Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Luckily, I was "forced" to read Mrs Dalloway for one of my classes last semester (Brit Lit), and I am happy that I was introduced to the novel in such a way a book club is set up. Not only did I enjoy reading Mrs Dalloway, but I got to spend a couple weeks discussing the book with my classmates. Because, after all, I didn't choose to be an English major with a promising career after graduation.
Mrs Dalloway takes place post WW1 and over the course of a single day. If you know anything about my reading interests, you know I am a sucker for condensed writing and stream-of-conscience. I am also a sucker for parties, and By Golly! There is a party to be had at the end of the book! The reader is swept away by the narrator Clarissa, who is excellent at seeing the truths behind human nature in an uplifting/condescending way. Basically, Virginia Woolf is a human nature observation guru.
I think my favorite aspect of this book is the complete opposite life Clarissa and Septimus live. It's painful as a reader to travel back-and-forth from "happy-go-lucky" to depressed and dying. Woolf takes the reader on a heck of an emotional ride.
If you start reading Mrs Dalloway and hate it, don't be distressed or put-off by the meaningless details Clarissa explains (it all) in the beginning. Trust me, just stick with it for a little longer and you will be happy you did. It's a satire piece, and the sooner you realize this, the happier you will be. Enjoy the little one-liners that mock society, those are my absolute favorite. The structure of writing will blow your mind, jumping from one stream-of-conscience to the next and interweaving until the end.
I recommend Mrs. Dalloway to (of course) my friends exploring Times Best Book list, anyone into classical/canonical novels, and people that love society satire pieces.
Some memorable quotes:
"He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink."
"It may be possible that the world itself is without meaning."
"Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame."