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Chapter 36 - Book Club

It seems as if everytime you turn around a celebrity is coming out with a "book club". I thank Oprah Winfrey for this as she introduced us to many wonderful books during her years as an afternoon television host. Now she has her Oprah's Book Club 2.0, Reese Witherspoon has a book club, Emma Watson has a feminist book club, Bill Gates, President Obama, even Sarah Jessica Parker has a book club for heaven's sake! I have to wonder really just how much reading these celebrities do or if they have people to weed out the detritus for them and recommend what exactly they should read.

Well, for better or worse, you have me, my friends. I don't have a reading staff who recommend books. Any recommendations come from customers, family, or friends. I also read every single book I report from cover to cover. If, for some reason, I don't finish a book, you never hear about it unless I use it in a "books I didn't like but was supposed to" post.

So I went on to some of these celebrity book club sites and found books which I would definitely recommend. You can be assured that I actually read them first - hope you enjoy the list!

A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons - This was an Oprah recommendation and having read other books by Gibbons, I agree it is one of her best. Ruby Stokes comes from a wealthy family and her husband Blinking Jack is a penniless tenant farmer but what they have together is a treasure. The story of their courtship and life together is beautiful as they alternately tell the tale.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - A pick by Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies tells the story of three women who become friends through their children. This is the story of friendship, schoolyard scandal, tiny white lies, and, did I mention, murder. Witherspoon liked this so much her production company has turned it into an HBO series.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders - The Civil War is just a year old, Willie Lincoln has recently died, newspapers report that a grief-stricken Abraham Lincoln returns,to the crypt often to hold his boy’s body. But Willie is stuck in the Bardo - the Tibetan place of transition - and believes that his father will bring him back to life. Meanwhile, spirits in the Bardo try to convince Willie to move on. A great mix of history and fantasy and a Bill Gates recommendation for summer reading.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker - Even if you read this in high school it is probably worth revisiting. A Emma Watson book club suggestion, The Color Purple tells the story of two African-American sisters living in the southern United States after Emancipation. This is a powerfully brutal account of the life of the two women during that time period.

Nora Webster: A Novel by Colm Toibin - While well known for his book Brooklyn, this is another great book by Toibin and a good recommendation by Sarah Jessica Parker. Nora's husband has unexpectedly died and Nora finds herself at age forty with a grief too big to handle and a town too small to ignore. Add to that her four children who are experiencing their own loss and one wonders how they will all make it through. But being a strong, tenacious women, Nora manages to find her family again as well as herself.

Are there any celebrity book club books you'd recommend?

You can order these and other books at

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