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UK Book Groups Vote Their All-Time Favorites

abstract:The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver was voted the all-time reading group favorite, according to a poll organised by the Penguin/Orange Reading Group Prize in association with Ottaker's. Here is the rest of the top 20 list—see all your book group favorites. If you find you've missed reading any book on this list—include it on this year's reading agenda!  


August 05, 2005

American Author Wins UK Book Groups' All-Time Favorite

What is interesting about this list is that it encompasses book group favorites over several years, and so you are really looking at the créam de la créam—those books that not only effected people deeply and personally upon reading them, but also stood up to vigorous discussion and left members with a lasting sense of gratification, illumination or erudition. Many of these are BookBuffet staff favorites as well.

Barabara's book The Poisonwood Bible, is about a missionary family that travels from America to the Belgian Congo as told through the eyes of the four daughters and their mother.  It captivates reading groups on three levels: historically it delves into the complex politics of a nation and its people struggling for independence from colonial rule, and the backroom involvement that America played. 

On the second level it is a beautiful story capturing the innocense, resilience and adaptive nature of children living in an exotic environment, and the connections to the people with whom they are living.

Thirdly, it shows the misplaced idealism of a difficult man [unsanctioned by his own religious hierarchy] who tries unsuccessfully to indoctrinate the indiginous people with a dogma they neither want nor need. This leads to the greater question of how useful this experiment has been anywhere it is been attempted? 

While reviewers claimed Kingsolver wrote of her own political leanings too excessively, clearly, the success of this book and other titles on the list offering other insights into other political landscapes or periods, is a theme which resonates with reading groups.

Top 20 List (click on title)



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