Book clubs have been around for many years with a few well-known ones popping up in the media. Celebrities and news personalities have spread their love for reading by creating public book clubs. Within these groups, people are able to follow along (for free) and see what new picks are chosen each month. The choices are published online on the club’s websites, as well as a list of past novels. Three of the most famous book clubs were founded by Oprah Winfrey, Jenna Bush Hager, and Reese Witherspoon. I recently went through the book lists of each of these clubs and chose my favorite reads to share with you.
Oprah’s Book Club Pick – Night by Elie Wiesel
Night was selected to be a part of Oprah’s Book Club in 2006 and the talk show host even stated that this “little book should be required reading for all humanity.” In this novel, Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel describes his horrific experiences with his father at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald Nazi concentration camps in 1944 to 1945. Sadly, Wiesel’s father passed away at Buchenwald. Wiesel’s writing will bring tears to your eyes as you read about the horrors conducted by the Nazis in World War II. But, readers will also be left with messages about humanity, loyalty, faith, and freedom from oppression. After reading Night, a quick search on the Internet will pull up speeches given by Elie Wiesel and an interview between Wiesel and Oprah. During the interview, the pair travel back to Auschwitz and readers are given an additional in-depth view about his experiences. I’d first read Night in the 9th grade and today, many young adults continue to read the novel. To see more books in Oprah’s Book Club, visit: oprahdaily.com/entertainment/books/g23067476/oprah-book-club-list/
Read with Jenna Book Club Pick – The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
I’m a fan of author Kristin Hannah’s writing and her latest book proved no different. Set during the Great Depression, The Four Winds tells the story of Elsa Wolcott and Rafe Martinelli. The two married back in 1921, when marriage was the only option for Elsa and her survival. Now, fast forward to 1934 and a changed world. The Great Depression is leaving millions out of work and the Dust Bowl came barreling into the Great Plains, causing drought and destruction of farms. Add in the slow downfall of Elsa and Rafe’s marriage, and life for the Martinelli family doesn’t look bright. Elsa is now forced to make the decision to fight for the farm and keep her children alive or move her family west to California. If you are looking for a novel about courage, strength, and hope, The Four Winds is a perfect book for you. To see more books in Read with Jenna Book Club, visit: today.com/shop/read-with-jenna
Reese’s Book Club Pick – The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Also set during the Great Depression, British woman Alice Wright marries American Bennett van Cleve and begins a new life in small town Kentucky. However, things don’t go as planned when life turns hectic living with her new overbearing father-in-law. Alice soon meets Margery when the town calls for women to participate in delivering books for Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library. As the team’s leader, Margery doesn’t take no for an answer. Soon, Alice and Margery are joined by three other women and create the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. Throughout The Giver of Stars, readers are taken on the journey of Alice’s new life in America, as a librarian, and the lessons she learns along the way. To see more books in Reese’s Book Club, visit:reesesbookclub.com/picks
These three novels only touch the surface of book club picks available to read. While the book clubs in this article are free, readers can also subscribe to monthly online book clubs. No matter what, the goal of all book clubs (and this column) is to spread the love for reading and the many stories out there.