Book Club Recommendations from the Union Square Reading Group

Flashlight Worthy says:
Ion Freeman organizes the Union Square Reading Group so he knows a thing or two about what books work well when it comes to generating a lively discussion. When asked, Ion said the 5 below are the books they enjoyed most.

Oh, and if these 5 don't appeal to you, why not check out one of our dozens of fiction lists?


The Good Soldier

by Ford Madox Ford

Nina Sankovitch says:

"The Good Soldier" begins as the "sad story" of two couples who meet at a spa for those weak of heart: we are led to believe the sadness is in the death of parts of each couple, and although we are right, we have no idea how miserably right we are. The true story of sex and passion unfolds, bit by bit, hint by hint, detail by detail, and no one and nothing is as first appearances had promised. Deceits multiply, tensions escalate, and fate beckons its bony and horrible finger.

This book also appears on Great (Mostly) Novels on Sex and Love



by Michael Frayn

Anne Charnock says:

Gossip and false accusation are the underlying themes of Pieter Bruegel’s cycle of paintings entitled The Twelve Months. In Michael Frayn’s tragi-comic novel Headlong, a previously unknown painting from this cycle surfaces in the shabby country home of the Churts. When scholarly neighbour Martin Clay catches sight of the painting he hatches a plan to defraud the Churts of this priceless work of art. His equally scholarly wife reluctantly becomes embroilled. There’s a culture clash between the two couples brought into focus when the Clays explain the subtle differences between their specialisms – iconology and iconography – which is unbelievably funny. Despite the comic aspect, there’s heavy-weight art history in this novel, which opens up the world of the Spanish Inquisition in the Netherlands. Perhaps inevitably, the ending is less than totally satisfying and sadly tips into farce. But still a great read.


The History of Love

by Nicole Krauss

Laura H. from Brooklyn, NY says:

Rarely do I think about a book as much as I do this one. It was given to me by a family member several years ago, and it has been my #1 recommendation to others ever since. Essentially, it's about all kinds of love. The love that helps us become ourselves and share a life with those around us. Krauss writes brilliantly, with a language explaining feelings that are often even hard to define within the places we so deeply try to protect. Grab a quilt (and a box of Kleenex) for this one.


A Personal Matter

by Kenzaburo Oe

Eric Mueller from Los Angeles, CA says:

This 1994 Nobel Prize winner takes a harsh, real look at a difficult situation: the protagonist, Bird, is an immature 27-year-old who still has some growing up to do... until he fathers a son with a terrible birth defect and he's forced onto a difficult path of responsibility and decision.


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

by Haruki Murakami

Ray Davis Curry from Portland, Maine says:

Even in translation, Murakami writes in a unique, piercing style of Zen crystalline prose, describing aspects of common life and things I've never experienced, like nothing i'd ever read. Mystery, love, different culture.


Don't forget, if none of these books are for you, I have dozens of losts full of great fiction.