My best bookgroup reads

I’ve been a member of a Bookgroup for a few years now. As you’ve probably guessed I love reading but I’ve never much liked being told what to read. As a result I resisted joining my Bookgroup for quite some time despite several invitations to do so. I eventually joined as a way to socialise with adults for a bit after the birth of my first child.

I’m so glad I did. I’ve got an excellent group of friends from it, and I’ve read some super books that I never would have picked up without the group. Yes there are books I’ve not enjoyed but we’re super relaxed and you don’t have to have read the book to come along to the meeting.

This post is about the first of those, the amazing books I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.

Lawyer Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.

Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. 

The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice

I know, I know, its a classic. A good classic. But without Bookgroup I never would have read it. it seemed a bit too much like ‘school reading’. I’m so glad i read it, it now has a place as one of my favourites.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Non Fiction isn’t usually my thing. I don’t find many particuallrly interesting or capable of holding my attention. This book however was amazing for so many different reasons.

The science, the personal story and just the sheer humanity of Henrietta’s story. she was an incredibly brave lady who’s cells still influence medical science today. A fascinating and touching read.

The Great Alone

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.

This is my most recently found Bookgroup gem. I have to admit the cover really put me off, it didn’t look like a book i’d enjoy at all. The reality was that I loved it and read it in a few days. A story of survival and humanity it wormed its was under my skin and I couldn’t put it down for long until I had finished it.

Are you a member of a bookgroup? What books have you found surprisingly enjoyable?