Tuesday 6 May 2014

The Bookclubs’ Favourites

We asked 18 bookclubs in County Clare to list their favourite books from those they had read and which they would recommend to others looking for a good read. The bookclubs from all over the county from Cratloe to Miltown and from Kilkee to Killaloe - some based in libraries and others not - mentioned 89 books overall. 25 of those books were mentioned by two or more bookclubs as being their favourites. The most popular book overall was The Help by Katherine Stockett chosen by 7 of the 18 bookclubs. The book is about an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s who decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese was the second most popular book being recommended by 5 bookclubs. This book tells the story of twin brothers born of a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and their father's disappearance, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. The most popular author overall was Khaled Hosseini whose 2 titles The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns - both set in Afghanistan - each received 4 recommendations. Other books receiving 4 recommendations were The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Shaffer, The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal and Room by Emma Donoghue.

Emma Donoghue was one of 3 Irish authors to have two books recommended – the others were Benjamin Black and John McGahern, with 15 books by Irish authors being recommended overall.

Many of the books recommended by the bookclubs were word-of-mouth successes that initially did not have big advertising budgets to promote them but became bestsellers based on recommendations from one reader to another. The Help was rejected by 60 literary agents before being published – it has sold over ten million copies and spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

The 25 top titles recommended by the bookclubs of County Clare (in order of popularity) are:
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Shaffer
The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Room by Emma Donoghue
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Island by Victoria Hislop
Let the Great World Spin by Colm McCann
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
Christine Falls by Benjamon Black
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The speckled people by Hugo Hamilton
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Wild Swans by Jung Chan.

Library book clubs in Clare...

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