If you’re looking for some new book club ideas in 2018, we have a terrific list of suggestions for you! We’ve rounded up books that were recommended this past fall and winter by online and celebrity book groups, including suggestions from famous bibliophiles like Reese Witherspoon, Emma Watson, Oprah, and more. Take a look at some of their recent book club picks below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
The author of Silver Sparrow returns with a stunning novel about race, loyalty, and love that endures.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward — with hope and pain — into the future.
Recommendation: Oprah chose An American Marriage for her February book club selection. She said: “The novel redefines the traditional American love story… You’re going to want to have someone else reading it because it’s so juicy.”
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?
Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story — their story — at the very beginning.
Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated — perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.
This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.
Recommendation: Reese Witherspoon chose The Light We Lost as her February book club pick. “Our February pick is all about the different kinds of Love — the kind that engulfs you like a wildfire and the kind that keeps you warm like a hearth fire… This book kept me up at night, turning the pages to find out, and the ending did not disappoint.”
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children — four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness — sneak out to hear their fortunes.
The prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.
A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
Recommendation: Belletrist, the book club curated by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, selected The Immortalists as their January pick. They told their followers: “We adore this novel and cannot wait to discuss many of the philosophical questions raised throughout!”
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
Pre-empted by publishers around the world within days of the 2016 London Book Fair, The End We Start From heralds the arrival of Megan Hunter, a dazzling and unique literary talent. Hunter’s debut is a searing original, a modern-day parable of rebirth and renewal, of maternal bonds, and the instinct to survive and thrive in the absence of all that’s familiar.
As London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge from place to place, shelter to shelter, to a desolate island and back again. The story traces fear and wonder, as the baby’s small fists grasp at the first colors he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.
Written with poise and poeticism, The End We Start From is an indelible and elemental first book — a lyrical vision of the strangeness and beauty of new motherhood, and a portentous tale of endurance in the face of ungovernable change.
Recommendation: The End We Start From was Belletrist’s November book club selection. Roberts said, “I loved the fact that no names were used. It made it more poetic to me. It also made my imagination go deeper with each of the characters.”
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy “golden couple,” from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.
Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more — a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.
To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne — a socialite and philanthropist — and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive… if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life — the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.
Recommendation: The Last Mrs. Parrish was Reese Witherspoon’s December book club pick. “It’s a fun and fast-paced psychological thriller about two determined women who play a high stakes game of deception that only one can win,” she said.
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: Polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage — after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures — Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time — until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does — but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.
Recommendation: Sarah Jessica Parker is the honorary chair for the American Library Association’s Book Club Central. “Stay with Me is a wise and deeply humane debut novel that unpeels the layers of politics in a marriage from the inside,” Parker said of her December book club pick.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power?
In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power — they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.
From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.
Recommendation: The Power was recently chosen by Our Shared Shelf, the book club curated by Emma Watson. She said, “This made me think about the fact that history was written by those who held the power. It also made me think about how the distribution of power and gender roles throughout history often seems arbitrary, and how they could have perhaps ended up very differently.”
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
And as streams of light fan out behind the darkened sun like the wings of a butterfly, I realize that I never saw real beauty until now.
At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. It’s also were three lives are about to be changed forever:
Ally likes the simple things in life–labyrinths, star-gazing, and comet-hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is, and she refuses to imagine it any other way.
Popular and gorgeous (everybody says so), Bree is a future homecoming queen for sure. Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. But what is she trying to hide?
Overweight and awkward, jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he never would have imagined and making friends in the most unexpected situations.
Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one’s place in the universe.
Recommendation: Kimberly Williams-Paisley recommended Every Soul a Star in February based on her son Huck’s glowing praise for the young adult novel. He said: “This is a really well-written, heart-warming story that follows the lives of three of the most unlikely friends as they are brought together by one big eclipse. I loved it.”
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
“The murderer is with us — on the train now…”
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer.
Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.
Recommendation: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is an avid reader who started a book club to share his passion with like-minded fans. For December’s book club pick, he chose Murder on the Orient Express.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility —a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Recommendation: For February, Andrew Luck selected A Gentleman in Moscow as his book club choice.
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
An uproarious novel (“Both heart-piercing and, crucially, very funny.” — Louise Erdrich, The New York Times) from the celebrated author of Single, Carefree, Mellow about the challenges of a good marriage, the delight and heartache of raising children, and the irresistible temptation to wonder about the path not taken.
When Graham Cavanaugh divorced his first wife it was to marry his girlfriend, Audra, a woman as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun. But, Graham learns, life with Audra can also be exhausting, constantly interrupted by chatty phone calls, picky-eater houseguests, and invitations to weddings of people he’s never met. Audra firmly believes that through the sheer force of her personality she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, shepherding her son through awkward playdates and origami club, and even deciding to establish a friendship with Graham’s first wife, Elspeth. Graham isn’t sure he understands why Audra longs to be friends with the woman he divorced. After all, former spouses are hard to categorize—are they enemies, old flames, or just people you know really, really well? And as Graham and Audra share dinners, holidays, and late glasses of wine with his first wife he starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did I make the right choice? Is there a right choice? A hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami, Standard Deviation never deviates from the superb.
Recommendation: Jane Green selected Standard Deviation as her January book club pick.
Which of these books do you want to read with your book club? Share in the comments!