This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links—at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
What makes a good book club book? Whether you’re just starting a book club or you’ve been a part of one forever, I’ve got you covered! These are the best book club books of all time.
They’re well written, propulsive, atmospheric, full of lovable characters you want to root for, and ripe for a good discussion.
Best 5-Star Book Club Books to Spark Amazing Discussions
From the most uplifting book club books and the best fiction and nonfiction book club books to the shortest book club books and the best picks for women, these are the books every book club should read!
1. Top 20 Best Book Club Books of All Time
2. The Best Classic Book Club Books to Choose
3. The Most Popular Book Club Books for Women to Enjoy
4. The Best Nonfiction Book Club Books of All Time
5. The Best Book Club Books for Discussion
6. Addictive Book Club Reads to Keep the Pages Turning
7. Uplifting Book Club Books to Give You All the Feels
8. Short Book Club Books to Squeeze in to Your Reading Year
9. What Makes a Good Book Club Book?
10. My Favorite Book Club Planning Tool (Bookclubs)
11. What Are Book Clubs Reading Now in 2024?
Top 20 Book Club Books Your Group Needs to Read
Each book club has a different focus and purpose, and there are so many books to choose from. Even so, I have a top recommended reading list for book clubs.
These 20 books are hands down my favorite book club books of all time.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Oh, Peace Like a River is powerful. It just stays with you. This historical fiction book will make you cry, smile, and leave you with the most heartwarming feeling ready to gush with your fellow bookworms.
Also, pssst: Leif Enger is coming out with another book this year and it’s on my most anticipated books of 2024 reading list. We’ll see if I Cheerfully Refuse is up to snuff for my 2024 book club books list.
Peace Like a River was published on August 2, 2001, from Grove Pr.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah is one of the most amazing books for book club! It’s about a Nigerian woman who moves to the United States. I learned so much because of this book—and there’s so much room for discussion for book club, specifically about race, cultural identification, immigration, and so much more!
Plus, it’s beautifully written, and the characters are so complex and interesting. Definitely check this book out if you want a hard-hitting book to really “marinate” on for your book club.
Americanah was published on May 14, 2013, from Alfred A. Knopf.
📚 Book Club Tip: Figuring out what book to choose for book club is tricky enough, but managing all the logistics of book club can quickly fill up your time when you could be reading. My favorite book club app is a free web and mobile app called Bookclubs.
Since launching my virtual book club, I’ve been able to facilitate and encourage communication easily, from automated meeting reminders to interactive member polls to quickly vote on our next book club book. Check out Bookclubs to better reach your book club reading goals, track reading history, and host group discussions!
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
This historical literary fiction book is the perfect book club pick! Honestly, any Ann Patchett is a great book club book, imo.
Anyway, from the sibling dynamics and family saga to the compelling prose and the setting of the house being almost a character in and of itself, The Dutch House is without a doubt among the top 5-star book club books.
The Dutch House was published on September 24, 2019, from Harper.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is for the literary fiction–leaning book club. It’s about much more than video games—it’s a complicated story about friendship and love, too.
This book is also the winner of the Goodreads best books of 2022, fiction category. So you shouldn’t have to convince your book club too much. 😉
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow was published on July 5, 2022, from Knopf.
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
This Tender Land is one of the most heartfelt epic adventure and coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read! This is definitely one of the good, clean books for book clubs you could pick in 2024.
There’s many themes you could dive into for book club, including a sense of belonging, found family, loyalty, love, betrayal, and hope.
Not to mention the setting (1930s Minnesota to St. Louis ) and the historical impact of the Great Depression . . . what a book!
This Tender Land was published on September 3, 2019, from Atria Books.
One, Two, Three by Laurie Frankel
Laurie Frankel’s books are perfect for book club, in my opinion! They’re compelling and easy to read, but they tackle some heavier themes with plenty of room for discussion.
If you’re looking for unique book club books, One, Two, Three should be at the top of your list.
The character development, premise, and disability representation is all incredible. I’m also reading her newest book, Family, Family, which comes out in a few weeks, is also on my most anticipated 2024 new releases list. I think it will make a great book club pick, too.
One, Two, Three was published on June 8, 2021, from Henry Holt and Co.
The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters
The Berry Pickers is an immersive family drama that pulled me in immediately.
There’s so much to discuss for book club, from family ties and carrying the emotional burdens of your family to forgiveness, loyalty, and what it looks like to belong.
There are heavy themes here, of course, but The Berry Pickers is a wonderful, short book for book club.
The Berry Pickers was published on April 4, 2023, from Catapult.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
Obviously I loved This Time Tomorrow, which is the perfect literary time-slip novel! I loved gushing about this book with my friends, and I know it would make a great book club book.
This Time Tomorrow is a lighthearted page-turner, but there’s some heavier topics to discuss as well, like aging and loving yourself through that process, seeing your parents through the lens of time, reevaluating what you want in life and who you love . . . the list goes on and on!
This Time Tomorrow was published on May 17, 2022, from Riverhead Books.
Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett
Unlikely Animals is one of the best books I’ve ever read (check out my book review here!), but I also think it’s a great book club pick. If you’re looking for quirky or unique book club books, this is the one.
A literary tragicomedy (one of my favorite genres) is ideal for book club because it’s lighthearted and funny at times but also has heavy themes and a bit more depth. The POV of the ghosts at the local cemetery gives this book an different spin, which is fun to discuss in book club!
Unlikely Animals was published on April 12, 2022, from Ballantine Books.
Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal
Thank you to @prhaudio and Pamela Dorman Books for the complimentary book! This is a cozy book to curl up with, and it is very character driven. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club is a heartwarming, heartbreaking book that will leave you and your book club thinking about it for months to come.
If you’re a part of a midwestern book club, you should definitely add this one to your book club reading list.
Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club was published on April 18, 2023, from Pamela Dorman Books.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
If you’ve been following my reading journey online at all, you know this is one of my most favorite books of all time. The Shadow of the Wind has a chilling mystery, intrigue, a romantic and gothic setting, and characters you root for.
This gothic thriller is the perfect book for book club. After you read it, you will want to hug this book, trust me! You’ll also want to dive into the premise and the plot while gushing about the book lover setting.
The Shadow of the Wind was published on May 1, 2001, from Penguin Books.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Remarkably Bright Creatures is a beautiful, quirky, unique book perfect for book club.
It might take a second to get the gals in your book club on board with an Octopus POV, but trust me, this is an endearing, heartwarming, feel-good book that also tackles some tough issues.
This is a relatively short book club read, but it’s one that will stick with you for a long time. It was also a nominee for best fiction and best debut for 2022 on Goodreads.
Remarkably Bright Creatures was published on May 3, 2022, from Ecco.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
When I read this book, I didn’t want it to end. Your book club will feel the same way—and if some of the members don’t agree, it will make for an interesting discussion!
All Adults Here was published on May 4, 2020, from Riverhead Books.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and if you like to annotate your books for book club, this is the one for you. This post-apocalyptic literary fiction book will give you all the feels and provide a lot of discussion about humanity, art, self-preservation, and so many interesting hypotheticals!
Bonus: You can do a book adaptation night after reading the book and watch the TV show together (which is incredible, by the way!).
Station Eleven was published on September 9, 2014, from Knopf.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Ask Again, Yes is a wonderful character-driven book about marriage, family, and the power of forgiveness.
As you may already know, I loved it. With the family drama and emotional honesty masterfully crafted, this is the perfect book club book.
I thought about this book for a long time after reading, which is always a sign of a great book club pick.
Ask Again, Yes was published on May 28, 2019, from Scribner.
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
Thank you to Doubleday for the complimentary book! The Most Fun We Ever Had is a wonderful book club book because there are so many different characters within a family, and it feels like you’re a fly on the wall for all the drama!
Even though this is somewhat chunky for a typical book club pick, Claire Lombardo’s writing style makes it easy to fly through this book.
Back when I went to an IRL book club, we read this book together, and it was such a fun one to do!
The Most Fun We Ever Had was published on June 25, 2019, from Doubleday.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
Thank you to Ballantine Books for the complimentary book! Black Cake is a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for historical fiction and debut novel from 2022, so you know it’d be a great book club pick. I loved this one, and with the TV show coming out soon, I think it would make a great book club selection.
Historical and literary fiction with a mystery and driving secret? These are the best ingredients for the perfect book club book.
Black Cake was published on February 1, 2022, from Ballantine Books.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This is the book my virtual book club is reading right now! It’s definitely perfect for a cozy winter book club read—the descriptions of winter in the wilderness of Alaska are otherworldly. The Snow Child is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale.
This historical fiction book is irresistibly absorbing, tender, and oh my goodness, Eowyn Ivey can write a beautiful scene. The premise is so magical!
The Snow Child was published on February 1, 2012, from Reagan Arthur Books.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine several years ago, but it still sticks with me. Eleanor is a complex, intriguing, flawed character who experiences such transformation throughout the book.
There’s a lot to unpack in this story—mental health being the biggest topic. Broken characters and tragicomedy literary fiction stories with endings that don’t tie up in a perfect little bow are my kryptonite.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was published on May 9, 2017, from HarperCollins.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Thank you to @prhaudio and Berkley for this complimentary book! Vera Wong is the most perfect character, and a cozy mystery is a really fun genre to explore for book club! I absolutely adored it. Check out my review!
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers is funny, heartwarming, and just plain endearing.
If you have an in-person book club and like to include more elaborately themed dinners, snacks, or drinks, this would be a really fun book to select. The food and the tea and all the cozy meals made me soo hungry and ready to curl up with a warm beverage. 😂
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers was published on March 14, 2023, from Berkley.
The Best Classic Book Club Books to Choose
If your book club is more of a classic, high brow type, you need to check out these top classic book club books.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a beloved American classic and coming-of-age story at the turn of the century. Anyone who’s read it was moved to tears. Just a poignant, special book that will stick with you.
If you want to know what life was like for folks, especially young girls, in Brooklyn in the early 20th century, this is the book for you.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was published on August 18, 1943, from HarperCollins.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
If your book club hasn’t read Jane Austen yet, it’s time! Start with Persuasion.
It’s highly regarded as the most approachable Austen book, and there’s plenty to dive into about a variety of themes, including second chance love, letting go of expectations, and the issues of social mobility, and so much more.
Persuasion was first published on December 20, 1817, from Oxford University Press.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre is another amazing classic to revisit with your book club! The audiobook is incredible, too.
The heartbreak, mystery, and romance is up to par with every modern literary mystery, and it’s fascinating to discuss Victorian society with other readers!
Jane Eyre was first published on October 16, 1847, from Penguin.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a beautiful coming-of-age story that touches on so much, including masculinity vs. femininity, power, race, and identity.
If you read the American folklorist Zora Neal Hurston back in high school, it’s time to revisit it as an adult!
Their Eyes Were Watching God was first published on January 1, 1937, from Amistad.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
If your book club likes a good gothic mystery or thriller and you all want to read more classics, Rebecca should definitely be on your list.
This book will probably be slower than your average domestic thriller, but the payoff is worth it. This is an engrossing, atmospheric read for everyone in your book club to enjoy.
Rebecca was first published on 1938, from Little, Brown and Company.
The Most Popular Book Club Books for Women to Enjoy
I think any of my top 20 best book club books are generally great picks for women, but here are some of the most popular women’s domestic fiction books for book club.
These are a lot of the titles you’ll see on Oprah’s book club list, Reese’s book club list, and Read With Jenna’s book club picks. Hey, if it’s good enough for Oprah Winfrey, it’s good enough for me!
Most of them are fun romantic comedies to fly through, family dramas, mysteries, or have some sentimental element—typically struggles with class, religion, marriage, or friendship.
There are usually other themes at play, but these are the most popular.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
The Nest is a family drama and literary fiction book perfect for book club!
There’s so much to unpack, and the omniscient POV makes the reader feel like a fly on the wall, getting aaalll the juicy gossip.
This book is tender, funny, and definitely has some morally grey characters.
The Nest was published March 22, 2016, from HarperCollins.
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Thank you to @libro.fm and G. P. Putnam’s Sons for this complimentary book! Nora Goes Off Script is also on my best books for summer reading list, so perhaps this is a book you nominate for your book club in July or August!
This book is sweet, easy to read, and will definitely get your book club talking. It’s warm, funny, charming, and Nora and her kids are so precious.
Nora Goes Off Script was published on June 7, 2022, from G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
The romance community loves Beth O’Leary! I thought The Switch was so adorable and charming, and it’s such a quick contemporary romance read.
The Switch was published on April 16, 2020, from Quercus.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
In Five Years is a wonderful contemporary romance time travel book!
There are some heavier themes, so sensitive readers should be sure to check content warnings. But in general, I think this book would make a great book club pick.
I love books that make you think about interesting hypotheticals. What would you do if you could see glimpses into your future? How would you change? The premise for this one is really interesting.
In Five Years was published on March, 10, 2020, from Atria Books.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
If your book club wants to read nonfiction that feels like fiction, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone should be your next pick! The mental health examination and behind-the-scenes world of a therapist is fascinating.
There’s so much to unpack in this memoir, and Lori Gottlieb’s background as a journalist really makes the book so engaging.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone was published on April 2, 2019, from Harper.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere is perfect for book club because it’s an intriguing and compelling domestic drama. There’s so much to dig into, from motherhood and adolescence to race, following the rules of society, and the tragic power of misunderstandings.
If you want to shake up your book club with a fun domestic drama you can pick apart and analyze, this is a great pick for you.
Little Fires Everywhere was published on September 12, 2017, from Penguin Press.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
If your book club likes to read backlist books and you missed the hype train on Where’d You Go, Bernadette, you simply must revisit it for book club! This is such a fun contemporary women’s fiction book to read with your friends.
The mystery will keep you turning pages, and the humor and characters will stay with you for a long time!
Where’d You Go, Bernadette was published on August 14, 2012, from Little, Brown and Company.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
It wouldn’t be a “best of all time” list without throwing Emily Henry into the mix! Beach Read is the ultimate feel-good romance with drama, heavier themes to discuss, and characters you fully swoon over—all to gush about at book club!
Beach Read was published on May 19, 2020, from Berkley.
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
I’ve loved Rosie Walsh ever since I interviewed her on the podcast, way back when. This is a really fun contemporary fiction with a little romance and a little mystery thrown in.
Ghosted is a page-turner, and Rosie Walsh’s writing style is very similar to Liane Moriarty (another wonderful book club author!).
Ghosted was published on May 1, 2018, from Pamela Dorman Books.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
All Taylor Jenkins Reid books would be great for book club, but this historical fiction/contemporary romance has a lot of interesting elements to discuss in a group.
Malibu Rising was published on May 27, 2021, from Ballantine Books.
The Best Nonfiction Book Club Books of All Time
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell
To me, the best nonfiction books for book club are the ones that feel like fiction. And that’s definitely the case with I Am, I Am, I Am. This memoir is made up of memories curated in the most interesting way.
This is an astonishing memoir with so many stories to get your book club talking. Sensitive readers should definitely look into content warnings, but overall, this is a win.
I Am, I Am, I Am was published on August 2, 2017, from Knopf.
Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s words are addictive. This book is so hard to read and so hard to put down.
This memoir is vulnerable, raw, and mesmerizing. From religion and mental health to her troubled background and the theme of hope threaded throughout the book, there’s so much to dive into with this book.
Educated was published on February 20, 2018, from Random House.
Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg
Editor of Genius is an excellent nonfiction book club pick for book club members who love F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe.
For literary lovers who find the behind-the-scenes creation process of publishing to be really interesting, Editor of Genius is one of the best book club suggestions.
Editor of Genius was published on January 1, 1978, from Riverhead Trade.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Brain on Fire is a wild, true story! You may think it’s a little clinical to read about Susannah’s most intimate moments during her “month of madness,” but it was actually quite enthralling the whole way through.
I would love to read this book with my book club. The psychology and emphasis on mental health is so interesting, and Susannah’s inspiring family brought me to tears multiple times.
Brain on Fire was published on November 13, 2012, from Free Press.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Whether your book club members are introverts or live with or work with introverts, Quiet is a really interesting book to explore. This book truly has the power to change how we see ourselves and others.
Susan Cain talks about “restorative niches,” the places introverts retreat to when they need to recharge their energy. Discussing terms like this and exploring them together in a group really will change the way you think about introverts.
Quiet was published on January 24, 2012, from Crown Publishing Group.
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Forms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
Daring Greatly is an incredible book to read for book club if you’re looking for a nonfiction or self-help book. Brené Brown is a great author to pick in general!
If your book club is new and you’re hoping to get to know one another a bit better, why not dive into a book on vulnerability? This book explores shame, fear, vulnerability, and how we’re hard-wired to connect with others.
Daring Greatly was published on September 11, 2012, from Avery.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Atomic Habits is the ideal book club pick for a club full of motivated members who love to be productive. If you’re trying to form positive habits together—like reading more books in 2024!—this would be a great book to read and discuss together.
Learn about habit stacking and how to set up and form micro goals and habits to change your life for the better. Doing this in a group and having accountability is a game-changer.
Atomic Habits was published on October 16, 2018, from Avery.
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Thank you to @libro.fm and Simon Schuster for this complimentary book! This book won’t be for every book club because of the sensitive and heavier topics discussed. Plus, it’s a bit of a controversial read. You’ll need to make sure your group is okay with the content warnings first!
But for any group of people who love reading celebrity memoirs and discussing child stardom, I’m Glad My Mom Died is a fascinating read.
There’s a lot to get your group talking in this one, from TV and acting culture to mental health, creating boundaries in toxic relationships, and so much more. It’s also deeply moving, intriguing, and funny.
I’m Glad My Mom Died was published on August 9, 2022, from Simon Schuster.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Another Jeannette! The Glass Castle is one of my favorite memoirs of all time. This book is gorgeously written and reads like fiction.
It’s such a beautiful book about resilience and redemption and how Jeannette Walls defeats the odds to chase her dreams while growing up in a dysfunctional (and vibrant!) family.
The Glass Castle was published on January 1, 2005, from Scribner.
Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan
Another family dysfunction memoir! 😂 But really, Kelly Corrigan so intimately captures a mother-daughter relationship in Glitter and Glue. Her awareness and humor is what makes this book!
If your book club is made up of moms, you’ll have some great talking points about what motherhood really means, whether or not we become our mothers, and so on.
Glitter and Glue was published on February 4, 2014, from Ballantine Books.
The Best Book Club Books for Discussion
All great book club books are perfect for book club because they get members talking. They shake things up! They make you think.
These books, however, take the discussion to another level. These are the books you won’t soon forget—the ones that tackle big themes and topics.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
There’s a lot of room for important discussion, especially about the opioid crisis in small towns, but also about sisterhood bonding, the concept of addiction, the importance of community and neighbors, and the layered and well-developed characters.
Long Bright River was published on January 7, 2020, by Riverhead Books.
True Biz by Sara Nović
Thank you to Random House for this complimentary book! True Biz is a great book club pick because it’s (1) compulsively readable and (2) fascinating if you’re a reader who’s generally unfamiliar with Deaf culture and American Sign Language.
I learned so much from this book, and I was thoroughly entertained!
This book will get your book club talking about Deaf and Hearing culture, disability and civil rights, isolation, love, loss, familial trust, race and how racism shows up in Deaf culture . . . the power of human connection, and so much more! It’s also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, which a lot of book clubs are interested in.
True Biz was published on April 5, 2022, from Random House.
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
Once Upon a River is an enthralling, whimsical historical fiction story with a little magical realism thrown in. Who doesn’t love that kind of book? There’s a lot to unpack in book club for this book.
This book weaves folklore and science, and it’s suspenseful, romantic, and atmospheric. You’ll have the best time discussing whether the story is magic or myth—miracle or science.
Once Upon a River was published on December 3, 2018, from Atria.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
Thank you to Alfred A. Knopf for this complimentary book! Another Emily St. John Mandel book—are we surprised? The Glass Hotel is a dreamlike literary fiction book, and it’s (no surprise, again) beautifully written.
If you read this book by yourself and don’t discuss it at all, you really miss out on an enriched reading experience.
Your book club can really pick apart the ideas of love and delusion, the concept of consequences and how they change the course of our lives, the way we search for meaning, and so much more. Plus, there’s a mystery thrown in that will keep you reading!
The Glass Hotel was published in March 24, 2020, from Alfred A. Knopf.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende has been regarded as the queen of magical realism for so long! This is a historical fiction, Spanish literature book that you could read slowly and discuss often with a reading schedule. The House of the Spirits could be on your historical fiction book club reading list, too.
It’s an incredible saga to dive into, and there’s a lot of political and personal turmoil to discuss. The themes of magic, true love, and fate are thrown in—perfect fodder for book club!
The House of the Spirits was published on 1982 from Dial Press.
These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card
Thank you to @libro.fm and Simon & Schuster for this complimentary book. These Ghosts Are Family is an incredible generational saga about a Jamaican family. There’s so much to discuss here, from how trauma informs our decisions, migration, forming your identity outside of family, the history of slavery, and so much more.
If you like juicy stories about family secrets, you will love this book.
These Ghosts Are Family was published on March 3, 2020, from Simon & Schuster.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for this complimentary book! Anxious People is a literary fiction and mystery book with a lot of heart and humor. We love a poignant comedy! Fredrik Backman has a way with words and is so good at communicating universal truths—which is why his books are perfect for book club.
Any book that is essentially an in-depth look at the human condition is going to be a great book club pick.
Anxious People was published on April 25, 2019, from Simon & Schuster Canada.
The Fury by Alex Michaelides
Thank you to Celadon Books for this complimentary book! The Fury is an incredible book club pick! This murder mystery thriller is captivating from start to finish, and the narrator/POV is one of the freshest voices I’ve read in a long time. We get to know him from the time he was a young man, and he tells the story so intimately.
A tale of murder and a spin on the classic whodunit, The Fury will be a fun story for your book club members who love juicy secrets among the rich and terrible!
The Fury was published on January 16, 2024, from Celadon Books.
Addictive Book Club Reads to Keep the Pages Turning
All good book club books should be page-turners, but these are my favorite book club books that come to mind when I think of propulsive, addictive, unputdownable books.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
It had to be said!! Gillian Flynn’s books are made for book club, IMO. If you haven’t read Sharp Objects yet, just know it will have you on the edge of your seat.
The suspense, the secrets, the character development . . . it’s all complex and compelling from the start to the last page!
If your book club tends to love a dark, psychological thriller, you have to try this book.
Sharp Objects was published on September 26, 2006, from Broadway Paperbacks.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale is one of my favorite historical fiction books of all time. This is one of those must-read books for book club about strong women.
The Nightingale isn’t particularly short, but you will tear through this book. It’s incredibly easy to read—I know many people who read this book for the first time in one sitting.
The Nightingale was published in February 3, 2015, from St. Martin’s Press.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List is a fun, atomospheric whodunit that will have you turning pages as fast as possible! I couldn’t put this book down. A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly!? Are you kidding?
This would be a great book club pick for an in-person book club that likes to do a theme with food and drinks. The decadence on an island off the coast of Ireland adds to the festive vibe (that is, until everything goes wrong).
The Guest List was published on February 20, 2020, from William Morrow.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Thank you to G. P. Putnam’s Sons for this complimentary book! Such a Fun Age is compulsively readable and perfect for book club discussion. I devoured this book so quickly—all the way to the last page. The micro-aggressions in this book were so perfectly captured—it’s such a smart social commentary.
If you want to read a fun page-turner that also touches on deeper topics like race and privilege, you should definitely nominate Such a Fun Age for your book club pick.
Such a Fun Age was published on December 31, 2019, from G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Thank you to @libro.fm and HarperTeen for this complimentary book! This book is so compelling—you will fly through it because it’s a novel-in-verse young adult book.
Clap When You Land is a story of sisterhood, familial ties, identity, and the power of forgiveness. Even though it’s a page-turner, your book club can dive into a deeper exploration of grief.
Clap When You Land was published on May 5, 2020, from HarperTeen.
Uplifting Book Club Books to Give You All the Feels
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
Sweep is a beautiful historical fiction middle grade book that will, simply put, make you cry in the best way.
Your book club may be hesitant at first since this is a middle grade book, but it’s one of the most heartwarming middle grade books you’ll ever read.
Sweep was published on September 25, 2018, from Puffin Canada.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
From the sleepy seaside small town in Maine to the lovable characters and the transformational storyline, Evvie Drake Starts Over is one of the best feel-good contemporary romance books.
It’s sweet, funny, and heartwarming as the main protagonist, a young woman named Evvie, deals with life after the death of her husband. It sounds heavy, but it’s quite lighthearted and charming.
Evvie Drake Starts Over was published on June 25, 2019, from Ballantine Books.
Last Call at the Local by Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Thank you to @prhaudio and Berkley for this complimentary book! I loved this neurodivergent romance book, and so will your book club! If you’re familiar with the sunshine x grump trope in romance, Last Call at the Local has two sunshine characters fall in love, and it’s literally the most charming feel-good novel!
Set in a cozy Irish pub, Raine meets Jack, and it’s the cutest. Raine has ADHD and Jack has OCD, so there’s a lot to learn and discuss about neurodiverse characters with your book club
Last Call at the Local was published on January 2, 2024, from Berkley.
The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella
Thank you to @prhaudio and The Dial Press for this complimentary book! The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella was a cute, charming, feel-good contemporary romance book! I really enjoyed this one—I was interested the whole time, and even though there’s some heavier topics discussed, it felt lighthearted and sweet.
I really think most people who have experienced burnout or bone-deep exhaustion will find this book to be refreshing, thoughtful, and inspiring.
The Burnout was published on October 10, 2023, from The Dial Press.
The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise by Colleen Oakley
Thank you to @prhaudio and Berkley for this complimentary book! This roadtrip book with a dear, sweet, unlikely friendship just made me smile the whole time. The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise has such a fun premise and a heartwarming transformation among the two main characters.
There’s a mystery thrown in, but really, this book is about friendship. Perfect for book club.
The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise was published on March 28, 2023, from Berkley.
Short Book Club Books to Squeeze in to Your Reading Year
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, the Serial Killer is an absolute trip! This mystery thriller is darkly funny and so smart. If your book club is looking for a short book to read and discuss during a busy month, like November or December, this is a great pick.
The premise is fascinating, the characters are remarkable, and the pacing is impeccable.
My Sister, the Serial Killer was published on November 20, 2018, from Doubleday.
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Red at the Bone surprised me in the best way. This short book is powerful! It packs a punch. Jacqueline Woodson’s prose actually took my breath away. It’s also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year from 2019.
It’s a hard-hitting book about parenting, identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and how young adults sometimes have to make decisions that affect the course of their lives forever.
Red at the Bone was published on September 17, 2019, from Riverhead Books.
Sula by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is a fantastic author to explore with your book club! There’s so much to unpack in all of her books, but Sula is especially great if you’re looking for a short read to dive in to together. In this book, we follow a Black woman, Sula, and her friend, Nel.
Sula is a best friend story and, honestly, a literary masterpiece. This novella explores many themes, from Black masculinity to what life looks like for a Black single mother of three in this period of time.
Sula was published on January 1, 1973, from Plume.
What Makes a Good Book Club Book?
In my opinion, what makes a good book club book is the main ingredients of good characterization, an engrossing story/premise, captivating prose, and themes throughout the book that lead to bigger, more important discussions.
So, what books are good for book club, exactly? Books with . . .
- Funny, quirky, and flawed characters you want to root for
- Complex relationships you could analyze with your book club besties
- Interesting historical time periods, settings, or worldbuilding
- Some sort of critique on culture and society at large
- Interesting themes that lead to more in-depth discussion
- Shorter pages, if possible (or books that are so propulsive they feel short)
- A wider availability, unless you have some savvy book club members
- Universal appeal, or at least they don’t alienate your members
- A lot of emotion, mystery, or a driving question
Different Books for Different Book Clubs
Every book club is different. Your book club may want more hard-hitting literary fiction while another book club is really only interested in lighthearted, funny, or uplifting books.
The best book club book recommendations come from really knowing the people in your book club and gauging everyone’s preferences and interests.
Read Widely and Diversely
You won’t find a book club book everyone will enjoy equally, and it’s okay to disagree about a book! In fact, those book club meetings might be the most fun and interesting!
One of the best things about book club is having the opportunity to read widely and diversely—to discover a book you might not have otherwise picked up.
Read What Sticks
So if you’re wondering how to choose a book for book club, ask yourself, which book would provide the most universal appeal, evoke emotion or interesting questions for discussion, and likely stick with readers for a long time?
My Favorite Book Club Planning Tool (Bookclubs)
If you’re a booknerd like me, you probably also hem and haw over how to choose a book for book club. It can feel like a lot of pressure to pick a book for everyone!
That’s why I personally love Bookclubs, the free web and mobile app that helps book clubs manage and organize their groups! The app serves more than 65,000 book clubs worldwide and offers everything you need to start and manage a successful book club.
+ Invite anyone you want with a single click.
+ Easily automate your meeting reminders and calendar invites
+ Create fun and interactive member polls
+ Track your group’s reading history and collective to-be-read list so you can narrow down books your club wants to eventually read
+ Host discussions, virtually or in a chat thread
When it’s time to pick a new book for my virtual book club, we nominate books in a chat thread, and then I throw up a poll with the selected book titles and descriptions.
Here’s what that looks like in the mobile app:
I can’t tell you how easy it is to pick books for book club now! Giving folks the option to vote on a book and see the results instantly . . . it’s so great. You can also make voting anonymous, if you want.
Even if you’d rather select the book yourself and not have members vote on the book, the polls are perfect for picking meeting times.
They don’t have to be just functional polls, either. Create icebreaker polls, polls about the book content, or fun and silly would-you-rather questions. 😊
What Are Book Clubs Reading Now in 2024?
Here’s a list of the most popular books for book club right now, in 2024:
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
- The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins (psssst, this is my book club’s pick for February! Join us!)
- None of This Is True by Lisa Jewell
- Tom Lake by Anne Patchett
We love a popular, buzzy book! In my book club, we select one new release a month and a backlist book the next month.
What are your book club book lists for 2024 or the best book club reads you’ve ever brought to your group? I’d love to know. I’ll have more specific book club lists coming soon, but for now, these are my top 20 best book club books of all time!