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For the ambitious young professional in Los Angeles looking to start the new year with intellectual stimulation, the book club selection for January offers compelling options. As you embark on the familiar routine of work and personal goals in the post-holiday season, make time to feed your mind. Choose from an eclectic mix of fiction and nonfiction that will transport you to different times and places, introduce you to complex characters, and offer new perspectives to ponder.


Upper Ivy Apartments in Culver CityHost A Book Club at Upper Ivy Apartments

As the host of the book club, you’ll want to make the experience enjoyable and engaging for all attendees. Choosing an accessible, central location, like the clubhouse at Upper Ivy Apartments, is ideal. The spacious lounge areas with comfortable furnishings create an inviting atmosphere for discussion.

Select Engaging Reads

Focus the book club choices on new releases from the past year that generate lively debate. For January, consider:

  1. The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis. This modern thriller from the provocative author is sure to spark intense opinions.
  2. Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman. A memoir from a top female athlete provides an inside look at competing in a male-dominated field. Fleshman’s experiences in overcoming obstacles could resonate with many readers.
  3. The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler. This self-help book aims to help type A personalities become more flexible and spontaneous. Readers grappling with high-pressure jobs and jam-packed schedules may find Schafler’s advice useful.
  4. In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas. Set in the Pacific Northwest, this historical novel provides a glimpse into the struggles of homesteaders in the 19th century. The compelling tale of survival against difficult odds could spur engaging discussion about the challenges of the era.

Foster Dynamic Discussions

Come prepared with thought-provoking questions for each book to get the conversation flowing. Encourage attendees to share their honest opinions, both positive and negative, about each read. Compare and contrast themes across books for an added layer of depth. Most importantly, make the club a welcoming place for all readers by promoting mutual understanding and respect.

With a mix of relatable and thought-provoking books in an inviting venue, you’ll have the recipe for a successful book club at Upper Ivy Apartments. Residents will surely appreciate the opportunity to connect over shared interests in their community.



The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis: A Provocative Psychological Thriller

The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis is a provocative psychological thriller sure to spark debate. The story follows six friends in their mid-30s who come together for a weekend in the Santa Monica mountains. However, their reunion descends into paranoia, jealousy, and violence as past betrayals and long-buried secrets emerge.

Ellis is known for pushing boundaries and promoting controversy in his writing. The Shards is no exception, containing graphic depictions of sex, drug use, and violence. However, the disturbing subject matter serves to highlight deeper themes around relationships, memory, and identity. Readers looking for a fast-paced, sinister, and unsettling read will find The Shards satisfying.

The nonlinear chronology and unreliable narrators leave the truth ambiguous, even after the final page. Discussion questions abound regarding the culpability and motivation of characters, the significance of events, and the interpretation of the ending. Book clubs will find no shortage of topics to debate regarding this sinister and unforgettable story.

While too dark and explicit for some tastes, The Shards showcases Ellis’ mastery of psychological suspense and talent for crafting morally complex characters. For those undaunted by the subject matter, The Shards is a searing, jagged, and haunting thriller destined to become one of the most controversial must-reads of the year. This tale of friendship and betrayal will stay with you long after the book is finished.


Good for a Girl by Lauren Fleshman: An Empowering Memoir for Athletes

Lauren Fleshman’s memoir Good for a Girl provides an inspiring look into the life of a world-class runner. Fleshman shares her journey from high school track star to becoming a five-time NCAA champion and multiple American record holder.

Fleshman’s story is one of perseverance and believing in yourself. She made sacrifices and overcame obstacles through hard work and dedication. Her wins and losses, both on and off the track, shaped her into a champion in life and sport. She provides empowering messages about being confident in yourself, embracing your talents, and not letting others define your limits.

The memoir offers an inside look at the intensity and pressures of being an elite athlete. Fleshman candidly shares her struggles with injuries, eating disorders, and the politics of sponsorship deals and Olympic selection. Her stories highlight the mental toughness required of professional athletes and the importance of support systems in overcoming adversity.

Overall, Good for a Girl is an inspiring, motivational read for athletes and anyone striving to achieve their goals. The timeless messages of hard work, belief in yourself, and perseverance in the face of obstacles make this a book that will resonate with readers for years to come. Fleshman is a role model who shows women they can succeed and thrive in male-dominated arenas. Her memoir is a compelling story of an athlete’s journey that will leave you feeling empowered and motivated.


The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control: A Witty Self-Help Read

For those seeking to overcome perfectionism and anxiety, The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control by Katherine Morgan Schafler offers practical advice in an amusing, relatable way. Schafler, a licensed clinical social worker, shares her personal struggles with perfectionism and how she learned strategies to “let go.” Readers will recognize themselves in her self-deprecating stories and benefit from her counseling experience.

  • Learn how perfectionism originates and how it impacts mental health and relationships. Perfectionism, the need to meet extremely high standards, often develops in childhood as a coping mechanism. Schafler explains how it can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem, and relationship difficulties. Recognizing these patterns is the first step to change.

-Start with small acts of imperfection. Don’t try to overhaul your personality overnight. Schafler suggests starting with minor rebellions like leaving dishes in the sink overnight or being five minutes late. Notice how the world doesn’t end. Gradually expand your “imperfection zone.”

-Practice self-compassion. Learn to silence your inner critic and cultivate a kinder inner voice. Treat yourself with the same compassion you show others. Forgive yourself for mistakes and imperfections.

-Ask for help when you need it. Perfectionists often struggle to delegate for fear of losing control or being judged. But no one can do everything perfectly on their own. Asking for help when needed is a sign of strength, not weakness.

-Learn to tolerate uncertainty and discomfort. Life rarely goes exactly as planned. Practice flexibility in the face of surprises or disruptions. Take a deep breath and roll with the changes. The anxiety will pass.

With humor and wisdom, The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control provides achievable strategies to overcome unhealthy perfectionism and build confidence from the inside out. Readers seeking a more balanced and joyful life will find this book a helpful companion on the journey.


In the Upper Country: A Coming-of-Age Story Set in Appalachia

For those seeking an evocative coming-of-age story, Kai Thomas’ debut novel, In the Upper Country, provides a vivid portrait of adolescent struggles in rural Appalachia.

The story follows 17-year-old Phoebe as she grapples with loss and searches for belonging. Phoebe was sent to live with her grandmother in a small West Virginian town after her mother’s death. As Phoebe navigates the complex social hierarchies of high school and works at a local diner, she begins a romantic relationship with a boy named Jesse. However, their romance is cut short when Jesse leaves unexpectedly for college, leaving Phoebe alone and heartbroken once more.

Through lyrical prose and astute observations of place, Thomas crafts a moving bildungsroman. Phoebe’s journey to find her identity and purpose resonates with the challenges of teenage life in an era of limited choices and strict social norms. For young professionals seeking insight into life in small-town America or a poignant coming-of-age story, In the Upper Country offers a compelling read.

The novel provides an unvarnished yet empathetic glimpse of impoverished communities often overlooked in fiction. While the plot centers on universal themes of loss and self-discovery, the setting in rural West Virginia shapes the characters and social dynamics in unique ways. For readers interested in stories of resilient young women or lyrical evocations of place, Thomas’ novel deserves a spot on your nightstand.

Overall, In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas is a moving coming-of-age story that provides insight into a little-known region. With its resonant themes, vividly drawn characters, and elegiac prose, this debut novel heralds the emergence of a talented new voice in fiction. For book clubs seeking an evocative story of adolescence and identity, In the Upper Country merits consideration as a January selection.



As the new year begins, make reading a priority and dive into some engaging and thought-provoking books. These January recommendations offer something for every reader and are sure to spark lively discussions at your book club meetings. Pick up a copy of The Shards for a disturbing yet compelling psychological thriller, Good for a Girl for inspiring stories of female empowerment, The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control for practical advice on achieving balance, or In the Upper Country for a moving coming-of-age story. Whatever you choose, happy reading and here’s to a year filled with great books and even better conversations with friends. Make the most of each moment – you never know which story might change your life.