New releases are fun, there’s no doubt about it. But there’s also something satisfying about returning to older (or “backlist” in publishing lingo) books that came out years ago. In this series, Bookish curates the best book club picks from a given year. Check out these outstanding backlist book club recs from the year 2005. We bet your club will love this blast from the past.
This critically acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro is perfect for book clubs who love creepy and thought-provoking stories. You and your book club will travel to a British boarding school called Hailsham and meet three of the students there: Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. As the story unfolds, you’ll learn more about the lives of the students at Hailsham. If this sounds like a cozy campus novel, it isn’t: This story takes a horrific turn that will give you and your friends lots to discuss.
This classic memoir by Jeannette Walls details the author’s unusual and difficult upbringing. Walls’ family moved from place to place a lot when she was young, and her father turned to alcohol to cope with the stress of their faltering finances. Walls tells her story in this riveting memoir. Bonus points to your book club if you decide to check out the movie adaptation–the Bookish editors loved it!
Readers, meet Oskar Schell. He’s nine, and his father died in the September 11th attacks in 2001. Oskar is coming to terms with the painful loss he has suffered, and when he finds a key in his father’s closet, he decides to investigate in hopes that it will bring him some closure. This unique novel will captivate your book club and make for deep conversation at your next meeting.
Author Zadie Smith needs no introduction, and if you missed her 2005 novel On Beauty, it’s not too late to pick it up. This story is about two very different families whose paths cross when their children fall in love: the Belseys and the Kippses. Over the course of the novel, they grapple with politics, family, culture, and race. This book is an homage to E. M. Forster’s Howards End, and for an extra-interesting book club meeting, we challenge your club to read both novels together.
Does your book club love historical fiction? If so, this beloved novel from Lisa See is sure to make your next meeting a hit. Travel to 19th-century China where a young girl named Lily corresponds with a laotong as part of a Chinese tradition that pairs two young girls together in a relationship that is very similar to sisterhood. The laotong is named Snow Flower, and readers will love reading their letters to one another over the years.