In keeping with the theme of my blog, “Reflections from an Activist and Adventurer,” I invite you to join my Around the World Virtual Book Club. Over the next year, I’ll be reading and reviewing 25 books – fiction, memoir, classics, Pulitzer Prize winners – written by North American and foreign writers alike. Every 2 weeks, I’ll be starting a new discussion thread, following the calendar below. Join me in reading and commenting on a particular book that suits your fancy, or challenge yourself to read all 25.
1. Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel by Gaile Perkin (Discussion begins July 15th, 2010) – A debut novel mixing together expat life in Rwanda’s capital with themes such as culture, tradition, womanhood, AIDS and genocide.
2. In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey Into the Heart of the Evangelical Church by Gina Welch (Discussion begins July 29th, 2010) – Born and raised a secular Jew, Welch relocates to the heart of the Bible belt in Lynchburg, Virginia. On an undercover mission to learn more about her new neighbors, this memoir reflects on her immersion as a member of Jerry Fallwell’s mega-church.
3. Spooky Little Girl: A Novel by Laurie Notaro (Discussion begins August 12th, 2010) – Described by reviewers as a humorous account of life in the hereafter, this is the latest release from the author of The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club.
4. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Discussion begins August 26th, 2010) – The latest collection of short stories by the up-and-coming Nigerian writer.
5. Things I’ve Been Silent About: Memories of a Prodigal Daughter by Azar Nafisi (Discussion begins September 9th, 2010) – A follow-up to the internationally acclaimed Reading Lolita in Tehran, this memoir from Iranian writer Azar Nafisi explores her unhappy family life.
6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Discussion begins September 23rd, 2010) – Written in 1966, a classic novel about murder and the criminal mind.
7. Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel by Isabel Allende (Discussion begins October 7th, 2010) – Newly released historical fiction from renowned Chilean author Isabel Allende.
8. Girl in Translation: A Novel by Jean Kwok (Discussion begins October 21st, 2010) – A coming-of-age debut novel about a young Chinese girl who immigrates with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn.
9. Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody (Discussion begins November 4th, 2010) – Memoir from my favorite (Academy Award winning) screenwriter Diablo Cody, who penned Juno and Jennifer’s Body.
10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Discussion begins November 18th, 2010) – Science-fiction classic about book burning firemen.
11. Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren (Discussion begins December 2nd, 2010) – Newly released memoir from a former American stripper/call girl turned concubine to the Sultan of Brunei’s younger brother.
12. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (Discussion begins December 16th, 2010) – Released in 1962, the book that help set off the modern environmental movement.
13. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Discussion begins December 30th, 2010) – From the author of The Kite Runner, a novel about life in a Taliban-run world.
14. The Almost Moon: A Novel by Alice Sebold (Discussion begins January 13th, 2011) – From the best-selling author of The Lovely Bones, this novel has had mixed reviews. Decide for yourself.
15. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert (Discussion begins January 27th, 2011) – With all the hype around this book, and my obsession with international travel, I can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet.
16. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (Discussion begins February 10th, 2011) – Published in 1949, a political satire of a totalitarian world.
17. The Same Earth: A Novel by Kei Miller (Discussion begins February 24th, 2011) – A coming-of-age novel about a young Jamaican woman who leaves her country for England after the 1974 devasting hurricane.
18. Anthropology of an American Girl: A Novel by Hilary Thayer Hamman (Discussion begins March 10th, 2011) – The 2010 revised release of the 2003 self-published epic sensation.
19. The Lovers: A Novel by Vendela Vida (Discussion begins March 24th, 2011) – I loved Vida’s novel Let the Northern Lights Release Erase Your Name. This new release is set in Turkey.
20. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Discussion begins April 7th, 2011) – 2009 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this interconnected collection of short stories is set in Maine.
21. March: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks (Discussion begins April 21st, 2011) – This 2006 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction retells the story of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women from the point of view of their absent father.
22. Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things) by Abby Sher (Discussion begins May 5th, 2011) – A newly released memoir about the author’s struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
23. A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice by Malalai Joya (Discussion begins May 19th, 2011) – Autobiography of an Afghan activist.
24. Stranger than Fiction: True Stories by Chuck Palahniuk (Dicussion begins June 2nd, 2011) – The book club selection from my husband, a collection from the Pacific Northwest-based writer of Fight Club.
25. Animal Farm by George Orwell (Discussion begins June 16, 2011) – Required reading when I was in the seventh grade I missed the satire, so I think I should re-read this 1946 classic.