How to Pick a Book…

….for Book Club. (Obviously, if you need any help choosing a book to read, you can check out my Book Recommendations page or read my Book Reviews)

This month, it was my turn to choose the novel for our book club to read. Of course, every book club has its own routine, and often, book clubs will go with certain genres, like YA lit or mystery. Our book club (aptly named A Novel Bunch… hehe) is much less structured and formal. Everyone in the group joined because they want to read novels outside of their comfort zone and they want to have an excuse to drink and talk books.

Each month, a different person chooses the book to be read and the place we are meeting. Last month, we switched it up a bit and read our choice from three different historical fiction novels. (We all ended up reading The Other Boleyn Girl, with a few people reading more than one novel.) This month, it was my turn. I still haven’t figured out where we are meeting yet (although I do love Indulge..), but we did pick our book.

There’s a process I go through to choose books to be presented for book club. First, I choose a few criteria: it has to be readable within a certain length of time, it has to be something that is interesting enough and deep enough to provide us with some discussion topics, and it has to fit in a chosen genre or topic.

The first time it was my turn to choose the novel, I used the 2013 Tournament of Books to shortlist novels that we might use. We ended up choosing The Orphan Master’s Son, since it beat out The Fault in Our Stars and won the Tournament (for a good reason!). It turned out to be one of the best books that we have read in book club, in my opinion, and is one of the books we talk about the most still to this day. (North Korea is a sketchy place, yall.)

This time, I decided to choose books that start a series that feature a strong female heroine. Finding a novel that fit all of the criteria was surprisingly difficult. I first looked at YA fiction series, because so many popular series are YA. However, after reading reviews, I noticed that so many people were commenting that even though the protagonist was female, she was a stereotypical character or the novel focused more on a love story and Prince Charming, rather than the strength of the female in her own right. Now, I love a good Prince Charming story, for sure, but that wasn’t what I was looking for this month.

Finally, I stumbled into the depths of the Goodreads Forums and came across a thread started by someone who was looking for precisely the same things I was. Thus, I found six different series that fit the mold (sorta…)

I brought a print up that detailed the covers of the books, the publisher’s summaries, and the Goodreads ratings of each of the novels to the last book club meeting. From there, we narrowed it down to twoe novels: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. (Interestingly enough, each of these are also historical fiction with a touch of fantasy, and are now all on my To Read list!)

From there, we posted a poll on our Facebook group for everyone to vote, since we were missing a couple of people at our last meeting.

That is how I ended up reading Outlander for the last two weeks (soooo maybe this book was a bit longer than anticipated.. I’m not complaining!

I got the book from the library, and I was immediately impressed by how beautiful it was! Hardcover, ribbon bookmark, CD of classical music, and A MAP! (Something that everyone in book club feels is an indication of a great book.)

Isn’t it pretty? It was wonderful, and I’ll have the review up on Friday!

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