As I mentioned, I've started a new job as a librarian, at a different branch. One of the hardest things was leaving the two book groups I'd been coordinating at my old branch, which was kind of heartbreaking -- I spent almost two years with both of them, and that was probably my favorite thing about that job. So, naturally, I'm eager to start another book group at this new location. And I have this idea that's so crazy, it just might work. . . . I'm starting a themed book group and the theme is. . . . nonfiction!!!
Yes, I'm going to attempt to start a new book group that will read nothing but nonfiction! I've been really inspired these past few years by how much great non-fiction is available nowadays -- some of my very favorite book club selections have been nonfiction choices. I'm going to call it the Stranger Than Fiction Book Group, and we're going to read a mix of history, biographies, memoirs, true crime, and adventure books, to name a few.
The group is going to start in January (no point in getting something off the ground until after the holidays) and I'm going to start publicizing it now. Our branch is going to have a Friends of the Library Book Sale soon, so I think that's a great opportunity to publicize it. I'm also going to try and advertise at some of the local senior centers. Who knows, I might even get some male patrons to the group.
Anyway, I have some ideas about possible reads for the first couple of months. They can't be too long, nothing over 500 pages, and we have to have enough copies in the library catalog, probably about ten, preferably with copies in large print and audio available. And nothing too popular; also, I'd prefer not to choose books that most people (myself included) have read already. So, I'm not even going to consider uber-popular works like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Eat, Pray, Love because so many people have probably read them.
Here are some of my top choices:
Isaac's Storm by Erik Larsen. He's written some incredibly popular nonfiction books, plus it's about Texas, so that's a win-win. Definitely on my list!
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. This was all over the 2012 best-of-lists. It might be a little depressing but I've heard it's also uplifting. I hope so.
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. History and true crime combined, sounds fascinating.
The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston. The best-selling mystery writer moves to Italy, discovers a local unsolved crime, and ends up under suspicion by the Italian police. How could you make this up?
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I've never read Krakauer but it's kind of an adventure/biography. Plus, it was my daughter's assigned reading last summer. And it's short.
Anyway -- those are just some of my ideas. There are tons more nonfiction books I want to read -- hopefully I can find enough people to make the group work. If not, I'll just go back to mixing up the genres like I did in my last group. So -- good choices or bad? Any other suggestions?