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PBR Book Club Recommendations


PBR Review: As the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize, I'd heard good things about this book and decided to listen to it on Audio. I would have preferred reading it rather than listening to it because it's descriptive and you need to pay More


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Talking Points: Many of the characters in this book provide an excellent vehicle for discussion. They are complex and worthy of close examination. The hardships of the war shine a light on the strength of the human spirit, the good versus evil, and the will to survive.

PBR Review: Ove is a “don’t judge a book by its cover kind of man.” When you first meet – he is different - the self-appointed mayor of the neighborhood who performs a series of daily tasks that annoy. He notices everything. He barks at th More


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Talking Points: Ove doesn't just show us how to be nonjudgmental, but also what the true meaning of family and friendship is. Other themes that run through this book are love, coping with loss and obtaining balance in life. What is it that turns quirky habits into endearing qualities or vise versa?

PBR Review: I loved this book! Anthony Doerr masterfully weaves an intriguing story about the lives of two young children during the occupation of France in WWII. I'll admit I love a WWII story, and there are plenty of them out there, but More


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Talking Points: This book delivers many opportunities for discussion. The character development is excellent which enables the reader a closer look into their psyches. Adding that the two main protagonists are children on opposites sides of the war delivers, even more, to the discussion. Bravery, courage, good, and evil are at the forefront of this wartime story.

PBR Review: I listened to this book on Audio, and I wanted to discuss it with someone after the first chapter. Daisy, a beautiful young woman, is given the news her cancer is back, and she only has a few months to live. Her quest is to find More


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Talking Points: Because the story is about a young woman facing cancer, it's an emotional read and shines a light on the many tentacles illnesses have, which are all worthy of discussion. It also forces you to examine how you would react if dealt the same hand. There's a lot to talk about in this book.

PBR Review: I know this is an older book, but I desperately want to see the movie, and I always try to read the book first. I think what drew me to the book in the first place is I can't imagine why anyone would put themselves through the p More


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Talking Points: With any disaster, especially when tragedy strikes, comes a difference of opinion. This story is only one man's account of the trek to the summit of Mount Everest. It's an emotionally charged story which opens up many opportunities for discussion as the author tells of the decisions made along the way to the top. Also, from an environmental standpoint, how the explorers treat the mountain and the people who live there is discussion worthy.

PBR Review: Sue Monk Kidd delivers an emotional story about slavery. It begins with Sarah, an 11-year-old girl, who is given a slave name Hetty, better known as Handful for her birthday. Handful is 12 years old, spirited and dreams of free More


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Talking Points: Loosely based on the Grimke sisters of Charleston, South Carolina, this story will keep your Book Club talking all night! They are a fascinating pair and ahead of their time. Much can be learned about these freedom fighters after you finish reading the book. Slavery, human rights and the strength of the human spirit are just a few of the topics which will add to the conversation. The use of symbolism throughout the book leaves much room for interpretation.

PBR Review: Hannah Kent’s debut novel, BURIAL RITES is inspired by the true story of the last women put to death in Iceland during the 1800's. I didn't want to put this book down. With razor-sharp writing and beautiful prose, Kent explores t More


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Talking Points: Because this book deals with the topic of capital punishment, it will inevitably evoke varying opinions. The justice system in the 1800's Iceland was quite harsh and will present many topics for discussion. Compassion, love, and forgiveness are essential components of the story giving you lots to talk about in this dark tale.

PBR Review: Every once in a while I'll pick up a young adult novel, usually after hearing many positive reviews about the book. I find them relaxing and if you get a good one, very entertaining. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green far sur More


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Talking Points: Living with Cancer 's hard for anyone, especially for a teenager. This book explores the many hardships faced by two teens battling Cancer. It provides an opportunity for discussion on topics such as young love, death, and living life to the fullest. It's an emotional read and will make for a terrific Book Club discussion.

PBR Review: I'll start this review by admitting I'm a huge fan of Liane Moriarty. Once I pick up one of her books, I have a hard time putting it down. Her writing is superb, and her character development is exceptional, which makes her one More


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Talking Points: This book will create a dynamic discussion on several topics. It presents the reader with several personal questions to ponder. Do I know my partners as well as I think? Can I survive the betrayal? What price will I pay to save my family? The characters are well developed, therefore making them worthy of examination.

PBR Review: A HUNDRED SUMMERS by Beatriz Williams is the perfect beach read. It's light and romantic. There's a little rivalry, a little history and bunch of family drama in this book. What makes it even more interesting is the author uses More


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Talking Points: You're only as sick as your secrets, is how the saying goes and there are certainly a lot of secrets in this book giving your book club some hot topics to discuss. Social taboo's, class discrimination, love, family, and betrayal are front and center in this story. Add The New England Hurricane of 1938 and you've got a lively Book Club meeting.

PBR Review: I listened to Whistling Past The Grave Yard by Susan Crandall on audio during a long car ride and found it to be a thoroughly entertaining book. It's a beautiful coming of age story set in Mississippi during the 1960’s. The prot More


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Talking Points: The story takes place in the 1960's, which was a turbulent time for America. Racism and class are a major thread throughout the book as well as family relationships and the dynamics, which occur within a broken family. It's told through the voice of a child, which adds an interesting spin to the book.

PBR Review: After reading Hosseini’s previous works, I was very excited to delve into his most recent book, AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED. The story begins with a father telling his young children a fable about a man who is forced to make a diff More


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Talking Points: This sweeping family saga will provide many points of discussion relating to family relationships and sibling bonds. Sometimes sacrifices must be made to survive, but where do you draw the line when faced with insurmountable obstacles? Who determines what is right and wrong?

PBR Review: This debut novel by Jenny Wingfield is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time. It’s beautifully descriptive and pulls you to the Deep South on the Moses family farm during the 1950’s. A sprawling Arkansas homestead i More


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Talking Points: Good books with well developed characters always provide a multitude of discussions points. There are many complex characters of various ages and moral compasses in this story. It's a heartfelt story with some volatile issues which should provide a lively discussion group.

PBR Review: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is a fresh, funny, and original book I listened to on audio. It centers on Bernadette, a kooky wife and mother, who at one time was an accomplished architect. She’s now an agoraphobic who More


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Talking Points: There's much to discuss with this book. It touches upon many of the universal struggles everyone experiences at one time or another in life. The challenges of marriage, work, community, raising a family, and the mother daughter bond are a few examples of topics in this heartfelt book. How we handle them and get through to the other side is another.

PBR Review: With a backdrop of family saga, this is a book that humanizes the events leading up to and following the British partition of Israel and Palestine. It covers four generations of Palestinians as they endure the atrocities of war a More


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Talking Points: This is a book that will stir the emotions. It's a compelling personal look at the middle eastern conflict, from the Palestinian point of view. It shows what it's like to live as a refugee and under occupation and also the anger and resentment that festers as a result of having land owned for generation, taken from you. The writing style is also amazing, prosaic and insightful. One interesting thread shows brothers, separated at a young age; one is kidnapped and becomes an Israeli solider, the other a revolutionary. This is a book about human suffering.

PBR Review: Life in a small town can be oppressive and constricting – it’s residents wary and unwelcoming of strangers, change and dissimilar thoughts. This is the backdrop for “The Wingshooters”. The story centers on a young biracial Japa More


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Talking Points: The subject matter in this book is deep. The story is laced with hatred, racial tension and issues of bullying, child abuse, violence ,class and gender roles. Charlie, in particular is an interesting character. He has a strong attachment to his biracial granddaughter but is also bigoted and resistant to change, demonstrating the fine line between love and hate and showing that strength of the bonds of blood?

PBR Review: Based on true events, this is a story of survival. It focuses on four members of the Martin Handcart Company as they made the 1,300-mile journey from Iowa to Salt lake City. Through these four women, the author highlights a pi More


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Talking Points: There is a lot to irk and vex in this book. For starters the self important Mormon leaders who make bad decisions and give bad advice based on the belief they are being divinely guided. Plural marriage and the servile treatment of women is contrasted to the strength and courage these woman displayed against the harshest circumstances.

PBR Review: “The Chaperone” will touch many nerves and entertain from start to finish. The book follows Cora as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. It shows how the past shapes the future and the young challenge and push it forwar More


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Talking Points: The book explores the social mores of the 1920s and the life of a typical woman during this period and touches on topics such as the Ku Klux Klan, homosexuality, societies attitude towards orphans, prohibition and some now defunct conventions of the time. It also examines the women's movement and it's interesting to note that the back story is about Louise Brooks, a real person.

PBR Review: This is a book about decisions that haunt and love that consumes. Tom Sherbourne, a lighthouse keeper on a remote island in Australia, makes a decision not to report an unusual event – a boat that washes ashore with a dead man an More


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Talking Points: Some decisions are impossible to reverse and equally impossible to live with, such as deciding to keep a baby that is not yours. Is all fair in love and war? In reality, probably not. But, this is a story, which will provoke thought about the moral limits a person will transgress for the sake of love. Emotions will also run high on the fate of the baby girl and the people who love her.

PBR Review: The society this book depicts is one without freedom, one that is controlled by extremists- the ultra conservative type with zero tolerance for pleasure. Although far-fetched, it does provoke thought as it portrays the human con More


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Talking Points: Because this book deals with repression on so many levels it will provoke lots of discussion. Although overall it's not realistic, fragments ring true. I think it would be interesting to contrast some of the restrictive customs of the Islamic cultures to the situations in this book. The book also provokes thought on feminist issues, the fallout of nuclear war and the human condition, what people are capable of doing. Some think the book is the ideal male world gone askew, it would be interesting to toss this topic around.

PBR Review: Cheryl Stayed’s life is in shambles. Her mother has died, her marriage is ending, her finances are dwindling, and she is making terrible life decisions. She is completely lost and she is headed down the wrong path. In a desperate More


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Talking Points: Cheryls journey of self discovery on the PCT presented many challenges both physically and emotionally for the author. She faces her demons and overcomes many obstacles alone in the wilderness. Reading about how she conquers her fears and turns her life around is an inspiration to us all.

PBR Review: This story moves back and forth between Nazi occupied Poland and present day and is one that will captive and hold your attention right from the start. The present day portion of this story is a legal thriller bringing to light More


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Talking Points: This is a book that you can definitely immerse yourself in. Its emotionally charged dealing with a young German boy who is raised by a Jewish family and what happens when WWII begins and the Nazis occupy Poland. Its a different take on the Holocaust and as with most books on this subject shows the best and worst of humanity. Suspenseful and well paced, it will appeal to those that like a good legal thriller or Holocaust stories.

PBR Review: Home Front by Kristen Hannah is a compelling read. The protagonist is Jolene, a female fighter pilot in the National Guard. Jolene is sent to war, leaving behind her husband and two young daughters. At the time of her deployment More


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Talking Points: The universal struggles of marriage, parenting, and a difficult childhood will provide an excellent platform for discussion. They are all very relatable topics, especially for women. The intimate portrayal of a family dealing with the deployment of a parent is equally discussion worthy.

PBR Review: In the last installment of this trilogy, the intensity and chemistry, both stay strong. Once again, although there sex and more sex, the strength of this book lies in the underlying theme of unconditional love and the strong rel More


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Talking Points: As with the other two books in this trilogy this one is about love, forgiveness, trust, compromise and how the past haunts and shapes the future. It's also about setting boundaries and learning to trust. E. L. James continues to draw the reader in with her strong character development and excellent plotting. This is not a stand alone book and the books must be read in order.

PBR Review: There is something intimate and at the same time grand about this novel - very appropriate for a book based on the Vietnam War which was like no previous war fought. Marlantes does not hold back in showing the unrelenting horror More


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Talking Points: War is more than just combat. It's politics and raw human emotion. It's every man for himself and the ultimate bonds of brotherhood. It's frustrating, horrifying, exhilarating and fraught with tension. This book portrays all this and more.
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