Favorite Book Club Books of 2013

This past October, my book club had it's One Year Anniversary Bash! We celebrated by playing some trivia games revolving around all the books we've read, eating yummy food, and of course there was wine!  Going over the books we read was a ton of fun and really made me remember how much some of these books were.  So, today I wanted to share my favorite top 3 books I read in 2013.  I'd love recommendations, so if you have a favorite or a few favorites you think I should read, please share it in the comments! xo

(You can click on the book title for a full synopsis of the story and reviews on Goodreads!)

  • The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman  This is an emotional story, full of strong powerful characters.  It is about redemption, forgiveness, and love.  It shows how once decisions are made, there are consequences to our actions that can never be undone.  I loved this story so much because it wasn't just about right and wrong.  Some of the scenarios are so difficult and really make you search deep inside yourself and ask, "what would I do?"  It was definitely an emotional read and totally made me cry more than once while reading it. 
  • The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult  Here is another story that is full of forgiveness, love, and redemption.  This book had a little bit of everything I love in a novel.  It was historical fiction, which is my favorite genre.  It had a complex storyline that weaved in and out of characters, jumped around from various parts of history, and even had a story within a story.  It is set in the present, but deals with major issues from the past.  This one also made me cry (Do you see the pattern here!?!)

  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chau  This book has been around a few years, but we just read it this year.  Although I am not a big fan of non-fiction, I really enjoyed this book, maybe because it read like fiction!  It made me laugh and although her views and tactics in parenting are not necessarily my own, I could still relate on some level.  It was written honestly and even a bit satirical.  The author has gotten a ton of criticism for this book, but I appreciated her story and commend her for sharing it! 

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I {heart} Book Club

So, a couple years ago I found out about the Day Zero Project.  Basically, it's about making a list of 101 things you want to complete/achieve in 1001 days.  Yea, no secret I was all over that one, huh? Me and my list obsession.... 

Anyhow, the list was a bit too ambitious and I only got about half way through it.  But, one of the things on my list was to start a book club and on October 2012 we had our first book club.  I started the book club with my sister and a few other girlfriends and next month will be our one year anniversary!  You know that is going to be an epic book club meeting!!

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Book club is about way more than just reading and reviewing a book.  Book club has become a fun monthly ritual where us girls, who may not always get together outside of book club, get to enjoy a few hours of well, girl time!  We mingle, catch up on our lives, drink some wine, eat some food, and of course discuss the book we just read.  As a mother, it's great to have some scheduled time to do something just for yourself and focus on you for a few hours. 

For our book club meetings, my sister always prints our discussion questions with the cover of the book (it's really cute!)  Depending on the book, we may even make our dinner themed around the book we're reviewing.  For example, when we read "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" we had some yummy Chinese food and since the book "Now You See Her" was mostly based in Key West, you know we had some Jimmy Buffett inspired cuisine.  Oh and I should also mention we had a field trip to the movies to see The Great Gatsby and we'll be doing a fun 5K mud run.  You know I am excited about that event!!! 

If you're interested in starting your own book club, here are a few things that I think have helped make our book club successful thus far! 

  • Be consistent - schedule your book club meetings at the same time each month.  Ours are usually the last Thurs of the month, but sometimes we change it to Fridays, so being flexible is ok as long as everyone is available. 
  • Take Turns - we all take turns in selecting the books, as well as hosting.  This allows us to expand our reading genres and get to know each other better.  
  • Have Rules - ok, we don't have a lot of rules to our book club, just two  1. Choose a book you've never read before 2. No trilogies or series books.  This way we aren't obligated to only read those for the next few months or so. 
  • Send an evite - a few days after the last meeting, I'll send an evite to everyone with a simple recap of our meeting, thank the hostess, and provide all the info for our next month's book and meeting spot. 
  • Discussion Questions - these can be found easily online.  I usually find them on http://www.litlovers.com/ or http://www.goodreads.com/ Having a set amount of predetermined questions helps move things along!
  • Have Fun!  
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I'd love to hear if any of you are part of a book club and what you love about it? xo