As we all know, talking about the book is only a small sliver of what happens in a book club. There are work updates to share, gossip to uncover and, well, the world at large to unpack. Not to mention discussion of the latest episode of 90 Day Fiancé. Still, when it’s your turn to choose the book for the group (no pressure!), you do not want to recommend a dud. Here are 10 book picks to help raise your status in the club.
The Glitch by Elisabeth Cohen
The Glitch is smart, well-written and don’t you dare write it off as “chick lit.” Sure, it’s about a mom drowning in her quest to find work-life balance, but it offers biting commentary on technology, nanny culture and society’s endless drive for productivity. There’s also a kidnapping, some corporate espionage, and a doppelgänger/clone situation. Everyone in the club will have fun piling on reasons they detest this dreadful mommy-CEO before they turn to ways they can relate to her.
Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi
In her funny and timely memoir, Saedi shares her experience of growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from Iran. You’ll learn a ton about the immigration process and the pitfalls that can happen to families looking for a better life. Plus, if you were a teen in the 90s, your memory will be happily jogged by all her pop culture references. Turns out having a crush on Ethan Hawke is a universal phenomenon.
My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams
As a parent, you may feel like you’re scammed on a daily basis by your adorable offspring who con for less vegetables and more screens. So maybe you’ll identify with Williams, a former photo editor at Vanity Fair and the writer of My Friend Anna. In the book, Williams shares her account of being fleeced by Anna Delvey, a Soho grifter who, all told, tricked multiple people — mostly New York’s elite — out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Williams lays out the crime details, which are truly astounding, but perhaps the most fascinating part of this story is that the way the court of public opinion still seems to have some love for Delvey [look no further than the Instagram @annadelveycourtlook]. You and your group decide for yourself.
Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
Pro tip: the shorter the book, the more likely your club is to read it, and this is a slim novel that you could tackle during a morning train commute. The story follows an increasingly insane heroine on a tense, trippy holiday in Italy. It’s a solid pick for a busy month like December, when everyone’s extra busy and already a little unhinged.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
In what could be described as “an intellectual 50 Shades of Gray,” journalist Lisa Taddeo spent 8 years profiling three wildly different women and their sexual experiences. There are parts of the book that will leave you gutted—warning: there could be triggers for victims of sexual assault—but any excuse to talk about sex among friends is a win-win.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Everyone will have different opinions on whether they liked American Marriage, which makes for the best possible discussion. But everyone in the group will admit they finished the book at lightning speed. An engrossing story about an African American husband wrongfully convicted of murder, the book has a sweeping love story AND Oprah’s seal of approval. Who’s going to argue with that?
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
This is the greatest piece of literature on modern parenting ever written. Full stop. Even the non-moms who come into the meeting looking fully groomed and well-rested will appreciate the crisp sentences and pithy narration behind this story of a woman who attempts to maintain stability after entering motherhood.
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Classics tend to be book club winners because everybody would rather buy a thrift store paperback than shell out $25 for a new release or wait in an endless library queue. Plus, hot take: classic literature is simply better? The Group was published in 1963, takes place between WWI and WWII, and follows the lives of several Vassar grads in New York City. It’s basically the original Sex and the City and the prose holds up even better than Carrie’s outfits.
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
There’s always one member of the book club who goes nuts for historical fiction. And she’ll love you forever if you suggest Mrs. Everything as the club’s next read. Spanning decades and told through the alternating narrative of two sisters who grew up in 1950s Detroit, author Jennifer Weiner explores gender norms and the complex relationship between women.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Welcome to a brisk and darkly funny satire of a slasher. Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the book is a thrilling study in family dynamics with a side of social commentary. Here’s a discussion question to kick off your meeting: Is it ever OK to kill your sister’s boyfriend, y/n?
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Love ‘em or leave ‘em, you gotta throw a bone to the dystopian fiction fans in the book club. Bless their funky hearts. Station Eleven follows a Shakespearean troupe of actors as it gathers in the Great Lakes region after a flu kills off most of humanity. The story is epic and gripping and you can check off that post-apocalyptic box for the year.