1. I love to choose fiction novels, because they usually make for a quick, engaging read, and everybody finishes their book long before discussion night.
2. Good book club books deal with more than one issue. That way, everyone is drawn to at least one of the main themes, and there's never a shortage of passages to discuss.
3. I like to stay away from books that are severely shocking, polarizing, heavy-handed, or explicit (unless your club was formed specifically to read and discuss these types of books, that is).
Here are some of my favorite fiction book club picks:
The Rent Collector
Camron Wright, 2012
This is about a woman who lives in a dump in Cambodia and makes her money scavenging the garbage for recyclables. It's a beautiful, fast-paced story about hope and the power of learning.
Kathryn Stockett, 2009
Is there anyone who hasn't read this book by now? It's the story of "the help," the black maids who quietly run households and raise children for white women in the early 1960s. Some maids team up with a white woman who doesn't want to conform to society standards to start a movement that changes their racist town forever.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, 2008
Trust me, don't get hung up on the name of this book. It's about the correspondence between a woman living in the shadow of post-WWII London, and the characters of the small island of Guernsey during the German occupation. It's funny and endearing and universally well-liked.
Love Walked In
Marisa de los Santos, 2006
Technically, this is a romance book, and I don't usually pick those for book clubs because they're so one-sided. But this book is about so much more. Namely, it's about an eleven-year-old girl who's just been abandoned by her mother, and how her life entertwines with Cornelia, a short and spunky coffee cafe worker.
We Are Called to Rise
Laura McBride, 2015
This is a great book club pick because it's told from multiple perspectives, and it's about multiple issues that are easy to discuss: veterans with PTSD, immigrant families in America, the social work system, and modern-day marriages. Funnily enough, I don't think everybody will absolutely love this book, so it lends itself to a really awesome discussion. It's richly told and has some really beautiful passages.
Those are my current favorites! And now I have to divulge that, since moving to Arizona, I have not found a new book club, and I'm pretty disappointed about it. Local friends: want to start one? I miss having a book club and book club nights!
Other lists in my book recommendation series:
Light-hearted clean romance books
Beautiful literary WWII masterpieces
Most readable classics
Best books for the new parent
What to read next if you loved Wonder
To see what I'm currently reading and reviewing, follow me on Goodreads here.
Which of these books have you loved the most?
What books did I miss?
Favorite books for book club?
P.S. Let's be friends!