Running out of ideas for your book club to read? Bookworms tend to be an introverted bunch and sometimes it is difficult getting book club members to come up with lively discussion about a particular book (I know it is for me anyway). So I’m sharing with you the 20 Best Book Club Suggestions to Get Your Book Club Talking. These are all books that I think will entertain its readers, challenge them to think in new ways and facilitate lively discussions. I’ve included some FREE printable discussion questions along the way for you to download to get the discussion started at your next book club meeting. What challenges does your book club face? What are some of your book club’s favorite books? Tell me in the comments and Happy Reading!
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For the Book Club that Likes Serious or Dramatic Themes (aka Be Prepared with Kleenex)
1. Come Away with Me by Karma Brown
Come Away with Me by Karma Brown was the first book I read in 2016 and 9 months later it is still my favorite read so far this year. Teegan and Gabe are young, in love and with a baby on the way, they are the perfect picture of happiness. One devastating accident changes everything. A trip around the world may be just what is needed to deal with the grief, anger and pain that changed their lives forever. A beautiful story and an amazing debut novel by Karma Brown that will have your book club contemplating life and the unexpected turns it takes.
Buy Come Away with Me on Amazon (FREE With Audible Trial)*
2. Me Before You by JoJo Meyes
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes was an intense and emotional read. One of my favorite books of 2013, it’s about a wealthy resentful, ornery young man who is completely paralyzed after a horrible accident. Having to rely on others for his most basic needs makes him feel helpless, humiliated and downright angry. Lou Clark is trying to figure out her own life and is hired to be Will’s personal caregiver. How much can she handle before she runs screaming? Can Lou make Will see that life is worth living? This book discusses both the joys and tribulations of life, gives an in-depth look at someone with a spinal cord injury, quality of life and death.
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3. The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Thrity Umrigar knows how to write family drama and complicated relationships. Lakshmi is a painfully lonely Indian immigrant and wife of a man who pines after another woman. Lakshmi is cut off from her family in India and struggles to communicate in the US. It drives her to attempt suicide. She is sent for counseling sessions with Maggie, an American woman married to an Indian man. Maggie goes beyond the boundaries of a typical doctor-client relationship to help Lakshmi. This book explores suicide, depression, interracial marriage, forgiveness, and the immigrant experience. Umrigar allows us to invade the most vulnerable and deepest thoughts of two women, shows us how they can be so apparently different but inherently the same, and how their mistakes impact their relationships and turn their lives upside down. Check out my full review and printable book club discussion questions.
Buy The Story Hour on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
4. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay
Sarah’s Key describes France during World War II and their roundup of Jews on July 16, 1942 at Vel d’Hiv. When French Police knock on the door to take away 10 year-old Sarah and her parents, Sarah hides her younger brother Michel in a cupboard and promises to come back and rescue him. What she does not know is that she will be separated from her parents and subject to atrocoties no child should have to endure. Will she escape? Will she save her brother? How will she cope with what she’s seen? How does what she’s experienced change her? Read my full review here.
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5. The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
I think any of Diane’s books would be great for a book club discussion, she explores important topics in marriage (The Lies We Told), friendship (The Midwife’s Confession) and parenthood (The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes) and puts a twist on the issue that makes you doubt your initial instincts on right and wrong. In her latest, The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson is trying to discover the truth about her older sister who committed suicide when she was a baby. Read my full review here.
Buy The Silent Sister on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
For a Mom’s or Ladies’ Only Book Club
6. A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi
A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi tells the story of two mothers, an Indian-American mother looking to adopt and across the globe, the poor Indian mother hired as a surrogate to carry Priya’s child. What is unique about this book is that it tells the story of the desperate love and hope of 2 very different mothers but also the ethical battle of whether the poor are being exploited in the surrogacy process. See my full review of A House for Happy Mothers here and download free printable questions for your book club.
Buy A House for Happy Mothers on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
7. The Good Mother Myth by various authors
This anthology of essays by mothers from all walks of life explores the question “What is a Good Mother?” In a time when moms feel pressured to achieve perfection, keep up with and outdo each other, this book is a refreshing reflection on what it means to be a good mother. Each mom redefines what being a good mother means to them and made me reflect on what qualities I aspire to have. I think it’d be a great book to discuss with other moms as we bust “The Good Mother Myth”. Read my full review here.
Buy The Good Mother Myth on Amazon*<
8. Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Verant
I devoured this memoir all in one day. At 39, Sam realizes that her relationship with her husband has fizzled into a passionless union of anger and resentment. After talking with her best friend, she pulls out the 7 love letters she received from the handsome Frenchman, Jean-Luc, 20 years ago after the one crazy day they spent together in Paris. It took losing Jean-Luc and her husband to make Sam remember what real passion felt like. I was enchanted and charmed by this lovely book, a modern fairytale showing it’s never too late to find true love with France as a perfect setting. Read my full review here.
Buy Seven Letters from Paris on Amazon*
9. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarity
What secret is your husband hiding? The Husband’s Secret looks suspenseful and brings up questions about how well you really know your spouse. The book synopsis on Goodreads says “Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .” This book might be fun to concoct what would you do if you found out your husband is hiding a secret. Similar to this book is The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve which explores the same theme.
Buy The Husband’s Secret on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
10. Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank
Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank is a fun and entertaining summer read about two attractive married couples, Adam and Eliza Stanley and Carl and Eve Landers, who build a 20+ year friendship meeting on the beach every summer. The only problem? Unbeknownst to their spouses, Adam and Eve were high school sweethearts whose relationship ended abruptly and not because they wanted it to. There’s a clear attraction and rekindled feelings when fate brings them together on the beach so many years later. I think this would be fun for a women’s fiction book club as they’d explore whether women and men can just be friends and whether people can ever get over their first loves. Read my full review and book club discussion questions of Same Beach, Next Year here.
Buy Same Beach, Next Year on Amazon (FREE with an Audible Trial)*
Books about Books
Who else would love to read books about books than book clubs? I think these books about books would be perfect to discuss!
11. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The synopsis from Amazon says “A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.” If you need further proof this book is fantastic, check out these fabulous reviews by I’m Lost in Books, The Book Wheel Blog and That’s What She Read.
Buy The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
12. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I love this book. The synopsis from Goodreads says, “Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.” Mystery, romance and an unforgettable Cemetery of Forgotten Books makes this a perfect book for book lovers. Find Shadow of the Wind Discussion Questions here.
Buy The Shadow of the Wind on Amazon*
13. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
A 24-hour bookstore sounds heavenly! The synopsis from Goodreads says “The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.” Check out some of my favorite bloggers for their reviews that made me want to read this book: Girl XOXO and Book Journey.
Buy Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
For the Book Club Who Needs a Little Magic
14. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
My moms’ book club read the Harry Potter series and invited our kids to join us. It was a great bonding experience and I loved hearing the kids’ perspectives on this magical story. Harry Potter is one of those series where you truly can lose yourself in another world, fall in love with characters and learn important life lessons from the wise words of Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbeldore. I cannot highly recommend this series enough, it’s one that I think even reluctant readers will have a hard time resisting!
Buy The Harry Potter series on Amazon*
15. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus was another fun book to discuss for our book club. I read for an escape from reality and The Night Circus was a gorgeously written book about a troupe of performers who create a memorable, mysterious and magical circus. I alternated between reading and listening to the audiobook on this one. This is one of those books where the audiobook narrator takes the listening experience to another level. Narrator Jim Dale’s voice was perfect to set the magic and mystery behind this story (and he’s narrated the tv show Pushing Daisies and the Harry Potter series as well). I highly recommend getting this one on audio, especially since it’s FREE with an Audible Trial, you can’t lose!
Buy The Night Circus on Amazon (FREE with an Audible Trial) *
16. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is another of my all-time favorite books that I will keep recommending on just about every book list I create. Full of mystery and magic, I love the way Morton uses fairy tales to help the characters unlock the secrets of the past. A mesmerizing and mysterious book, this would be a fun book to discuss with your next book club. Get my book club discussion questions for The Forgotten Garden here (chapters 1-27) and here (chapters 28-end).
Buy The Forgotten Garden on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
For the Book Club Who Likes to Travel the World in Books
I love to travel the world in books and some fellow book bloggers and I even started a Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge to encourage readers to learn about different cultures and countries. Here are some of my favorite books that we’ve traveled the world with and why they are great for book clubs!
17. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is hands down the fiction that I learned the most about the life and culture of a place. The American Price family moves to the Congo on a mission to teach the people about Christianity. The Price family is confronted by a harsh environment and receive less than a warm welcome from the Congolese people. The story is disturbing and beautiful all at the same time and it gives a book club so many themes to discuss. You can read my full review of The Poisonwood Bible here and download discussion questions for your book club.
Buy The Poisonwood Bible on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial)*
18. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Set in nineteenth century China, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See was one of the best historical fiction books I have read. Lily and Snow Flower become friends who communicate through a secret language of women during a time when women are regarded as property and to be seen but not heard. We learn about the cultural expectations and pressures placed on these young girls. If you want to learn more about the history of Chinese culture, then give Snow Flower and the Secret Fan a try! You can read my full review of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan here.
Buy Snow Flower and the Secret Fan on Amazon (FREE with an Audible Trial)*
19. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
I may be the only person on the planet who liked And the Mountains Echoed more than The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. But I did, so much more. Never did I feel that an author was as eloquent as when Hosseini starts this book describing the situation and relationship of this family. I could picture young brother and sister Abdullah and Pari crossing the desert for destinations unknown to them but that would change their family forever. Told from alternating perspectives of the characters, we learn what life is like in Afghanistan from the poor children to the wealthy Greek doctor who comes to stay. And the Mountains Echoed is moving and eloquent and will make you long to read more.
Buy And the Mountains Echoed on Amazon (FREE with Audible Trial) *
20. Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner
Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner might be a surprising choice for a book club but I absolutely loved this historical fiction about fashion legend Coco Chanel. Gortner’s writing captivated me and had me believing that every word of this historical fiction was true. Rich in detail with eccentric supporting characters, this story was about the extraordinary drive of Coco Chanel. Book clubs who like strong women for lead characters, romance, and history will likely enjoy Mademoiselle Chanel. See my full review of Mademoiselle Chanel here.
Buy Mademoiselle Chanel on Amazon (FREE With Audible Trial)*
There you have it, the 20 Best Book Club Suggestions that Will Get Your Book Club Talking! Grab one of these stellar stories for your book club’s next read, they are sure to get even the quietest bookworms talking! But look at that, now I’ve done all the talking, but I want to hear from you. So tell me…
What is your book club reading? What types of books does your book club enjoy? Which book prompted the most energetic discussion from your book club members?
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