A Book Club Survey

I don’t do a lot of “book tag” posts, but the book club in my office sent around this survey to identify future books, and I’m shamelessly lifting it. There’s no cute theme here; just good questions that got me thinking.  It’s an interesting approach for a book club, because I don’t know how they’ll sift through all these different responses, but I like the idea of not just asking “what do you want to read”. If you’re looking for some inspiration about what to read next, feel free to complete it yourself.

1.Name a book that has been recently published that you’ve thought about adding to your reading list.

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon Line to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry. Published in January, I read about this book in the New York Times book review and it sounds like just the sort of thing I’d like to read.

2.What book have you re-read when you needed something comforting?

I’ve been thinking a lot about re-reads lately.  One of the books on my shelf that calls out to me is 28 Barbary Lane, my Tales of the City compilation by Armistead Maupin.  Re-reading Tales of the City is like getting back together with old friends. 

3.What book have you been thinking about reading for a long time but haven’t gotten around to it?

One of the books that I’m using for this year’s TBR Pile Challenge is Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles, published in 2011.  Miller is one author I’d like to read more of. 

4.What book changed the way you looked at how you lived your life?

A very recent example would be Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer.  I can’t tell you how often I think about some of the lessons in this book.  But another place my mind went to with this question was Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which I read in college.  Both are books that remind me to be mindful of my mental health. 

5.What book had descriptions so vivid, you felt like you were there beside the characters?

This question made me think of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, a favorite I’ve read and reread.  I was very hesitant to watch the recent version because these characters were already so vivid in my mind.  Another one is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.

6.What book did you instantly add to your reading list once you read its description or read a review about it?

When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father’s War and What Remains by Ariana Neumann.  It’s a story the author wrote about her father’s experiences in Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust.  It has a lot of parallels with my own father’s experience, and I love books that combine memoir, history, and genealogical research. 

7.What is a book you wish everyone could read?

Know My Name by Chanel Miller (or any really good book about sexual assault).  This book is beautifully written about the impacts of sexual assault and the unfortunate inadequacies of our legal system. 

The other one I’d add here is Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.  It’s the best book I’ve read on the subject of race in this country and how it affects us every day.  I think once I knew that Hitler used our country’s racism as his model for the Holocaust, it changed how I thought about so many things.  

8.What book made you laugh?

Anything by Jenny Lawson falls into this category. Another recent read is Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto.  The audiobook version had me laughing out loud. It’s just a fun story that also looks at generational, cultural and language differences. 

9.What book made you tear up (or fully cry)?

I thought this one would be easy because I’m a book crier, so any book where someone goes through something tragic is going to qualify here. Still, it was hard to think of a good example, because with some books you don’t know they are going to be tragic and I don’t want to give anything away. I ended up with A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  This is such a beautiful book, but it’s also an ugly-crier kind of book (none of this “tearing up” stuff — this is a don’t-read-on-a-plane kind of book).   

10.What book have you bought as a gift for someone else because you wanted them to read it?

I buy a lot of books as gifts, but to choose one, I recently bought my sister Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. I think a lot of people will really identify with this one.

What did these questions make you think of?

  4 comments for “A Book Club Survey

  1. March 21, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Good questions and the answers will be very interesting to see though I’m not sure how they are going to be used to choose future reading options for the club. Or maybe the idea is just to have people go out and buy more books ???

  2. March 21, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    These are some great questions. I’m also curious to know how they’ll make their decision based on them.
    I think I’ll copy you and do this too as a book tag.
    And same here on Song of Achilles. It’s one I’ve wanted to read for a long time now.

  3. April 9, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Good q;uestions…somebody put a lot of thought into composing the survey!

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