Book clubs offer a great opportunity for friends and book lovers to gather (whether virtually or in person) to catch up and discuss a good book. There’s only two problems with this activity and they seem to come up at every meeting: what book should the group read next and how do you find enough copies for everyone?
TBPL is here to help with our Book Club in a Bag service. Each bag includes 10 paperback copies of the same book, discussion questions for your group to ponder, author information, and book reviews. With almost 200 different titles available, there is bound to be one that is the perfect next read for your group.
Visit our online catalogue to place holds on book club bags as well as individual copies of any of the books mentioned below. If you’re looking to view all of the book club bags available, simply click the link and search “book club bag”. Any Library patron can place a hold on a bag for pick up at any of our open branches. These bags are loaned out for 8 weeks, which gives you and your book club plenty of time to read and discuss.
Every month, a new set of book club titles will be highlighted in The Book Club Hub post. This month features novels that have been adapted into movies. There have been countless movies that have gotten their inspiration from books. Sometimes, it can take many years for a book to be adapted into a movie (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest being released 13 years after the novel), and sometimes it seems that a movie adaptation is made rather quickly after a book has been published (The Hate U Give was adapted to a movie one year after the novel was published). Some make big changes to the plot, some try to be as loyal as possible. Either way, they are usually entertaining, and can often trace viewers back to a book they may not have realized even existed. Here are this month’s selections:
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
(published 2008, adapted to a film in 2019 starring Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried)
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life … as only a dog could tell it.
Room – Emma Donoghue
(published 2010, adapted to an Academy Award winning film in 2015 starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay)
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world….
Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience—and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough … not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
The Martian – Andy Weir
(published 2014, adapted to a Golden Globe winning film in 2015 starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain)
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
(published 2013, adapted to a film in 2019 starring Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014
Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to the thing that most reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld. As he grows up, Theo learns to glide between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and his talisman, the painting, places him at the centre of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettably vivid characters and thrilling suspense, it is a beautiful, addictive triumph – a sweeping story of loss and obsession, of survival and self-invention, of the deepest mysteries of love, identity and fate.
There are even more book club bags available with TBPL that have been adapted into movies! Having a movie to watch after your book club finishes their book is a great way to close off the topic, especially if everyone enjoys the film! When changes have been made, your book club can discuss why those changes may have been made, and what they did/did not add to the story as a whole. Movies have been taking inspiration from books for many, many years, and will continue to do so for years to come.
Not in a book club? No problem! These books are also available as single copies in our online catalogue.
Book descriptions via GoodReads
Lindsay – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you!