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Illustration: Best Book Club Books (Priscilla Nielsen for NPR)

Conversation Starters: 2011's Top 5 Book Club Picks

Dec 7, 2011 (Weekend Edition Sunday)

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From what I know of book clubs, I would wager that no two are exactly alike. There are the groups who take their books very seriously and frown on regulars who have failed to read that month's selection. Then there are the ones where members might be more interested in sharing the latest gossip than discussing the book.

Still, people who join book clubs usually do like to read, and they are always looking for that perfect book that will please everyone or, at the very least, get both the very rigorous and the somewhat frivolous on the same page. Here are five fascinating books that will be sure to catalyze serious and lively conversation.

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