October 6, 2022

Fall Book Club Recommendations

Carole Barrowman joins us to discuss photos from her annual book club. She is an English teacher at Alverno College, author of the Hollow Earth series, reviewer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. For more information, visit him on Facebook.

Today, Carole discusses tips for having a book club and some recommendations for books to read.

Have a “no obligation, no excuse” rule. Our lives are busy. In the case of book clubs, reward good intentions. Join the group whether you have finished the book or not. Bring wine or chocolate and no one will care.

1. Assign a moderator to start the conversation with an open-ended question (ask me for an example)

2. Choose books that spark BIG IDEAS

3. Invite the author.

4. And it’s not cheating to listen to the audiobook.

Here are this month’s recommendations:

Mother, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam)

This book received enthusiastic approval from all of Barrowman’s readers.

This gripping novel is inspired by real events of World War II about a real mother and daughter who spied for the United States, infiltrating Nazi organizations in and around Hollywood. This thriller takes readers deep into the Nazi movement active during this time. MacNeal is a very accomplished historical fiction writer and this novel is atmospheric, suspenseful and rich in detail about Hollywood in the 1940s.

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams (Scout Press)

This novel is set in England and I think it has everything you could ask for in a book club pick. Lots of family drama infused with compassion and humor, intriguing characters you’ll love, and a bit of mystery. The Pennington family is made up of a distant father, four mothers, and five half-siblings who know very little about each other…until, well, something earth-shattering brings them together. This novel is a wonderfully compulsive read. Your book club will find something to talk about and laugh about.

Crying in the Bathroom by Erika Sanchez (Viking)

This is Sanchez’s second memoir after the bestselling I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. It’s as if the author were chatting with you over coffee. It’s funny and at the same time deeply personal, provocative and poignant. In a series of short vignettes, Sanchez explores issues of identity, mental illness, reproductive rights and more. I think your book club with crying and laughing with it. Several of my creative writing students are reading this. It comes with theirs and my enthusiastic endorsement too