If your book group is anything like mine, you spend more time deciding what book to read next, rather than discussing your current book! Whether your book group has been around for 20 years or is preparing for its first meeting, you may want some suggestions. Use this list of thought-provoking, (mostly) fun and discussion-inciting books as a guide. Better yet – use this list to offer a gentle nudge towards the book group member who keeps suggesting that you read A Gentleman in Moscow.
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Why it’s great for your book group – Short attention spans rejoice! Follow characters who are connected to Bennie Salazar, an aging music executive, and feed your nostalgia for the (better) days of punk rock. This book is an intimate character study that delves into events in our character’s lives – both large and small. It spans formats, so yes, there are pictures! The pictures are part of a Powerpoint presentation, but still, there are pictures! (If nothing else, your book club can discuss why there’s a Powerpoint in the middle of your book.) Discover who is the “goon” of the novel, and maybe of our lives (hello, discussion question)!
Why it’s great for your book group – Three words: cah-ree-py. This chilling novel takes place in the span of a dinner, and what a dinner it is. Our unreliable narrator keeps us wondering why these four are at dinner together, and what it means for their lives afterwards. This novel may be best enjoyed over aperitifs with your book club, and is especially relatable for parents who may ask themselves “What would I do?”
Why it’s great for your book group – If you had the chance to learn the date when you were going to die, would you want to know? And discussion ensues! I love young adult fantasy novels but can’t seem to get my book club on board. I did get them on my team with this literary fiction novel featuring a touch of magical realism. Four siblings visit a fortune teller as children. She predicts the date they will die. Was she right? Maybe. (I mean, I read the book, so I know if she was right or not, but I digress.) Cut to turning points in each of the sibling’s lives and discover how they choose to live-or not.
Radium! Get your miracle radium here! Poisonous? What? Never heard of it. For anyone in your book group who is leery about reading non-fiction, this one reads like a fast-paced novel. Kate Moore’s original and meticulous research is on full display as we follow the “radium girls.” Teenaged and young adult women work in coveted positions at local radium factories, leaving each day of work (literally) glowing. What they don’t know is that their jobs are killing them. This book chronicles their stories and struggles for legal action and reform, and they may just be the reason radium isn’t sold for $100 an ounce at your local drugstore. If you want your kids to feel included in your book group, try the version adapted for young readers!
Why it’s great for your book group – We all know Trevor Noah is a talented comedian, and his hilarious storytelling shines as he narrates his childhood. Noah grew up in South Africa in the era of apartheid, when his existence as the child of a Black African mother and white German father was literally illegal. Despite circumstances stacked against him, Noah is still able to share some hilarious moments, but some are quite deep and serious. This book will make your book group laugh, cry and maybe watch You Laugh But It’s True available on hoopla!
Why it’s great for your book group – Yes, she really does have seven husbands. Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood icon – and she’s dying. Enter Monique, a magazine writer waiting for her next big story to fall into her lap. It arrives in the form of a call from Evelyn, offering her an exclusive – her life story, no strings attached. Or are there? This novel is peppered with old Hollywood glam and will have your book group enthralled, wondering “Why Monique?” all the way to the last sentence.
Why it’s great for your book group – Appease mystery fans in your book group without needing to sleep with the lights on or check your closets before you go to bed. Megan Miranda doesn’t disappoint in this novel about a woman who returns to her hometown after, you guessed it, all the girls start to go missing. My favorite part about this book is how it’s told – backwards. We start on Day 14 and end on Day 1. As with any good mystery, there’s always a twist that some in your book group may claim they saw coming – even though we all know they didn’t!
Why it’s great for your book group – What does it mean to be an American? Grapple with this question and many others as you whiz through Henriquez’s multi-family epic. Recovering from a near fatal accident, Maribel’s family moves to America. In their apartment complex reside many immigrants, with complicated stories like their own, who persevere to make their own homes in America.
Why it’s great for your book group – Who doesn’t love a good quest? Mix that with a dysfunctional family trying their hardest to be functional (aren’t we all?) and their ghosts. Throw in a road trip – and you’ve got yourself an essential American story. For fans of Colson Whitehead or Jacqueline Woodson, suggest your group pick up this novel.