What does it take for a book to become a book club favorite? Of the thousands of books published annually, a small subset manages to hit the sweet spot between entertainment value and social relevance that fuels discussion within local clubs and reading group giants such as Oprah and The Guardian. But with all the biggies vying for your attention and your book club to please, how to decide? We pick our all-time book club favorites by theme, so you can pair your reading group with the perfect read. Let us know your favorites in the comments!
Must-Read Book Recommendations For Every Type of Book Club
Need to find a book for your book club? From evocative novels about love, life and family to true stories full of conversation-sparking hot topics, we've got the best book recommendations for every type of reader and reading group.
Small towns are torn asunder by strange phenomena, and literature-loving women are compelled to revisit the narratives of their own lives in these fascinating novels coming to bookstores in June. Whether you’re seeking a book to bring to the beach or you’re looking for a deeper, more revitalizing reading experience—isn’t that what summer Fridays are for, after all? Literature?—these conversation-sparking books are perfect for book clubs and other warm-weather reading adventures.
Have your canvas totes ready: Beach-read season is just around the bend, and, this month, authors ranging from Michael Cunningham to Emma Straub are giving us touching, gripping stories perfect for a lazy day in the sun. From a drama-filled family vacation to Mallorca to an existential comedy about identity theft, these provocative books kick off the summer reading season with big ideas and entertainment.
The rest of the world may be waiting anxiously for this little ice age of ours to end, but fiction fans need not pin their hopes to so ephemeral a thing as the weather. April is a fantastic month for fiction, bringing us new books by award winners and critical favorites including Emma Donoghue, Lydia Davis, Akhil Sharma, and Julia Glass. Though the works display the kind of range you’d expect from a group of so variously talented writers, a few themes do stand out: This seems to be the month for historical fiction—with Francine Prose whisking readers to Lost Generation Paris, and Ayelet Waldman to World War II Europe—as well as for the multigenerational family saga. From a tragicomic tale of Indian immigrants in America to a suspenseful story about a spinster at war with a sheep murderer, these books will keep book clubs entertained even as they provoke important discussions about connection, isolation, and memory.
What does it mean to be American—or to have a national identity at all, for that matter—in our increasingly global society? That’s the question at the heart of these novels and short story collections that make for ideal March book club selections. In Susan Minot’s Thirty Girls, an American journalist travels to Africa to forget her past, only to run headlong into a bigger crisis. And in Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeyemi revamps the Snow White story to explore racial tension and family dysfunction in mid-century Boston. Written by authors from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, these books will launch compelling discussions as they keep you and your book club pals turning page after page.
In the dead of winter, nothing gives warmth and comfort like good fiction. The book gods have been especially kind to us this January, sending down a slew of entertaining, immersive novels that’ll have you and your book club buddies feeling glad that it’s too cold to go outside. From Sue Monk Kidd’s new historical novel about slavery and abolition in the Old South to a moving retelling of an ancient Japanese fable, these novels are sure to be the most talked-about books of the month.
Sure, we love the wine and the camaraderie, but the among the top pleasures of a good book club discussion is having a great book to rave about or ravage through lively debate. This fall's lineup of top reading-group-ready reads brings us new novels by Elizabeth Gilbert, Jhumpa Lahiri and Stephen King; new paperback editions of award-winning fiction including Louise Erdrich's The Round House and A.M. Homes' May We Be Forgiven--plus Adam Johnson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Orphan Master's Son. Don't forget all the stories of family drama, including Domenica Ruta's addiction memoir, With or Without You. Here, we shortlist the top reads reads sure to get your book group's conversation flowing, whether you're eager to discuss family, faith, politics, parenthood, celebrity or coming-of-age.