Book Clubs, Classics, and More

Welcome to the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly show that answers your questions about life, love, and literature! My special guest co-host this week is the sparkling Trisha Leigh. We discuss three listener-submitted questions and talk about topics such as what classics are “must read,” how to say no to forming a book club, special book club picks, and much more. Don’t miss it!


Trisha is the author of many YA novels including the “The Cavy Files” series, “The Last Years” series, and “The Historians” series. She also writes popular New Adult romance and mysteries as Lyla Payne You can find her on Twitter @trishaleighKC or @Lyla_Payne. Thank you for joining me, Trisha!

This episode was sponsored by Book of the Month and Dream Jumper.


Dear Book Nerd,

I am a 39-year-old avid reader, and always have been since a very young age. Even so, I feel that I have some huge holes in the classics area.

For 2016, I set a goal of reading one classic per month, in addition to the other contemporary books I pick up.

First, I tried Moby Dick. Holy catfish, what a slog that book is. I didn’t get very far before admitting this book is not for me. It made me feel a little reluctant to pick up more classics.

In YOUR opinions, which classics do you consider “must reads” ? I know there is no guilt or “should” in reading, but I would like to read more classics.

A few I have loved are:

Jane Eyre
Silas Marner
David Copperfield
The Scarlet Letter

I could not get into Wuthering Heights. Also, I have never cared much for anything by Austen. I think I like the darker side of things in my booky life.


Classically Challenged

Dear Book Nerd and Guest,

I’ve started reading a lot recently, and luckily live in a well-read city where a lot of my friends also love to read. My friends and I end up reading some books and discussing what we’re reading. This has led to a lot of recommendations and “we should start a book club”s.

The last book club with my friends died after a lack of participation and some members refusing to read a book they didn’t pick. It quickly became clear the people starting it just wanted to discuss books they already wanted to read instead of expanding their horizons. After this bad experience, I am hesitant to join another club.

Do you have any tips for finding out the motivation for the book club without going into a full-blown interrogation?

What about alternatives or just flat-out declining?

Thanks for any advice!

Reading Alone

Dear Book Nerd,

A few months after I moved to NYC, I started a book club. I thought it would be a great way to read different and interesting books while making new friends. Now, nearly a decade later, I can say it’s been a complete success. As a group we’ve read over 100 books, met in bars and apartments all over the city, and formed lasting friendships. We even had our first book club wedding last spring (hopefully the first of many)!

February 2016 marks our 10th year as a book club, and we’re looking to read something special. Do you and your esteemed co-host have a recommendation or two? As background, we read primarily fiction, but are known to delve into biographies, pop history, poems, and short stories from time to time (You can see what we’ve read before on our goodreads page.) We’d love a book that is interesting, sparks conversation, can be read in 3 weeks to a month and – if possible – is somewhat happy.

Thanks so much for your help, and happy reading!




Question 1:

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Night by Elie Wiesel

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Question 3:

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes


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