Last night I went along to my regular book group at the South Bank and I have to say that the choice – George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four went down a storm. For me and a couple of others it was a re-read and for other people it was one of those that they always meant to read but never got around too and I think it’s fair to say they were glad they finally did!
I’m not going to review it here, as I will just waffle on and Savidge Reads has done an excellent synopsis and review, but I will say that reading it again I really appreciated the language and imagery because I wasn’t struggling to get to grips with the new world and ideas in the book. What it did get me thinking about though was what makes for a good ‘book group’ choice. I think that Nineteen Eighty-Four contains the key elements that for me make a great choice. I think these are;
- Challenges what you think you know / encourages you to think differently
- High standard of writing but;
- Is accessible (not too obscure or confusing)
It’s difficult to judge whether a book will be enjoyable, with so many different tastes in a group but I think if you fulfil these 3 criteria then you have the good basis for a debate and a feeling of satisfaction that you’ve read something worthwhile.
My 12 favourite books that I’ve read and enjoyed as part of a book group are:
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
True History of the Kelly Gang – Peter Carey
Atonement– Ian McEwan
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Animal’s People – Indra Sinha
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golding
The Handmaid’s Tale (Contemporary classics) – Margaret Atwood
On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
What book group choices have you enjoyed and why?