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Part 3: Book recommendations: Readers write in

Half the Sky

Still can’t find the right book for next month’s book club meeting? If you’re looking for ideas, check out these reading suggestions from BCC members.


“The Heretic’s Daughter” by Kathleen Kent
Our book club is currently reading “The Heretic’s Daughter.” We haven’t met to discuss it yet, but the sense I’ve gotten from casual discussions with other members is that folks are definitely liking this book. Personally, I’d highly recommend it.  — The Tome Raiders
“Breath, Eyes, Memory” by Edwidge Danticat
Our book group read “Breath, Eyes, Memory” (an Oprah Book Club selection in 1998) and everyone agreed that it was a fantastic novel on many different levels. — Ladies Secret Sewing Society

“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani
“Yellow Raft in Blue Water”
by Michael Dorris
“The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox”
by Maggie O’Farrell
These are books we have really enjoyed. — The Bloomington Bookies

“The Road”
by Cormac McCarthy
“The History of Love”
by Nicole Krauss
We recently read and loved “The Road” and “The History of Love.” — Books and Bars

“Special Topics in Calamity Physics” by Marisha Pessl
Definitely a favorite … everyone has loved it. — various members of Books and Bars

“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen
“Peace Like a River”
by Leif Enger 
We read these books in the last couple months and both inspired lots of discussion. — Christ Lutheran Book Club

“Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan
We unanimously recommend it to other book groups. — Dine & Discuss (Double D)

“Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay
Our book club had mixed feelings about this book, but for the most part, we thought it was quite good. — French River Readers

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
“Olive Kitteridge”
by Elizabeth Strout
“The Shadow of the Wind”
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
— various BCC readers

The following recommendations come from members of Women’s Brunch and Books:

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson
 A real page-turner…a little on the dark side.

“The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf
A very well written murder mystery … I couldn’t put it down.

“The Distant Land of My Father” by Bo Caldwell
Extraordinary father-daughter and grandmother-mother-daughter relationships. Great story and good discussion book.

“The Plain Sense of Things” by Pamela Carter Joern
Loosely connected stories of a family living in the first half of this century. Spare and powerful writing. Evocative settings.

“The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery
The story of a young despondent girl and a concierge in a London flat, who ultimately save each other through common passions.

“Driftless” by David Rhodes
The amazingly close-to-home story of the people in small rural town in Wisconsin’s Driftless Region.

“Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks
Highly fictionalized, but based on the true story of a seventeenth-century English town that decided to isolate itself during the plague. Compelling narrator.


“1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by  Charles C. Mann
Mann overturns a lot of the common assumptions about the native civilization of North and South America. I really loved this book. — Women’s Brunch and Books

“Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity” by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
The authors guide you through Africa and Asia to meet extraordinary women and girls who have fought through slavery and oppression and been given the needed resources to change their lives. Through these stories, the authors argue that the key to economic progress lies in women’s freedom and equality. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. — Women’s Brunch and Books

“The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom”
by Simon Winchester
It’s about Joseph Needham, a brilliant British scholar who taught the West most of what it knows about China. — Women’s Brunch and Books

“The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics” by Clifford A. Pickover
Hey, you have to love the title (“The Math Book”) and then the author’s name. Pickover answers such questions as “Is it possible to turn a sphere inside out?” and other important wonderings that cross our minds while standing in lines. — Women’s Brunch and Books


“Coming Back to the Body: Poems” by Joyce Sutphen
Heard one of these poems on “Writer’s Almanac.” The collection is lovely. Accessible, warm, colorful imagery. Down to earth. My kind of poetry. — Women’s Brunch and Books

Share your favorite books with other BCC readers! Send your book club’s recommendations to aotto[at]minnpost[dot]com.

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Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 03/30/2010 - 07:57 pm.

    I just finished River Road by Peter Hessler and will recommend it to my book club. Google it; I think you’ll be impressed with the critics’ comments–and those from “just plain readers”! It’s wonderful!!

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