyone want to go out for Indian food? I would rather pick a book that isn't "the best" but has lots of issues, as those Sandy named....especially moral choices. That's always a good one to get people going.

  15. interesting points...

    and I totally up for Indian food!

  16. I've only read one of these so far (Guernsey), but have three others in the TBR pile. Just never enough time to get to all the books I want to read!

  17. I have only read 2 but I do have some others on my shelf patiently awaiting a read. I read Guernsey and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and agree that they are good discussion books.


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