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The I’ve Been Meaning to Get to That Book Club

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Vanessa Diaz

Managing Editor

Book Riot Managing Editor Vanessa Diaz is a writer and former bookseller from San Diego, CA whose Spanish is even faster than her English. When not reading or writing, she enjoys dreaming up travel itineraries and drinking entirely too much tea. She is a regular co-host on the All the Books podcast who especially loves mysteries, gothic lit, mythology/folklore, and all things witchy. Vanessa can be found on Instagram at @BuenosDiazSD or taking pictures of pretty trees in Portland, OR, where she now resides.

This post originally appeared in Book Riot’s In the Club newsletter. Sign up for tips and tricks to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed.

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed. It’s December, clubbers! We’re wrapping up the year and the decade. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a reset! I’m really looking forward to a year in which I don’t get swine flu.

But first, let’s talk about a book club idea involving 2019’s top titles.

To the club!!

Nibble and Sips

Today’s club theme is basically “I’ve been meaning to get to that,” and we’re taking that into our snacks as well. Take this opportunity to indulge and give into a craving, or maybe whip up a dish (or dishes) that you’ve been wanting to try for some time and just haven’t for one reason or another. For me, that would probs entail a really decadent rose-flavored cake recipe that both thrills and intimidates me.

Tell me what you come up with!

I’ve Been Meaning to Get to That

I recently shared that I don’t base my reading on literary awards; I don’t go out of my way to read award winners if I’m not already interested in the book(s).

With that being said, I would be interested in starting off 2020 (or wrapping up 2019 if I somehow find the time) by reading an award-winning title that’s been sitting on my TBR. Do this with book club, sort of like how folks go back and watch Oscar Award nominees/winners. Here are some suggestions.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi – 2019 National Book Award for Fiction

Everyone I know who has read this has either emphatically expressed how much they loved it or gone a little blank in the face and gone, “Huh.” Set in the early 1980s at a competitive performing arts high school, it’s apparently so full of twists and shocking turns that you can’t really talk about it without spoiling it. It explores that blurry area between adolescence and adulthood, the obsessiveness of first love, and gets into some #MeToo territory.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction

I’ve talked about this amazing book a few times now and want to say yet again what an amazing book club selection it would make. A young black newlywed couple’s lives are rocked when the husband is wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit.

girl-woman-other-coverGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo – 2019 Booker Prize

This one I know I need to get to because you know I love all things London AND it’s written by a woman of color. It’s “a love song to modern Britain, to black womanhood, to the ever-changing heart of London” as told through the everyday lives, loves, and struggles of 12 different characters.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – also the 2019 Booker Prize LOL

I don’t really have to tell you about this one, right? Decide for yourself whether this sequel to The Handmaids Tale is worth the hype, specifically hype of a literary award variety.

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom – 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction

For some nonfiction, try this NBA winner. I started this awhile ago and then got swine flu and abandoned all reading, but the more I read about it, the more I think I need to pick it back up. It’s a haunting memoir that takes place inside a New Orleans shotgun house, chronicling a century’s worth of family history.

Suggestion Section

Circe is PBS’s December book club pick.

E! rounded up a gaggle of celebrity book club picks for December: Reese, Oprah, Emma, and more.

Join me for Persist!!