Greetings from a snowed-in Philadelphia (which is in the middle of a Bomb Cyclone)! I hope your 2018 is off to a smashing start with high hopes of success in your resolution endeavors. Last year, my two sisters, mom and I decided to begin a book club to help connect over the distance between us. We had such a great time reading together, that we decided to continue the tradition. If you want to check out how things went last year, click here.
We each select 3 picks and then gift them to each other for Christmas. It is a slightly anxiety producing process as we each want to pick an excellent book that everyone will like, and we want to be sure not to pick something that another person might pick. Last year there was one duplicate, so we completed 11 books instead of 12. This year, we didn’t have a single repeat, so we have 12 delicious books to dive into. I will post each month after we have met to discuss the book selection. I am going to try really hard to read all 12 books this year after reading only 10 of the 11 picks last year, but if I’m being honest, there are a couple of books on this list that I think will be a challenge for me…we’ll see! Without any further ado, let’s get into the 2018 Family Book Club Picks:
January: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (Erin’s Pick)
This historical fiction novel spends time in the past and the present, juxtaposing the story of how two little girls come to be orphans in the 1940s with the present day story of a successful federal prosecutor who learns about her family’s hidden history when she returns to South Carolina to take care of her ailing father. This book read Goodread’s Choice Awards for historical fiction in 2017, so it should be a good one.
February: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Erin’s Pick)
A contemporary fiction book about a woman with limited social skills and a life of structure and order who encounters a messy IT man while saving an elderly man who falls on a sidewalk. This event throws the three of them together to create an unlikely friendship and pushes Eleanor’s very carefully crafted limits. Very highly touted and the description sort of reminiscent of the Rosie Project and A Man Called Ove.
March: Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett (Mom’s Pick)
This is a YA Contemporary Romance about a girl who wakes up after an accident with memory lapses. To try and regain her memory, she visits a medical clinic that says they can help where she learns she had a boy erased from her memory. This sounds like something I will breeze through.
April: The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve (Erin’s Pick)
This historical fiction novel is set in 1947 as Grace Holland’s world is turned upside down when her home burns down. That fateful night brings her much loss, but also provides her a chance to discover new freedoms. This sounds like a book that will really put you through the wringer.
May: Vicious by V. E. Schwab (My Pick)
A fantasy novel about two college roommates who work on research that results in discovering a way to give people extraordinary abilities. Ten years after the experiment goes horribly wrong, the roommates go head to head on their contradicting missions. I have developed a love for V. E. Schwab and know that this book seems to be beloved by many–looking forward to May!
June: The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff (Janette’s Pick)
This historical fiction novel is set in WWII Poland and surrounds a newly married, Jewish girl named Emma, who is smuggled to Krakow and given a new, non-Jewish identity. She is then assigned to work as a Kommandant’s assistant, which makes her false identity adding to a very precarious situation. This will be right up my alley I think.
July: Bird by Crystal Chan (My Pick)
This middle-grade fiction novel follows a girl who was born on the day her brother died. She has grown up in family full of sorrow and silence, but when she meets a new boy, things begin to change. I am so excited to read this one–I think it’s going to be lovely.
August: All the Great Prizes by John Taliaferro (Mom’s Pick)
This tome is a biography of John Hay, who served in the White House from Roosevelt to Lincoln, bearing witness and contributing to some of the most momentous events in American history. This may or may not be the book that breaks my ability to read all 12 books….it’s 672 pages of biography.
September: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Janette’s Pick)
This classic novel is the story of a mentally disabled man who sets out on a quest to improve his intelligence. There is also a lab mouse involved somehow and I am preparing for something really sad to happen.
October: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes (Mom’s Pick)
This YA contemporary fiction follows Hallelujah Calhoun, who has dealt with her problems by growing silent, as she is sent to a teen retreat center. I think she gets lost in the woods while she is there, hence the title.
November: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis (Janette’s Pick)
This well-known Christian classic is a series of letters between a senior demon to his nephew. I’m not so sure about this one…
December: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon (My Pick)
Another historical fiction novel taking place during WWII in Italy, this story centers around young lovers who were divided by religion and are later brought back together during war. This sounds angsty and harrowing…I think it will be delicious.