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Especially this past year I feel like a lot of book clubs are looking for some light and easy reads! As someone who tends to reach for darker/sad/depressing/heavy books, this has always been a challenge for me to balance out with some light reads that still have stuff to talk about or will generate interesting conversations from them.
This one is a fast-paced domestic thriller about the lengths a mother will go to get her abducted child back when the kidnapper leaves notes telling her what she must do. A perfect summer book club pick if you are looking for something easy to read!
If your book club enjoyed discussing the book Educated (mine had SO much to say about that book!), check out this memoir about a woman who grew up in a polygamist cult and lived in destitution and abuse because of her step-father. Heart-wrenching, compelling storytelling and a LOT to talk about. Content warning for sexual abuse.
A must read if your book club has loved books from Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas or Nic Stone. Powerful, important and will start a conversation as it explores systemic racism in its many forms, mass incarceration and more through the story of a young woman who has been tirelessly looking for help to get justice for her father who is innocent and on Death Row while getting involved in investigating a murder in which her brother has become a main suspect of.
A surreal and beautiful book about feuding families, a magical bloodline curse that has plagued generations and star-crossed lovers who will work together to break the curse. Definitely a unique choice for book club as it perfectly blends real life with magical aspects.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the number of great book club books out there, you can also take our 30-second quiz below to narrow it down quickly and get a personalized book recommendation for your club ?
If you had to pick between saving the man you love's life, or preserving your sister's freedom, which would you choose? Or, to put it another way, is blood thicker than water when actual blood is involved? Okinyan Braithwaite's searingly tense yet darkly humorous debut novel asks this among many other questions: not least, where the line between comedy and horror lies. One of our picks for must-read books by black authors, My Sister, the Serial Killer will produce heated debate and nervous giggles in equal parts.
On a bitterly cold day, Sam Masur runs into Sadie Green on a train platform and they renew their childhood friendship bonding over video games. Together, they create Ichigo, a blockbuster game that changes their lives. Over the next three decades, their friendship is tested as their success leads them to money, fame, love, and betrayal. More a heartrending story about friendship than video games, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an unputdownable read with complex character development that easily earns it a place among the best book club books for 2023.
As a female politician, Emma knows it only takes one slip-up to ruin your reputation. Using her position as an MP, Emma is determined to fight for female victims and pass a law against revenge porn, even though it brings a slew of threats, both online and in person. When her teenage daughter lashes out at a high school bully, the consequences could be disastrous as Emma is put on trial for the death of a reporter who threatened to publish the story. Not only did Vaughan write a compelling narrative but also she managed to really hit home on her main themes, violence against women and how our reputation affects our actions. The combination of a killer narrative (pun intended) and deeper underlying themes makes this one of the best book club books of 2023.
In a modern-day version of David Copperfield set in the American South, Demon Copperhead speaks of how institutional poverty damages young boys today. A child of a single mother living in a single wide trailer, young Demon must survive foster care, child labor, poor schools, addiction, success, and failure in this epic tale perfect for book clubs who love thought-provoking topics.
In this intensely emotional coming-of-age book club book, Lisa Wingate bases her story on a notorious real-life scandal of an adoption agency that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families. In 1939, twelve-year-old Rill Floss is asked to watch her four younger siblings while her father takes her mother to the hospital. Suddenly, a group of strangers arrives and takes Rill and her siblings to a Memphis-based orphanage where Rill must fight to keep her siblings together under the eye of the cruel director.
In an uncertain world, former First Lady Michelle Obama teaches strategies to help you find hope and balance. Instead of cliche affirmations, Obama digs deep into the conversation about difficult topics and finds practical wisdom to help readers cope. With insightful stories and usable tools, Obama hopes to empower readers to find connections in an ever-changing world, making it one of the top book club books in 2023.
On the German-occupied island of Guernsey, the residents form a book club as an excuse for breaking curfew. Written as a series of letters after the war between the book club and writer Juliet Ashton, the story gives you a look at what life was like on the occupied island. This fun novel is sure to leave you smiling at the colorful cast of characters and makes the perfect book club book.
On a bitterly cold day, Sam Masur runs into Sadie Green on a train platform and they renew their childhood friendship bonding over video games. Together, they create Ichigo, a blockbuster game that changes their lives. Over the next three decades, their friendship is tested as their success leads them to money, fame, love, and betrayal. More a heartrending story about friendship than video games, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an unputdownable read with complex character development that easily earns it a place among the best book club recommendations.
In this classic love story, art student Clare and librarian Henry try for a sense of normalcy as Henry time shifts through their life. Henry has Chrono-Displacement Disorder; he unexpectedly gets pulled to important emotional moments in his past and future life. A mind-bending romance that is a choice if you are looking for book club recommendations.
Crotchety old A. J. Fikry is struggling in life. He is now a widow. His bookstore is failing. To top it off, his rare edition of Edgar Allan Poe has been stolen. On the verge of becoming a complete recluse, a plot twist occurs that will gives Fikry a second chance at life. A heartwarming tale perfect for any book club.
Not all book club books have to be serious literary works. Set during the Great Depression, Englishwoman Alice Wright marries a handsome American and finds herself transplanted to rural Kentucky. To escape her unhappy home life with her withdrawn husband and overbearing father-in-law, Alice agrees to become a traveling librarian, riding around the countryside bringing books to local residents. In her new job, she meets other fierce women and gains lasting friendships. Add in plenty of drama, love stories, corrupt businessmen, and even murder, and you have the perfect light historical fiction for any book club that wants a Hallmark Channel style novel to read.
Without warning, Le Cirque de Rêves arrives in town, a circus that only operates at night. Within its walls live two competing magicians, Celia and Marco, who will do anything to win. When they fall in love, a love so magical it affects the world around them, their dangerous game becomes even more precarious. Having taken the book club world by storm over the last decade, The Night Circus charmed its way into my list of the best book club recommendations.
One summer day in 1934, 13-year-old Briony Tallis misunderstands a flirtation between her older sister and a neighborhood boy, with devastating consequences. Now, as World War 2 rages, an older Briony starts to realize the reality of what happened and the full repercussions she has caused. Can Briony find atonement or is it too late? No matter what you do, make sure to read until the very end, because the ending is what makes this one of those books that move you to rethink everything you just read.
Elizabeth Zott has always defied stereotyping, especially as the only woman chemist at the Hastings Research Institute in the 1960s. After falling in love with another chemist who sees her for who she is, life throws her a curveball. Now as a single mom, she unexpectedly finds herself the host of a tv cooking show. When the women who watch her begin to question the status quo in their own lives, making Elizabeth a target of those who find the change unwelcome. In one of the best book club books, Garmus presents an engrossing progressive historical fiction read with heartfelt depth and a searing look at sex discrimination in the past (and today).
At age 14, Lily Owens runs away from her father and moves with her nanny to Tiburon, South Carolina. There they are both taken in by the Calendar Sisters, a charming but eccentric trio of beekeepers. As the white Lily comes of age, she learns about womanhood and the Black Madonna from these four Black women she has come to consider her family. A heartwarming story set amid the racial tensions of the 1960s, The Secret Life of Bees is a delightful story perfect for book club night.
As a young idealistic lawyer, Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice defending the most desperate of clients. Over the years, he helped the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women with nowhere else to turn. One case, in particular, stands out: Walter McMillian, a young man on death row who insists he is innocent, and very well may be. Stevenson inspires his readers to consider how compassion is needed for true justice to be served. 2b1af7f3a8