If you enjoy those “fun” after-work events where all anyone wants to talk about is work, then our book club is not for you.

No shop talk allowed. Just grab your book, remove your work filter, and come as you are.

We all love what we do (most of the time, anyway), but sometimes team bonding is best when you’re completely immersed in topics and debates that are unrelated to work.

Do you think King Richard III really murdered his nephews or was it a Tudor plot? Let’s discuss.
Was it just me, or did you want to punch the heroine in the face too? She was the WORST.
Why does she make so many bad choices; can she please just make ONE good choice?

The hardest part of our book club, honestly, is finding a book we all haven’t already read. Our group has a pretty wide range of interests—from historical non-fiction to Sci-fi—so it usually takes a few rounds of suggestions to find something no one’s read. Once the die is cast, we generally set a due date because some of us (okay one of us—me) like to take their time. And then we meet.

As you might have guessed by our other cooking and food-related posts, we like food and booze. A lot. And we like to change up the venue every time we meet. Truth be told, our book club is about 30% reading, 30% drinking, and 40% socializing—it’s an excuse to let our hair down, drink lots of wine, and have an “educated” conversation about a piece of literary prose and recommend other great reads and podcasts with each other.

And if it so happens that the selected book wasn’t that great, it’s a fun opportunity to make fun of the book, mock the person who picked it, and pour another glass of wine.

Here are some of the books we’ve read, discussed, and rated:

Boys on the Boat (A-)

The story of hard work, dedication and the camaraderie of a small town crew team on the quest to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I’ve never rowed a boat in my life, but found myself wanting to know what happens next – and love that this is a true story.

The Gentleman in Moscow (A)

Who knew a book about a man (well actually he is a Count) who was confined to living in a hotel could be so interesting? Well it is, thanks to some interesting guests that stroll into the lobby and things are never the same.

A Man Called Ove (A)

The story of a man who is ready to be done with this world, so he repeatedly tries to commit suicide and fails due to interruptions. Sounds terrible, right? Wrong—it was amazing! These interruptions come in the form of unforgettable characters who may just force Ove to reconsider what he values in this world.

The Nest (B-)

The story of a family who is protecting their family “nest” egg—i.e., the inheritance that they’ve all been dreaming about for years. Filled with some of your typical family debates, this story left me wanting more.

The Rosie Project (A-)

A quirky tale of a genetics professor who likes order and plans, and as such creates a survey to identify the best female partner for him. He launches the survey only to have Rosie enter his life who doesn’t meet his criteria, but oddly enough he finds himself falling for her despite her complete lack of order and desire for spontaneity.

The Girl on the Train (A-)

This one had me on the edge of my seat, borderline anxious for the majority of the read. This novel centers around a woman who struggles with alcoholism and has an obsession with a perfectly beautiful couple (whose life she idolizes) she can see from her daily train ride to and from the city. One day, her world is shattered when she sees the perfect wife kissing another man, only to find out the next morning that the woman has gone missing (and Rachel is hungover and bloody with no recollection of the evening). And, the story begins….

Little Fires Everywhere (A-)

For a community that was founded on order, equality, appearance and status, the arrival of Mia (a single mother) and her daughter Pearl are the last thing this community would welcome. But, Mrs. Richardson welcomes them into her life by renting them a home (as a good deed), and finds herself becoming oddly obsessed with them. Meanwhile, Mia is finding her daughter becoming obsessed with the Richardson family and seemingly distancing herself from her mother. After a trip to a museum and a picture of Mia and Pearl hanging on the wall, everyone realizes there is more to the story and begin diving in…

News of the World (A-)

Sargent Kidd travels through the Southwest providing “news of the world” by arranging meetings and reading the latest newspapers to the community. However, his plans take a sharp left turn when he is entrusted with a captive child who was kidnapped from her family (who have since been murdered) and has been held with the Kiowa Indians, only to be recently found. His mission is to return her to some distant relatives who are several hundred miles away. They’re an unlikely traveling pair, but the journey is bound to form a bond between the elderly man and the child who doesn’t speak, eat, or dress like any child he’s ever known.

Next Up:

We usually have one or two crashers who didn’t even read the assigned book! So, whether you’re a big reader or not, it’s a fun way to let off some steam. Give it a try—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.