Book club picks for 2014

The Quintessential Book Club Pick: “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd
Oprah-endorsed, Kidd’s new book is just as poignant as “Secret Life of Bees.” Alternating chapters between a reluctant female slave owner and her slave, “The Invention of Wings” captures the complexity of black-white friendships during the 1800s and how difficult it was to be a woman – of any race.

The Book That Will Change Your Life: “Radiance of Tomorrow” by Ishmael Beah
Former child soldier Beah has written another heartstring-tugging book, out now. Unlike his memoir “A Long Way Gone,” his new book is a novel, but it has the similar backdrop of devastation in Sierra Leone, following two former child soldiers who go back after the war.

The Coming Of Age Story: “Soy Sauce for Beginners” by Kirstin Chen
Virtually everyone will be able to relate to the protagonist in this new novel who does her best to pave her own path instead of doing what her family expects, which in this case is joining their soy sauce business. But after her marriage falls apart, she finds herself back home in Singapore doing exactly that.

The Global Awareness Read: “Thirty Girls” by Susan Minot
Out next month, Minot’s gripping novel weaves together the stories of a Ugandan teen abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and an American journalist covering the war.

The YA Pick: “Side Effects May Vary” by Julie Murphy
This book is kind of like John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” only more uplifting. Due out in March, the book features a 16-year-old diagnosed with leukemia with slim chances of survival. She makes a bucket list of all the wrongs in her life she wants to set right before she dies. Then, she goes into remission and must make good on her commitment. And don’t worry, there’s a romance, too.

The Impressive Read: “Everyday Is for the Thief” by Teju Cole
What started as a travel blog turned out to be Cole’s next book (out in March). He returns to the open-air marketplace of Lagos, Nigeria, where lying and tricking others is the only way to live. Capturing the complexity of both loving and hating where you’re from, everyone will be talking about this book in 2014.

The Page-Turner You’ll Read in a Week: “The Snow Queen” by Michael Cunningham
Like “The Hours,” Cunningham’s new book (out in May) is tragic, witty and haunting. It’s about a heartbroken atheist who starts believing in God after he feels a spiritual presence in the form of a pale light. Meanwhile, his brother turns to drugs to get his creative juices flowing as he tries to write a wedding song for his dying fiancé. This one is all about soul searching.

The Social Commentary: “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” by Joshua Ferris
If you loved Dave Egger’s “The Circle,” you’ll devour Joshua Ferris’ newest, out in May. The novel is about a guy named Paul who gets impersonated online. But as Paul follows the fakery on Facebook and Twitter, he starts thinking this Paul is better than the real thing.

Political Read: Hillary Clinton’s memoir
It doesn’t even have a title yet, but everyone is already talking about the memoir Clinton is releasing in June. The maybe 2016 presidential candidate will reveal personal and political stories about her years as the secretary of state. Debate her foreign policy with your political junkie friends.

Feminist Read: “Not That Kind of Girl” by Lena Dunham
Dunham reportedly received $3.7 million for her advice book, due out in October, so let’s hope she’s doling out golden gems of wisdom. Chapter topics you can expect to discuss over wine are virginity, eating and good old self-respect.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

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