We are heading into year three of BookOfCinz Book Club and I figured I would take the time to go through some of my favorite books over the last two years. I maintain that the hardest part of being a Book Club host is selecting the books- I NEVER know which way it is going to go. Will they love it, absolutely detest it or worse, not be moved.
We have read 24 books and it was so hard to narrow down my top ten favorite reads. I decided to go with the ones that really moved me and my Book Clubbers, the ones we cannot stop talking about (be it good or bad), and the ones we wish we didn’t have to talk about. Yes! These are the memorable ones and for good reason.
Dew Angels my Melanie Schwapp
This book will forever have a very special place in my heart. This was the first book we read for BookOfCinz Book Club. I remember how nervous I was starting a book club and this book gave me so much courage because I know it was a story I felt strongly about discussing with other people. I will forever remember this book fondly and how it is the basis of the what is now the BookOfCinz Book Club. Also, from the very beginning we have been reading Caribbean and I am here for it.
Golden Child by Claire Adam
Have you ever read a book that you absolutely LOVED showed up to book club assuming you will spend the entire time gushing about it and it turned into a absolute “hate fest”? Yes, that is exactly how Golden Child was for me. We read this over two years ago and it is still being brought up at Book Club meetings to date. It’s reach a point where I BEG people not to say the name of the book because we end up spiraling into why everyone did not like this book. I have had instances where we show up to discuss one book and we end up talking about Golden Child, this book HAUNTS this club. Honestly, this may just be the most hated book club pick.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa
Every now and then I think about the utter gall of the main character in this book who decided she just need to take a year off to just rest…sleep. Of course, this was a white woman with a heavy trust fund. I wish I had the means to just take the year off to just sleep. This was the first and only book written by a white woman to make the BookOfCinz Book Club line up. In retrospect I was still finding the club’s identity but I am happy we got to read this book. Surprisingly, Book Clubbers did enjoy this one and I think it was because it is a premise we all wish we could make our reality. Here’s to Ottessa Moshfegh being the only white author to be discussed at Book Club.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
If you are going to end the year, end it with a bang. This was our last book of 2020 and I felt it was such a strong book to finish the year with. I know, this was one of the most hyped up and most anticipated book of 2020 and I was taking a gamble but I think it paid off. Yaa Gyasi is a phenomenal writer, how she writes characters and plot demands an audience to meet and discuss it. Yes! This was the perfect way to close out 2020.
Where There Are Monsters by Breanne Mc Ivor
After finishing Breanne Mc Ivor’s Where There Are Monsters I thought, I need more eyes on this. More importantly, I need to discuss this with a group of Trinidadians. The Author showing up to be a part of the Book Club meeting was also the first and only time (so far) that happened in BookOfCinz Book Club meeting history. This was our first meeting outside of lockdown and so very well attended. I think we chatted about this book for hours! There was so much to dissect and get into, and I think that is what makes this the perfect Book Club collection.
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card
I think there is something to be said when we all read the same book and are all left confused by the ending. This Book Club was like a group meeting, we were all trying to figure out exactly what that ending was about. If you’ve read this book, you’ll know what I am talking about. That ending threw us all for a loop and we are still not sure we all understood what the author was trying to do. I think that is what I love about book club, when you read something you don’t understand or may not get, you have the help of others to provide insights. Thanks Maisy Card for putting this “Figure Out the End” project before us.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
This was one of those books that demands to be read and be read widely. Chanel Miller’s memoir really moved me, made me angry, sad, infuriated and cried. The subject that was explored in the book affects women on a daily basis and I wanted a space to go through it. With the Book Club attendees being mostly women, it worked perfectly. Know My Name is such a well written, strong debut with a no nonsense call to arms.
Everything Inside By Edwidge Danticat
What can I say? I absolutely LOVE a great short story collection, bonus points if its sent in Haiti. I read this collection and I knew it had to be a Book Club pick. Edwidge Danticat’s ability to write convincing characters and plots in just 10 pages is unmatched. With Haiti being a country, I have deep interest in, this was definitely a no-brainer.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
This was another BookOfCinz miss for the Book Clubbers. I remember showing up to Book Club with a long list of discussion points and copious notes on Frannie. There was so much I wanted to dive into and I was met with crickets! Except for one Book Clubber, looking at you Keri, everyone else was beyond underwhelmed and unmoved. So yeah… while I loved this one, it was a miss for others.
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud
This was what I thought would have been a BookOfCinz Book Club darling. The Trinis in the Book Club did not absolutely love it. Many felt that it was not authentic, questioned whether the author knew what the culture was like now. Others were able to look pass some minor details and thoroughly enjoy it.
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There you have it! My top ten. Of course this will change with the new 2021 reads! What have been your favorite BookOfCinz Book Club picks? Let me know in the comments!