50+ Best Book Club Books 2024 [All Ranked]

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Whether you’re a seasoned reader or just dipping your toes into the ocean of literature, our list of the Best Book Club Books is your treasure map to incredible stories, unforgettable characters, and mind-bending ideas.

Designed to stir lively debates and ignite a passion for reading, these books are gateways to unexplored worlds and fresh perspectives.

So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, find a cozy nook, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable reading adventure with fellow book enthusiasts.

Table of Contents

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary, Adult

The story centers around Kya Clark, the “Marsh Girl,” who has lived an isolated life in the coastal marshes since she was a child. Abandoned by her family, Kya learns to survive in the wild marshes with grace and intelligence.

But when a local man is found dead, the town quickly points fingers at the mysterious Marsh Girl. But is Kya really capable of murder?

What sets this book apart is through Kya’s eyes, we learn about the prejudices of society, the enduring strength of nature, and the unbreakable human spirit. If you’re looking for a book that is a beautiful ode to the natural world, you shouldn’t miss this one.

How much do you trade to defeat loneliness?

What you might love:

  • The novel includes aspects of ethology and the study of animal behavior, making it educational.
  • The book explores themes like loneliness, prejudice, and social isolation, adding depth to its story.
  • The story skillfully merges two timelines: Kya Clark’s life in the North Carolina marshes and a later murder mystery.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s use of Southern dialect and slang might confuse or deter some readers.
  • Scenes of violence and attempted assault in the story could be upsetting for certain readers.
  • Some readers may find secondary characters in the book lacking in depth or too stereotypical.

2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, LGBT, Contemporary, Queer

Evelyn Hugo, a famous old Hollywood star, finally decides to tell her true story. She picks Monique Grant, a not-so-famous magazine reporter, for this big reveal.

The story will soon take you through Evelyn’s life, from her rise to fame in the 1950s to leaving showbiz in the 1980s. Each of her marriages, all seven of them, shows different parts of her life.

The best thing about this book is how it brings Evelyn’s world to life. It’s not just about being a star. It’s about love, figuring out your identity, and tough choices. It gives an honest look at a woman’s life in the spotlight.

I’m under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you.

What you might love:

  • The novel examines LGBTQ+ struggles with love and identity in a past era.
  • It probes themes of betrayal, ambition, and fame’s price, captivating readers.
  • Evelyn Hugo’s tumultuous Hollywood life in the Golden Age fascinates with its complexity.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The portrayal of LGBTQ+ relationships, central to the story, may not appeal to all readers.
  • The novel covers mature themes such as sexuality, infidelity, and death, possibly not appealing to all.
  • Its non-linear narrative, shifting between timelines, may confuse readers wanting a straightforward story.

3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Crime

Alicia Berenson was once a famous painter married to a sought-after fashion photographer. Her life, viewed from the outside, was enviable. Then, out of the blue, she shoots her husband five times in the face and—just like that—stops speaking.

Enter Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who is fascinated by Alicia’s case. His determination to get her to talk and uncover the reasons behind her violent act drives the narrative.

As you turn the pages, you’re delving deep into the human psyche—the trauma, obsession, and the hidden corners of the mind. If you’re a fan of gripping, mind-bending stories, this is one book you can’t afford to miss.

You know, one of the hardest things to admit is that we weren’t loved when we needed it most. It’s a terrible feeling, the pain of not being loved.

What you might love:

  • It examines empathy, boundaries, and truth versus deceit, adding a philosophical twist.
  • The novel delves into human psychology, exploring betrayal, guilt, and disorders, deepening the story.
  • The book skillfully creates suspense, engaging readers with the mystery of Alicia’s silence and past events.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s frequent references to Greek tragedy and mythology might not appeal to all readers.
  • The narrative’s shifts in perspectives and timelines may confuse readers who prefer simpler storytelling.
  • The book’s depiction of mental health and psychiatric practices could be controversial, especially for professionals in these fields.

4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Buy on Amazon
03/06/2024 10:01 pm GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, World War II, Adult

“The Nightingale” portrays two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during the war. Vianne faces danger at home when her husband goes to war, and German soldiers seize her house, while Isabelle joins the French Resistance to fight the Nazis.

Their diverging paths show different ways women contributed to the war effort. Vianne struggles to safeguard her family, and Isabelle actively resists the occupation, underlining women’s vital roles in wartime.

This novel stands out by highlighting women’s experiences in war, often overshadowed in male-centric war narratives. It celebrates their strength and resilience, offering a heartfelt tribute to history’s unsung heroines.

Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.

What you might love:

  • It focuses on family ties and the sisters’ complex relationship with their father.
  • The story honors ordinary people’s resilience and heroism, especially women, in tough situations.
  • The novel depicts the sisters’ struggles in Nazi-occupied France, centered on love, loss, and sacrifice.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The plot might seem predictable for those familiar with historical fiction and WWII.
  • The novel’s sentimentality may lessen its impact on the serious themes of World War II.
  • The book’s emphasis on women’s perspectives in war may not suit readers seeking a broader WWII view.

5. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Adult, Sci-fi

Nora Seed is a woman filled with regrets. Her life seems to be a series of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams. But then, she finds herself in the Midnight Library, a mystical place where each book represents a different path her life could have taken.

As you dive into the pages with Nora, you’ll explore lives where her choices varied. From careers she never pursued to relationships she walked away from, each book in the library presents a new version of what her life could be.

“The Midnight Library” is a unique blend of fantasy and introspection. It’s a story about choices, alternate realities, and a reflection of life’s infinite possibilities.

The book will take you on a journey of self-discovery as Nora confronts her deepest regrets and finds what it truly means to be happy.

If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it.

What you might love:

  • The book presents philosophical themes in an accessible, light way, appealing to a broad audience.
  • The book keeps a hopeful tone while addressing serious themes like regret and despair, highlighting life’s value.
  • Nora Seed, the main character, is relatable in her dissatisfaction with life, making her journey resonate with many readers.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some might find the character development in the book lacking depth.
  • Experienced readers of speculative fiction might find the plot predictable or familiar​.
  • The novel’s emotional engagement and portrayal of serious issues like regret and mental health may not resonate with all readers.

6. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Feminism, Adult

Meet Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant chemist in the male-dominated world of the 1960s. But Elizabeth isn’t just any chemist; she’s unapologetically ambitious, fiercely intelligent, and way ahead of her time.

Unexpectedly, Elizabeth becomes a TV cooking show host. But she transforms the show, using it to teach more than just recipes—she imparts lessons on science, equality, and living life on your own terms.

The story is a delightful mix of science, feminism, and breaking free from societal expectations. This book is a must-read for its inspiring message and charming wit—making it a movement in itself.

It’s a testament to the power of staying true to oneself and changing the world, one experiment at a time.

Courage is the root of change and change is what we’re chemically designed to do.

What you might love:

  • The writing style is clever and humorous, offering a refreshing take on serious topics.
  • It addresses the issue of misogyny and the struggle for gender equality in an approachable manner.
  • The novel explores feminist themes and challenges the gender stereotypes of that era, making it strikingly relevant.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s unique and funny style may not suit every reader’s taste.
  • Its 1960s setting might not appeal to those who prefer modern-day stories.
  • Some might find the book’s initial pacing, especially leading to the TV show part, slower than they expect.

7. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Humor, Adult

Meet Ove, a grumpy old man who loves rules. He likes things a certain way and doesn’t like change. But when a lively family moves in next door, things start to change for Ove. At first, Ove is annoyed by them, but soon, he starts to care about his new neighbors.

This book is special because it mixes funny moments with touching ones. We learn why Ove is the way he is and watch him change. It’s a story about friendship and how we can all make a difference in each other’s lives.

It’s a heartwarming story that will make you laugh and maybe even cry. It’s perfect for anyone who loves a good story about real life.

People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.

What you might love:

  • It addresses universal themes like love, loss, grief, and community, making it relatable to many.
  • Despite its seeming simplicity, the novel unfolds with unexpected depth and emotional richness.
  • The novel is a feel-good story that combines humor and emotional depth, exploring how one life impacts others, which resonates with readers.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may find the storytelling too simple or not complex enough.
  • The novel’s Swedish cultural references could be unfamiliar to international readers.
  • Ove’s grumpy personality might not appeal to those who prefer immediately likable characters.

8. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros — The Empyrean #1

Buy on Amazon
03/08/2024 11:51 pm GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Dragons, Fiction, New Adult

Violet Sorrengail, the daughter of a famous general, unexpectedly gets drafted into dragon rider training, shifting her from her planned academic path. This sudden change thrusts her into a challenging and fierce world.

Despite her physical challenges, Violet stands out with her intelligence and strong will. She works hard to become a dragon rider in the kingdom of Navarre. Her journey is tough, but she stays determined to succeed.

Violet’s unique ability to bond with two dragons, a rarity in her world, shows her unique strength. This novel blends fantasy and action with deep character development, creating a captivating story about resilience and the power of the human spirit in a magical world.

Fascinating. You look all frail and breakable, but you’re really a violent little thing, aren’t you?

What you might love:

  • The plot is filled with intense challenges and life-or-death situations, keeping readers captivated​​.
  • The novel develops a believable and engaging enemies-to-lovers romance throughout the story.
  • Violet Sorrengail, the protagonist, is presented as a complex and lovable character, making her story engaging and relatable.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s complex world-building may overwhelm or confuse certain readers.
  • Violet’s portrayal of living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome could seem unrealistic or insufficiently explored to some.
  • The novel’s extensive cast might make it hard for some readers to follow the various characters and their relationships.

9. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Contemporary

In “The Last Thing He Told Me,” Hannah Hall’s life changes suddenly when her husband, Owen, vanishes. He leaves a note saying, “Protect her,” referring to his daughter Bailey. But Bailey is not Hannah’s own daughter, and they have a strained relationship.

As Hannah looks into Owen’s hidden past, she realizes he is not who she thought he was. As she and Bailey try to find the truth, they travel across the country, learning more about Owen. This journey helps Hannah and Bailey grow closer.

The book stands out because it focuses on how Hannah and Bailey’s relationship changes while searching for Owen. It’s a story that mixes mystery with the complexities of family and trust.

He never understood that I wasn’t scared of someone leaving me, I was scared that the wrong person would stay.

What you might love:

  • The novel’s narration by Hannah offers a close and personal view of the plot.
  • Set in modern times, it addresses current issues like technology and securities fraud.
  • The story’s central theme is how secrets and lies affect relationships, appealing to those who like emotionally complex tales.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The story’s flashback could confuse some readers, making it difficult to follow.
  • The novel’s strong emphasis on the family over traditional thriller elements might not attract typical thriller fans.
  • The book’s slow-burning, character-focused mystery approach might not suit fans of fast-paced, action-centric plots.

10. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Contemporary, Literary

“The Vanishing Half” tells the story of twin sisters Desiree and Stella Vignes. They leave their small town and end up living very different lives. Desiree stays connected to her roots, while Stella hides her true self and pretends to be white.

The book compares their lives and shows how race and choices can change everything. As the years pass, their choices lead to a deep exploration of identity, race, and the concept of ‘home.’

The beauty of this book lies in its ability to make you ponder the big questions: How does our past shape us? What does it mean to be true to oneself? And how do the invisible threads of history tie us to our future?

The novel is a beautiful blend of family saga and social commentary, making it a compelling read for anyone interested in understanding the nuances of identity and the impact of the past on our present and future.

She hadn’t realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you.

What you might love:

  • The book blends multiple family stories across generations for a compelling narrative.
  • It explores American history, especially the effects of racial passing on individuals and families​​​.
  • “The Vanishing Half” insightfully covers modern issues like intersectional feminism and transsexuality.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s deep dive into racial identity and colorism could be intense for some.
  • The shifting narrative across characters and time periods may be confusing or hard to follow.
  • Some readers might feel the theme of pretense and identity is overemphasized or unrealistic.

11. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction. Contemporary, Romance, Literary, Historical

This book introduces you to Sam and Sadie, two brilliant minds whose friendship blossoms through their shared love of video games. Their journey begins in a hospital room, a chance meeting that becomes the foundation of their lifelong friendship.

Their journey through the video game industry is filled with ups and downs, reflecting the evolving nature of their relationship. But as they grow, so does their collaboration in the gaming world, creating a successful indie game studio.

Whether you’re a gamer or not, you’ll find yourself immersed in Sam and Sadie’s world, rooting for their dreams and feeling their heartaches. It’s a story that will remind us of the power of human connection and the beauty of shared passions.

If you’re always aiming for perfection, you won’t make anything at all.

What you might love:

  • The book delves into loss, jealousy, and tragedy, adding emotional depth.
  • It explores friendship and unrequited love, appealing to fans of character-driven stories.
  • The story, spanning 30 years, the story explores the characters’ lives, offering a rich, layered narrative.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its use of various time periods and perspectives could confuse readers.
  • Experts in race and identity might find the book’s treatment of these themes less challenging or insightful.
  • Some readers feel that Sam and Sadie’s friendship is one-sided, which might not be satisfying in a story focused on their relationship.

12. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

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03/09/2024 07:06 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literary, Coming Of Age, Contemporary

Damon “Demon” Copperhead was born into poverty in a ramshackle trailer in the mountains of Virginia. His life, marked by hardship and loss from the very beginning, unfolds across the pages in a manner that is as heartbreaking as it is insightful.

Through his eyes, you witness the impact of addiction, poverty, and systemic failure. From his early days in the trailer park to his turbulent teenage years, every chapter of Demon’s life is a testament to the power of perseverance.

This novel is an exploration of life in its most raw form. It’s a journey through the eyes of a boy who, despite the odds stacked against him, shows the incredible strength of the human spirit.

The wonder is that you could start life with nothing, end with nothing, and lose so much in between.

What you might love:

  • Set in Appalachia, the novel vividly depicts the region and the challenges of the opioid epidemic.
  • The novel modernizes “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens is set in today’s American South, giving a new twist to the classic story.
  • Dickens fans will enjoy Kingsolver’s adaptation of “David Copperfield” to a new setting and social context.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers unfamiliar with “David Copperfield” might miss the nuanced parallels in this retelling.
  • Kingsolver’s direct critique of institutional poverty may not suit those who prefer subtler storytelling.
  • The descriptive writing style may challenge readers, who need more engagement to appreciate the story.

13. Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:06 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Humor, Literary

The story unfolds in a small Swedish town where a failed bank robber, out of desperation, bursts into an open house and inadvertently takes a group of people hostage. But here’s the twist: these hostages are not just random people.

They are a collection of anxious, flawed, and utterly relatable individuals, each with their own stories and secrets. As the narrative progresses, you’ll laugh, ponder, and perhaps even shed a tear.

“Anxious People” is a rare blend of humor and heart, and what it means to be human. It’s a celebration of life’s imperfections and a testament to the fact that sometimes, the most profound connections are forged in the most unexpected places.

Nothing is easier for people who never do anything themselves than to criticize someone who actually makes an effort.

What you might love:

  • The all-knowing narrator provides insightful comments on human nature, deepening the story.
  • The book mixes comedy and heartbreak, creating an enjoyable and emotionally impactful read.
  • The novel empathetically portrays all characters, even the bank robber, who becomes more sympathetic as the story progresses.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The story’s many characters and backstories may confuse readers.
  • Being character-driven rather than plot-driven, the book might not attract all readers.
  • It focuses on parenthood and relationships that may not appeal to those seeking different themes.

14. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:16 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Magical Realism, Animals, Literary

Still haunted by her son’s unsolved disappearance, Tova Sullivan finds comfort in cleaning the aquarium. There, she meets Marcellus, an intelligent and emotionally complex octopus. Their unique bond provides Tova with solace.

More than just an octopus, Marcellus has a special way of understanding and exploring the world. After escaping his enclosure during one of her cleaning sessions, he forms an unlikely friendship with Tova.

Enter Cameron Cassmore, who arrives in town, searching for his father and crossing paths with them. Marcellus helps uncover the connections between Tova and Cameron, revealing deep family secrets.

“Remarkably Bright Creatures” is a story about finding unexpected connections and coping with loss, offering a heartwarming and imaginative read​.

Conscience does make cowards of us all.

What you might love:

  • The story is infused with heartfelt humor, making it entertaining and touching​​.
  • It prompts readers to think deeply about life, relationships, and the impact of loss and loneliness.
  • It deals with themes of grief, family, and freedom, exploring how individuals cope with loss and find solace in unexpected places​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s length and detailed sections may deter fans of concise storytelling.
  • Some might not enjoy the octopus as a narrator, preferring traditional storytelling.
  • Its mix of magic realism and contemporary fiction may not suit fans of strictly realistic stories.

15. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:16 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literary, Contemporary, Adult

Danny and Maeve Conroy grew up in a big, fancy house called the Dutch House. After their father dies, their stepmother, Andrea, inherits everything and kicks them out, leaving the siblings with nothing but each other.

The novel, spanning over five decades, is about how Danny and Maeve support each other through tough times. Despite achieving outward success, they often revisit the Dutch House, remembering their past with a mix of humor and rage.

The book skillfully shows how siblings care for, compete with, and deeply love each other. It also makes you think about how families, memories, and who we are can shape the stories we believe and how we see others in our lives.

We were all so young, you know. We were still our best selves.

What you might love:

  • Its narrative shifts through time, giving a full view of the characters’ lives across decades.
  • The novel explores Maeve and Danny’s relationship, highlighting its strength and lasting support.
  • The writing style, subtle and engaging, is noted for creating a suspenseful drama with sharp, witty moments.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its focus on the Conroy family drama may not interest readers looking for varied themes.
  • While thoughtful, its treatment of obsession and forgiveness may not align with everyone’s tastes.
  • The novel’s smooth narrative, mainly about villain Andrea, might disappoint those seeking more intensity.

16. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah — Firefly Lane #1

Buy on Amazon
03/07/2024 09:51 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit, Romance, Contemporary, Historical, Adult\

In “Firefly Lane,” best friends Kate and Tully meet in eighth grade, and their friendship spans over three decades. They navigate life’s ups and downs, with Tully focusing on her journalism career while Kate dreams of love and family.

As Tully succeeds and Kate marries and has children, their paths diverge, but their bond remains strong. However, tensions arise, testing their friendship. Tragically, when Kate faces a severe illness, Tully returns to support her.

This novel stands out for its heartfelt exploration of a deep and enduring friendship. It’s a must-read for those who cherish stories about the complexities and joys of lifelong connections.

Sometimes being a good friend means saying nothing.

What you might love:

  • The story celebrates female friendships and the support system that such relationships offer.
  • The book takes readers on an emotional journey, exploring themes of love, loss, jealousy, anger, and hurt​.
  • The book delves into various themes, including career versus motherhood, friendship’s power, and everyday life’s magic​​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its emphasis on female friendship may not interest those seeking a wider variety of relationships.
  • The book’s views on balancing careers and motherhood might seem outdated or preachy to some.
  • The story’s sentimental tone may not resonate with readers who prefer more realistic relationship portrayals.

17. West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:26 am GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, Animals, Adventure, Coming Of Age

A young man named Woodrow finds himself in the midst of a life-changing adventure after a chance encounter, which leads him to accompany two giraffes on a cross-country journey from New York to the San Diego Zoo.

Through Woodrow’s eyes, you’ll experience the raw beauty of the American landscape, the harsh realities of the time, and the kindness of strangers in a world that seems to be falling apart.

The story is a blend of adventure, coming-of-age, and historical context, offering a unique perspective on human-animal relationships and personal growth during a pivotal time in American history.

Home’s not the place you’re from, Woody. Home’s the place you want to be.

What you might love:

  • It explores themes like empathy, connection, and human-animal bonds, emotionally engaging readers.
  • The novel, set in 1938, vividly portrays America during the Dust Bowl, adding rich historical context to the story.
  • The main plot follows two giraffes’ adventurous journeys from New York to the San Diego Zoo, captivating readers with their uniqueness.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may want more depth in the book’s secondary characters.
  • Its length and detailed historical content could deter those who prefer shorter stories.
  • The focus on American history might not appeal to international readers or those less familiar with it.

18. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:16 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literary, Adventure

In “The Lincoln Highway,” you meet Emmett Watson, a young man recently released from a juvenile work farm in Nebraska. His plan is simple: collect his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California to start a new life.

But life, as always, has other plans. Two friends from the work farm, Duchess and Woolly, have their own agenda, leading the group on an unexpected detour along the iconic Lincoln Highway.

As you travel with these boys, you’ll uncover layers of their past, their hopes, and their dreams. The book is a time capsule that transports you to a different era, offering insights into the characters’ lives and your own.

For kindness begins where necessity ends.

What you might love:

  • The book captivates with emotional twists, offering a rich reading journey.
  • Set in the ’50s, it showcases an era of hope and doubt, intriguing history buffs.
  • The novel revisits American legends, unveiling fresh perspectives on the nation’s lore.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s frequent shifts in perspective and time might confuse some readers.
  • The story tackles tough topics like abuse and suicide, which some readers might find hard to handle.
  • The slow reveal of characters’ pasts and motives may try the patience of readers who prefer quick character development.

19. The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

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03/07/2024 05:45 pm GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, India, Literary, Asia

“The Covenant of Water” starts with 12-year-old Mariamma’s arranged marriage to a widower, evolving into a deep love that establishes her as Big Ammachi, the family matriarch.

The story weaves together family members’ lives with characters like Dr. Digby Kilgour, a Scottish surgeon in India. The narrative revolves around “the Condition,” causing tragic drownings in each generation.

Mariamma, daughter of Philipose and Elsie, becomes a doctor, seeking answers about the Condition and discovering shocking truths about her heritage.

This novel, rich in emotional and historical depth, offers a compelling exploration of family complexities and resilience, ideal for book clubs and readers interested in diverse family sagas.

All water is connected and only land and people are discontinuous. And his land is a place where he can no longer stay.

What you might love:

  • The book’s broad scope spans nearly a century and narrates a multi-generational saga.
  • The novel explores spiritual and philosophical themes, offering insight into faith and beliefs.
  • Set in South India, the story richly portrays the region’s history, culture, and Christian heritage.

What might not be for everyone:

  • It covers complex themes like family, faith, and destiny, which may be difficult for some readers.
  • This book explores South Indian history and culture, which can be challenging for those unfamiliar with it.
  • The novel emphasizes character development over a traditional plot, which may not suit plot-driven story fans.

20. Mad Honey by Jennifer Finney Boylan and Jodi Picoult

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:16 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT, Thriller

The story centers around Olivia, a mother who has recently returned to her hometown with her son, Asher, seeking a fresh start. However, their world is turned upside down when Asher’s girlfriend, Lily, is found dead.

This tragic event became a series of secrets and lies that have been lurking beneath the surface of their seemingly peaceful town. As the investigation into Lily’s death unfolds, Olivia and Asher find themselves at the center of a storm of suspicion and rumor.

“Mad Honey” stands out for its plot and how it delves into the nuances of human relationships. It’s a novel that challenges you to question how well you truly know those around you and at what lengths you might go to uncover the truth.

Sometimes, making the world a better place just involves creating space for the people who are already in it.

What you might love:

  • Lily’s backward-told story adds mystery and hides plot twists, intriguing fans of unique storytelling.
  • The novel blends thrilling suspense with deep emotional themes, emphasizing love and acceptance.
  • The book thoughtfully addresses challenging issues like identity and abuse, exploring these important topics.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The slow unfolding of the plot might not attract fans of fast-paced stories​.
  • Its mid-story twist may not appeal to those who prefer straightforward narratives.
  • The novel’s intense themes, like identity and abuse, might overwhelm some readers.

21. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 07:26 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Contemporary, Romance, Family

William Waters’ birth in 1960 was quickly marred by his sister’s death. This tragedy shapes his life, leading to a lonely childhood. He found solace in basketball bringing him to Northwestern University, where he met Julia Padavano and her family.

The Padavano family, especially parents Charlie and Rose, provide the sense of belonging William lacks. However, a knee injury ends his basketball dreams, causing a rift in his relationship with Julia and upheaval in her family’s life.

This novel navigates through the characters’ lives, focusing on themes of love, forgiveness, and overcoming adversity. It’s a poignant tale of familial bonds and the journey to self-discovery and healing.

This story will resonate deeply with anyone who has experienced the complexities of family relationships and the journey toward self-discovery and healing.

Opportunity did not knock until I built the door.

What you might love:

  • It portrays inspiring themes of familial love and healing amidst adversity.
  • The book chronicles the Padavano family’s evolution over the years, exploring their challenges and reconciliation.
  • Set in late-20th century Chicago, it’s a modern tribute to “Little Women,” appealing to lovers of classic literature​​​​​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s slow pace and character introspection might not suit those who prefer action-driven stories.
  • The detailed exploration of complex family dynamics could overwhelm readers looking for lighter family-themed stories​.
  • Its focus on societal expectations around marriage and femininity may not engage all readers, especially those seeking simpler narratives​​​​​​.

22. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

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03/09/2024 07:26 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Literary

This novel will take you on a journey through time. Connecting stories from the past, present, and future.

It’s about five different people: Anna, a girl in the old city of Constantinople; Omeir, a boy living outside the city; Seymour, who’s trying to save the earth today; Zeno, a war veteran; and Konstance, a girl on a spaceship in the future.

They all connect through a fictional Greek manuscript called “Cloud Cuckoo Land.” The story shows how people from different times are connected by their hopes and dreams. It’s like a mix of history, today’s world, and the future.

The book is an experience where you’ll travel through time, meet interesting people, and see how their lives are woven together. It’s a perfect read for anyone who loves a good story and wants to think about how we’re all connected.

Some stories, can be both false and true at the same time.

What you might love:

  • The novel explores themes like love, war, the power of books, and hope amidst chaos.
  • The book’s lively characters, young and old, offer a range of diverse viewpoints from different times.
  • The story’s emotional depth and relatable characters and situations resonate strongly with many readers​​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Multiple protagonists might make it hard for readers to connect deeply with each character.
  • The varying pace of the story could feel slow to those who like a consistently fast-paced narrative.
  • The story’s mix of different timelines demands attention and patience, which may not suit everyone.

23. What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma by Stephanie Foo

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03/09/2024 07:26 am GMT

Genres: Memoir, Non-fiction, Psychology, Mental Health, Self-Help, Biography

Stephanie Foo takes you through her intense fight with Complex PTSD, born from a childhood filled with prolonged trauma. This memoir lets you into Foo’s world, showing her challenges and victories straightforwardly and intimately.

Foo, a journalist, confronts the invisible scars from her past. She openly shares her journey to healing from a troubled childhood, harmful relationships, and the difficulties of being a young woman of color.

Her story includes raw details of therapy, self-discovery, and the tough road to recovery. What sets this memoir apart is Foo’s boldness in telling her deeply personal story—making the book a powerful guide that offers insight into the effects of trauma.

It’s a source of hope and inspiration, showing the power of resilience and healing. This book is a must-read, whether you’re dealing with trauma yourself, know someone who is, or is just interested in the human mind.

Here’s a theory: Maybe I had not really been broken this whole time. Maybe I had been a human—flawed and still growing but full of light nonetheless.

What you might love:

  • The book highlights the impact of immigrant trauma, a relevant issue today.
  • Foo’s use of various innovative therapies offers hope and options for those dealing with trauma.
  • The author’s candid sharing of her story can move and inspire readers with its openness and vulnerability.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s specific settings in San Jose and Malaysia might not resonate with all readers.
  • The focus on overcoming trauma may not suit readers with different memoir or psychology interests.
  • Readers favoring traditional psychology might find the memoir’s innovative therapy discussions less engaging.

24. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

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03/09/2024 07:35 am GMT

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Contemporary

Daunis Fontaine, a biracial, unenrolled tribal member, finds her life changed dramatically after witnessing a murder. Living between two worlds, her unique background becomes crucial when she’s drawn into an FBI investigation.

In this investigation, Daunis uses her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe medicine to go undercover. Apart from solving crimes, her journey delves into the complexities of love, family, and community while grappling with her own identity.

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” stands out for its rich cultural depth and thrilling storyline. It’s a compelling read that educates and moves the reader, offering a unique perspective on diverse cultures and identities.

We love imperfect people. We can love them and not condone their actions and beliefs.

What you might love:

  • It highlights women’s strength through powerful female roles in various professions.
  • The story deeply explores love, grief, and identity themes, appealing to readers who enjoy complex characters.
  • The novel confronts social issues like drug abuse, racism, and indigenous struggles, making it relevant and engaging.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Daunis Fontaine’s portrayal, including her judgment of others, may not appeal to all readers​.
  • The novel’s dark themes, including violence and drug abuse, may be too intense for some readers​.
  • Its detailed focus on Ojibwe culture might challenge readers who are less familiar with this background​.

25. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

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03/09/2024 07:36 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Literary, Adult

After spending her childhood summers at the family’s rustic camp known as “The Paper Palace,” Elle Bishop faces a pivotal decision within 24 hours that could change her life.

She must choose between a seemingly perfect life and a powerful, reignited love for her childhood sweetheart, Jonas.

As the day unfolds, the narrative takes you on a journey through Elle’s past, revealing the deeply layered and often heartbreaking moments that have led her to this crossroads.

This novel stands out for its genuine portrayal of complex relationships and the tough choices they bring. “The Paper Palace” explores love, family, and the paths we choose. Perfect for those who appreciate deep, character-driven stories.

Does letting go mean losing everything you have, or does it mean gaining everything you never had?

What you might love:

  • The book delves into complex family dynamics and how past events influence current lives.
  • Its descriptive writing vividly brings the New England setting to life, enriching the reader’s experience.
  • The narrative alternates between the present and flashbacks of Elle’s family history, adding intrigue and maintaining a compelling pace.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers might struggle to connect with the story’s flawed protagonists.
  • The book’s back-and-forth timeline can be tricky for those who like a clear, linear story.
  • The focus on wealthy, white characters may not appeal to readers seeking diverse representation.

26. Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See

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03/09/2024 07:36 am GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, China, Asia, Adult

“Lady Tan’s Circle of Women” begins with Yunxian witnessing her mother’s death, leading her to study medicine under her grandmother. She befriends Meiling, a midwife-in-training, highlighting women’s solidarity against societal limits.

Yunxian life takes a turn when she marries a merchant’s son, but her mother-in-law forbids her from practicing medicine. Despite this, Yunxian remains dedicated to women’s healthcare, especially regarding pregnancy and childbirth.

The novel, rich in historical detail about the Ming dynasty and Chinese medicine, shows Yunxian’s defiance of societal norms to treat women of all classes, leaving a lasting medical legacy while underscoring the resilience against societal constraints.

Friendship is a contract between two hearts. With hearts united, women can laugh and cry, live and die together.

What you might love:

  • It highlights strong friendships that deeply connect with readers.
  • The plot centers on a woman defying society to pursue her dreams, empowering female readers.
  • The novel stars Tan Yunxian, an inspiring female doctor from the Ming Dynasty in China.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers might dislike the restrictive roles of women in the book’s period.
  • Artistic liberties taken with historical events in the story could bother historical purists.
  • With a wide range of characters, some may find following many characters and their stories difficult.

27. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

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03/09/2024 07:36 am GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Time Travel, Suspense

The story revolves around Jen, who finds herself in an unimaginable situation: her son is involved in a crime. But the twist is, after that day, Jen wakes up each morning in the past, one day earlier than before.

Jen scrambles to understand and potentially prevent the crime, uncovering layers of her past and her son’s life. Each day takes her further back, revealing new truths and challenging her understanding of her family and herself.

Its clever use of time reversal makes “Wrong Place Wrong Time” a remarkable read. This narrative creates an intense, suspenseful experience, a profound tale of family, fate, and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child.

Everything in parenthood feels so endless until it ceases.

What you might love:

  • Amidst the tension, the story contains warm, heartfelt instances that soften the narrative.
  • The story unwinds backward in time, a creative approach that offers a new way to experience a thriller.
  • Focusing on a mother’s experience, the book draws in readers with its relatable exploration of family dynamics.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Moving back in time, the story might puzzle or confuse some readers.
  • Thriller fans could find the mix of family drama and fantasy hard to enjoy.
  • Some may see the complex, twisting plot as too complicated compared to simpler stories.

28. Go as a River by Shelley Read

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03/07/2024 08:31 am GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, Coming Of Age, Literary, Adult

“Go as a River,” set in the 1940s in Iola, Colorado, revolves around 17-year-old Victoria Nash. The story begins when Victoria meets Wilson Moon, a Native American traveler. This encounter triggers significant changes in her life.

Victoria’s story blends deep love, significant loss, and resilience. Her relationship with Wilson, challenged by societal racism, highlights the strength of love against adversity. Their love story, though tragic, offers hope and bravery.

The novel explores racism, nature’s strength, and family and love dynamics. It mixes heartache and inspiration, showing a young woman’s journey in a male-dominated world.

Just as a single rainstorm can erode the banks and change the course of a river, so can a single circumstance of a girl’s life erase who she was before.

What you might love:

  • The story offers a powerful look at growing up and could be deeply moving for many. 
  • The setting in post-war 1948 adds an evocative historical layer that history enthusiasts might enjoy.
  •  Victoria’s transformation throughout the book offers a compelling examination of identity that many could appreciate.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Themes of racism and inequality can be heavy for those desiring a more casual read.
  • While powerful, the novel’s intense emotions could be too much for those wanting a lighter story.
  • Readers seeking varied character relationships may not connect with the focus on the protagonist’s solo growth.

29. A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers — Monk and Robot #1

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03/09/2024 07:36 am GMT

Genres: Sci-fi, Fiction, Fantasy, Novella, LGBT, Queer

This book introduces you to Sibling Dex, a tea monk who feels something missing in their life. That’s when they meet Mosscap, a robot with a curious and endearing quest to discover what humans need.

As you turn each page, you’ll travel alongside Dex and Mosscap through lush forests and serene landscapes, all while delving into self-discovery, philosophical conversations, and discussing what it means to live a fulfilling life.

What sets this book apart is its gentle yet powerful narrative. It’s also about the questions it raises: How do we find happiness? What is our role in the natural world?

This book is a breath of fresh air for anyone looking to find a moment of peace and reflection in today’s fast-paced world.

If we want change, or good fortune, or solace, we have to create it for ourselves.

What you might love:

  • Dex’s quest for new meaning connects with readers into personal growth.
  • It presents a hopeful future where technology and nature coexist harmoniously, inspiring readers’ optimism.
  • The novel highlights the simple joys of life, conveying that a grand purpose is not needed for a meaningful existence.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s focus on simplicity might not suit those seeking complex themes.
  • Its conversational, episodic style could seem slow to those expecting a plot-driven narrative.
  • Readers used to traditional character dynamics may find the human-robot interaction less engaging.

30. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

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03/09/2024 07:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Indian Literature, Canada

Set in India during the tumultuous 1970s, the book introduces you to four diverse characters—Dina Dalal, Ishvar and Omprakash Darji, and Maneck Kohlah. As you delve into the pages, you’ll witness the struggles and triumphs of these characters.

Their lives intersect in ways they never expected in a country grappling with social and political upheaval. Dina is fighting for independence; Ishvar and Om are tailors seeking a better life; and Maneck is a student trying to meet his family’s expectations.

Their stories are a powerful exploration of friendship, hope, and the human capacity to endure. “A Fine Balance” is a raw and honest portrayal of life’s struggles. Yet, amid these struggles, there’s a profound sense of resilience and camaraderie.

The human face has limited space. If you fill it with laughter there will be no room for crying.

What you might love:

  • Mistry tackles themes like poverty, caste, and politics, offering a poignant critique of societal issues​.
  • It explores the characters’ evolving relationships, from distrust to friendship and love, highlighting human resilience​​.
  • The novel’s vivid setting in an unnamed city by the sea and its detailed depiction of Indian streets deeply immerse the reader​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s intense focus on societal issues may be overwhelming for those who prefer lighter themes.
  • Its tragic storyline, particularly towards the end, might not suit readers who enjoy uplifting narratives.
  • The deep cultural and historical context set in 1970s India could challenge readers unfamiliar with this background.

31. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

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03/09/2024 07:56 am GMT

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Adult

You’ll meet Jess, who arrives in Paris looking for a fresh start, only to find her brother Ben, a journalist, has mysteriously disappeared. His opulent but enigmatic apartment in Paris becomes the center stage of the unfolding drama.

Jess encounters enigmatic neighbors as she delves into Ben’s life, trying to uncover clues about his disappearance. Each resident has their own story and their own secrets, and as Jess interacts with them, the complexities of Ben’s life begin to unfold.

The novel explores human relationships, secrets, and the facades people maintain. You’ll find yourself playing detective alongside Jess, piecing together the puzzle of Ben’s disappearance and suspecting almost every neighbor.

A strange feeling, knowing they can see me but I can’t see them properly.

What you might love:

  • The locked-room mystery creates suspense and a sense of claustrophobia.
  • The novel examines how wealth and social status impact relationships and behavior.
  • Different viewpoints in the story deepen the understanding of the characters and plot.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel includes swearing and adult themes, which may not appeal to all.
  • The story’s frequent switch in character perspectives might confuse some readers.
  • Some readers find the novel’s structure and themes repetitive and lacking originality compared to Foley’s other works​​​​​.

32. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden — The Winternight Trilogy #1

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03/09/2024 07:56 am GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Fiction, Young Adult, Mythology, Fairy Tales

Vasya is a brave girl with special powers. She lives in a village where spirits protect them, but things change when her father remarries. Her new stepmom and a strict priest don’t like these spirits.

When the village stops believing in them, a scary force in the forest wakes up. Now, it’s up to Vasya to be brave and save her family and village.

“The Bear and the Nightingale” tells us about the importance of old stories and traditions. It will make you think about how these old stories and new ideas can clash. It’s perfect for anyone who loves a good adventure and wants to learn about different cultures.

We who live forever can know no courage, nor do we love enough to give our lives.

What you might love:

  • The novel vividly presents Russian culture and traditions.
  • It explores the clash between old beliefs and Orthodox Christianity.
  • Vasilisa, the lead character, challenges traditional gender roles and can inspire readers with her independence.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Themes, including death and bigotry, may disturb some readers​​.
  • The book’s focus on historical gender roles might not interest all readers​.
  • Its in-depth portrayal of Russian folklore could be less appealing to fans of simpler fantasy​​.

33. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

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03/09/2024 07:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Sci-fi, Time Travel, Fantasy, Historical

You’ll meet Edwin St. Andrew, exiled from England to the colonies in 1912, and Mirella, who, in 2203, seeks to uncover the past of a famous writer.

Their stories connect with a detective named Gaspery-Jacques Roberts in the distant future who is tasked with investigating an anomaly in the timeline.

As their narratives unfold, you’re drawn into a world where time travel becomes a haunting reality, raising questions about the nature of reality and the threads that bind us across eras.

Its seamless weaving of different timelines sets “Sea of Tranquility” apart. The novel explores the human heart and the timeless quest for meaning. Capturing the essence of the human’s need for connection and understanding.

A life of solitude could be a very pleasant thing.

What you might love:

  • It covers tragedies from different eras, adding emotional depth to the story​.
  • The novel explores themes like reality and human existence, appealing to readers interested in deep topics​.
  • The story combines various timelines and links to characters from Mandel’s earlier works, enhancing its complexity​​​​​​​.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its emphasis on characters’ careers over personal lives may not appeal to all readers​​.
  • The book, more a psychological drama than typical sci-fi, might disappoint traditional science fiction fans​.
  • The novel’s handling of topics like colonialism and technology may not satisfy those wanting deeper insights​.

34. The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand

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03/09/2024 07:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Adult

Following her husband Matthew’s tragic death, Hollis Shaw, struggling with grief and a rocky relationship with her daughter Caroline, organizes a “Five-Star Weekend” to rejuvenate her food blog, “Hungry With Hollis.”

Hollis’s friends Tatum, Dru-Ann, Brooke, and Gigi, each facing personal crises, join her for the weekend. However, their issues, ranging from health concerns to professional and marital challenges, disrupt Hollis’s plans for a flawless retreat.

Throughout the weekend, past romances reignite, secrets surface, and each woman confronts her inner struggles.

This journey underlines themes of growth, forgiveness, and the power of friendship, making “The Five-Star Weekend” a compelling narrative about life’s complexities and the path to self-discovery.​

Your generation is both fragile and entitled, and no one is allowed to call you on it.

What you might love:

  • Mother-daughter relationships are a key theme, enhancing the emotional depth of the narrative​.
  • It focuses on personal growth and self-discovery, reflecting real-life experiences for both characters and readers​.
  • The novel examines how friends from different life stages shape a person’s identity, adding complexity to the story.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s exploration of emotions might appear shallow to some readers​​.
  • Side plots, like the protagonist’s high school romance, might not interest all readers and could seem irrelevant to the main story.
  • The book’s emphasis on themes like friendship in a Nantucket setting may not suit readers looking for different themes or locations​.

35. Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

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03/09/2024 06:46 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit, Contemporary, Adult

In “Someone Else’s Shoes,” a gym bag mix-up in London swaps the lives of Sam, an overburdened mother, and Nisha, a woman abandoned by her wealthy husband. This twist leads to unexpected life changes for both.

Sam, wearing Nisha’s luxury Louboutin heels, gains confidence and a sense of self-worth. At the same time, Nisha learns resilience and the value of true connections, aided by kind strangers like Jasmine and Aleks.

This novel explores loss, resilience, solidarity, and personal growth themes. It’s a narrative that showcases how a small change, like walking in someone else’s shoes, can lead to profound transformations in one’s life.

But if you cannot change your situation, then you have no choice. You can only change how you think about it.

What you might love:

  • The book balances serious themes with slapstick humor.
  • Nisha and Sam, the main characters, experience significant personal growth, inspiring readers.
  • It highlights the power and importance of female friendships, a common theme in Moyes’ work.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The story’s focus on two diverse women’s lives may not suit all.
  • Class and wealth disparities in the book might not attract every reader.
  • Centering on middle-aged characters may not interest younger readers.

36. Weyward by Emilia Hart

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03/09/2024 07:56 am GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Historical, Witches

Spanning for centuries, it focuses on the Weyward women in Cumbria, England. Beginning in 1619 with Altha Weyward, a 21-year-old healer in Lancaster who faces accusations of witchcraft due to her use of inherited powers for reproductive care.

Then, the narrative shifts to 1942, where 16-year-old Violet Ayres is confined to her family estate during World War II. Violet longs for a life beyond her constraints and discovers she has inherited her mother’s unique ability to command crows.

In 2019, 29-year-old Kate Ayres moved to Crows Beck to escape an abusive relationship and discover her family’s hidden powers.

“Weyward” uniquely blends these women’s stories, highlighting their fight against societal norms, making it a compelling read for those interested in rich storytelling and female empowerment.

The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.

What you might love:

  • “Weyward” combines historical fiction with magical realism, bringing authenticity to the magic in the story.
  • The book celebrates women’s resilience and strength, providing an empowering and vibrant journey through time.
  • It explores themes like witchcraft, motherhood, and nature’s power, offering an engaging look at these elements.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The focus on feminist themes might not engage those uninterested in such topics.
  • “Weyward” alternates between three time periods, which may confuse some readers.
  • Its fantasy elements as metaphors may not appeal to all, depending on personal tastes.

37. Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

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03/09/2024 08:05 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Literary, Historical, Romance, Contemporary, Family

Set in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, it centers on the Nelson family—Lara, her husband Joe, and their daughters. Isolated on their Michigan cherry farm, they work together on their orchard’s first harvest.

Lara shares her past with her daughters, delving into her transformation from an aspiring actress in “Our Town” to running a cherry farm and her summer romance with the late movie star Peter Duke, symbolizing love and joy’s fleeting nature.

This novel explores maternal love, the impact of past relationships, and life’s defining moments. “Tom Lake” is celebrated for its narrative depth and insight into family life, making it a must-read for those who appreciate complex human relationships​​.

​​The stories that are familiar will always be our favorites.

What you might love:

  • The novel deeply explores parent-child relationships through Lara’s family.
  • It highlights the enduring nature of love and happiness, offering hope and comfort.
  • The story connects with current issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing its relevance.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Lara’s seemingly perfect young life might not resonate with all readers.
  • The book’s introspective tone may not suit those who prefer fast-paced plots.
  • It features intense family dynamics that might not appeal to readers seeking lighter stories.

38. All The Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

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03/09/2024 08:06 am GMT

Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Crime, Suspense

In “All The Sinners Bleed,” Titus Crown becomes the first Black sheriff in Charon County, returning to reform the justice system and care for his father. The plot escalates with a school shooting, uncovering a teacher’s heinous crimes against Black children.

Titus’s investigation soon reveals a deep-rooted deceit and corruption in the community. He uncovers buried bodies and a series of murders connected to a perverse religious ideology.

The novel is notable for its raw portrayal of racism and law enforcement challenges in the American South and is a compelling modern-day noir. It’s essential reading for its exploration of racism and the pursuit of justice.​

We all choose to be skeptics when the truth is inconvenient.

What you might love:

  • The action-filled story also provides deep insights into its themes.
  • Cosby’s narrative strongly and uniquely addresses social justice and racism.
  • The novel delves into the complexities and challenges of social change and shifting power dynamics.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Including religious themes might not suit readers who prefer them absent in crime and mystery stories.
  • The book’s deep dive into issues like race and faith may not match what some expect from a detective thriller.
  • The complex and intense dynamics around race and power in the character relationships could be unsettling.

39. The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

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03/09/2024 08:06 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Historical, Magical Realism, Romance, Literary, Fantasy

Set in 1974 Cyprus, Kostas, a Greek Christian, and Defne, a Turkish Muslim, secretly meet in a tavern, The Happy Fig, forging a love that defies the island’s escalating ethnic tensions.

Their relationship symbolizes hope, but the outbreak of war leads to their painful separation.

Years Later, their daughter Ada Kazantzakis explores her family’s hidden history in London, seeking to understand her roots. Her only connection to her Cypriot heritage is a fig tree growing in her backyard in London.

The novel, told through various timelines and narrators, including a fig tree, highlights interconnectedness and the power of memory. It’s a must-read for its unique storytelling and exploration of identity and history.

You don’t share a language, you think, and then you realise, grief is a language. We understand each other, people with troubled pasts.

What you might love:

  • It deeply explores themes like identity, history, love, and grief.
  • The novel insightfully discusses human-nature relationships and our conflicts with nature.
  • Shafak blends history with fiction, creating a story filled with wonder, emotion, and imagination.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its broad range of topics may seem disconnected from the main story.
  • The novel’s non-linear storytelling might confuse those who like clear narratives.
  • Detailed references to Turkish and Greek Cypriot cultures could challenge some readers.

40. The Measure by Nikki Erlick

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03/09/2024 08:06 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Dystopia, Contemporary, Adult

One day, every adult in New York finds a box on their doorstep containing a string that predicts the length of their life. From that day forward, people received a life-measuring string on their 21st birthday, causing significant personal and societal dynamics shifts.

Central characters, including a couple, Nina and Maura, find that they have a differing string lengths, one shorter than the other. And Ben, an architect with a short string, tries to navigate this new reality.

The novel explores themes including hope, love, connection, and the repercussions of knowing one’s lifespan. It examines how such knowledge influences personal decisions and societal norms, challenging the readers to contemplate the true measure of life.

This unique premise prompts reflection on life’s value and the effects of fate, making “The Measure” a distinctive and thought-provoking read that you shouldn’t miss.

If forever doesn’t exist, we’ll invent it ourselves.

What you might love:

  • Despite its focus on mortality, the novel affirms life’s value.
  • Diverse characters grappling with their lifespans add depth to the story.
  • The book explores societal and political reactions to people knowing their lifespans, highlighting current social issues.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Late character connections in the novel might seem forced to some readers.
  • The book’s dystopian tone may not suit readers who prefer optimistic genres​.
  • The character development could be seen as lacking depth, hindering reader connection.

41. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

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03/09/2024 08:06 am GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, Italy, Literary, Adult

The story alternates between two timelines: Lucrezia’s childhood in 1544 Florence and her life at 16 in the Fortezza in 1561. It delves into Lucrezia’s arranged marriage to Alfonso, which shifts from hopeful beginnings to a perilous situation as she uncovers his dark intentions.

The novel delves into Lucrezia’s life, her marriage, and the brewing tension around Alfonso’s plan to end her life. Lucrezia, portrayed as intelligent and insightful, strives to overcome the limitations of her era.

This historical novel stands out for its portrayal of Renaissance Italy and Lucrezia’s struggle for autonomy in a male-dominated world. It’s a captivating read for fans of historical fiction and tales of resilient female characters.

Sadness keeps attempting to tie weights to her wrists and ankles, therefore she has to keep moving, she has to outpace it.

What you might love:

  • Paintings and rich art descriptions from the period add beauty to the tale.
  • The story stirs emotions from love to fear, creating an intense emotional journey.
  • The novel, set during the Italian Renaissance, plunges readers into a world of mystery and vivid culture, deepening the story.

What might not be for everyone:

  • In-depth descriptions of Renaissance art might be distracting to some​​.
  • Deviations from historical accuracy in the novel might not appeal to some readers​​.
  • The book’s subtle character portrayal may not satisfy those wanting clearer development​.

42. The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue

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03/09/2024 08:06 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Literary, Ireland, LGBT, Coming Of Age

The story centers on Rachel, a Cork City student working in a bookstore. Her life changes dramatically when she falls for James and then becomes entangled with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne.

Rachel’s attempt to seduce Dr. Byrne, with James’s help, leads to a complex situation involving secrets and emotional conflicts. The dynamics between Rachel, James, Dr. Byrne, and his wife showcase the unpredictability of young love and relationships.

This novel is notable for its witty portrayal of young adulthood, blending humor with the emotional depth of friendships and romantic crises. It’s an engaging read for those who offer a glimpse into the complexities of young adult life.

I was twenty and I needed two things: to be in love and to be taken seriously.

What you might love:

  • The story is told from an older Rachel’s perspective, adding a reflective layer to the narrative.
  • The novel centers on a college student entangled in a friend’s romance, offering a relatable and engaging plot.
  • It explores deeper themes like power dynamics in academia and relationships, provoking thoughtful reflection.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The novel’s pacing might not appeal to everyone; some may find it too slow or fast.
  • Its handling of serious themes might not meet every reader’s expectations or preferences.
  • For some readers, character development, including Rachel’s, may seem insufficiently deep or complex.

43. River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

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03/09/2024 08:07 am GMT

Genres: Historical, Fiction, Race, Literary, Adult

“River Sing Me Home” follows Rachel’s escape from a Barbados plantation, driven by her quest to reunite with her children after slavery’s end. Her journey takes her through British Guiana’s forests to Trinidad, filled with challenges and determination.

Rachel, accompanied by characters like her daughter Mary Grace, Nuno, and ‘Nobody,’ confronts various obstacles. Their journey highlights the resilience and strength required to face the aftermath of slavery.

The novel is remarkable for its vivid Caribbean setting and exploration of a mother’s enduring love. It’s a compelling read for fans of historical fiction, emphasizing the unbreakable bonds of family and resilience.

But it’s nice to do things the slow way. It give you time to think.

What you might love:

  • Readers dive into Barbados’s bright scenery and British Guiana’s thick forests.
  • The novel, set during the abolition of slavery, immerses readers in the period’s history.
  • It is based on true stories of women searching for their children after slavery, making it authentic.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The language and dialogue reflective of the era may not be easily accessible to all readers.
  • Extensive descriptions may not appeal to those who enjoy fast-paced, dialog-driven narratives.
  • The focus on themes like slavery, separation, and loss may not suit readers sensitive to such subjects or looking for more escapist literature.

44. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

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03/09/2024 08:07 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Dystopia, Contemporary, Literary, Sci-fi, Adult

In a future America, the PACT (“Preserving American Culture and Traditions”) law targets “un-American” after a war with China. Meanwhile, a boy named Bird seeks his hidden mother, a Chinese-American poet, who goes into hiding to oppose this law.

The novel starts with Bird receiving a cryptic message from his mother, leading him on a dangerous journey to reunite with her. His search leads him to New York City, where he confronts rampant anti-Asian racism and discovers his mother’s secret.

“Our Missing Hearts” explores Asian American discrimination and the role of art in resisting tyranny. The novel blends dystopian themes, deep characters, and societal reflections, offering a story of courage and hope in dark times.

If we fear something, it is all the more imperative we study it thoroughly.

What you might love:

  • The novel celebrates the impact of small but brave acts in resisting injustice and oppression.
  • Despite the dark themes, the novel is laced with hope and the belief in fighting for a better future.
  •  The book thoughtfully explores xenophobia and other societal challenges, encouraging reflection and discussion.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Those who like realistic or modern tales might not enjoy the dystopian world.
  • People who favor direct storytelling could find the narrative structure complex.
  • Readers may miss the many literary references if they don’t know the original works or prefer simpler stories.

45. The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton

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03/09/2024 08:07 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Sci-fi, Dystopia, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Literary

This novel tells the story of Wanda, a child born during a catastrophic hurricane named after the storm itself. As Florida faces devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels, Wanda’s life unfolds against the backdrop of a society edging closer to collapse.

The book is divided into four parts—power, water, light, and time—reflecting the natural world’s decline. Wanda’s growth from childhood to adulthood echoes her community and environment shifts.

This novel stands out because of its deep dive into humanity’s struggle with nature and climate change. Offering a unique perspective on these issues, it’s a must-read for those interested in environmental challenges and human resilience in the face of adversity.

They fought so hard to keep a world that was not meant to stay the same.

What you might love:

  • The book is a tale of survival that showcases human life’s fragility and strength.
  •  The vivid portrayal of a world altered by climate change provides a stark, imaginative setting.
  • The light shed on important issues like climate change and humanity’s future provokes thought and discussion.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers might want the characters to develop more fully.
  • The story unfolds slowly and might not satisfy fans of quick, lively action.
  • The strong emotions in the book might be too much for readers wanting a casual read.

46. Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout — Amgash #3

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03/09/2024 08:16 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Literary, Contemporary, Family, Adult

“Oh William!” follows Lucy Barton, a New York writer, as she navigates life after her husband’s death. Reconnecting with her first husband, William, she explores their past and present lives.

The story intensifies when William uncovers a shocking secret about his mother. This revelation leads them on a journey to Maine, where they unearth truths about their former marriage and themselves.

Elizabeth Strout’s novel is unique in its narrative approach, focusing more on the characters’ inner experiences than the plot. It skillfully addresses themes of loneliness, understanding, and past traumas.

This is the way of life: the many things we do not know until it is too late.

What you might love:

  • The novel examines loneliness, sorrow, and the search for connection, tapping into core human emotions.
  • Strout delves into heritage themes, confronting one’s history and the changes time and experience cause.
  • Strout reflects the range of human states, showcasing our fragility and strength in ways that mirror our experiences.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may dislike William for being self-centered and unfaithful.
  • References to earlier books could bewilder those unfamiliar with the series.
  • The story’s delicate complexity demands close reading, which not everyone may enjoy.

47. Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

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03/09/2024 08:16 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller, Adult, Mystery

“Yellowface” by R.F. Kuang tells the story of June Hayward, a white author with an unremarkable career who’s in stark contrasts with Athena Liu, a successful Chinese-American writer, and her former classmate.

After Athena’s sudden death, June seizes an opportunity. She takes Athena’s unpublished novel about the Chinese Labour Corps in World War I, rewrites it, and publishes it under the pseudonym  Juniper Song to broaden its appeal.

The novel’s focus on cultural appropriation and the publishing industry’s treatment of diversity gives it a unique edge. The book uses satire to explore complex themes, making “Yellowface” a provocative and engaging read.

Reading lets us live in someone else’s shoes. Literature builds bridges; it makes our world larger, not smaller.

What you might love:

  • The novel’s dark humor provides a wickedly entertaining reading experience.
  • The book explores white privilege, diversity, and identity and discusses contemporary social issues.
  • The sharp satire of the publishing industry will resonate with readers familiar with the literary world.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The story is steeped in online discourse, which might not suit every reader.
  • The book’s take on plagiarism and cultural appropriation could come off as preachy to some.
  • Readers who don’t relate to or care for online culture references might not find this appealing.

48. Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 08:16 am GMT

Genres: Historical Fiction, World War II, Holocaust, War

Set in 1942, the story introduces Hannah Martel, who narrowly escapes Nazi Germany after the tragic death of her husband. With her plans to escape to America thwarted, Hannah turns to her cousin Lily in Brussels for help.

Hannah quickly becomes involved with the Sapphire Line, an underground resistance network. Led by Micheline and her brother Mateo, the network operates amid the dangers of World War II.

Told through the eyes of Lily, Hannah, and Micheline, each of them faces perilous challenges and makes critical sacrifices for a great cause.

It skillfully blends dialogue and action, portraying their lives from high society to the ominous realities of war camps, and offers insights into these women’s difficult choices​. Making it a remarkable read.

The price of fighting for freedom meant acknowledging they might be killed at any moment.

What you might love:

  • The focus on courageous women in harrowing times inspires and engages readers.
  • It offers a page-turning story of resistance and survival, which keeps readers hooked.
  • The book presents characters with relatable and moral dilemmas, connecting historical struggles to present-day values.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers familiar with WWII fiction might guess the plot easily.
  • Detailed descriptions could bog down fans of simpler storytelling.
  • Frequent readers of the genre might find the bravery and resistance themes repetitive.

49. The Whispers by Ashley Audrain

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03/09/2024 08:16 am GMT

Genres: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Suspense

The Loverly family faces a crisis when their son Xavier falls into a coma under mysterious circumstances. Xavier’s mother, Whitney, remains silent and distressed by his hospital bed. This led each resident to examine their involvement in the events leading up to Xavier’s fall.

The story unfolds through the voices of various women in the community, including Blair Parks, a friend of Whitney’s dealing with marital issues; Rebecca Parry, a surgeon facing personal loss; and Mara Alvaro, an observant elderly neighbor.

Over a week, their interconnected stories reveal hidden truths within their homes.

Ashley Audrain’s novel explores themes of motherhood, friendship, and the impact of personal choices. It stands out for its deep dive into its characters’ emotional and psychological complexities, making it a compelling read for fans of domestic thrillers​.

It’s amazing what you can learn about people when you’re more or less invisible. It’s the things they don’t want you to see that tell you the most.

What you might love:

  • Dramatic tension related to family secrets and fidelity keeps readers on edge.
  • The book tackles provocative topics that spark deep thought and conversation.
  • The novel delves deep into the raw and varied experiences of motherhood that many will relate to.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Shifting viewpoints might confuse fans of single-story narratives.
  • Complex themes about choice and resilience may overwhelm some readers.
  • The book’s stark view of motherhood may discomfort those seeking romanticized pictures.

50. Victory City by Salman Rushdie

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03/09/2024 08:16 am GMT

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Magical Realism, India, Mythology

“Victory City” follows Pampa Kampana, a character with a lifespan of 247 years. Her story begins in tragedy and leads to her acquiring magical powers that result in the creation of the empire of Bisnaga.

Blending historical fiction with magical realism, the novel offers a satirical look at politics and religion. It portrays the empire’s rise and fall through detailed storytelling, focusing on themes of gender equality and the power of creativity.

The book is notable for deeply exploring societal ideals and human imperfections. The book’s vivid narrative makes “Victory City” a compelling read, inviting readers to reflect on broader themes of history, culture, and the human experience.​

History is the consequence not only of people’s actions, but also of their forgetfulness.

What you might love:

  •  The story possesses allegorical qualities that reflect contemporary issues.
  • The book delves into Indian history and mythology, providing a deep cultural immersion.
  • The epic scale of the story, spanning over 250 years, captures the grandeur of ancient times.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The story’s slow pace could disinterest readers familiar with faster, action-packed books.
  • Some may find weaving through the novel’s mixed historical and fiction threads difficult.
  • Due to the novel’s broad scope, the large cast of characters might prevent deep connections for some.

51. Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 08:17 am GMT

Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Crime

Olivia, a young woman, mysteriously disappears in a scenario captured by CCTV. Detective Julia takes on the case, expecting a standard investigation, but soon discovers a personal connection to it.

The narrative unfolds from the viewpoints of several characters: Julia, the detective; Lewis, whose daughter is missing; Emma, whose son’s girlfriend is missing; and Olivia, through her social media posts.

The twist’s revelation adds complexity to the story, exploring themes of justice, deception, and the desperation of a parent seeking answers. The book stands out for its suspense and exploration of family dynamics and moral dilemmas​.

There is nothing I won’t do to help you: there is nothing I can’t do. All parents are superheroes, for this very reason.

What you might love:

  • The characters in the novel are complex, adding depth to the story as readers try to understand their motivations and secrets​.
  • The story delves into family dynamics and the drive to safeguard loved ones, presenting an intelligent perspective on kinship.
  • The narrative switches between Detective Julia and Olivia, the missing person, offering diverse insights into the unfolding mystery.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Detailed character histories could overshadow the central mystery.
  • Violent or disturbing content in thrillers may turn away some readers.
  • A strong character focus might mean less action than some thriller fans want.

52. The Celebrants by Steven Rowley

Buy on Amazon
03/09/2024 08:17 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, LGBT, Adult, Literary

The story focuses on a group of Berkeley alumni—Jordan, Jordy, Naomi, Craig, and Marielle. They make a pact for living funerals following their friend Alec’s overdose before graduation.

Throughout the novel, set in both the present and the past, the friends come together to celebrate life at each funeral. These events act as turning points for personal introspection and growth, challenging each character differently.

“The Celebrants” explores enduring friendships and the transformative power of facing mortality together. The novel is significant for those interested in stories of deep friendships and life’s transitions.​

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single one, and the life of that candle will not be shortened. That’s what you do for others. You light their candle with yours.

What you might love:

  • The book examines life and death, urging readers to value every moment.
  • Described as a contemporary “The Big Chill” with humor and independence, it embraces life’s vibrancy.
  • Alternating between current events and past ‘funerals,’ the story deepens attachment to characters, highlighting time’s effect on life.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s Gen-X focus may not connect with all age groups.
  • Some might find the novel’s enduring friendships improbable.
  • The story’s non-linear timelines and pacing may not suit fans of straightforward narratives.

Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap on the Best Book Club Books of 2023!

Whether these stories made you laugh, cry, or think a little deeper, we hope they sparked great conversations and created lasting memories.

Keep turning those pages, share your thoughts with friends, and maybe even bend a few book spines along the way. After all, a well-loved book is a well-lived story.

Here’s to books that kept us up at night and thoughts that lingered long after!

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Erika Maniquiz is a certified teacher and librarian with a Library and Information Science degree. She cherishes the calm moments reading books as much as the dynamic discussions she has in her classroom. Beyond her career, she is a fan of Kdrama and loves Kpop's lively beats.