Whether everyone takes turns choosing a book, or the entire club votes, picking the next read is always challenging. You want to pick something that will spark discussion but has a wide appeal. We’ve put together a list of recommendations that we think will be a great fit for any book club.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
We actually did read this in my book club years ago, and it was so enjoyable. Everyone related to a different character in a different way, and it remains my favorite book to recommend for that very reason.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This is a classic that will appeal to clubs who love historical fiction, coming-of-age stories and strong women.
There There by Tommy Orange
I never would have picked this up if it weren’t for my book club, which would have been a huge loss. The stories are so powerful, and the way Orange weaves them together is masterful.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Maybe not the best choice for a pandemic, but the way this story is weaved together likely will have everyone talking — and might even lead to some interesting end-of-the-world theories.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
There’s a reason this book has been everywhere. It is full of questions that have no clear or concrete answers but will keep you thinking for months after reading it.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
If you’re looking for a humorous book that also explores emotion and has a great cast of characters, this is a great fit.
Born A Crime by Travor Noah
The affable TV host’s presence translates well to the page, but the stories about his childhood will capture you even more than his humor. (Note: If you get the chance, grab the audiobook because he’s a great narrator as well!)
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
Science-fiction is a tough choice for many people, but this book paints such remarkable metaphors that are applicable to our reality — many different realities reflecting divides along racial lines, income lines, and more.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
If you are in a book club that likes to pick sides, look no further. A marriage is tested when the husband is sent to prison, and most people land firmly on the husband’s side … or the wife’s.
Educated by Tara Westover
This was one of the wildest true stories I’ve ever read and one that had us Googling “did this really happen” during our book club meeting.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Blending fiction with some horrifying truths, Whitehead’s writing will have you highlighting passages to bring up at your book club meeting to see if they blew everyone else away as well.
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
It’s likely that most people in a book club have experienced feeling lost during a quarter-life crisis or have dealt with the circumstances around aging parents. This slim volume explores both beautifully.
Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
Hilarious, heartbreaking, and so so smart, this should be required reading for any book club with white women.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
A meditation on faith without being overtly religious, Gyasi also dives into grief, family, and science in interesting and often devastating ways.
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
This would be a commitment because it’s very long, but there were so many times when I was reading this that I wanted to be able to talk to someone and ask them if they were just as shocked as I was by what we were reading.
Find this complete list of great book club picks at bookshop.org.
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.