From period fiction to mythology, here are some books that pleasantly surprised PEOPLE staffers
Reading is like clothes shopping: when you do it with friends, sometimes that thing you just know isn’t your style turns out to be a perfect fit. Below, our comfort-zone expanding book club picks. Tell us what you think – and let us know what you’re reading.
Gail Nussbaum, Reporter
Her pick: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I confess: I never liked Greek mythology. But thanks to my book club I gave this novel about Achilles a try. And was I glad I did! Miller s lyrical prose turns a story about the same old gods and warriors into a beautiful tale of friendship and love, mortality and fame that touched my heart and felt surprisingly relevant.
Andrea Lavinthal, Style Director, PEOPLE.com
Her pick: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
You know a book’s really good when you start casting the movie just a few pages in. This novel centers around Katey, a witty 25-year-old who’s navigating an unlikely foray into Manhattan’s high society in the 1930s. I can just picture Emma Stone tossing back martinis in the swanky apartments and glittering jazz clubs described here. I’m not usually one for period fiction, but this is like Revenge meets Gossip Girl, just set in a different time.
Moira Bailey, News Administration Director
Her pick: Below Stairs by Margaret Powell
Put me in a library and I’ll head straight for the fiction aisle. But I’m a Downton Abbey fan, so when my book club picked Powell’s memoir of scrubbing and cooking for her betters in the Lord Grantham era, I kept an open mind. The book offers an earthier view of maid service than the show’s version – and less cross-class affection than between Mr. Carson and the upstairs gang. But Powell made the most of her situation, and her story’s fascinating.
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