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Book Club Ideas

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

We are in the center of Paris, in an elegant apartment building inhabited by bourgeois families. Renée, the concierge, is witness to the lavish but vacuous lives of her numerous employers. Outwardly she conforms to every stereotype of the concierge: fat, cantankerous, addicted to television. Yet, unbeknownst to her employers, Renée is a cultured autodidact who adores art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. With humor and intelligence she scrutinizes the lives of the building’s tenants, who for their part are barely aware of her existence.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

“Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again.”
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The year is 1915 and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter.

On Folly Beach by Karen White

A young widow who buys a bookstore in Folly Beach is taken back in time as she discovers the love and loss of a South Carolina family during WWII through notes written in the margins of books.

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

The four Batiste siblings are living in a run down house on what remains of their grandparents once thriving farm. Their mother died in childbirth and their neglectful father is oftentimes too tired or too drunk to tend to the needs of the children.

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