Book of the Month Club November 2017 Selections: What Book Should You Choose?

Book of the Month Club November 2017 Selections
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Welcome to my monthly feature “Book of the Month Club Selections: What Book Should You Choose?”! Every month, I provide commentary on the books that are chosen as that month’s Book of the Month Club selections that will hopefully help you choose your pick, and tell you which book(s) I’m going to choose. AND, I provide you with the most up to date version of my Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Club Judges with free, downloadable template (below).

Another month where I’m not super excited about the selections. We have two famous actors writing fiction, which always makes me nervous. Call me cynical, but I wonder about the behind-the-scenes arrangements to get those two books included in this month’s selections. Regardless, you’ll hopefully be able to find a selection that’s right for your taste…or skip this month if not.

Choose the best Book of the Month Club selection for you every time!

If you missed it last month, check out my fun new tool to help you pick the best Book of the Month Club selection for your taste: my Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Club Judges and free, downloadable template (below) to help you find your go-to BOTM judge!

I’ve updated the template since last month to make it even better and added in the most recent judge’s selections, so download the new version even if you grabbed it last month!

…by using this easy template to find your personal, go-to Book of the Month Club judge!

Book of the Month Club November 2017 Selections

Bonfire by Krysten RitterBonfire by Krysten Ritter (Release Date: November 7, 2017)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.89 on 381 ratings
Selected By: Liberty Hardy (co-host of Book Riot‘s All the Books podcast)

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

My Thoughts:
Bonfire is a mystery/thriller and has been blurbed by some big names in that genre (Ruth Ware, Blake Crouch, and Mary Kubica). Although, I imagine it’s not hard to get big names to blurb your book when you’re a famous actress. The story sounds like Erin Brockovich crossed with your standard fast-paced thriller. General themes I heard from regular readers on Goodreads are that the writing is great, the story is a total mindf*ck, and that the main character is dislikable (take note if this tends to bother you). Kirkus’s review was decently positive, though not starred. Publisher’s Weekly did give it a starred review. I probably won’t choose this one because of my dicey relationship with thrillers and, when it comes to BOTM thrillers, I’m more of a Judge Sarah Weinman girl than a Judge Liberty girl (see Ultimate Guide to the Book of the Month Club Judges for details).

Future Home of the Living God by Louise ErdrichFuture Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (Release Date: November 14, 2017)
288 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.9 on 97 ratings
Selected By: Guest Judge Tavi Gevinson (Editor in Chief of Rookie Magazine)

The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

My Thoughts:
Future Home of the Living God is feminist, dystopian fiction in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and, from what I understand, is somewhat of a departure from Erdrich’s previous work (which focused on her Native American heritage). Erdrich is usually a fairly political writer and this book sounds like it will continue that trend. Michelle at That’s What She Read (a blogger I trust) is currently reading it and said, “it’s definitely different, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it.” General themes from Goodreads reviews include that it’s grim, has gorgeous writing, has great characters, and poses interesting ideas, but some aren’t satisfied with the ending (lots of unanswered questions) and mentioned an unfinished quality to her world-building. I didn’t love Erdrich’s National Book Award Winner, The Round House (my review), so I wouldn’t choose this one for myself.

Rules of Magic by Alice HoffmanThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (Release Date: October 10, 2017)
369 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.25 on 1,952 ratings
Selected By: Guest Judge Mae Whitman (Actress – Amber on Parenthood)

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

My Thoughts:
The Rules of Magic is the prequel to Hoffman’s 1995 novel, Practical Magic (later made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman), but I hear it can absolutely stand on its own. I haven’t read any Alice Hoffman, but I know she’s beloved by many. I’m generally not big on magical realism and there is some in this book (although I hear it’s not heavy-handed), so I haven’t jumped on it yet. However, I hear it’s ultimately the story of a family, so I’m considering changing my mind. The Rules of Magic got great reviews from two of the bloggers I trust most (Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books and Susie at Novel Visits) and Goodreads readers (they’re raving about Hoffman’s storytelling, the book’s magical quality, the writing, and the straight-up great story about a family). Kirkus gave it a positive (though not starred) review while Publisher’s Weekly gave it the star, saying “the spellbinding story, focusing on the strength of family bonds through joy and sorrow, will appeal to a broad range of readers.”

Uncommon Type by Tom HanksUncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks (Release Date: October 17, 2017)
405 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.52 on 341 ratings
Selected By: Maris Kreizman (Book of the Month Club Editorial Director)

Seventeen short stories, each somehow involving a typewriter, which Tom Hanks collects.

My Thoughts:
The second fiction by an actor/ress in this month’s selections…hmm. I’m generally skeptical of actors writing fiction, because I figure it’s not hard for them to get a publishing contract (their names will sell books regardless of the book’s quality). But, I’m hearing people are pleasantly surprised by Hanks’s writing abilities. Goodreads readers said this collection was warm, engaging, had an everyman vibe, but was also unremarkable. Eva at Paperback Princess said Hanks was a good storyteller and managed to do a lot in a small space. Kathy at Bermuda Onion thought the collection was uneven (often a risk with short story collections), but could tell Hanks is a capable writer. Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly both gave it a positive (though not starred) reviews. I’ve had decent luck with Kreizman’s past picks (The Girls and Dark Matter), but she’s not one of my go-to BOTM judges

Artemis by Andy WeirArtemis by Andy Weir (Release Date: November 14, 2017)
384 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.88 on 1,057 ratings
Selected By: No judge was listed. This is odd.

[…] Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

My Thoughts:
Artemis is Weir’s sophomore novel following his smash hit debut, The Martian. It’s a fun, adventure story and I hear it’s pretty different from The Martian. However, I tried Artemis last week and only made it through 5% before giving up. The dialogue and jokey banter was not endearing like it was in The Martian; it was just flat out annoying. I don’t think I could stand reading a whole 384 pages of it. Goodreads readers commended Weir on his excellent world-building, but said there were too many corny jokes and Jazz was like a female version of Mark Watney (which readers generally weren’t happy about). Kirkus pretty much skewered Artemis, while Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review, saying “the independent, wisecracking lead could easily sustain a series.” There’s some consistency for ya…

What Book of the Month Club November 2017 selection(s) will I choose?

I wasn’t super high on this month’s selections, but I’m going to choose The Rules of Magic since the reviews are outstanding and I hear the magical realism isn’t too heavy-handed.

Make your Book of the Month Club selections by Monday, November 6th.

This Month’s Special Deals

In addition to the five November selections, Book of the Month Club is offering two extras this month (which Book of the Month Club members can add to their boxes for only $9.99 each):

  • The Martian (Andy Weir’s smash hit debut novel)
  • And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie’s classic mystery…some say the best mystery ever written)

NEW MEMBER DEAL: Anyone who purchases a 1-month BOTM subscription will get 1 month free! That’s two months for the price of one––two brand new hardcover books for only $14.99!

Buy a Book of the Month gift and get a free book for yourself. (NEW GIFT PRICING: 3 Months for $44.99, 6 months for $79.99, 12 months for $149.99)

FREEBIE DEAL: new members who use this code can get Bonfire, Artemis, or The Rules of Magic free when they join!

How to Join Book of the Month Club…

Book of the Month Club is a subscription service for people who like to try new books from a curated selection and like to read in hardcover format. Through Book of the Month Club, you can get a hardcover book for generally significantly less than you’d pay in a bookstore or through Amazon. And, you get to try something new that has been vetted by one of Book of the Month Club’s well-read judges!

Sign up for any of the subscription plans below and you get to choose one of five books selected by Book of the Month Club’s panel of judges (including a surprise guest judge). Book of the Month Club will then mail your chosen book to your house with a cute note. You also have the option to purchase additional books for $9.99 each and to skip a month if you want.

Sign up for a Book of the Month Club membership (NEW pricing below)!

New members will sign up for a membership that renews monthly:

A book of your choice for $14.99 / month
Add extra books to your shipment for $9.99 each
Skip any month you want
Free shipping, always

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  1. Yeah, I don’t think that’s the best batch they’ve had. Thanks for linking to my post!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  2. Angela wrote:

    I’m actually interested in three of the books this month, although I still hesitate to join because I don’t feel like I can justify the cost right now. I’m on the wait list for Tom Hanks’ book, and Artemis has been on my radar for awhile. I’d also probably read Krysten Ritter’s book, just for the heck of it.

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  3. I went with the Louise Eirdrich one even if I didn’t like (and in fact DNFed) the Round House too. It sounded like a departure anyways, and I already have ARCs of Rules of Magic (which I thought was good) and Artemis (still need to read it). Great post as always!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  4. Thanks for the mention, Sarah. Since I’ve already read Rules of Magic, I’d go for The Future Home of the Living God. I’m a little nervous about it because I’ve also DNF’d Erdrich before, but I like the dystopian premise. It may be a little too much after The Power which is definitely high on the feminist/dystopian scale. And, Artemis….I’m beginning to feel like I don’t even want to try!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  5. I’ve heard good things about the Louise Erdrich book. That’s the one I would pick.

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  6. I went with Bonfire because I love Krysten Ritter and I have a good feeling about it — but I am currently reading Uncommon Type and it’s definitely well-written and funny from what I’ve read so far!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  7. Gabby wrote:

    I went with the Erdich, myself…I’ve never read her before (even though I do have The Round House on my shelf), but the premise is intriguing and I’ve heard good things.

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  8. Sarah R wrote:

    Not real impressed with this month’s selections either! I have a hard time with short stories and magical realism, plus I DNFed The Round House and am kind of over dystopian fiction (nothing will ever top Station Eleven!) I trust your opinion on the Weir novel, so by process of elimination, I will go with Bonfire. I generally trust Liberty’s choices and I loved Krysten Ritter on Don’t Trust the B___ and when I’ve seen her on talk shows. Fingers crossed!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  9. Tara wrote:

    I think you already know how I feel about The Rules of Magic, so that would definitely be my choice! I’m curious to see how my preferred judges pan out in the future, though; none of them had selections this month. I LOVE your template!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  10. Allison wrote:

    I must be on a feminist dystopia kick, because I chose Erdrich’s book after choosing (and not totally loving) The Power last month. I do like Erdrich’s writing and I remember liking The Round House, but I probably will have to be in the right mood for this new one–she’s not the most hopeful writer I’ve ever read.

    I also added Fierce Kingdom to my box. I think I’m looking forward to getting that one more!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  11. Anita wrote:

    Your monthly posts have had me interested in joining BOTM, but I have to agree I’m not sold on this selection. I’m like you in that magical realism doesn’t appeal to me, nor do dystopian books. I generally like a good mystery or thriller but the one above doesn’t really grab me. The only maybe for me is the one Tom Hanks wrote, and while I’m unsure if he can write I do like his personal style and I’m in love with typewriters!

    Thank you for sharing this great wealth of knowledge on these books and the choices!

    Posted 11.1.17 Reply
  12. This is why I don’t do Book of the Month. I can always find a book I’d rather read, and I can get it from the library for free. That said, I’d probably go with the Louise Erdrich book. I haven’t read anything by her, but this on souds interesting. I’m not a big fan of magical anything, so I’d probably skip that one. I have heard good things about the Tom Hanks book, though, so I might take a chance on that one.

    Posted 11.6.17 Reply
  13. Michelle wrote:

    Is it really magical realism when we are talking about a family of witches though? To me, The Rules of Magic is firmly in the fantasy camp because we expect magic. After all, even if you have no idea what Practical Magic is about, it has magic in the title. (This is me being WAY too nit-picky on you.)

    I selected the Ritter novel. I have been hearing decent things about it, and Liberty and I have similar reading tastes. I hope this is one where we mesh versus one where I totally disagree with her.

    May our selections be to our liking!

    Posted 11.7.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Haha – I was actually debating on whether to call it M.R., but didn’t know what else to call it. Especially since I don’t read much magical realism. I guess straight-up magic would have been a better description? I’ve never read Practical Magic.

      That funny, I’ve had some massive disagreements with Liberty’s taste too…and they seem to always be thrillers. So that was a big reason I was steering clear of this one, but I have heard good things about it.

      Posted 11.8.17 Reply
  14. I’m actually pretty excited about these selections. I enjoyed Artemis quite a lot, if a little less than The Martian. I’d be interested in picking up any of the others too, but I think I’m most excited about Future Home of the Living God. The fact that people found both the world building and the ending lacking makes me a bit more nervous about it though!

    Posted 11.11.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’ve heard some good things about Living God. Just don’t think it’s for me given my earlier experience with Erdrich.

      Posted 11.14.17 Reply

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