Top Ten Tuesday (98): Book Club Picks

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is

Top Ten Books I’d Like to Read with My Book Club (If I Had One)

1. My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok: A powerful story about a boy whose passion for art conflicts with the values of his religion.

2. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri: There’s so much here to discuss, not only about the nature of sin as depicted in the Inferno, but also about love, politics, art, and more.

3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien: Tolkien’s worldview offers a philosophical look at love, sacrifice, the nature of humanity, and more.

4. The Tempest by William Shakespeare: A powerful play in its own right, but also interesting as the last play Shakespeare wrote without a co-author.

5. The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis: Though sad, it is one of my favorite Narnia books and there’s a lot to discuss about Lewis’s conception of heaven.

6. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare: One of Shakespeare’s late romances, it tells a story of sin and redemption.

7. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis: A lot to discuss here, especially about temptation and sin–topics people often seem to want to avoid.

8. Middlemarch by George Eliot: A beautiful story about the intersecting lives of a rural community, touching upon the nature of love as well as the role of women in a society that urges them to be useful without giving them the means to be so.

9. Emma by Jane Austen: Everyone needs a little Austen in their book clubs!

10. Pat of Silver Bush by L. M. Montgomery: My favorite Montgomery book.  So of course I would want to read it!


18 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday (98): Book Club Picks

  1. Literary Feline says:

    Oh to revisit Tolkien with others! I would love that. The Last Battle is a good choice too! All of them really.

    I’m a fan of Jane Austen’s Emma too. I think there is a lot more to Emma than people give her credit for. 🙂


    • Krysta says:

      I admit that I initially didn’t like Emma–she seemed thoughtless and a bit of a busybody. But over time I came to see her as maybe just high-spirited and I grew to love her story.


      • Literary Feline says:

        I felt the same way about Emma at first and then she grew on me. Of all the Austen characters I have met so far, I saw the most growth in her character–and I think that’s partly why I like her so much as a character.


        • Krysta says:

          That’s very true. While Elizabeth, for example, realizes that she was wrong, I don’t know that I would say she experienced a great character change, but Emma seems truly humbled by the end and eager to live in a way that will not hurt others. It’s so awful when she realizes that her behavior may have cost her the love of her life–and also inspiring to have a story where loving someone makes the protagonist want to be a better person.


  2. Kayla (The Bookish Owl) says:

    I cried a little bit while reading The Last Battle, especially about that part with Susan and the other three in the train station. I have a beautiful edition of The Divine Comedy as well as Inferno Decoded to help me get through with it but I haven’t picked it up yet. Will definitely remedy that soon!

    Great list 🙂


    • Krysta says:

      I always cry during The Last Battle! I have hope for Susan, though. Just because she forgot about Narnia for a time doesn’t mean she won’t remember. I feel terrible, though, that her parents, siblings, and friend were all taken from her at once. I always wanted to know how she dealt with that.

      I like to read the Divine Comedy with some sort of guide–even the footnotes in my copy can’t cover all the allusions!


  3. Lianne @ says:

    I read Dante’s Inferno when I was in uni but it would be interesting indeed to read it as part of a book club! As would Shakespeare; my favourite part of English class was when we would read a Shakespeare play (at the beginning of the semester, and then alas, that was the highlight of the semester, haha). Agreed re: LOTR, there would be a lot of things to talk about! Great list!

    My TTT


    • Krysta says:

      I actually like the books of the Divine Comedy progressively better. You think the Inferno is good, but then you read Purgatorio and that’s better and then you get to Paradiso and your mind is just blown. Or, at least that was my experience! 🙂

      Shakespeare classes are some of the best!


  4. arendadehaan says:

    What a wonderful list! I’d love to read The Divine Comedy in a book club, too (over a couple sessions, I think) – there’s so much there! And Pat of Silver Bush is one of my favourite LMM novels, too. Love the bit where she talks about not liking the hymn “Abide with me” b/c of the line “change and decay in all around I see . . .” 🙂


    • Krysta says:

      You would definitely need more than one session for the Divine Comedy! And I’m so glad to find another Pat fan! She doesn’t get as much love as Anne and Emily, though I’m fond of those two, as well.


  5. eloisej says:

    I’ve read most all of these or they’re on my “to-read” list. The Last Battle has always been my least favorite of the Narnia series partly because of the heaven thing and partly because Susan didn’t come back, and partly I just didn’t think it was as good. Someday though I want to re-read it and see what I think about it now that I’m an adult.


    • Krysta says:

      It is sad we don’t get to see more of Susan. I always wonder how she handled losing her family and friends all at the same time. I often think that would be the thing that would have caused her to reset her priorities and put God first again.

      I actually find The Last Battle a lot more interesting when read in conjunction with some of Lewis’s other works, like maybe The Great Divorce. It really makes clear how his philosophy influences the story.


  6. Lisa says:

    I hope to convince my online group to read Middlemarch soon! I’ve never read it, but I know I need to. I’d love to read most of these with a book group, since I think there’d be a lot of interesting conversations. The Last Battle is my least favorite Narnia book, but maybe I could be convinced otherwise if I had a group to talk about it with!


    • Krysta says:

      I’d never thought of reading Middlemarch, really, until someone recommended it to me, but now I feel like I’m singing its praises in every other Top Ten Tuesday! It truly is a wonderful book.

      Most people I talk to seem not to like The Last Battle that much and I admit I find reading it almost traumatic–it’s extremely sad, especially at the beginning. I still find it beautiful, though.


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