Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Talk About

This week’s top ten comes to us, as always, from the ladies over at The Broke & Bookish. To close out the first month of the new year, we’re talking about book club books. Books you’d like to discuss with your real/fictional/started-as-a-resolution-but-has-fallen-to-the-wayside book club. My book club is fictional. I’ve been part of a few of them (real ones I mean), but they always seem to die after a couple meetings when only one or two of us (not always me) would have the book finished. But, I have this fantasy of this dream book club where everyone (including me) reads all the books and has all the intense discussions and drinks all the coffee without ever getting coffee mouth. I live in a fantasy world. My fantasy book club may also involve me getting to hang out with Felicia Day…

In my book club, we get to read whatever books we want t from whatever genre. There are no guidelines here other than stimulating thoughts. So, these are the books I’d like to spend some time discussing with other people. Or think I would. I haven’t read all of these, but they seem like good discussion books.

Books I’ve Already Read:

lindqvist

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

It is autumn 1981 when the inconceivable comes to Blackeberg, a suburb in Sweden. The body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood, the murder rumored to be part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar is personally hoping that revenge has come at long last—revenge for the bullying he endures at school, day after day.

But the murder is not the most important thing on his mind. A new girl has moved in next door—a girl who has never seen a Rubik’s Cube before, but who can solve it at once. There is something wrong with her, though, something odd. And she only comes out at night….

This is a Vampire story that isn’t really a vampire story. Like any good paranormal story, it’s about the people not the entity. Mostly, I’d like to discuss the concepts of loneliness within the book.

cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century

Dystopian future. Utopian escape. Blahdy blah blah. Sounds typical, but entertaining and fun and a quest story. A lot of gamer exposition that could be cut back, but it’s more about embracing what you’re good at and going with it. About not apologizing for who you are and using those skills to get ahead.

barnes

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

As boys, George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, living in shabby genteel Edinburgh, find themselves in a vast and complex world at the heart of the British Empire. Years later—one struggling with his identity in a world hostile to his ancestry, the other creating the world’s most famous detective while in love with a woman who is not his wife–their fates become inextricably connected.

A fictional telling of Arthur Conan Doyle and his childhood friend brought back together as adults. Small English town. Strange happenings. Mystery. There are a lot of stories about how Doyle came up with the Holmes character. This is just one of them.

lockhart

We Were Liars by e. lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth

This book. Oh this book. I just want to talk about it with everyone. I finished this book last week and it’s got its claws in me. How do we process tragedy and is there any way to escape it?

ford

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford

Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nutjobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff’s perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they’ve got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on: the crazies start to seem less crazy.

The diary of a fifteen year old boy put into a 45 day in-patient program after he attempts to commit suicide. Are his reasons a cop out? Or is it just the right direction? Are the scenes with Sadie and Rankin too much? These are the thing I want to talk about.

Books I Haven’t Read Yet:

king

The Stand by Stephen King

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

I borrow a copy of this book from my friend about eight years ago. I still have it. I don’t generally like King, but I’ve been told by basically the entire planet that this book is different. In my magical, fictional book club world, I’d get through this literary monolith in a month.

hannah

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.  But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

I like the title. The characters sound tortured. There’s death and trauma and sisters.

highsmith

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

First published in 1952 under the pseudonym Claire Morgan and touted as “the novel of a love society forbids”, the book soon became a lesbian cult classic. Yet it was always relegated to a mystery subgenre and never before given the literary recognition that it is now receiving. Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith’s own life, The Price of Salt, tells the riveting story of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by an erotic epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to stalk the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese’s job. They fall in love and set out across the United States, pursued by a private investigator who eventually blackmails Carol into a choice between her daughter and her lover.

This one has great literary history. I’d like to talk about its place in LGBT fiction. And the idea of authors having to fake their identities to publish successfully.

ellis

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Set in Los Angeles in the early 1980’s, this coolly mesmerizing novel is a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money a place devoid of feeling or hope.

I like basically all the movies based on Ellis’ books. I want to read his books. This one seems as good a place to start as any. This idea of the lost generation of the 80s. Have we gotten better? Worse? Have yuppy grandiose gone away or just changed shape?

james

The Children of Men by P.D. James

The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race.

The end of the world. Women’s reproductive rights. What’s not to want to talk about in this book? I actually started this one once. I have an ebook version, but my ereader is so tiny and the format I own it in is hard to read on that screen that I gave up.

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3 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Talk About

  1. Wonderful list!
    I have heard good things about Ready Player One and I am really wanting to read We Were Liars! The cover of Of Scars and Stardust is really intriguing and I am definitely looking that one up!
    [Lauren]

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