Home > Book Club, Personal Posts > Book Club 2016-2017 : the list

Book Club 2016-2017 : the list

book_club_2Time flies as we all know it and our Book Club year is almost over. In July, we’ll read Rendezvous in Venice by Philippe Beaussant and The Bookstore by Penelope Fitzgerald. We had to think about next year! So we met and decided upon our reading list for our Book Club from August 2016 to July 2017. I’m happy with our choices as they mix literary fiction, non-fiction and crime. We have picked books from different countries, even if there are five French books. We also have a good mix of periods, with books from the 19thC to nowadays. We’ll read books by writers we already know and like and some by writers new to us.

*drum roll* Here’s the list:


  • August: The Firemaker by Peter May. (1999) Crime fiction set in China. I’ve never read Peter May, I expect something entertaining with a good sense of place.
  • September: The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling (1888) A classic. Short and perfect for September when the children go back to school and we, parents are overbooked to have the new school year organised. I have this bilingual edition, English on the left page, French translation on the right page.
  • October: I Am a Cat by Natsume Sôseki. (1905) Japan at the beginning of the 20thC through the eyes of a cat. A classic I’ve been meaning to read for a while.


  • November: Les grands cimetières sous la lune by Georges Bernanos is not available in English. The title means “the big cemeteries under the moon”. It is Bernanos’s take on the Spanish Civil War and it was published in 1938.  1936-2016, I’m glad to read it this year.
  • December: The Dark Room by R.K. Narayan. (1938) I have the English edition but I couldn’t resist showing you the cover of the French edition. I’ve read Swammi and Friends and liked it very much. I’m looking forward to visiting Narayan’s world again.
  • January: All Men Are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir. (1946) What happens when someone’s immortal?


  • February: The Romance of a Mummy by Théophile Gautier. (1858). A classic I’ve never read and I’m curious about it.
  • March: The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis. It will be published in English in February 2017. I’ve heard a lot about Edouard Louis, I’m intrigued and I hope I won’t find him as disappointing as Houellebecq.
  • April: “Oh…” by Philippe Djian (2012) It’s not available in English but you can watch the film version. It’s Elle, directed by Paul Verhoeven. Djian is a sure thing, most of the time and I remember that the critics were good when “Oh…” was published.


  • May: Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann. (2015) I’ve read This Side of Brightness and loved it.
  • June: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. (2005) I know it’s a beautiful text but I have to say I dread to read it for the emotional side of it.
  • July: Les putes voilées n’iront jamais au paradis by Chardortt Djavann. (2016). The author is French but was born in Iran. The title of her novel means The whores with a hijab will never end in paradise. Her book tells the story of two young girls in Iran and it is about the condition of women in this country.
  • Bonus: Homeland and Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver (1989) Just because it almost made the list and there’s always time to read short stories.

What do you think about our new list? Have you read any of the books we picked? You’re welcome to read any of these books along with us.

  1. June 18, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve read the Didion – it *is* incredibly emotional, but her writing is excellent.


    • June 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      I’ve already read three books by her and I really enjoyed her style. I’ve read really good reviews of this one. I know it’s going to be a bit difficult to read but worth my time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. June 19, 2016 at 6:08 am

    For once I haven’t read any on the list. There’s a film version of the Kipling if you’re interested. FYI I tried Kingsolver once, she’s hugely popular, and I couldn’t stand the book.


    • June 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      Wow. I can’t believe we managed to make a list of 13 books that you haven’t read. I blame it on the 5 French books.

      I’ve read several books by Kingsolvers (pre-blog, mostly) and I liked them a lot.


    • June 19, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      I tried The Poisonwood Bible and hated it. I have Laguna so am hoping thats better


      • June 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm

        I’ve read it and it’s not my favourite one.
        I have fond memories of The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven.
        I really enjoyed Prodigal Summer too.

        I’ve also read her autobiographical book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It relates her experience of growing her own food (with her husband)

        I have The Lacuna at home too. It seems different from the others.


        • June 22, 2016 at 10:51 pm

          you have a lot more experience of her writing than I do


        • July 5, 2016 at 11:12 am

          I really liked The poison wood bible too, Emma. And I liked have fond memories of The bean trees and Pigs in heaven too. But for some reason I’ve stopped there though I do have a couple on my TBR.


          • July 6, 2016 at 9:13 pm

            I was beginning to think I was the only one to like Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for this comment 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • July 7, 2016 at 12:21 am

              Haha, Emma, I thought I’d better offer support! I have a book of her essays too.


              • July 8, 2016 at 7:25 am

                Which one do you have?


              • July 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm

                High tide in Tucson, Emma


      • June 22, 2016 at 11:16 pm

        We have a common repulsion, it seems


        • June 26, 2016 at 7:38 pm

          If you’ve only tried The Poisonwood Bible, I can understand that.


  3. June 19, 2016 at 8:02 am

    A fascinating mix and some good suggestions for me too (sigh!). I’ve read The Firemaker and will be reviewing it shortly on CFL, I read Natsume Soseki a long time ago – it is charming and funny, and I loved (and was very moved by) Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking. Have fun!


    • June 19, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      How was The Firemaker?
      I know it’s going to be a busy time for you but I’d love for you to re-read the Soseki with us. I’m use you’d have useful insights on the Japanese culture it describes.
      I know the Didion is good. I’m just a coward when it comes to read sad books.


      • June 19, 2016 at 6:42 pm

        I’d love to reread the Soseki – I remember I have the big chunky volume somewhere, but with so many houses and shelves scattered around the world, I have to conduct a proper search.


        • June 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm

          Let me know if you can put your hands on it. 🙂 I suppose you have it in Japanese?


  4. June 19, 2016 at 8:58 am

    A great selection of books, several of which are new to me. The Didion blew me away when I read it a few months ago. It is incredibly moving, but I’m so glad to have read it. I’ll be very interested to see how you fare with it – it’s a book that needs to be discussed, so it should suit a book group.

    The Soseki caught my eye too. I have another of his books on the TBR, The Gate, which I’m planning to read before the year is out. Maybe I’ll try for October to tie in with your reading of I Am a Cat.


    • June 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Honestly, I have no idea of how I’ll respond to the Didion. I wonder if I’ll relate, since I’ve never lost someone very close like this.

      It would be fantastic if we did a Soseki readalong in October.


      • June 20, 2016 at 9:26 am

        Great. I’ll make a note to read The Gate in time for a post in October. 🙂


  5. June 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I’ve. It read a single one of these but am so envious at the variety yiu selected. Makes the book club I occasionally participate in seem very tame and unadventurous


    • June 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks. If you’re tempted by any of them, join us!


      • June 21, 2016 at 12:13 am

        Ooh so so tempting……


        • June 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm

          Please succomb and join us here and there. 🙂


  6. June 19, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    These loom like such interesting books.

    I never read The man Who Would be King. It is on my list of books that I want to get to soon. I thought that the 1975 film was a great one. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this work.


    • June 26, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Sorry for the slow answer, Brian. I missed your comment, I don’t know why.

      I’m really happy with our selection.

      I see that Kipling is not so widely read. It makes me curious.


  7. June 20, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I’ve not read any of them. It looks like a very good list though. I don’t exactly recall the last one, but this list looks stronger.

    Count me particularly curious to see your thoughts on The Man Who Would Be King. Brian’s right, the film’s great.


  8. N@ncy
    July 3, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Thanks for some great French book suggestions. I have trouble finding some interesting books to read in that language. I’ve overdosed on English the last 6 weeks, time for a change!


    • July 3, 2016 at 11:19 am

      I’m glad it gave you ideas for future reads. That was the point of sharing this list, so I’m happy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. July 5, 2016 at 11:07 am

    I’ve only read the Didion! It is well worth reading Emma. it is sad, but I think also affirming – though it’s a long time since I’ve read it. I’d love to read the Soseki. I have a couple of Japanese classics on my TBR, but not this one.

    Oh, and I love the variety in your list. Our group’s choices are fairly varied too, but I would like us to do more translated fiction. We did read an African book this year, but it was written in English!


    • July 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      You’re welcome to read the Soseki along with us.

      I like this list for its variety too. Even if there are a lot of French literature. You know that for a French reader, a translated book is not a translation, it’s a book. And that’s all that matters.


      • July 7, 2016 at 12:20 am

        That’s interesting re translation Emma. Perhaps that’s because you’re inclined to read more translated books than most English speakers? I’m always aware that there’s a mediator.


        • July 8, 2016 at 7:27 am

          We’re just used to seeing films with dubbing, books in translation and we don’t think about it as a sub-experience because we missed the original language.
          I guess we trust our translators and most of the time, they do a great job.


          • July 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm

            Yes, I know most do, but still … doesn’t stop me reading translations of course but it’s something I can’t ignore.


  10. Vishy
    July 23, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Wonderful list, Emma! I loved Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, though it is heartbreaking as you have said. So nice to see R.K.Narayan’s The Dark Room there 🙂 I have wanted to read Natsume Soseki’s I am a Cat for a while now. If I am able to get a copy, I will try to join. Happy reading!


    • July 23, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks, Vishy. I really enjoyed the Narayan I read and I’m happy my suggestion was accepted. I owe you for this discovery.

      Join us for I am a Cat, it will be a pleasure.

      PS: it’s nice to have you back!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vishy
        July 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm

        Thanks Emma 🙂 I will definitely try to join. Glad to be back 🙂


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