Book Clubs :: Ratings Round Up 2020-2021

2020-2021 Ratings

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Dickens’ infamous intro pretty much sums up this past year with our Book Club. While we were sheltering in place, social distancing and meeting via zoom, we were also reading a collection that received the highest scores we’ve ever had in one year. (In 2015-16 we had seven; most often we have 3-4.)

Many of these were re-reads for me, which I’m perfectly OK with if they are quality books. I had not read Native Son since college, and The Dutch House I listened to originally, so this time I read it. And, reading the two Olive’s straight through provided a new and rewarding experience (yes – do it!). I think I could read Rules of Civility every year and not tire from Towles’ language. And A Ladder to the Sky is so nuanced, that it needs a second reading.

If you’re looking for more details about each book, I gave a few thoughts when I introduced them last year.

Olive, KitteridgeElizabeth Strout4.75High – 5Low – 4
Olive, AgainElizabeth Strout4.73High – 5Low – 4.5
Native SonDodie Smith4.33High – 5Low – 4 (one DNF)
I Capture the CastleRichard Wright3.48High – 3.75Low – 3
The Splendid and the VileErik Larson4.35High – 5Low – 3.75
PachinkoMin Jin Lee4.15High – 4.25Low – 3.75
The MerciesMillwood Hargrave3.78High – 4.25Low – 3
Rules of CivilityAmor Towles4.68High – 5Low – 4
A Ladder to the SkyJohn Boyne4.73High – 5Low – 4.5
The Dutch HouseAnn Patchett3.81High – 4.25Low – 3.25
American DirtJeanine Cummins4.15High – 5Low – 3.5

With eight of these books scoring a 4+ rating (and five of those above a 4.5!), it speaks well of the books’ preferences but also how well they lend themselves to discussion. Even the three that scored in the high 3’s had robust discussions. So, if your book club is looking for suggestions, you can’t go wrong with any on this list.

For a little more on how we score books, see my previous post on the topic.


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