If you want to become a member of the most exclusive club at The Office’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, read this Finer Things Club book list with extra goodies about the Finer Things Club episode in which it airs and how to host your own Finer Things Club from The Office.
Fun facts: I’m originally from Scranton and pairing books with lifestyle in this way is my JAM. (Did you catch that reference to Jim and Pam’s nickname?)
What is The Finer Things Club?
The Finer Things Club on The Office is “the most exclusive club” at Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch. The members met monthly in the break room to discuss books, art, and culture “in a very civilized way.” The rules, according to member Pam Beesly are that: “there is no paper, no plastic and no work talk allowed.”
The Office characters Pam Beesly, Oscar Martinez, and Toby Flenderson are in The Finer Things Club book club. Jim Halpert was temporarily in The Finer Things Club –until he failed to read one of The Finer Things Club books, Angela’s Ashes. Andy Bernard desperately wants to be granted membership but is never admitted.
A Finer Things Club book club should have classic and refined cultural elements. Below are a few suggestions and recommendations for your own Finer Things Club from The Office:
Read: the Classics and/or books read in the original Finer Things Club books (listed below).
Eat: finger sandwiches and passed appetizers.
Drink: tea and/or champagne.
Decorate: with a traditional tablecloth and flowers.
Wear: classy-themed attire, like berets for a French book or plaid scarves for a British book.
The Finer Things Club episode was in Season 4, Episode 10 of The Office: “Branch Wars.” It was written by co-star and writer, Mindy Kaling, and it was directed by Joss Whedon. It originally aired in the United States on November 1, 2007, on NBC.
Watch the scene below:
Finer Things Club Book List from The Office Book Club
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars; Best for fans of memoirs, Irish book settings, and John Boyne’s “The Heart’s Invisible Furies”
- Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
- #1 New York Times bestseller
When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.
This begins the uniquely unforgettable memoir Angela’s Ashes. McCourt was born in Depression-era Brooklyn to Irish immigrants but raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. His mother, Angela, was poor since his father was an alcoholic.
Still, his father provides something invaluable: a story. His father tells of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies. Perhaps it is a story that is responsible for Frank’s survival, amidst extreme poverty, near starvation, numerous family tragedies, and cruelty.
He lives to tell his own tale with eloquence, and the words in Angela’s Ashes feel so immediate and alive. The rich dialogue, including Catholic teachings and Irish colloquialisms, history, and songs, breathes life into an otherwise grim story. For this reason, it’s especially fantastic on audio — and difficult to put down. At the end of the day, it’s about the transcendent power of hearing another person’s story.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Best for fans of South American, Pre-World War I settings, and those reading the Rory Gilmore Book List
Our Shared Shelf, Emma Watson Goodreads Book Club Pick
The House of the Spirits is the first novel of the famed Isabel Allende. Set in Chile pre-World War I, it narrates the epic triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family.
The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man pursuing political power and tempered by his love for his wife Clara, who has a mystical connection to the spirit world.
When their daughter Blanca engages in a forbidden love affair, the result is Esteban’s granddaughter Alba, a strong-willed girl who will one day lead the family and her country into a revolutionary future.
Ultimately, this saga is a universal story of love, magic, and fate.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
One of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
In Memoirs of a Geisha, Nitta Sayuri tells of her life as a geisha, beginning in 1929, in a poor fishing village, when she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a geisha house at age 9.
She transforms as she learns the arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing a kimono, elaborate makeup and hair; pouring sake to reveal only the inner wrist; and competing for men and their money.
Love is an illusion as the women are trained to intrigue powerful men. It’s romantic, but also very much sad and suspenseful. You’re bound to get swept away and learn something new in this beloved book.
A Room With A View by E.M. Forster
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars; Best for fans of Italian book settings Kevin Kwan’s adaptation “Sex and Vanity”
In the classic short novel A Room With a View, Lucy travels to Florence, Italy, with her cousin, assured they would get “a room with a view” of the River Arno. But, when they are given a room overlooking a courtyard, Mr. Emerson and his son George offer their own room with a view.
This opening sequence thus begins the journey of young Lucy as she comes of age by navigating through the proprieties of Edwardian-era society ultimately seeking to find true happiness.
I hope this Finer Things Club Book List from The Office book club inspired your next book club read.