The next group of five books in this series about reading at Indiana Humanities consists of the books that were borrowed most often in 2013 from our lending library for book clubs, Novel Conversations.
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – A young adult (YA) novel about a teenaged girl who is facing terminal cancer, this book has been popular with book clubs for both teens and adults. At a support group for cancer patients, Hazel meets Augustus, and they begin a witty, touching romance, with time not on their side. The story is set in Indianapolis, and readers can also follow Green’s entertaining Facebook posts about making the book into a movie.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – A complex cast of characters is introduced through an exchange of letters that harks back to WWII and the Nazi occupation of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. Juliet Ashton, a writer, learns about this historical episode even as she is drawn into the postwar life of the island and its odd but warmhearted and resourceful people.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Another novel about survival under Nazi rule and the role of literature in extreme circumstances, this is the story of Liesel, a nine-year-old German orphan who steals books. The author won wide acclaim for this unusual tale, told by “Death” himself.
- Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson – We all know that English village life is not really very peaceful. So it is for retired major Ernest Pettigrew, whose well-ordered life is turned upside down when he befriends Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani widow who runs a local shop. A novel of manners, this cozy yet thoughtful and contemporary book finishes up with a thriller ending.
- My Antonia by Willa Cather – A classic among best sellers, My Antonia tells of an immigrant Bohemian girl who settles with her family in Nebraska in the nineteenth century. First published in 1918, this book is an enduring portrait of a pioneer community. Two of Cather’s other novels, O Pioneers and The Professor’s House, have also been popular selections for Novel Conversations book groups.
Survival, courage and life in difficult and changing times – these themes continue to intrigue our readers and furnish excellent material for book group discussions.
This post was written by Nancy Conner, coordinator of Novel Conversations for Indiana Humanities.