You probably couldn't guess from the list below what our theme for last year's books was--or even that we had a theme in the BEST BOOK CLUB EVER. It's not really a fair question, because the first book on the list, Year of Wonders, didn't fit the theme. But we wanted to read it anyway. And that's how we do it in the Austen/Trollops: Will Read for Wine book club.
Technically, our theme was books set in countries where they don't speak English (at least as a first language). We snuck in Year of Wonders, which is about the plague, figuring we might not recognize the English spoken way back when as English anyway.
I know, some of you are probably thinking you don't recognize the English spoken in the South (where I'm from) as English, either. But, you'd be wrong. We'uns speak a colorful version of the mother tongue. It's one that makes y'all want to sit up and take notice and read the books that come out of here. Or at least laugh, but that's okay too.
So, back to some of the best books read by the best book club ever:
Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks
The Black Tower, by Louis Bayard
The Lost Books of the Odyssey, by Zachary Mason
Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
Year before last, our first year with a theme, our theme was books that had been made into movies. Another good theme--lots of variety and many good books that I hadn't read.
My choice was The Princess Bride, a movie I've loved for years, but had NO IDEA was written by famous, major author William Goldman, who also wrote the screenplay and the screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (another movie favorite).
We also read:
The African Queen, by C.S. Forester
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (one of those Southerners who manages to write pretty good English!)
The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
The Shining, by Stephen King
But next year's theme might be the funnest yet. It offers endless variety, the opportunity to read not just books, but entire genres, that I would never read--and at least as important to those of us who don't cook, boundless food and drink possibilities.
At our planning meeting next month, we're going to put different book categories into a hat. Each person will draw one out and have to pick a book that fits that category.
Our categories are: mystery, romance, historical fiction, biography, sci-fi, thriller, humor, fantasy, erotica, non-fiction and a bunch more that I can't remember.
Since I mostly read mysteries, I'm looking forward to this opportunity to really branch out. Let me know if you have a favorite in some of those categories. I don't know which category I'll get, but I'd love to have some books in mind when it's my turn to pick.