This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about book clubs. More specifically, Books to Read if Your Book Club Likes (blank). I decided to go with historical fiction, because I think historical fiction books are always great picks for book clubs. Out of all the books I’ve read in my personal book club, at least half have been historical fiction, and those have easily been the most loved. I think it’s relatively easy to find historical fiction that will appeal to many different tastes, and there is always something to talk about. These ten books are all books I loved, and I think they will make great book club reads. And if you don’t have a book club, you can start one. Or just read these on your own, because they’re amazing.
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. I love this book, and I feel like I haven’t mentioned it enough on this blog. It’s such an intriguing read, and I feel like there will be tons to talk about in a book club. The person who recommended it to me and I still talk about it nearly a year later!
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This one won the Pulitzer in 2015, and it was well-deserved! Among the plentiful WWII books out there, this one stands out because it tells the story of two different characters: a blind girl surviving on her own in occupied France, and a German boy having second thoughts about allowing himself to be requited into the German army. The story is wonderful and touching, and I love that it shows how the war affected people who weren’t necessarily persecuted by the Nazis.
- The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. I actually did read this for my book club! Which was really fun, because when the movie came out, we went to see it together and then compared the two afterwards. This one was great to buddy read, since there are so many different viewpoints, and none of them is inherently wrong; it’s a struggle to decide which side to take in the conflict, which makes for great discussions!
- My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. This book is just so fun! It’s an alternate history centered around Lady Jane Grey, aka the Nine-Day Queen, set in an England where politics are heavily tied into the magic system. I’m pretty picky about alternate histories (I was a history major, after all), and I adored this one!
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Warning: this book will make you cry. But its so, so worth it. Easily one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend this enough! It tells the story of Achilles, but through the eyes of his closest friend, Patroclus. It portrays the Trojan War in a much different light, and it is amazing. If you haven’t read it, add it to your TBR immediately.
- The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. Despite having a much more literature- and history-centric mind, I love reading about scientists, mathematicians, and inventors. This book is about the Current War, which was the legal battle between Edison and Westinghouse for control over the lightbulb. It’s narrated by Westinghouse’s lawyer, Paul Cravath, which is really interesting. But what made this book for me is the eccentric Nikola Tesla, who was incredibly fun to read about. It’s currently being adapted into a film starring Eddie Redmayne, so it would be a great choice to read with a book club before going to see the movie together.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I was not expecting to love this book, but it completely blew me away. It’s set in Georgia in the 1930s, and addresses a lot of the issues African Americans and women faced during that time. It’s touching and empowering and heartbreaking and I loved it. If you’re planning on reading it, I highly recommend the audiobook, which is read by Alice Walker.
- The Diviners by Libba Bray. One of my favorite historical periods to read about is the 1920s. And this book does an incredible job highlighting the Jazz Age in New York City. It has an ensemble cast of characters that include everyone from pickpockets and scholars to showgirls and socialites. There’s also an incredibly creepy serial-killing ghost, so it’s kind of amazing.
- The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker. This is another historical book with a bit of a paranormal aspect. It centers around a golem and a jinni who find themselves attempting to fit in with the human population in turn-of-the-century Manhattan.
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, if you haven’t already read it. It’s a brilliantly written story about a young German girl during the second World War. What makes this story different, for me, is that it’s narrated by death as he recounts the three times he has met Liesel. If you’re an audiobook listener, this one is incredible as well.
Do you participate in a book club (either in person or online)? What historical fiction books would you recommend for book club reading?