Tuesday, March 28, 2023

SOL 28/31: Bookish Delights

After reading about my book club retreat, some of you have asked for our list. Here's our book club list for 2023-24, arranged by number of words in the title. Two of the three books I recommended made the cut. See if you can spot my choices on the list. I'll share my titles at the end of this post along with the other titles I voted for that did not get selected. I also share all the other books I wanted to bring. 


Each person recommends three titles or less (this rule came about because I used to bring a shopping bag full of books). I still sometimes bring more than three in case someone else is recommending a title I selected, allowing me to switch out a title.


As a general rule, I prefer fiction. However, my book club leans to nonfiction, so any year we end up with more fiction than nonfiction on the list is a win in my book. And this year we have a 7 to 5 ratio and fiction won!  


1. Caste by Isabel Wilderson

I've intended to read this one for a long time, and having it on my book club list will be just the push I need to finally read it.

2. Miseducated by Brandon P. Fleming 

3. Full Tilt by Dervia Murphy

4. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

5. Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

6. The Golden Girls' Getaway by Judy Leigh

7. Anne of Green Gables by LM. Mongomery

I've read this one, but look forward to listening to the audiobook version by Rachel McAdams.

8. I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

9. The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake

I've also read this one. Jaima Fixsen is the niece of one of our book club members and we're hoping she'll join us via Zoom for our discussion.

AUDREY BLAKE has a split personality-- because she is the creative alter ego of Regina Sirois and Jaima Fixsen, two authors who met online in a survivor style writing contest. They live 1500 miles apart, but both are prairie girls: Jaima hails from Alberta, Canada, and Regina from the wheat fields of Kansas. Both are addicted to history, words, and stories of redoubtable women, and agree that their friendship, better and longer lasting than any other prize, is proof that good things happen in this random, crazy universe. - KCLS, About the Author

10. Who the Hell is Pansy O'Hara? by Jenny Bond and Chris Sheedy 

11. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

12. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton


Did you spot my titles in this list? 

I recommended:  The Last Cuentista (Newbery and Pura Belpre award winner) and Peach Blossom Spring (historical fiction).


The book I proposed that was not chosen: Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout


The titles I voted for that didn't make the list: 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I Must Betray You by Ruth Sepetys

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Sanditon by Jane Austen This book won for most creative presentation. Bobbi compiled a list of six books that continue this unfinished novel by Jane Austen. She proposed that we choose one of the titles that continue the story and talk about/compare the different books at our discussion.


Even though I prefer fiction, I lean to essays and memoir when I read nonfiction. Since our book club leans to nonfiction, sometimes I include some in my recommended choices. 

Nonfiction books I considered:    Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott

                                                     These Precious Days by Anne Patchett

                                                     Finding Me by Viola Davis


An epistolary novel I almost recommended: Love and Saffron by Kim Fay


A book I passed on recommending (because it's almost 600 pages), but want to read:

Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark


We try to select books that are easily available at the library and in paperback. I'm holding these titles for next year (hopefully everyone won't have read them by then):

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver   Another long book, but I hope we'll read it next year when it's out in paper. The Poisonwood Bible remains one of our book club's all-time favorite titles.   


Okay, bookish friends, be careful before you ask me to share my book club list. You may get more than you bargained for! If you get this far, let me know in the comments what title you or your book club have read and loved recently.


This is my twelfth year to write a slice of life each day during the month of March.  Thank you Two Writing Teachers for creating this challenge and providing the space and support for us year after year. And thanks to this magnificent community for sharing stories with me and encouraging my writing.


  1. Quite a list… and not that many that I’ve read. I checked out Miseducated from the library already and Caste is on hold. I read and enjoyed These Precious Days, along with others by Patchett.
    I read a sample of Last Cuentista… it’s had a long hold list. I read Anne of Green Gables a long time ago! I’ve saved this slice to my notes so I can make my way through the list. 🙂

    1. Diane, so fun to see you at the top of the comments and hear which books you've read and enjoyed. I never have enough time to read all the books, but it's a wonderful dilemma.

  2. I am so glad you shared this and I got both of your titles right!!! But I also guessed The House in the Cerulean Sea. I have seen the Demon Copperhead and have thought about picking it up, but that will have to wait until summer, I think!

    1. Leigh Anne, so glad you found this post and the list and all the extras I included too. You would think that I could keep up with all the reading since I'm retired. But, I'm always trying to finish the book(s) in time for book club. We just finished The Violin Conspiracy for my other book club. It's good and a fast read.

  3. I’m so glad you shared this list. I thought for sure I’d tuck off a bunch of books I’ve read since you started w/ one of my favorite nonfiction books, Caste. There are lots of titles I do not know here and some books I have on my shelf awaiting reading: Demon Copperhead, Lessons in Chemistry. I love The Poisonwood Bible. Im in The Climate Solutions Book Club which meets online. The most important climate book I read last year is Saving Us by Catherine Hayhoe. Last month we read Nomad Century by Gaia Vince. It’s excellent, too. I read a lot of nonfiction but am trying to add more fiction this year.

    1. Glenda, Saving Us was one of the books proposed that did not make our list. Is The Climate Solutions Book Club an open group? I know my friend who proposed Saving Us would be interested in seeing the list of what is read..

  4. Thanks for this great list. Sadly I have read very few of these but now I have some books to research for suggestions to my own book club. So thanks again. I did read Lessons in Chemistry and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. My other book club is doing Lessons in Chemistry in May! - Ramona

  5. So fun to read this list! Caste is amazing. Such an important, wonderful (though not easy) read. I think everyone should read it. I also love Anne of Green Gables--how fun that you'll read and talk about it as adults! I really liked House in the Cerulean Sea (though it took me a while to get into it) and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (it reminded me of the old tv show Quantum Leap, which my sister and I used to love). I'm really curious about the presentation about Sanditon--I've read a lot of versions of it, but I'm not sure I've read 6--now I want to know the ones I've missed! (and which one is your friend's favorite) My book club recently read The Fire Keeper's Daughter and we all loved it!

    1. Natasha, I'll try to get an electronic copy of my friend's proposal for the Sanditon books which lists all the versions. And then we can figure out how to connect.
      My daughter loved The Fire Keeper's Daughter. Adding it to my future possibilities.
      Thanks for sharing all the books you've read.

  6. Caste is a great book! I must betray you is SO sad but unbelievable, all her books are. Also loved Lessons in Chemistry, and in the middle of Barbara Kingsolver's! I have book club tomorrow, and this is so helpful!!

    1. Clare, thanks for sharing your reads. Lessons in Chemistry is up in May for my other book club. I still haven't read any of Ruth Sepetys' books. Silly book clubs interfere with my personal reading time!

  7. This post is right up my alley of course! It's been many years since I've been in a book club, but there is a pop-up bookstore just a few blocks from my house that has just started a book club. I missed the first meeting this month (they read Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson), but I'm just in time to get the second pick read for April: Chevy in the Hole by Kelsey Ronan. Your group has so many great reads ahead of it this year!

  8. Okay, now you've just added two more books to my "For Later" shelf on my library account. I've heard of Black Cake, but the other title is totally new to me.