Each month, our Book Clubs column highlights three excellent paperback books that would make ideal fodder for provocative book club discussions. Our April 2013 Book Clubs column is particularly fruitful, as three of our favorite books from 2012 are now out in paperback: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.
We found this story of profound loss and the healing power of a brutal long-distance hike to be painfully funny and honest. We caught up with Strayed to see how the immense success of her harrowing, best-selling memoir is treating her. Read our Q&A with Strayed here.
One of the few criticisms we've heard from readers about Wild is irritation for how utterly unprepared she was for her 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Coast Trail. These readers are often avid hikers themselves, and this drives them a little crazy. So of course, we asked Strayed what she would like to say to those readers. Here's a little of her response:
"Wouldn’t life be miserable if we never learned anything the hard way? Were none of these infuriated readers ever young?
I think the world would be a rather sad place if we only did things we were entirely prepared for. All the best things I’ve ever done were things I learned how to do along the way. Becoming a parent is a prime example. Most parents have very little idea about what to do with a baby before the baby’s in hand. You learn fast."
The two other books from our April Book Clubs column were released in paperback this week!
M.L. Stedman's debut novel, The Light Between Oceans, was #10 on BookPage's Best Books of 2012 list and #2 on the Readers' Choice: Best Books of 2012 list. On an island off the coast of Australia, a couple discovers a boat washed up on shore. Inside, they find a dead man and a living baby. The moral questions posed in this stunning debut are perfect for book club discussions.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is our April Top Pick for Book Clubs, was #3 on BookPage's Best Books of 2012 list and #19 on the Readers' Choice: Best Books of 2012 list. Unraveling the mystery of a mother's disappearance through a wonderfully original narrative will make this one a fun read for any reading group.
Will your book club add one of these 2012 favorites to their list? Which will make for the best discussion?