I love this kind of planning! In fact, I guess I convinced the group to operate in this manner.
We all bring suggestions to this "Battle of the Books" and make a pitch for our favourites.
I have been going though books and lists to come up with my suggestions. We alternate classics with contemporary novels.
I discovered this book discussion group in the mall in 1998. They were planning to read "Middlemarch". Wow! 880 pages. But the next month they read "A Suitable Boy" with 1400 pages. I realized immediately that these readers were serious.
And so, since then, we have read over 100 classic novels. It is becoming difficult to find titles in the library. Even book stores don't carry much of a collection of classics. Sometimes we can order the books or get them from interlibrary loan.
I had been interested in reading "Hans Brinker', but it is difficult to find enough copies. It is a children's classic, but we have read several children's classics- "Black Beauty" for sure!
I also would like to do another Wilkie Collins book. We read "Woman in White" and it was great. "Moonstone" is a mystery but hard to find.
I settled on "The Time Machine" by H.G.Wells. I am able to get several copies through the library and it is very small and the girls will love that for a change.
However, the contemporary books that I was considering are very large. I bought "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt but haven't found time to finish it yet. It is 773 pages.
I also considered an older book that Oprah had on her show "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski. It is a great story involving training dogs, but also a mystery. It has 688 pages, but does drag on occassion.
What about "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert? She wrote "Eat, Pray, Love", but this book is very different. A 48-year-old woman studies botany and evolution and is searching for the origins of all things. Very deep!