Book Club Past Month Picks

  • October: The Nobodies – Liza Palmer
  • September: The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  • August: Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  • June & July: Beartown – Fredrik Backman
  • May: Dare to Lead – Brené Brown
  • April: Educated – Tara Westover
  • March: Becoming – Michelle Obama & When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

October

The Nobodies – Liza Palmer

Disclaimer: The Nobodies was gifted to the book club by Book Sparks and therefor is not a Human Kind Book Club stamp of approval book.

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272 pages

Synopsis:

If there’s one thing Joan Dixon knows about herself, it’s that she is a damn good journalist. But when she is laid off from yet another soon-to-be-shuttered newspaper, and even the soulless, listicle-writing online jobs have dried up, she is left with few options. Closer to 40 than 30, single, living with her parents again, Joan decides she needs to reinvent herself. She goes to work as a junior copywriter at Bloom, a Los Angeles startup where her bosses are all a decade younger and snacks and cans of fizzy water flow freely.

For once, Joan has a steady paycheck and a stable job. She befriends a group of misfit coworkers and even begins a real relationship, after years of false starts. But once a journalist, always a journalist, and as Joan starts to poke beneath Bloom’s bright surface, she realizes that she may have accidentally stumbled onto the scoop of her lifetime. Is it worth risking everything for the sake of the story?

Charmingly candid, hilarious, and deeply moving, The Nobodies is a novel about failing but never losing the core of yourself, from a beloved writer at the top of her game


September

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt


771 pages


Synopsis:

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps


The Goldfinch: A Novel (pulitzer Prize For Fiction)
Get a Copy – INDIGO
Get a Copy – Amazon (CAD)
Get a Copy – Amazon (USD)

Through the Amazon affiliate program or Indigo affiliate link, for every book purchased through a link on humankindbookclub.com, a small percentage of the sale goes back into the book club! If you like to buy your books online, consider purchasing through one of our links. Proceeds go directly back into the book club for meet up events, software and giveaways.


Pro Tip: listen to the Peaceful Piano playlist on Spotify while you read this one.

August

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

368 pages

“A painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature…. Owens here surveys the desolate marshlands of the North Carolina coast through the eyes of an abandoned child. And in her isolation that child makes us open our own eyes to the secret wonders — and dangers — of her private world.”The New York Times Book Review

“When you can feel the planet beneath your toes and the trees moving about, you must listen with all your ears, and — I promise — you will hear the crawdads sing. In fact, it will be a chorus.”

— DELIA OWENS


Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps

June & July

Beartown – Fredrik Backman

432 pages

“I wasn’t sure I would love a novel centred on hockey – but as with Friday Night Lights this is actually a story about people – about strength and tribal loyalty and what we unwittingly do when trying to show our boys how to be men. I utterly believed in the residents of Beartown, and felt ripped apart by the events in the book.” – Jojo Moyes


“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.”

Beartown – Fredrik Backman

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

MAY

In her #1 NYT bestsellers, Brené Brown taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.- Google Reviews

352 pages


“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

Dare to Lead, Brene Brown

Synopsis:

In her #1 NYT bestsellers, Brené Brown taught us what it means to dare greatly, rise strong and brave the wilderness. Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers and culture shifters, she’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead. 

Leadership is not about titles, status and power over people. Leaders are people who hold themselves accountable for recognising the potential in people and ideas, and developing that potential. This is a book for everyone who is ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference and lead.

When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it and work to align authority and accountability. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into the vulnerability that’s necessary to do good work.

But daring leadership in a culture that’s defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty requires building courage skills, which are uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the same time we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection and courage to start.

Brené Brown spent the past two decades researching the emotions that give meaning to our lives. Over the past seven years, she found that leaders in organisations ranging from small entrepreneurial start-ups and family-owned businesses to non-profits, civic organisations and Fortune 50 companies, are asking the same questions:

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders? And, how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?

Dare to Lead answers these questions and gives us actionable strategies and real examples from her new research-based, courage-building programme.

Brené writes, ‘One of the most important findings of my career is that courage can be taught, developed and measured. Courage is a collection of four skill sets supported by twenty-eight behaviours. All it requires is a commitment to doing bold work, having tough conversations and showing up with our whole hearts. Easy? No. Choosing courage over comfort is not easy. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and work. It’s why we’re here.’


The Ted Talk that changed the landscape for vulnerability.

Some of our favourite podcast conversations are these three between Brené and Oprah;



Through the Amazon affiliate program, for every book purchased through a link on humankindbookclub.com, a small percentage of the sale goes back into the book club! If you like to buy your books online, consider purchasing through one of our links. Proceeds go directly back into the book club for meet up events, software and giveaways.


If you are interested in learning more and getting the most out of Dare to Lead, check out the Dare to Lead Hub on the Brené Brown website!


APRIL

There There – Tommy Orange
Educated – Tara Westover

UPDATE: for April we changed up the format and had one book be the Book Club Discussion book, and one book be the Bonus Book!

This is to allow for a full scale discussion at the meet up, and to avoid any spoilers for those who attend and haven’t read both books!

To read a summary of how the book club for April went, click here

MARCH

Becoming – Michelle Obama When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

March was the inaugural month of Human Kind Book Club. We explored two incredible memoirs written by spectacular human beings.

Becoming – Michelle Obama

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi