This year, for the Zeg Bookclub, we have carefully selected a wide range of thought-provoking and captivating books to satisfy every literary palate. From non-fiction to classic fiction and compelling short story collections, we’ve curated a diverse selection that promises to inspire engaging discussions and broaden our literary horizons.

Our non-fiction pick for the year is “Marching Powder,” a fascinating book by Rusty Young based on the experiences of Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker. The book follows McFadden’s time inside San Pedro prison in Bolivia, where he becomes the tour guide for the prison’s official tours, offering a unique glimpse into the daily life and operations of the prison. McFadden’s captivating storytelling guides readers through the harsh reality of life behind bars in one of the world’s most notorious prisons. The book sheds light on the Bolivian justice system and raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of justice, corruption, and the resilience of the human spirit.

“The Good Earth” by Pearl S. Buck is our classic book selection for the year and a captivating novel that delves into the struggles and triumphs of a Chinese farming family. The story follows the life of Wang Lung, a poor farmer, as he strives for prosperity and grapples with the changing social and economic landscape in early 20th-century China. Through beautifully detailed prose, Pearl S. Buck brings to life the timeless themes of family, tradition, and societal change, making “The Good Earth” a compelling choice for our book club.

“Turbulence” by David Szalay is an interconnected series of stories that follows travelers’ lives aboard long-haul flights. Each chapter focuses on a different passenger, exploring their thoughts, experiences, and connections during the flight. Szalay skillfully weaves together these diverse and captivating narratives, offering a unique and insightful exploration of human interconnectivity and the complexities of modern life.

“Eileen” by Ottessa Moshfegh is a darkly humorous and unsettling novel that delves into the life of the titular character, a young woman working at a boys’ prison in 1960s New England. Eileen’s life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes entangled in a mysterious crime.

“An Orchestra of Minorities” by Chigozie Obioma is a powerful and haunting tale that follows the life of a young poultry farmer named Chinonso. After falling in love with a woman from a wealthy family, Chinonso is determined to prove himself worthy of her affection by pursuing an education. However, his journey is fraught with challenges, including betrayal and tragedy, leading him to make a desperate deal with a dark spiritual force. This modern retelling of Homer’s Odyssey in Nigeria offers a rich and complex exploration of love, sacrifice, and the clashes between tradition and modernity.

“The Awkward Black Man” by Walter Mosley is a captivating collection of short stories that delves into the lives of complex and multifaceted characters. Mosley’s astute observations, rich storytelling, and exploration of human relationships make this book compelling. Each story offers a unique glimpse into the experiences of black men navigating through modern life, tackling themes of love, identity, and societal expectations.

John Waites
A veteran who is passionate about inspiring others through travel and art, sharing ideas for personal growth and fulfilment.

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