icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Books for book groups

Great books to read, book club or not.


"Reading won't solve your problems; but again, neither will housework."

I assembled this list for book groups or book lovers looking for something new to read and discuss — with an emphasis on the books being both well-written and discussable. You might enjoy "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith, for example, but it doesn't make for a great discussion. The titles are alphabetized by the first letter of the MAIN first word of the title, so you will find “A Fine Balance” in the F section, for example.

I've provided links below to other good lists from which to find book club selections. There's a particular emphasis in this list on fiction, although some nonfiction is included. (At a "summit" of book groups at Politics & Prose, we noticed that men's groups tended to read more nonfiction than women's groups do; one men's group alternated nonfiction books one month with sports events the next.) Your group might decide on a specialty--for example, science fiction, spiritual titles, history or current events and issues, classics, mostly fiction, maybe books you might tend not to read on your own but would read if you have a deadline and a group to discuss the book with).

Sometimes the "bad" or not-universally-favorite books provide the liveliest discussions, but I've tried to list books here that book clubs enjoyed reading and discussing. Let me know if I've left out any favorites of your book group.

Links below take you to the amazon.com database, which is very helpful for telling you what the book is about and how some readers have reacted to it (and if you purchase something, this website gets a small commission). But do frequent your local booksellers, so we can keep bookstores alive. Here is also as good a place as any to thank the American library system, which allows us all to read more books than we can afford to buy. Many libraries also provide excellent general and specialized recommended reading lists and invite authors to speak. Save the American library system!

~Pat McNees

Great books for book clubs

Asterisks indicate books that have been particular favorites for discussion. Clicking on the title will take you to Amazon.com comments on a book. Buy a book from Amazon after first clicking on a link here to get to Amazon and we get an 2% to 6% referral fee. This helps cover fees for site hosting and link-checking.
      Book clubs are an antidote to this problem: I have forgotten how to read (Michael Harris, Globe and Mail, 2-9-18) "When we become cynical readers – when we read in the disjointed, goal-oriented way that online life encourages – we stop exercising our attention. We stop reading with a sense of faith that some larger purpose may be served. This doesn't mean we're reading less – not at all. In fact, we live in a text-gorged society in which the most fleeting thought is a thumb-dash away from posterity....Spend your life flashing between points of transitory data and a dog-eared novel begins to feel interminable." This might also come in handy for your book club:
     How to get books free or deeply discounted:

         Sign up for Book Bub
         GalleyMatch (Book Club Cookbook) Free Advance Reading Copies for Your Book Club.


The list (alphabetical by title)




Accidental Tourist, The, by Anne Tyler
After Long Silence, by Helen Fremont
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Ahab’s Wife, Or The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund
Alchemist, The, by Paulo Coelho
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. In July 2020 Penguin Books kicks off #HamiltonTogether, a two-month read-along of Chernow’s biography on Twitter. On July 3rd, the Disney channel begins offering a filmed version of the musical.
All That Matters by Jan Goldstein
All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
All Passion Spent, by Vita Sackville-West
All Over But the Shouting and Ava's Man, southern memoirs by Rick Bragg
All the Names, by José Saramago
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The, by Michael Chabon
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
American Pastoral, by Philip Roth**
Amy and Isabelle, by Elizabeth Strout
Anagrams, by Lorrie Moore
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor. “The greatest of our Civil War novels” (New York Times)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones ("a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple") Selected by Oprah's book club.
An Equal Music, by Vikram Seth (wonderful in the audio version, in which you hear the music)
Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt
Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner**
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, by Lorna Landvik
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. Listen to NPR interview, 'Unnecessary Woman' Lives On The Margins, Enveloped In Books
Armadillo, by William Boyd
Art of Mending, The, by Elizabeth Berg
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Assault, The, by Harry Mulisch
At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (For background, see This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously as applied to Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, who decided to restructure Sears according to Rand’s principles. (Denise Cummins column, PBS Newshour, 2-16-16)
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, The, by Barack Obama
Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge by Calvin Coolidge
Autobiography of My Mother, by Jamaica Kincaid



Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell
Back When We Were Grownups, by Anne Tyler
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Barn at the End of the World, by Mary Rose O’Reilly
Beautiful Children: A Novel by Charles Bock
Bed of Red Flowers--In Search of My Afghanistian, A, by Nelofer Pazira
Be My Knife by David Grossman
Bean Trees, The, by Barbara Kingsolver
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg **
Beet Queen, The, by Louise Erdrich
Beginner's Luck by Laura Pedersen
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. Of interest: Finding 'Life, Death And Hope' In A Mumbai Slum (interview on Fresh Air, NPR, 11-16-12)
Behind the Palace Doors: Five Centuries of Sex, Adventure, Vice, Treachery, and Folly from Royal Britain by Michael Farquhar
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett**
Bell for Adano, A, by John Hersey
Beloved, by Toni Morrison."The first time I read Beloved, as a college junior, it flew over my head. The next time I read it, as a young hooligan living in the East Village, I could grasp its creative whispers, its social messages—if only tentatively. Picking the novel up again in 2017 with more life experience, I finally got the book—deep in my cortex, instinctively in my blood. It was my fifth reading. Now, Beloved remains the single novel with increasing resonance to my life, to our complicated nation, to creativity, to parent-children relationships."~Rich Benjamin
Bend in the River, A, by V. S. Naipaul
Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralson (the Colorado climber who had to cut off his arm to survive)
Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill
Big Russ and Me: Father and Son--Lessons of Life, by Tim Russert
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree by Mary Ellen Sanger
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Black Rain, by Masuji Ibuse
Blessing Stone, The, by Barbara Wood
Blind Assassin, The, by Margaret Atwood
Blindness by José Saramago (listen to Myla Goldberg's comments--she read it three times--on All Things Considered)
Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy (though it's hard going)
Bloodsworth: The True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA Evidence by Tim Junkin
Blue Angel, by Francine Prose
Blue Blood by Edward Conlon
Blue Flower, by Penelope Fitzgerald
Bluest Eye, The, by Toni Morrison
Bone People, The, by Keri Hulme **
Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories That Carried Them Through a War by Delphine Minoui and Lara Vergnaud. (listen to Maureen Corrigan's review)
Book of Ruth, The, by Jane Hamilton
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (about growing up with a fierce mother)
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt
Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
Bridge of San Luis Rey, The, by Thornton Wilder
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Brighton Rock, by Graham Greene
Brothers K, The, by David James Duncan
Bucking the Sun by Ivan Doig
Buddha of Suburbia, The, Hanif Kureishi
Buffalo Soldier, The, by Chris Bohjalian
Burnt-Out Case, A, by Graham Greene


Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Carry Me Across the Water by Ethan Canin
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
Catcher in the Rye, The, by J.D. Salinger
Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood
Centaur in the Garden, The, by Moacyr Scliar
Center of Everything, The by Laura Moriarty
Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
Charming Billy, by Alice McDermott
Cheating Cell, The: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer, by Athena Aktipis
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Cider House Rules, The, by John Irving
Cities of the Plain, by Cormac McCarthy (part of the Border Trilogy, which includes All the Pretty Horses
Clearing, The, by Tim Gautreaux
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Listen to Never Hear the End of It (NPR, This American Life), about the two endings he wrote for the novel (as published in 1962). One (American) concludes with Alex growing up and turning away from violence; the second, darker version leaves out that final chapter. Kubrick based his film on the second version.
Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks
Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundt
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
Color of Water , The, by James McBride
Color Purple, The, by Alice Walker
Complete Stories, The by Flannery O'Connor
Confessions of Nat Turner, The, by William Styron
Continental Drift, by Russell Banks
Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres
Corrections, The, by Jonathan Franzen
Crashing Through: The Extraordinary True Story of the Man Who Dared to See by Robert Kurson (about Mike May)
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (or you can buy the trilogy. See Meet the Real Family That Inspired Crazy Rich Asians (with family photos, by Kevin Kwan, Town and Country, 8-9-18)
Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People by Frances Ryan
Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner **
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Crucible, The, by Arthur Miller
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Crying of Lot 49, The, by Thomas Pynchon
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The, by Mark Haddon
Custom of the Country, by Edith Wharton
Cutting for Stone (a novel) by Abraham Verghese. (Here's an explanation of the title, Cutting for Stone 

[Back to Top]


Damascus Gate, by Robert Stone
Dancing at the Rascal Fair, by Ivan Doig
Danish Girl, The, by David Ebershoff
Da Vinci Code, The, by Dan Brown
Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende
Day of the Locust, by Nathaniel West
Dead Man Walking, by Sister Helen Prejean
Death Be Not Proud, by John Gunther
Death Class, The: A True Story About by Erika Hayasaki
Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller**
Death of Vishnu, The, by Manil Suri **
Deep End of the Ocean, The, by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Read or listen to this NY Times interview: Barbara Kingsolver on the ‘Urban-Rural Antipathy’ Ripping America Apart (NY Times, 7-21-23). Excellent article, and she recommends three other novels about Appalachia.
Desperate Characters by Paula Fox
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Dew Breaker, The, by Edwidge Danticat
Dewey Defeats Truman, by Thomas Mallon
Different Seasons , four novellas by Stephen King, including "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" and "The Body" (the movie "Stand By Me")
Digging Out by Katherine Leiner
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler
Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee**
Distinguished Guest, The, by Sue Miller
The Dive From Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
Doc, by Mary Doria Russell, a novel about Doc Holliday, best known for his friendship with Wyatt Earp
Dogs of Babel, The, by Carolyn Parkhurst
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
Dream of Scipio, The, by Ian Pears
Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama
Drowning Ruth, by Christina Schwarz
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead a by Olga Tokarczuk. "A marvelously weird and fablelike mystery" set in Poland.
Dry (or Running with Scissors) by Augusten Burroughs


East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Educated by Tara Westover (growing up a Mormon survivalist on a remote Idaho mountainside and leaving home, going to school for the first time at 17) "A coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it." One of the best, most memorable memoirs ever.
The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Elegant Gathering of White Snows, The, by Kris Radish
Elizabeth Costello, by J. Coetzee
Emperor of Ocean Park, The, by Stephen L. Carter
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
End of the Affair, The, by Graham Greene
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing ("Riveting"--New York Times)
Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan
English Patient, The, Michael Ondaatje
Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton
Eventide, by Kent Haruf
Everyman, by Philip Roth
Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Foer
Eye Contact, by Cammie McGovern


Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Fair and Tender Ladies, by Lee Smith
Fall on Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Family History, by Dani Shapiro
Famished Road, The, by Ben Okri
Fan's Notes, A, by Frederick Exley
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
Fasting, Feasting, by Anita Desai
Felicia’s Journey, by William Trevor
Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies
Fine Balance, A, by Rohinton Mistry**
For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, by Nathan Englander
Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner
Founding Brothers, by Joseph J. Ellis
Freedom, a novel by Jonathan Franzen
Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee
French Lieutenant’s Woman, The, by John Fowles
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Annie Flagg
Full Cupboard of Life, The, by Alexander McCall Smith

[To Top]



The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (NIH Big Read, 2019)
Gesture Life, A, by Chang-Rae Lee
Giants in the Earth, by O.E. Rölvaag
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
Ginger Tree, The, by Oswald Wynd
Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Girl with a Pearl Earring, The, by Tracy Chevalier
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith. (Melissa Shook's review might be useful to discussion).
The Girls by Emma Cline
Glass Castle, The: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
God of Small Things, The, by Arundhati Roy
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Good Earth, The, by Pearl S. Buck
Good Faith, by Jane Smiley
Good German, The, by Joseph Kanon
Good Husband, by Gail Godwin
Grant by Ron Chernow
Grapes of Wrath, The, by John Steinbeck
Grass Is Singing, The, by Doris Lessing
Great Fire, The, by Shirley Hazzard
Great Gatsby, The, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. How 'Gatsby' Went From A Moldering Flop To A Great       American Novel (Terry Gross, Fresh Air, interviews Maureen Corrigan, 9-8-14, about her book So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

Great Santini, The, by Pat Conroy
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond

[Back to Top]


Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Handmaid's Tale, The by Margaret Atwood. See Margaret Atwood on What ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Means in the Age of Trump (NY Times, 3-10-17) and I Grew Up In a Fundamentalist Cult  Like the One in  “The Handmaid’s Tale” Hännah Ettinger, Narratively, 5-29-17). See also the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale: The Testaments (“As they say, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, by Alice Munro (short stories)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The, by Carson McCullers
Heart of a Woman, The, by Maya Angelou
Heart of the Matter, The, by Graham Greene
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, A, by Dave Eggers (discussable because self-indulgent)
Heat and Dust, by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Here on Earth, by Alice Hoffman
Hidden Figures (The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race) by Margot Lee Shetterly. See C-Span video of her talking at National Book Festival
History of Love, The, by Nicole Krauss
Hobo: A Young Man's Thoughts on Trains and Tramping in America, by Eddie Joe Cotton
Homeland Elegies: A Novel by Ayad Akhtar
Hopscotch, by Julio Cortazar
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Hours, The, by Michael Cunningham
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
House for Mr. Biswas, A, by V. S. Naipaul
House of Mirth, The by Edith Wharton
House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus III**
House of the Spirits, The, by Isabel Allende
House of Women, by Lynn Freed
How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate by Andrew J. Hoffman
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, by Julia Alvarez
How To Be Good by Nick Hornby
Human Stain, The by Philip Roth
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

[Back to Top]


I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death a memoir by Maggie O'Farrell ("Reads like fiction. Riveting")
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Icy Sparks, by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Independent People, by Halldor Laxness
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Inheritance of Loss, The, by Kerai Desai
Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain
The Innocents a novel by Michael Crummey. "The riveting story of an orphaned brother and sister whose relationship is tested by hardship and isolation in 19th-century coastal Labrador."
Interview With History by Oriana Fallaci (probing interviews with fourteen contemporary political leaders, including Kissinger, Meir, Arafat, Indira Gandhi, and the Shah of Iran, reveal their personal attitudes and propensities and survey the workings of the leader in history)
In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O’Brien
In the Memory of the Forest, by Charles Powers
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
In the Midst of Winter a novel by Isabel Allende
Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer
Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
Intuition, by Allegra Goodman (about politics in science labs)
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson
It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell. An honest, endearing memoir of incredible weight loss by a young food blogger who battles body image issues and overcomes food addiction to find self-acceptance.

[Back to Top]


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jazz, by Toni Morrison
Jesus’ Son, stories by Denis Johnson
John Adams, by David McCullough
Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy


[Back to Top]


Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil, by Deborah Rodriguez, Kristin Ohlson
Killer Angels, The, by Michael Shaara (classic Civil War novel)
Kite Runner, The, by Khaled Hosseini**
Known World, The, by Edward P. Jones

[Back to Top]


The Lacuna (a novel) by Barbara Kingsolver
Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, ed. Michael Lief (great closing arguments examine core issues in America)
Larry’s Party, by Carol Shields
Last Life, The, by Claire Messud
Last Orders, by Graham Swift
The Last Station by Jay Parini (a novel about the last year of Leo Tolstoy's life, inspired by diaries etc. from members of the household and his circle--with one thread about his fight with his wife about copyright on his works, which he wanted to give to "the people")
Last Thing He Wanted, The, by Joan Didion
Le Divorce by Diane Johnson
Leap of Faith by Queen Noor
Lesson Before Dying, A, by Ernest J. Gaines**
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (very popular)
Liar’s Club, The, by Mary Karr
Libra, by Don DeLillo (fictional life of Lee Harvey Oswald)
The Library Book by Susan Orlean. See Hillary Kelly's Q&A with Orlean (Intelligencer, New York, 10-17-18)
Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
Life of Pi, by Yann Martel**
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Light in August, by William Faulkner
Little Bee , a novel by Chris Cleave
Little Big Man, by Thomas Berger
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules a novel by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. A witty and insightful comedy of errors about a group of delinquent seniors whose desire for a better quality of life leads them to rob and ransom priceless artwork.
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry (a great read, which he calls "the “Gone With the Wind” of the West" (McMurtry in Twilight (10-15-13) in which McMurtry opens up to the Archer City Writers Workshop.
A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family by Lou Ann Walker. "...now I see that what deaf people do in sign language is even more mysteriously and specifically, biologically human than speech itself. My respect for the deaf, always high, is now still higher. My awe for the human mind is out of sight." (Lewis Thomas)
Long Way Back to the River Kwai: Memories of World War II by Loet Velmans
Long Way Down, A, by Nick Hornby
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
Loon Lake, by E.L. Doctorow
Loop, The, by Joe Coomer
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Loudest Meow. The: A Talking Cat Fantasy by Wendy Ledger ((Cats of the Afterlife)
Louisiana Power and Light, by John Dufresne
Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich
Love Wife, The, by Gish Jen
Lovely Bones, The, by Alice Sebold
Lucia, Lucia, by Adriana Trigiani
Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman
Lying Life of Adults, The by Elena Ferrante

[Back to Top]

Magic Mountain, The, by Thomas Mann
The Magus by John Fowles
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Man Who Knew Infinity (A Life of the Genius Ramanujan) by Robert Kanigel
Map of the World, A, by Jane Hamilton
March, by Geraldine Brooks
March, The, by E. L. Doctorow
Mariette in Ecstasy, by Ron Hansen
Master Georgie, by Beryl Bainbridge
Master Butchers Singing Club, The, by Louise Erdrich
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
Memory Keeper’s Daughter, The, by Kim Edwards
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
Middle Passage, by Charles Johnson
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides**
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian
Mistress of Spices, The, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Month in the Country, A, by J. L. Carr
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf. See A Lifetime of Lessons in “Mrs. Dalloway” (Jenny Offill, New Yorker, 12-29-2020)
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor. Read the book, then watch the movie film (on an old DVD).
Mrs. Ted Bliss, by Stanley Elkin
My Antonia, by Willa Cather
My Brilliant Career, by Miles Franklin
My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok
My Search for Warren Harding by Robert Plunkett. See Taking a Late-in-Life Victory Lap, Thanks to His Novel’s ‘Lunatic Energy’ (NY Times, 6-16-23) Robert Plunket's 1983 novel was out of print for decades — but remained stealthily influential. Its reissue has catapulted him out of retirement.
My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult (issue-driven novels)
My Year of Meats, by Ruth L. Ozeki**
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

[Back to Top]


Namesake, The, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Next Step in the Dance, The, by Tim Gautreaux
New and Selected Poems, by Mary Oliver
New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, A, by Eckhart Tolle
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Nickel and Dimed: on (not) getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night, by Elie Wiesel
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich. Hear her reading at Politics & Prose (explaining the reality behind some of the passages she read aloud).
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
1984 by George Orwell. Listen to Diane Rehm book club discussion.

Nobody’s Fool, by Richard Russo
No Great Mischief, by Alistair Macleod (setting Cape Breton)
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin
North China Lover, by Marguerite Duras
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, The, by Alexander McCall Smith (set in Botswana)

[Back to Top]


Of Human Bondage, by Somerset Maugham
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. Read Back, and better than ever (WaPo review)
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (interrelated stories about secrets and small-town Maine)
Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, The, by Michael Pollan
Once Upon a Distant War:: Young War Correspondents and the Early Vietnam Battles , ed. by William Prochnau. A character-rich account of how a small group of young war correspondents--including the legendary David Halberstam, Neil Sheehan, and Mal Browne--came to Vietnam in the early '60s, and changed the nature of the war, the media, the country--and themselves.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous a novel by Ocean Vuong. A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read; a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus
One True Thing, by Anna Quindlen
One Writer's Beginnings, by Eudora Welty
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, by Anne Lamott
The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
Orchid Thief, by Susan Orlean
Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
Original Sin, by P.D. James
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
Oscar and Lucinda, by Peter Carey
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

[Back to Top]


Pact, The, by Jodi Picoult
Palace Walk, by Naguib Mafouz
Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov
Paradise, by Toni Morrison
Paris Wife, The by Paula McLain
Passage to India, A, by E.M. Forster
Patchwork Planet, A, by Anne Tyler
Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger
Pearl, The, by John Steinbeck
People's History of the United States, A by Howard
Perfect Storm, The, by Sebastian Junger
Perfume, by Patrick Suskind
Persistence of Memory, The, by Tony Eprile
Personal History by Katharine Graham
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Photograph, The, by Penelope Lively
Pianist, The, by Wladyslaw Szpilman
Piano Tuner, The, by Daniel Mason
Pigs in Heaven, by Barbara Kingsolver
Pilot's Wife, The, by Anita Shreve
Plainsong, by Kent Haruf
Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov
Plot Against America, The, by Philip Roth
Poisonwood Bible, The, by Barbara Kingsolver**
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Possession, by A.S. Byatt
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. A wonderful biography.
Prayer for Owen Meany, A, by John Irving
Praying for Sheetrock, by Melissa Fay Greene
The Prince of Frogtown, part of Rick Bragg's memoir series
Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
Professor and the Madman, The, Simon Winchester
Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

[Back to Top]


Quiet American, The, by Graham Green

[Back to Top]


Rabbit, Run, by John Updike (and its sequels, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit At Rest)
Rainbow, The, by D.H. Lawrence
Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Rapture of Canaan, The, by Sheri Reynolds
Razor’s Edge, The, by W. Somerset Maugham
Reader, The, by Bernhard Schlink
Reading in the Dark, by Seamus Deane
Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (terrifying classic that introduced cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter)
Red Dust, Gillian Slovo
Red Hat Club, The, by Haywood Smith
Red Tent, The, by Anita Diamant
Regeneration, by Pat Barker
Remains of the Day, The, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Remedy for Love, The by Bill Roorbach (“A page-turner, a love story and a vivid drama of man (and woman) against the elements . . . A great read by a wonderful writer.” —Newsday)
Remembering Babylon, by David Malouf
Republic, The, by Plato
Reservation Blues, by Sherman Alexie
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, by Elizabeth Buchan
Revolutionary Road“The Revolutionary Hill Estates had not been designed to accommodate a tragedy.” (Kari Howard, One Great Sentence. NiemanStoryBoard, 3-23-18)
Risk Pool, The, by Richard Russo
Road, The, by Cormack McCarthy
Road from Coorain, by Jill Ker Conway
Road Through the Mountains, A, by Elizabeth McGregor
The Roanoke Girls a nvoel by Amy Engel. "A mystery and a satisfyingly gothic portrait of Middle America...a dark fable of trauma and acceptance about damaged people accepting their crooked parts and using them to move forward."
Room, a novel by Emma Donoghue ("fantastically evocative"), possibly for comparison with A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (the memoir)
Rule of Four, The, by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
Runaway, by Alice Munro (short stories about women)

[Back to Top]


Saffron Kitchen, The by Yasmin Crowther
Sam's Letters to Jennifer, by James Patterson
Samurai's Garden, The, by Gail Tsukiyama
Saturday, by Ian McEwan
Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan
Say You're One of Them, by Uwem Akpan
Science of Storytelling, The: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Betterby Will Storr
Screwtape Letters, The, by C.S. Lewis
Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand
Second Coming, The, Walker Percy
Secret History, by Donna Tartt
Secret Life of Bees, The, by Sue Monk Kidd
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
1776, by David McCullough
The Shack by William P. Young
Shadow of the Wind, The, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Sharyn McCrumb mysteries (any)
She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
Shipping News, The, by Annie Proulx
Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, A, by Marina Lewycka
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Skeleton Key, by Jane Haddam
Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Snow, by Orhan Pamuk
Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See
Soldier of the Great War, A, by Mark Helprin
So long, see you tomorrow, by William Maxwell
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Space Between Us, The by Thrity Umrigar
Sparrow, The, by Mary Doria Russell
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. See author on books, pandemic cooking and ‘Station Eleven’ tattoos (LA Times)
Stick by Elmore Leonard
Still Life, A Fatal Grace, and The Cruelest Month, the first three titles in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, by Louise Penny (set in the mythical town of Three Pines, Quebec)
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail, by Malika Oufkir
Stone Diaries, The, by Carol Shields
Stoner by John Williams
Stones for Ibarra by Harriett Doerr
Stones from the River, by Ursula Hegi
Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The, by David Wroblewski (good storytelling, but the terrible ending is infuriating)
Straight Man, by Richard Russo (satire of academic life)
Student of Weather, A, by Elizabeth Hay
The Submission: A Novel by Amy Waldman
Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth
Suite Française, by Irene Nemirovsky
Sula, by Toni Morrison
Summons to Memphis, A, by Peter Taylor
Sun Also Rises, The, Ernest Hemingway
Sunday at the Pool in Kigali, by Gil Courtemanche (Rwande’s 1994 genocide)
Sweet Hereafter, The, by Russell Banks

[Back to Top]


Tara Road, by Maeve Binchy
Tattooed Girl, The, by Joyce Carol Oates
Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh
Tell Me Everything You Don't Remember: The Stroke That Changed My Life by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee. A memoir of reinvention after a stroke at thirty-three.
Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman
Thank You for Smoking, by Christopher Buckley
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Them, by Joyce Carol Oates
Therapy, by David Lodge
They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan, by Benson Deng, A. Deng, and B. Ajah, with Judy Bernstein
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. (Read Bearing Witness, With Words (Dwight Garner, NY Times Books, 3-22-13) and Power and Politics of the Written Word: The Legend of Chinua Achebe (Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, This Day Live, 11-19-22) According to Achebe, “Nigeria is neither my mother nor my father. Nigeria is a child. Gifted, enormously talented, prodigiously endowed and incredibly wayward.”
Things They Carried, The, by Tim O'Brien
Thousand Acres, A, by Jane Smiley
Thousand Splendid Suns, A, by Khaled Hosseini
Three Junes, by Julia Glass
Time and Again, by Jack Finney
Time of Our Singing, The, by Richard Powers
Time to Be Born, A, by Dawn Powell
Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography by PD James
Time Traveler's Wife, The, by Audrey Niffenegger
Time Will Darken It, by William Maxwell
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (in at least one case together with Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields
To Know a Woman, by Amos Oz
To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party by Heather Cox Richardson
Tortilla Curtain, The, by T. Coraghessen Boyle
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Transit of Venus, The, by Shirley Hazzard. See The Shirley Hazzard Renaissance Continues With a Masterful New Biography  (Jamie Hood, Vogue, 11-18-22)
Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A, by Betty Smith. (See The Tree Still Grows in Brooklyn (Robert Cornfield, BookEnd, 1-3-99)
Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, by David Von Drehle
Tricking of Freya, The, by Christina Sunley
True Grit a novel by Charles Portis
Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, by Ann Patchett (the friend: Lucy Grealey)
Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom
Turn of Mind, by Alice LaPlante

[Back to Top]


Ulysses by James Joyce. And read The Seductions of “Ulysses” (Merve Emre, New Yorker, 2-7-22)
Unbearable Lightness of Being, The, by Milan Kundera
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose
The Underground Railroad: a novel by Colson Whitehead. Video of interview (YouTube, 10 minutes) in which Whitehead explains his thinking about the book.
Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer
Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
Underworld, by Don DeLillo
Unthinkable: An Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains by Helen Thomson (NIH Big Read 2019)
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (discuss the people profiled and what they represent)
Usual Rules, The, by Joyce Maynard

[Back to Top]



The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Very Long Engagement, A by Sebastien Japrisot**  One of my favorites
Virgin Blue, The by Tracy Chevalier
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
**** Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich, transated by Keith Gessen (fascinating and highly discussable)

[Back to Top]


Waiting for the Barbarians, by J. M. Coetzee
Waiting to Exhale, by Terry MacMillan
Waiting, by Ha Jin
Wall Street Wars: The Epic Battles with Washington that Created the Modern Financial System by Richard E. Farley
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (available in various editions). Check out Twitter's #TolstoyTogether read-along, hosted by #APublicSpace.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
War Trash, by Ha Jin
Washington:The Making of the American Capital, by Fergus M. Bordewich
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Way the Crow Flies, The by Ann Marie McDonald
We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals that Changed Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
West Wingers: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House by Gautam Raghavan
We Were Soldiers Once...and Young: Ia Drang -- The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Lt. Gen. Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway
We Were The Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates
Wedding, The, by Dorothy West
Weight of All Things, The, by Sandra Benitez
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, by Pearl Cleage
What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era by Carlos Losada
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
When the Lion Feeds, by Wilbur Smith
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (and read this Lit&leisure review for balance.
Where the Heart Is, by Billie Letts
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. A classic for children about a boy and his two hunting dogs.
While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller
White Bone, The, by Barbara Gowdy
White Ghost Girls, by Alice Greenway
White Noise, by Don DeLillo
White Oleander, by Janet Fitch
The White Queen (Elizabeth) by Philippa Gregory
White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
White Tiger, The, by Aravind Adiga
Widow of the South, The, by Robert Hicks
Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
Wife, The, by Meg Wolitzer
Wild Ginger, by Anchee Min
Wild Sheep Chase, A, Haruki Murakami
Wild Swans, by Jung Chang
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, in editions with various sets of illustrations. A children's book that our adult book group enjoyed discussing. See especially Rosemary Hills' piece about the book (The Guardian, 6-12-09)
Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, The, by Haruki Murakami
Winter's Tale, by Mark Halprin
Wizard of Earthsea, A, by Ursula LeGuin
Wizard of Oz, The, by L. Frank Baum
Wolf Hall: A Novel , by Hilary Mantel ("a darkly brilliant reimagining of life under Henry VIII," volume 1 of a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, the second volume of which is Bring Up the Bodies. Long but a quick read.
Woman in the Dunes, The, by Kobo Abe
Work of Wolves, The, by Kent Myers
The World That We Knew: byAlice Hoffman
Wrinkle in Time, A, by Madeleine L'Engle
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

[Back to Top]


Year of Magical Thinking, The, by Joan Didion
Year of Wonders: Novel of the Plague, The, by Geraldine Brooks
Yellow Raft in Blue Water, by Michael Dorris
You've Been So Lucky Already: A Memoir by Alethea Black. An empowering and disarmingly funny memoir about grief and illness—and the wit and wisdom it takes to survive it.

[Back to Top]


Zami: A New Spelling of My Name - A Biomythography by Audre Lord
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig

[Go Top]


A few good articles

Book Clubs in the Age of Covid (Book Trib, 12-3-2020) Typically most book clubs meet in the homes of members, but during the pandemic most book clubs are meeting on Zoom. "Even if the format of the meetings has changed in most cases, clubs are still meeting, which is encouraging."
The Book Club Cookbook Inspiration and practical tips for book clubs. Sign up for marketing emails about (or just look for) Book Club News, Kids' Reads (Kids/Middle Grade), Kids' Reads and YA Reads, and/or YA Reads (Young Adult and Teen Titles). See the group's recommended book club titles.
How Scholastic Book Clubs Works Scholastic Book Clubs has served schools and families since 1948 by providing affordable, just-right books for kids that are carefully selected by teachers and reading experts. Teachers can register with Scholastic Book Clubs and create an account online at scholastic.com/bookclubs or by calling Customer Service at 1-800-SCHOLASTIC (1-800-724-6527).
Teachers then set up online ordering for their classroom (it’s the easiest way to administer Book Clubs and provides families with the most choice and ease of payment).
GalleyMatch Book Clubs Recommend GalleyMatch book clubs preview advance reading copies (ARCs, also known as galleys) from a variety of publishers. Below you’ll find the titles book clubs have recently enjoyed reading and discussing along with highlights of their discussion and selected menus from their meetings. Read more about GalleyMatch here.
Netflix Launching Virtual Book Club on Its YouTube and Facebook Channels (Geoff Weiss, Tubefilter, 10-13-21) Netflix Book Club content will be hosted by Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba, and videos will live on Netflix’s Still Watching YouTube channel and the Netflix U.S. Facebook channel, beginning Nov. 16. A flagship Starbucks-sponsored series, titled But Have You Read The Book?, will see cast, creators, and authors chatting over a cup of coffee. Netflix noted that book adaptations have become some of its biggest hits over the years, including Bridgerton (which it adapted 18 years after the book series launched) and The Queen’s Gambit (37 years later). Now launched: The Netflix Book Club. See the movie. Read the book. Or vice versa.
'The perfect time to start': how book clubs are enduring and flourishing during Covid-19 (Elle Hunt, The Guardian, 3-26-2020). As the world goes into lockdown, reading groups are moving to Zoom, Twitter and Instagram to bring readers together. Includes a list of UK book clubs you can join.
Meet the Milwaukee Book Club That Has Been Meeting for Six Decades and Counting (Sandy Tolan, Milwaukee magazine,11-23-16) In 1954, a group of local women started a book club. They still meet once a month, but their six decades of friendship has proven richer and more illuminating than the tens of thousands of pages they’ve read.
Finding Community in a Book Club (Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative, 3-5-18) "t’s difficult, as we enter new stages of our life or new spheres of work and living, to keep community alive. Churches and running clubs, dog parks and libraries, school events and town hall meetings, can all help us meet and mingle. But there’s something special about a close, small gathering of readers, all eager to deepen their knowledge of the world, the written word, and each other." Helpful on the "how-to" of forming a book club.
Book Clubs Get Especially Clubby (Henry Alford, NY Times, 5-16-19) Interesting. "Every age begets its era-specific book club. At the origins of the pastime — mid-18th-century England — women, shut out from most colleges and learned gatherings, opened their living rooms to male luminaries in an effort at intellectual autonomy. In the 1950s, the Great Books movement helped an economically robust postwar society flex its cultural and democratic muscles. Inevitably, today’s book clubs mirror the everything-is-political ethos of our time." In a book club of self-identifying Asian-American women, "many of the women in their 20s and 30s who are drawn to the group’s book club meetings grew up without seeing people who look like them in books or on TV."
The Inner Lives of Book Clubs (Davina Morgan-Witts, Publishers Weekly, 5-3-19) "Overwhelmingly, book club members want to read books that will provoke good conversation—97% of book club members consider that a core criterion in the books they choose, while 73% also actively seek out books that challenge and 55% look for books that are controversial." Many interesting tips and observations in this piece.
The Book Club Is Back! (Karen Yuan and Andrew Henry, The Atlantic, 3-6-19) Introducing The Masthead’s new monthly book club.

[Back to Top]

Celebrity Book Clubs (Oprah and others)

Andrew Luck Book Club selections (retired NFL quarterback's book club to get more young people to read, with picks for "rookies" (kids) and "veterans" (adult readers). Luck, the NFL’s unofficial librarian, favors philosophical works and good nonfiction, usually with a historical bent, says the Washington Post.
Belletrist. Emma Roberts' and Karen Preiss's bookclub, outgrowth of Emma's postings on Instagram (@belletrist). She played the book-obsessed Hermione Granger in Harry Potter movies. Read interview with Emma on Elle.
Between Two Books: The Florence + The Machine Book Club) (Florence Welch). Follow Florence on Facebook or Instagram.

Diane Rehm Book Club (one of my favorite radio people; I trust her recommendations)
Good Morning America Book Club(GMA)
Jimmy Fallon's Summer Reads book club.  Tonight Show Summer Reads

Oprah's Book Club: The Complete List The original celebrity book club--and you are ble$sed if she picks your book. Some Oprah choices, including American Dirt, generate controversy. See Critics of Oprah book club title put new novel on trial (Hillel Italie, AP, 3-25-2020)
Our Shared Shelf (Emma Watson's Feminist Book Club Reading List), Goodreads-based, which also features independent bookstores. Books and essays about equality--funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! Read story about the actress's favorite books. (Radical Reads)
Read with Jenna Jenna Bush Hager's picks, page-turners. Follow on Instagram
Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine Book Club (engaging stories centered around a complex woman, favoring contemporary fiction by women — often historical romance and mysteries. Reading list posted by Seattle Public Library). Participate in the discussion on Instagram or Facebook
SJP Picks (Sarah Jessica Parker's picks, on American Library Association website)
Belletrist (Karah Preiss and Emma Roberts)


Lists of celebrity book clubs
10 Celebrity Book Clubs (The Zoe Report)
Oprah’s Book Club Changed the Game—and Created a New World for Black Readers Like Me (Jamilah King, Mother Jones, 11-1-19) As the Patron Saint of Palatability, it’s a huge deal when she elevates black writers who make race—and America’s torrid racial history—the center of their work.
Celebrity book clubs are the new big thing. But are the picks worth reading? (Angela Haupt, Washington Post, 9-12-18)
15 Celebrity Book Clubs and Bookish Celebrities to Follow in 2019 (Kathleen Keenan, BookRiot, 2-28-19)
For Many Authors, Celebrity Book Clubs Are a Ticket to Success (Lynn Neary, Morning Edition, NPR, 9-3-19)

15 Celebrity Book Clubs and Bookish Celebrities to Follow in 2019 (Kathleen Keenan, Book Riot, 2-28-19)

Literati Book Clubs , thirteen celebrity book clubs. See What the Literati Reviews Didn’t Tell Me (Tracy Shapley, Book Riot, 7-6-21)

[Back to Top]

Online book clubs

(aka Virtual book clubs)

Group Text book club (NY Times) Links to monthly choices for an interesting NY Times book club.
---A Book Club Without Required Reading (or the Cheese Spread) (Elisabeth Egan, NY Times, 2-12-20) A new Times column, Group Text, takes the legwork, guesswork and stress out of community-minded reading.
---A Novel That Will Get People Talking (Elisabeth Egan, NY Times, 2-11-20) Welcome to Group Text, a monthly column for readers and book clubs about the novels, memoirs and story collections that make you want to talk, ask questions and dwell in another world for a little bit longer. Amina Cain’s ‘Indelicacy’ is a cautionary tale and a call to arms.
---Group Text (New York Times) Book Picks The Times spotlights books good for group discussion and offers ways to participate online.
• Three online book clubs.
---BookClub.com "invites authors to freely engage with their readers by interacting with personal book groups, leading virtual discussions, and sharing exclusive interviews." Adds Wired: BookClub by BookMovement "is membership-based and allows members to build a shared bookshelf with meeting details, RSVPs, discussion questions, book info, and book club ratings. It also features top club picks of the week, recently reviewed books, new releases, book giveaways, and videos with virtual book launch parties."
---Literati "recently introduced adult book clubs "led by big names including Austin Kleon, Susan Orlean, Malala, Cheryl Strayed, Roxane Gay, and Jesmyn Ward, among others. Genre writers stand a better chance to have their work featured here. Readers can enjoy a monthlong trial for .99¢ ($8.95/month thereafter)."
---Fable "Reading Clubs are virtual book clubs where anyone can host engaging conversations while reading books together. This new app launched last year snagged LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame—his first book club ever. Among others leading the charge: Stephanie Burt, Jason Boog, Elif Batuman, and Adam Grant. An account costs $9.99 monthly or $69.99 per year."
The 15 Best Online Book Clubs to Join in 2022 (Reedsy)
Online book clubs (Book Clubs) Interesting specialties.
9 Online Book Clubs You Can Join Now (AARP, 2020)
10 Virtual Book Clubs You Can Join Now—And How to Start Your Own (Time)
How to Find an Online Book Club—or Start One Yourself (Wired) From live virtual reading groups to apps for organizing in-person meet-ups, tips to help you gather with your fellow bibliophiles.

[Go Top]

Book readers' social media

GoodReads (a popular site for rating and commenting on books)
Shelfari (another popular site for rating and commenting on books)
LibraryThing (enter what you're reading, or your whole library--and connect with people who read what you read--free up to 200 books)
BookCrossing (a popular book sharing site, with some paid features, including book tagging: You physically tag books and keep track of who has a book, what they write in journal, where it has traveled)
BookMooch (Give books away. Get books you want.)
PaperBack Swap (a paperback book sharing service and community)
Revish (a book rating community)
CrimeSpace (a place for readers and writers of crime fiction to meet)
Book Movement (a wonderful site where book groups can share their favorites and see how other book clubs and members rated various books -- very helpful for finding your book group's next title)
Reviews of these and other niche social networking sites (Kevin Palmer, Social Media Answers)
Goodreads, Shelfari, or LibraryThing? Or something else? (a poll on Goodreads 10-28-11, of why readers prefer one site over another, with interesting comments, such as: Goodreads good on stats, diversity of members, quality of reviews, quality of comments--cluttered by good on updates; Library Thing good on quality of reviews, comments, and groups, has clean classy look; Shelfari good for diversity of members, book tagging--looks good but limited options).
Goodbye to Goodreads: How Negative Reviews Affect Authors (Jessica Goodman, Bustle, 10-14-21) After negative Goodreads (and Amazon) reviews started to affect author Jessica Goodman's editing process, she decided to stop reading the site. Other authors have come to the same conclusion about these sites where anyone with internet access can leave critiques and numerical ratings of books.

[Go Top]

Classic travel stories

Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
Coming Into the Country by John McPhee
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Great Plains by Ian Frazier. A hilarious and fascinating look at the great middle of our nation.
The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. A page turner.
Mr Finchley Discovers His England by Victor Canning. An unmarried clerk, 45, is told to take a holiday for the first time in his life. He decides to go to the seaside. But Fate has other plans in store.
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin.Chatwin treks through “the uttermost part of the earth”—that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome
The Last Season by Eric Blehm.Randy Morgenson was legendary for finding people missing in the high Sierra...Then one day he went missing himself
Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park by Conor Knighton. A look at our national parks, written with charisma and erudition.
Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road by Marc Bennett. A possible gift for those who are considering the RV lifestyle
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. "A remarkable book of immersive reporting."― Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker
Not Tonight, Josephine: A Road Trip Through Small-Town America by George Mahood. "Exceptionally entertaining."
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. She explores on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. A spiritual journey through the Himalayas.
Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck. This tale of road-tripping in a pickup camper with his poodle was popular among the road trippers in Nomadland.
Travels with Rachel: In Search of South America by George Mahood. George and Rachel on their hilarious journey through the wilds of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. A classic account of the reawakening of his faith in himself and his country.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Offbeat, misguided, and classic Bryson.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. “Strayed’s journey was at least as transcendent as it was turbulent."

[Back to Top]

Books about war and the military

All Quiet on the Western Front a novel by Erich Maria Remarque
Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War by Sebastian Faulks
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dispatches by Michael Herr
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman (about the outbreak of World War I)

On War by Carl von Clausewitz
Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck.
Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff. "A riveting step-by-step account of the day . . . The technique of letting the witnesses tell the story does a remarkable job of bringing to life the horrific day in a way that a writer's narrative would have a hard time matching. . . . It makes for a gripping read—and a reminder of the country at its best while under attack." —Will Lester, Associated Press
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut
The Sorrow of War: A Novel of North Vietnam by Bảo Ninh
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young: Ia Drang - the Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam by Hal Moore and Joseph L. Galloway
What Did You Do In The War, Sister?: Belgian Sisters in the Nazi Resistance by Dennis J. Turner
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge

[Back to Top]

Book group discussions, discussion guides, and reading guides and lists

Reading Group Guides
Online Book Club
Diane Rehm, Readers' Review (listen to informed discussions of excellent book club selections)
The Big Read (click on book cover to bring up reader's guide)
Discussion guides for four "great books" (The Handmaid's Tale, Brave New World, The Republic, 1984)
Jewish Book Council discussion guides
DIY Discussion Guides (BookBrowse on creating your own discussion guides).
Reading Guides by Genre
Reading Group Guides (4013 guides available and you search the site to find them)
Slate's Audio Book Club discussions (listen to the critics discuss interesting books) Can't join your own book club? want a model for a book club discussion? Listen to these interesting discussions of books--for example, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, which some loved, some hated)
The Book-Club Snub (Katherine Rosman, Wall Street Journal 3-4-05). "The selective groups say they need to be picky about admitting new members, because a mistake can disrupt fragile dynamics and because they want the groups to be a manageable size."
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction reading guide
LitLovers (a well-read online community)
There Will Be a Quiz (Joe Queenan, NY Times Sunday Book Review, 4-6-08) Amusing essay on off-the-wall "questions for discussion" appearing at backs of novels to encourage book club adoptions.
Dog Book Clubs – Yup You Read that Right (Pet Camp)
The Biggest Book Club Books of 2018 (BookBub)
The Rich and Secret Life of a Writer of Reading Guides (Je Banach, LitHub, 3-16-22) on the value of an unheralded genre. "Because the reading guide is not generally acknowledged as a literary genre, it is able to evade much of the stickiness that gums up other forms and genres."
Actually, Criticism Is Literature (Jonathan Russell Clark, Lit Hub, 6-2-16) The gap between critic and non-writer is much more substantial than that between critic and artist.

[Back to Top]

"Best" and "Top" lists

Best Books Ever Listings (Bookshelf), Project Gutenberg, first producer of free e-books.
Books That Shaped America (Library of Congress's basic list, with some additions)
Melvyn Bragg's Books that Changed the World
An anti-racism reading list
Five Books: Experts' "best five" book recommendations (Five Books)

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.”~Niels Bohr

Handy for scanning potential book club choices, though not reliable as a guide to their quality.
---The best nonfiction
---The best fiction
---The best books by world geography (e.g., best Swedish novelists)
---The best books for kids
---The best books, judging from book awards
---The best new books (in various categories)
Goodreads Literature Book Lists (see many categories of book lists)
The Guardian's 1000 novels everyone must read
---Family and self
---State of the nation
---War and travel
Top Ten Books (ed. J. Peder Zane) Various writers pick their favorite books.

A Century of Reading: The Books That Defined the Decades (Emily Temple, Literary Hub, October 2018)
The 10 Books That Have Defined the 2010s (So Far)
The 10 Books That Defined the 2000s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1990s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1980s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1970s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1960s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1950s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1940s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1930s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1920s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1910s
The 10 Books That Defined the 1900s

Best Books Series (National Public Radio)
NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide to 2017's Great Reads. See also NPR's Book Concierge (best books of 2016), and 2015 and 2014. Look for your favorite categories: (NPR staff picks, Biography and memoir, Book club ideas, Comics & graphic novels, Cookbooks & food, Eye-opening reads, Family matters, For art lovers, For history lovers, For music lovers, Funny stuff, Historical fiction, Identity & Culture, It's all geek to me, Kids' books, Ladies first, Let's talk about sex, Love stories, Mysteries & thrillers, Nonfiction, Essays/poetry/short stories, Rather long, Rather short, Realistic fiction, Science!, Science fiction & fantasy, Seriously great writing, Tales from around tghe world, The dark side, Young adult.
The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf: 100 Must-Reads For Kids 9 to 14 (8-5-13)
Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels (8-7-12)
The Ten Best Science Books of 2018 (Smithsonian) Same list for 2017.
The Best Science Books Of 2018 (Science Friday); And of 2017. And The Best Science Books of 2016
Lost American Fiction (Neglected Books)
Lost and Found: 5 Forgotten Classics Worth Revisiting (Parlil Sehgal, 7-16-13)
Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books (8-11-11)
Top 100 Killer Thrillers (your picks for the most pulse-quickening, suspenseful novels ever written, HJoe Matazzoni, NPR, 8-4-10). A/k/a Thrilled to Death
Norwegian Book Clubs in Oslo (2002)

[Back to Top]


Several BEST LISTS :

• The 50 Best Memoirs of the Last 50 Years (The New York Times, 6-26-19) The New York Times’s book critics select the most outstanding memoirs published since 1969.

• "Be willing to write badly" if you're writing a family story, writes June Kempthorne of the LifeStory Institute. Even if we "let it go and die with our ungrammatical pants down, the pertinent thing to remember is that in writing for our family our goal is not excellence so much as authenticity."

Celebrating the memoir, fiction's day is done? (Dianna Marder, PopMatters, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11-4-09) Excellent piece on why memoirs are so hot. E.g., “Memoirs are easier for book groups to discuss,” Maureen Corrigan says. “In general, people don’t know how to talk about novels. With a memoir, they can talk about what they related to in the story.” And "Memoir connects us with others and the past. And when done right (with truth) it satisfies our craving for authenticity."
Books for the Ages (Book World Staff, Washington Post, 6-26-19) The best book for every life chapter, every age, from 1 to 100. Great choices. For example, Age 1: The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 16. Jane Eyre 19. The Handmaid's Tale. 26. Americanah. 30. The Joy of Sex. 51. Who Do You Think You Are? 55. Olive Kitteridge. 66. The "Outlander Series." 73. The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Caro's four multi-volume biographies). 83. All the mysteries and thrillers you haven't acquainted yourself with yet. "If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with Easy Rawlins, Mrs. Pollifax, Maisie Dobbs, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Commissario Guido Brunetti, invite them over." Book World (SF Gate) runs the list as a list, without all the images.
27 Novels Feminists Should Read in 2020 (Evette Dionne BitchMedia, 2-3-2020)
Stories of Mighty Women 75 New Biographies for Adult Readers (A Mighty Girl)
100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime (Amazon picks)
24 Memoirs About Unforgettable Moms (Goodreads)
100 Biographies & Memoirs to Read in a Lifetime (Goodreads Readers' Picks)
13 Beautifully Written Memoirs You'll Think Are Actually Novels (E Ce Miller, Bustle, 5-28-15), She writes briefly about Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, The Liars Club by Mary Karr, False Papers by André Aciman, Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick, Island of Bones by Joy Castro, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang, The Caliph’s House by Tahir Shah, An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, West with the Night by Beryl Markham
25 Biographies Every Man Should Read (GQ, March 2015)
25 Women to Read Before You Die (staff picks, Powells Books)
25 Books to Read Before You Die (staff picks, Powells Books)
100 Books to Read Before You Die (Goodreads)
100 Books to Read Before You Die (Reedsy)
The Book List Challenge: 100 books to read before you die
25 Great Comic Novels (staff picks, Powells Books)
75 Biographies to Read Before You Die (Open Education Database)
100 Best Novels of the 20th Century Modern Library)
Radcliffe's Rival 100 Best Novels List
50 Essential Mystery Novels That Everyone Should Read (Emily Temple, Flavorwire, 1-21-14)
Alltime Best 100 Novels (Time, 1-6-10)
Book Riot's 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893-1993
Top 100 best selling books of all time (The Guardian, UK sales only)
Goodreads Top 100 Literary Novels of All Time
Best Western Novels (Western Writers of America)
Top 100 Works in World Literature (Norwegian Book Clubs, alphabetical by author--not ranked)
100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction (Richard Nordquist, About.com)
100 Best Nonfiction Books (Modern Library)
All-TIME 100 Nonfiction Books (Time)
The 100 greatest non-fiction books (The Guardian, 6-14-11)
The 100 Favorite Novels of Librarians (The Bookman, 20th century)
Best American fiction of last 25 years (NY Times, 2006)
The 100 Best Science Books of All Time (List Muse, which also has lists for fiction, nonfiction documentaries, economics, history, political science, sociology, and short novels)
Best Science Nonfiction Books (Goodreads)
Steven Weinberg’s 13 best science books for the general reader (the Nobel laureate's recommendations, in The Guardian, 4-3-15)
Best fiction of the millennium (So Far): An Introduction (The Millions, 9-21-09)
Best Nonfiction Books to Give As Gifts (Read It Forward, 2018)

The Books That Taught a Debate Champion How to Argue (Bo Seo, The Atlantic, 6-1-22)
---Thinking in an Emergency by Elaine Scarry
---The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
---Tell It to the World: an indigenous memoir by Stan Grant
---The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
---Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti
---A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
---When Should Law Forgive? by Martha Minow
---Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant
---From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia by Pankaj Mishra
---Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett

[Back to Top]

Vacation Reading, Unpacked ( Sarah Lyall, NY Times, 5-21-22) What do we want from the books we take with us when we travel? They can be a destination, a guide — or the tether that restores us to ourselves.
SUMMER READS (Publishers Weekly) Near top of page look for "Best Books" and "Summer Reads" and click on any year listed to get that year's list.
Summer reading: the 50 hottest new books everyone should read (The Guardian, 6-5-21) Bernardine Evaristo, Hilary Mantel, Richard Osman and more on what they’re reading: From missing lighthouse keepers to the healing power of trees ... 50 new fiction and nonfiction books to enjoy. Plus recent paperbacks to pack and the best children’s stories.
Stranger Than Fiction: Summer Science Books (Genevieve Wanucha, NPR, 7-26-09)
These Science Books Were Made For Summer. Take Our Word For It. (Katie Hiler, Johanna Mayer, Science Friday, 6-29-18) Cosmi-Comics by Italo Calvino, The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine (about endangered species), and more.
Jennifer Weiner's Summer Reading Picks for Your Book Club (BookBub, 5-21-19) Go to the article to read the descriptions for Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl; The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray; Red Clocks by Leni Zumas; Heavy (an American memoir) by Kiese Laymon; All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg; Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (caregiving for caregivers).
15 Books That Are (Almost) as Good as Taking a Vacation (Emma Cubellis, BookBub, 5-20-19).
We Did It For The LOLs: 100 Favorite Funny Books (Petra Mayer, NPR, 8-20-19)
Summer Nonfiction: True Tales Enlighten, Delight (John Freean, 6-24-09)
Best Of The Summer: 6 Books The Critics Adore (Lynn Neary, 7-9-13)
City Slickers: 5 Books About The Urban Experience (Franklyn Cater, 7-30-13)
Fact Behind the Fiction: 5 Great Historicals for Summer (Jean Zimmerman, 7-25-13)

Publishers Weekly Best Books Lists
Click on genre at top, after clicking on Best Books for a particular year, and find a best book in that genre. You can also click on best Summer Books for a particular year.
Best Books of 2021
Best Books of 2020
Best Books of 2019
Best Books of 2018
Best Books of 2017
Best Books of 2016 (Publishers Weekly's picks)
Best Books of 2015
Best Books, 2014
Best Books, 2013
Best Books, 2012
Best Books, 2011
Best Books, 2010
Best Books, 2009

Lists of "Best" Mysteries and Mystery Awards
The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time (posted on Wikipedia), a list published in book form in 1990 by the British-based Crime Writers' Association. On the same page, The Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time (a similar page posted 5 years later by Mystery Writers of America). At top of both lists: Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.
Best Thriller Book Lists "Our editors rank the top thriller and mystery books by year, decade or subgenre. These lists include legal thrillers, crime thrillers, cozy mysteries, FBI thrillers and more." See Best Thriller Books of 2022 across 15 major categories: Action Thriller, Crime Thriller, Conspiracy Thriller, Fantasy, Historical Thriller, Horror, Legal Thriller, Medical Thriller, Military Thriller, Mystery, Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fi and Spy Thriller.
25+ New Releases from Black Authors to Keep You Reading All Year Long (CrimeReads) Crime fiction by Black authors, from cozy mysteries to hardboiled crime to international thrillers to domestic suspense.
Top 100 Thrillers of All time (Addictive Books). Check out the lists by type along left margin: Village Mysteries, Young Readers, Cerebral Mysteries, etc.
Top 10 series (The Guardian)
9 Chilly Winter Page-Turners (Tara Sonin Schlesinger, BookBub, 12-3-2020) Novels by Alma Katsu, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Olga Tokarczuk, Jo Nesbø, Helene Tursten, Stephen L. Carter, Tess Gerritsen, Alex Dahl, Sara Blaedel.
Mysteries You Might Have Missed Along the Way (Nancy Pearl, 8-20-09)
9 Great Medical Thrillers—Chosen by a Physician (Lydia Kang, CrimeReads, 11-2-18) Not really "thrillers" -- includes nonfiction.
Mysteries by Topic (SLDirectory.com, Resources for School Librarians)
Mysteries by Location (SLD)
Looking for a Mystery? (SLD)
Mystery Reviews and Aids to Mystery Novel Selection (SLD)
American Mysteries Since 1990 (SLD)
The Evolution of Ross Macdonald (Bruce Riordan, CrimeReads, 8-24-18)
The best mysteries of all time (Reader's Digest)
Best Crime & Mystery Books (GoodReads)
17 thrillers and mysteries worth toting to the beach (maybe not all at once) (Nora Krug, WaPo, 6-29-17)
Crime, History, and the Texas Panhandle: 5 Visions of the Texas Flatlands and Mesas (Randy Kennedy, CrimeReads, 8-27-18)
Mysteries You Might Have Missed Along the Way (Nancy Pearl, Morning Edition, NPR, 8-20-09)
Young Narrators of Crime: 9 Novels that Explore Crime & Mystery from a Child's Perspective (Caz Frear, CrimeReads, 8-29-18)
50 Essential Mystery Novels That Everyone Should Read (Emily Temple, Flavorwire, 1-21-14)

[Back to Top]

Mysteries by Topic (SLDirectory.com, Resources for School Librarians)
Mysteries by Location (SLD)
Looking for a Mystery? (SLD)
Lists of "Best" Mysteries and Mystery Awards
Mystery Reviews and Aids to Mystery Novel Selection (SLD)
American Mysteries Since 1990 (SLD)
The best mysteries of all time (Reader's Digest)
Best Crime & Mystery Books (GoodReads)

[Back to Top]

Great books for children and young readers

To build a delightful library for kids, start with these 99 books ( Alyssa Rosenberg, WaPo, 12-6-22) In four age groups: Birth to age 4; ages 5 to 7; ages 8 to 12; 13 and older.
A Classic List of Must-Read Children's Books (Morning Edition, 8-12-09)
100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years (New York Public Library)
Best Books for Kids lists (Common Sense Media, which also has Best Movies, Best Games, Best Apps, Best Websites, etc. lists)
Winners of Children's Book Awards (Calgary site)
33 Children's Books Literally Everyone Should Read (Jenna Guillaume, BuzzFeed, 3-2-17) Including adults. Everything other than Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia.
13 Children's Books That Encourage Kindness Toward Others (emeynardie, BookBuzz, 3-6-16)
The 25 Best Children’s Books of 2020 (NY Times, 12-1-2020)
Book Trends for 2018. "Research from the Kid & Family Reading Report, 6th Edition shows that children look for characters who are “smart, brave or strong” when reading a book for fun." See list of fiction that features strong female characters, kid-friendly nonfiction, new stories with iconic series and characters, and magical creatures taking children to new worlds.
Kids & Family Reading Report (Scholastic, 2018). We asked U.S. parents and children about their attitudes and behaviors around reading books for fun. Learn what they had to say.
67 Children's Books That Actually Changed Your Life (Sarah Galo, BuzzFeed, 3-8-15) Never underestimate the power of a children's book.
The Jimmy Fallon Effect: Sit Down on ‘The Tonight Show,’ Watch the Rankings Rise (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 3-19-19) With the Tonight Show Summer Reads book club, “We felt like we actually got them to read, which is really exciting–to get kids off their iPads to actually read a book.” The book they read: Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone.The fantasy novel follows Zélie Adebola, a young woman on a quest to return the magic that was stolen from her people by an oppressive ruling class – and along the way learns to embrace her own magic.
Karina Yan Glaser's excellent lists of books for young readers. And follow her on Facebook.
Diverse Books for Toddlers
Diverse' Waterstones Children's Book Prize shortlists revealed
The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children (ALA)
The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf: 100 Must-Reads For Kids 9-14 (NPR, Morning Edition, 8-5-13)
Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels (NPR, 8-7-12)
80 Books for the 21st Century Girl (Women's National Book Association, DC chapter)
100 Best Children's Books for African American History Month (Karina Yan Glaser, Book Riot, 2-1-17)
Climate Change: A Children’s Book Reading List (Karina Yan Glaser, Book Riot, 1-12-17)
Children’s Books About the Immigrant Experience  (Karina Yan Glaser, Book Riot, 11-16-16)
100 best books for children and young people (National Education Association 1999)
The Reading Connections Book Wish List, 2014 (classic, popular children's books--board books, picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, other)
Memories of a Bedtime Book Club (Dwight Garner, NY Times, 4-24-13, packing up the last, best books in his children’s picture book library). A good gift list for new parents and their kids.
Great books that inspire a love of reading in kids — recommended by kids (Valerie Strauss, Wash Post, 4-2-15)
Reading, Writing, and Refugees (Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 8-6-17) Children’s books depicting the struggles faced by Muslim refugees.
The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2014 (Tablet)
The 100 Best Children's Books of All Time (Time Magazine)
The 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time (Time Magazine)
100 Best Children's Books Everl (Telegraph)
The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2010-2014 (Bank Street College of Education)
TED-Ed’s Summer Reading List: 31 great books for students, chosen by students

[Back to Top]

Young adult fiction

16 Of The Most Anticipated YA Debuts Due Out In The First Half Of 2015 (Eric Smith, Huff Post, 1-5-15)
25 Things You Should Know About Young Adult Fiction (Chuck Wendig< TerribleMinds). YA is an age group, not a genre.
DC Jail Book Club (Free Minds Book Club) This Book Club & Writing Workshop meets every week at the DC Jail where juvenile inmates come together to discuss a work of contemporary literature —an exciting experience for youths who have often had little meaningful exposure to books. The group operates democratically with books chosen by majority vote. Members have chosen books like Makes Me Wanna Holler, Nathan McCall’s raw account of his troubled youth and his time behind bars, which allow them to feel a personal connection with a book and its author, often for the first time.
Your Favorites: 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels (NPR, 2012)
Best YA Book Lists (Goodreads) Scroll down for good book lists in various categories.

[Back to Top]

All-Time 100 Novels (Critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923, for Time, 1-6-10)
The Author's Bookshelf (Strand Bookstore). Selections of must-reads from a few of the Strand's most beloved authors and artists.
Notable Books lists (American Library Association). See The Lists and ALA recommended print-media list (awards books or best choices in various categories)
100 Notable Books of 2020 The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
---100 Notable Books of 2019
---100 Notable Books of 2018
---100 Notable Books of 2017 etc.
The Listen Lists (American Library Association, outstanding audiobook titles that merit special attention by general adult listeners)
Harvard Book Store Top 100 Books
100 Best Nonfiction Books (Modern Library)
The Modern Library Reading Challenge (Reluctant Habits), this one focused on fiction
The Modern Library Nonfiction Challenge
The Big Ideas from The Best Non-Fiction Books of All-Time (Samuel Thomas Davies) More than 100 book summaries, organized by category (business; biography and memoir; health and fitness; leadership; philosophy; psychology; Sam's favorite books; best books by year; etc. Handy if you want to know main points in a book you don't have or want to take time to read.
Shakespeare Reading Challenge (Shakespeare Geek). And if you want to, you can read the plays and the poems online.
100 Best Novels (Modern Library)
100 Must-Read World War II Books (Rebecca Hussey, BookRiot, 2-26-18
Modern Library's 100 Best Novels list with links to New York Times book reviews (for example, for Ulysses, in 1922)
Radcliffe's Rival 100 Best Novels List
National Review's 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Century (posted on LibraryThing)
100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 (NPR, from Book magazine, March/April 2002)
101 Great New Jersey Books List (New Jersey 350)
The 100 greatest novels of all time: The list (Robert McCrum, The Guardian, 10-11-03)
The 100 greatest non-fiction books (The Guardian, 6-14-11) After keen debate at the Guardian's books desk, this is their list of the very best factual writing, organized by category, and then by date.
1000 novels everyone must read: Science Fiction & Fantasy (part one) (Guardian, 1-21-09); (part two) and part three(The Guardian, 1-21-09)
100 Notable Books of 2013 (NY Times Sunday Book Review)
10 Dystopian Novels to Inspire You to Fight for Your Reproductive Freedom Emily Temple, Literary Hub, 12-1-
Cold War Noir: 10 Novels That Defined an Anxious Era (John Lawton, Literary Hub, 10-26-17) From Greene to le Carré to Putin v. Trump, Cold War Stories Are Still in the Air
10 Books on Ecstatically Mad Women (Jessie Chaffee, Literary Hub, 7-3-17) Jessie Chaffee Reads Deeply into Emptiness, Fear, Desire, and Elation
10 Works of Literary Horror You Should Read (Emily Temple, Lit Hub, 6-12-17) See also 23 Great Women Horror Writers to Freak You Out This October (10-3-18)
The Spooky Evolution of Text Message-Based Horror Stories (Brian Raftery, Culture, Wired, 10-30-18) "The Creepy School Bus" quickly turned into YouTube's biggest hit, at one point earning about a million views a day. Over the next few weeks, "Creepy School Bus" became so popular that Snopes.com eventually published a report noting that the kid-abducting vehicle did not actually exist. It makes sense that a generation that grew up online would gravitate toward text- and chat-based horror tales. After all, they came of age in the era of 'creepypastas'—the catch-all term for web-based share-and-scare stories that have long been part of internet culture, but have grown especially popular in the past decade.
Which Books Do Famous Authors Read and Recommend Most? (Emily Temple, Lit Hug, 6-26-18)
Australia’s Top 100 (Better Reading, 2017). Download Top 100 Quick Reference Guide here.

Toni Morrison's reading list of favorite works by unsung writers
Bloodshed and Three Novellas by Cynthia Ozick. Provocative parables of the Jewish faith.
The Good Negress by A.J. Verdelle. A 12-year-old girl goes to Detroit to care for her pregnant mother.
Modern Baptists by James Wilcox (Buccaneer Books, $22). Hilarious tale of a salesman who takes in his paroled brother.


Other "favorites" lists:

Most Influential Fiction of the 20th Century (Library Journal's list)
Barack Obama lists his favorite books of 2019 (Paul LeBlanc, CNN, 12-29-19) Same list: for 2018 (NY Times).
My 10 Favorite Books (My Bookshelf, Myself)
For his new bookshop installation, One Grand, the editor Aaron Hicklin asked people to name the 10 books they’d take with them if they were marooned on a desert island.
My 10 Favorite Books: Alison Bechdel (2-5-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Justin Vivian Bond (5-6-16) The titles the performer would most want to bring with him on a desert island.
My 10 Favorite Books: Alan Cumming (4-29-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Eleanor Friedberger (4-22-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Eileen Myles
My 10 Favorite Books: Hugh Dancy (4-8-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Gloria Steinem (1-22-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Miranda July (3-11-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Lena Dunham (1-8-16)
(T Magazine, NY Times, 3-4-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Alice Waters (T Magazine, 8-7-15_
My 10 Favorite Books: Bret Easton Ellis (T Magazine, 2-2-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Gia Coppola (12-11-15)

[Back to Top]

Great southern fiction: Don’t want to read Harper Lee? Try these books instead (Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 7-21-15)
The Author's Bookshelf (Strand Bookstore). Selections of must-reads from a few of the Strand's most beloved authors and artists.
Best Transgressive Fiction (Goodreads choices on books that contain depictions of behavior that violates socially acceptable norms, often involving taboo subject matters such as drug use, violence, incest, crime)
Bleak Books - the Top 10 Most Depressing Books (Scott Laming, AbeBooks.com)
Bonding with books (Molly Flatt, The Guardian, 7-10-09) A shared love for a particular novel can bridge the most surprising social gaps
Book review venues (Book Spot)
Book Club Girl

---Children's books made into movies (Wikipedia, alphabetical list)
---100 Must-Read Adapted Books That Are Movies and Television (Liberty Hardy, Book Riot, 5-19-17)
---Books made into movies (Paperback Swap)
---40 of Our All-Time Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptations (Jeff Somers, BookBub, 2-7-2020)
---Children's movies based on books (Common Sense Media)
---13 YA Books Being Made Into Movies That You Need to Read ASAP (Riveted, 10-18-18)
---25 Books Being Made Into Movies in 2019 That Are Worth the Watch (Samantha Sutton, CafeMom, 1-17-19)
---25 Books to Read Before They Become Movies in 2019 (Emily Zimler, Elle, 12-31-18)
---Movies Book Lists (Goodreads Listopia)
---Top 100 Movies Based On Books (John Campea, The Movie Blog, 11-21-08)
---Best Books Made Into Movies (List challenges)

[Back to Top]


[Back to Top]

More book lists and book group sites

Booklist above, alphabetical by author's last name
African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS) See List of Published African SFF and Washington Post article African speculative fiction is finally getting its due. Let’s talk about books to seek out. (Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar, 5-14-21)
The Antislavery Literature Project (representing the origins of multicultural literature in the United States)
Al Roker's Book Club for Kids (Today Books)
American Writers Museum Reveals List of Literary Works Named by Writers and Readers as Providing a Better Understanding of America. Topping the list, tying for first place: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.
Tying for second place: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
Tied for third: Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
Other popular suggestions (in random order): A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, American Pastoral by Philip Roth, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Howl by Allen Ginsberg, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, Native Son by Richard Wright, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.
Around the World in Books (Politics & Prose's list of good books for travelers and armchair travelers, from The Bone People (Keri Hulme's compelling novel about a woman who is half Maori, half European) to The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Backseat Book Club (What NPR's Backseat Book Club Has Read So Far, 6-13-13), with images and descriptions. Here's the list in printable form.
BBC World Book Club
The Best Books and Historians According to Civil War Historian James McPherson (Sandvick, DailyHistory.org, 10-16-14). See original: James M. McPherson: By the Book (NY Times, 10-2-14)
The Black Book Club Takes It to the Next Level (Iman Stevenson, NY Times, 7-29-2020) Noname and other Black thought leaders have taken what Oprah built and made something new. "What is essential to each of these groups — and why members find them appealing — has a lot to do with leaders creating a space free of the white gaze."
Books featured in the Book Club Cookbook (and a fuller list of titles that Book Clubs Recommend). Check out the The Book Club Cookbook. This is not about food books; rather there's a fair amount of information about food to serve at book club gatherings, sometimes related in theme to the book read that meeting.

[Back to Top]

Books Every Science Writer Should Read (Boyce Rensberger's list for the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships program--"only a start on background reading" and not "an exhaustive compilation")
Books From the Great Depression (Peter Conn, WSJ, 3-21-09)
‘Little House’ and the identity of the prairie struggle (Claire Thompson, High Country News, 6-25-18) The gritty reality behind Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writings.
Books that influenced high achievers. The Academy of Achievement asked its awardees, "What book did you read when you were young that most influenced your life?" Those books are listed here, with explanations.
Books that sustain conversation (Cynthia Crossen, WSJ, 3-20-09)

[Back to Top]

Class, Race, and the Case for Genre Fiction in the Canon: Adrian McKinty on Reading the Real Giants of Literature (Adrian McKinty, Literary Hub, 9-27-17) On literature that young working class people can identify with -- not the "posh snob" books aimed at the Booker Prize crowd.
Contemporary creative nonfiction (Sue William Silverman's reading list, by category: Illness, Accident, Grief, Addiction; Family, Relationships, Friendships, Identity; Childhood and Coming of Age; Place, Nature, Science, Travel; New Journalism, Immersion, History, Social Issues, War, Political Issues, Religion, Spirituality, Feminism; Experimental, Montage, Lyric, Hybrid Forms; Personal Essay, Journal, Anthologies; Humor; Occupational Memoirs; Literary Journals specifically for Nonfiction.

Creative Nonfiction: best titles for teens (curated by Leslie Whidden, Scoop.it)
Crime Space (a place for readers and writers of crime fiction to meet)
Critical Mass (blog of National Book Critics Circle, NBCC)

David Bowie’s List of Top 100 Books (Open Culture, 10--1-13)
The Desert Island Golf Library. The delightful Tom Bedell's list of golf books he'd want on hand if stranded on a desert island. Could be subtitled "gifts for golfers."
Diane Rehm, Readers' Review (listen to informed discussions of excellent book club selections)
The D.I.Y. Book Tour (Stephen Elliott, NYTimes, on author book readings in people's homes)
Does anyone want to be "well-read? by Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times 4-16-11) on changing ideas of "must reads." Which leads to The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything (Linda Holmes, NPR, 4-18-11), on how, with so much music and literature out there, we can't get to it all, so we must "cull" (sort what is or isn't worth our time) or "surrender" (this goes on the list of what I won't get to).
Dorothy L (online discussion group for mystery lovers) (I get the message that the site is unsafe--not sure why)

18 Books Readers Love to Gift (Alyssa Hollingsworth, BookBub)
The End of Your Life Book Club (NPR, listen to WYPR podcast, 7-11-13). Will Schwalbe talks about the joys associated with the book club he started with his mother, who at the time was dying of cancer. Schwalbe wrote the New York Times best-selling memoir The End of Your Life Book Club.

Famous writers' journals, diaries, notebooks, essays, letters, one of the NY Times's "Match Book" pieces: "Aspiring Memoirist Seeking Famous Writers’ Letters and Essays for Inspiration' by Nicole Lamy (8-14-18)
Fictional Rome (for a theme evening in which you all read historical novels and discuss what you learned about Rome)
Fierce Fictional Female Journalists (NY Public Library). 1) April O’Neil — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2) Mary Tyler Moore — The Mary Tyler Moore Show 3) Hildy Johnson — His Girl Friday 4) Vera Hastings — The Room and The Chair 5) Murphy Brown — Murphy Brown 6) Andrea Sachs — The Devil Wears Prada 7) Rory Gilmore — Gilmore Girls 8) Carrie Bradshaw — Sex and the City
Top 10 literary biographies (Jay Parini, The Guardian, 9-16-15) From Shakespeare to Shelley, Edith Wharton to VS Naipaul … literature’s greats have biographies to match. More Top 10 lists from The Guardian
50 Essential Literary Biographies ( Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire, 1-23-15).
50 Greatest Crime Writers (The Times, UK, as posted on The Old Fort--because you must subscribe to read it at the Times)
Finding Books & Book Clubs (IPL2, Special Collections)--the Internet public library), with links to helpful resources
First Chapters (from books reviewed in the NY Times or on the Times bestseller list)
Five Books That I Can't Wait to Read to My Son (Rachel Hartigan Shea, Short Stack, Wash Post, 12-18-08)
From a Potential Collision Comes a Tightknit Club (Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post, 12-29-05) A neighborhood book and film club tackles tough topics.

40 New Feminist Classics You Should Read (Emily Temple, LitHug, 11-21-16)


Garrison Keillor's Common Good Books
Gay Romance Readers Club

Goodreads. Wonderful site. Get book recommendations from people you know, keep track of what you've read and liked, share frank opinions.
Great books about the space race (Lillian Cunningham, Washington Post, 10-23-19) `A reading list from the “Moonrise” podcast, which tells a tale of nuclear brinkmanship, backroom politics, and science fiction.
Great Books Foundation Discussion Guides and Great Books Foundation book groups and councils
Great Jewish Books Program (Yiddish Book Center)
Guardian Top 10 Lists
Harvard Book Store Top 100 Books (staff picks)
In Praise of the American Short Story (A.O.Scott, Week in Review, NY Times, 4-4-09)
Internet Classics Archive. Greco-Roman works (some Chinese and Persian), all in English translation.
io9 (We come from the Future, Gizmodo). Science fiction blog, featuring discussions with authors.

The IRE book list (Investigative Reporters & Editors) Each year, IRE publishes a list of nonfiction, investigative books, compiled by former IRE executive director Steve Weinberg.

Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). Austen fans, note: 'New' Jane Austen portrait unearthed by British author Paula Byrne (BBC News 12-5-11))

Jewish Book Council book club picks of the week. See collective lists of weekly picks of fiction (scroll down for picks of nonfiction).

The Left Book Club (a historical note, on Wikipedia)

Let's Talk About It (some of the early American Library Association themes). See some past programs along left side.

Let's Talk About It, the Idaho Libraries reading and discussion program, provides similar material on various themes: Reading and Discussion Themes (theme essays, book descriptions, author information, discussion questions and lists for further reading are available for download). Here's a link to one theme: Growing Older, Growing Wiser Book List, for which the books to be read are:
Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner (1987)
Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth (1993)
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (1997)
Balsamroot: A Memoir by Mary Clearman Blew (1994)
The Stone Angel by Margaret Lau
The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry (1974).

Men Have Book Clubs, Too (Jennifer Miller, NY Times, 5-4-16). A guide for others!

Tony Morrison's reading list of favorite works by unsung writers:
Bloodshed and Three Novellas by Cynthia Ozick. Provocative parables of the Jewish faith.
The Good Negress by A.J. Verdelle. A 12-year-old girl goes to Detroit to care for her pregnant mother.
Modern Baptists by James Wilcox (Buccaneer Books, $22). Hilarious tale of a salesman who takes in his paroled brother.

Most Influential Fiction of the 20th Century (Library Journal's list)

MuckRock's FOIA book club launched on Slack (MuckRock, 9-29-17) First book up: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

Cool Music-Themed Books ( Tom Schnabel, Rhythm Planet, KCRW, 12-8-2020), good books about musicians, not memoirs, including

•  Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson's Journey to the Stars by Gary Golio

•  Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor

•  Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem's Legendary Theater by Ted Fox.

Mysteries by Topic (SLDirectory.com, Resources for School Librarians)
Mysteries by Location (SLD)
Looking for a Mystery? (SLD)
Lists of "Best" Mysteries and Mystery Awards
Mystery Reviews and Aids to Mystery Novel Selection (SLD)
American Mysteries Since 1990 (SLD)
The best mysteries of all time (Reader's Digest)
Best Crime & Mystery Books (GoodReads)

[Back to Top]

My 10 Favorite Books (My Bookshelf, Myself)
For his new bookshop installation, One Grand, the editor Aaron Hicklin asked people to name the 10 books they’d take with them if they were marooned on a desert island.
My 10 Favorite Books: Alison Bechdel (2-5-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Justin Vivian Bond (5-6-16) The titles the performer would most want to bring with him on a desert island.
My 10 Favorite Books: Alan Cumming (4-29-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Eleanor Friedberger (4-22-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Eileen Myles
My 10 Favorite Books: Hugh Dancy (4-8-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Gloria Steinem (1-22-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Miranda July (3-11-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Lena Dunham (1-8-16)
(T Magazine, NY Times, 3-4-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Alice Waters (T Magazine, 8-7-15_
My 10 Favorite Books: Bret Easton Ellis (T Magazine, 2-2-16)
My 10 Favorite Books: Gia Coppola (12-11-15)

Panorama Picks Under-the-radar books that are in-demand at U.S. public libraries. Panorama Picks provides local booksellers with quarterly lists of popular fiction, nonfiction, and young adult titles that are in demand at public libraries beyond their initial promotional windows—optimized for local interest via regional groupings aligned with the American Booksellers Association’s (ABA) regional associations. This unique program uses aggregated, anonymized hold list data from public libraries across the United States to identify recently published titles that have notably longer wait times for local library patrons—unmet demand that can help activate inventory, and identify opportunities for author events, read-alikes, and special promotions.

[Back to Top]

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalists (current) plus 30 books in 30 days archive
The Neglected Books Page. Professor and librarian Karl Bridges' list, 100 Great American Novels You’ve (Probably) Never Read
The New Yorker Group: A book club for the on-the-go Washingtonian (Dan Kois, WashPost, 4-20-11, on a book club that figured out a way to get through those magazines sitting on their nightstands--50,000 copies a week to the DC area)
North Korea: The Best Books About North Korea, According to Authors and Historians (Katy Schneider, The Strategist, New York Magazine, 3-28-18)
Novels about shrinks (Lisa Appignanesi, All in the Mind, The Guardian, 2-15-08)
One City, One Book (Wikipedia) Also One Book One City, [City] Reads, On the Same Page and other variations... a generic name for a community reading program that attempts to get everyone in a city to read and discuss the same book. Links to many other articles and lists books certain cities read.
100 Great American Novels You’ve (Probably) Never Read (Neglected Books)
100 Books Across America: Fiction and Nonfiction for Every State in the Union (Emily Temple LitHub, 8-23-17) Two or three books per state.
The Best Books Based in Every State (Lydia Mansel, Travel & Leisure, 8-20-17)
Oprah's Book Club #1 (the complete list). Here's the that list on Wikipedia (easier to print and see all at once -- and it also puts the club in perspective, writing ABOUT it and about Oprah's market power). For example, it quotes Scott Stossel, an editor at The Atlantic, writing, "There is something so relentlessly therapeutic, so consciously self-improving about the book club that it seems antithetical to discussions of serious literature. Literature should disturb the mind and derange the senses; it can be palliative, but it is not meant to be the easy, soothing one that Oprah would make it.
Oprah's Book Club 2.0 (with notes on how to access Oprah's favorite passages and notes on your e-reader).
Paris Review author interviews (superb, and interesting)
Politics & Prose Bookstore book club page Check out the subjects this wonderful bookstore has book groups around.
Politics & Prose Bookstore customers' Favorite Books & Authors of the Last 25 Years
The Prizewinners 2008-2009 (The Millions) Top winners of literary prizes for those two years.
The Pulpwood Queen's Book Club -- and here's Kathy L. Patrick's story, as captured by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Cynsations). Rejected by one "snooty" bookclub, she started a MUCH bigger one.
111 Queer Books Recommended by Librarians, Booksellers, and Authors (Literary Hub, 6-24-22) Categorized as classics, contemporary, nonfiction, poetry, YA, and children’s. See also What Should a Queer Children’s Book Do? (Jessica Winter, New Yorker, 7-11-22) How a vital, burgeoning genre of kid lit is being threatened across the country. a number of superb picture books with L.G.B.T. themes, such as “And Tango Makes Three,” about two male penguins who have a baby, and “Julián at the Wedding,” about a boy who loves to dress up. These books, like “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” are striking for their pointed lack of “psychological distress.” They are part of a genre that barely existed a generation ago, and they present a surprising vision of what a children’s book should be—one that many lawmakers are trying to legislate out of existence. Do read this article.
Reader's Circle (academic, civic, social--a bookclub networking service)
Reader's Rights: 1001 books to read before you die (apparently) and a 101-word review of each. The List.
Reading Meetup groups (face-to-face book discussions around the world
Reading Group Guides
Round the World Book Group Edinburgh (Reading world literature and classics) Book group and blog.
Science book group for the curious (Goodreads)
SciFi at Dark Roasted Blend, plus a SF&F timeline (books from each decade)
Scott, A.O., essay, In Search of the Best (NY Times, 5-21-06) About the best American fiction of the (then) past 25 years.
Paris Review "Writers at Work" Interviews (sort by name, or sort by decade, starting in the 1950s--fabulous interviews!)

Strand 80 (top 80 books, as chosen by customers of Strand Bookstore, on occasion of its 80th birthday)
TeenReads Ultimate Reading List
TeenReads Books on Screen (books made into movies)
Ten Tips for Starting and Running a Successful Book Club by Rachel Jacobsohn, author of The Reading Group Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Own Book Club
10 Literary Classics We (Not So) Secretly Hate (Emily Temple, Literary Hub, 3-20-18) She polled the Literary Hub staff to see which classic books they know they’re supposed to like, but just . . . don’t. On the list: 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 'The Sun Also Rises, 'A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway doesn't do well on this list), 'Moby Dick ("I tired of the extensive whale anatomy lessons"), 'Pamela, The Catcher in the Rye, 'On the Road, Emily Bronte, 'Animal Farm, 'Walden.
13 Books That Make You Think Differently (Grace Gallagher, Romper, 7-6-2020, with covers and brief descriptions) 'Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, 'Beloved by Toni Morrison, 'Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, 'Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity by Porochista Khakpour, 'Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, 'White Teeth by Zadie Smith, 'Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 'The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, 'In The Garden Of Beasts by Erik Larson, 'The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Warmth Of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, The Radium Girls by Kate Moore, City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
The Children's Books Beloved By Some Of Our Fave LGBTQ+ Authors (Romper, 6-29-2020, with covers and brief descriptions) 'Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation' by Edwidge Danticat, 'You Matter' by Christian Robinson, 'The Derby Daredevils' series by Kit Rosewater, 'Hurricane Child' and 'King and the Dragonflies' by Kacen Callender, 'This Day In June' by Gayle E. Pitman, 'The Tea Dragon Society' series by Katie O'Neill, 'Red: A Crayon's Story' by Michael Hall, 'The Prince and the Dressmaker' by Jen Wang, 'A Season to Bee' by Carlos Aponte
Today Show book club
The Top 10 Most Depressing Books (Bleak Books, Scott Laming, AbeBooks.com) to which D.G. Meyers (A Commonplace Blog) adds some essential titles for the bitter and pessimistic
Top 10 Most Read Books in the World (Jared Fanning, Visual News, based on 10 Most Read Books in the World list compiled by freelance writer James Chapman
Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books (NPR's list) and How to Choose Your Favorite of NPR’s Top 100 SFF Books (a flow chart--if you like this, then...).
Top 150 English Language Novels of the 20th Century (Friendswood Library)
Top Rated Books (Book Movement)

Reading challenges


• Why You Should Start Binge-Reading Right Now (Ben Dolnick, NY Times, 5-4-19) The joy of reading. Ditch Netflix for a novel. And not just because a novelist is telling you to.
The Master List of 2018 Reading Challenges (Kim and Tanya, girlxoxo.com, 1-13-18) Reading challenges are so much fun. If you want to join in, you’ll find below a list of all the 2018 year long reading challenges hosted by #bookbloggers – so far. It will be continually updated through the end of this year to give you a comprehensive resource.
3 Digital Reading Challenges for Summer (Beth Holland, Edutopia, 6-27-14) Explains three challenges for helping students learn to read digitally: Reading in a Browser, Reading PDFs, and Reading eBooks.
Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder Challenge
12 of the Best 2018 Reading Challenges for Adults (BookBub explains what these challenges are about, and for whom)
Goodreads 2018 Reading challenge
Bookish’s 2018 Reading Challenge
2018 Reading Challenge + FREE PRINTABLE (Liz Mannegren, Mommy Mannegren, 11-28-17)
2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

[To Top]

State-by-state reading lists--
mostly novels and memoirs--
famous, literary, iconic, some children's, and otherwise

"When I've had enough of reality, I just open a book."

The Best Books Based in Every State (Lydia Mansel, Travel+Leisure, 8-20-17)
Celebrating Read, White & Blue: 50 Favorite Books for 50 States (Ginni Chen, Barnes & Noble, 7-4-14)
50 Books, 50 States: A Literary Map of America (Ryan Roschke, Popsugar, 5-28-18) Expect annoying ads.
50 State Booklist (National Education Association, Books for Children)
50 States, 50 Novels: A Literary Tour of the United States (Qwiklit)
The Literary United States: A Map of the Best Book for Every State (Kristin Iversen , Brooklyn Magazine, 10-15-14)
The most famous book that takes place in every state (Melia Robinson, Business Insider, 4-14-16)
The most famous book that takes place in every state (Melia Robinson, Tech Insider, 4-14-16) Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Alaska: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer; and so on.
The Most Iconic Book Set in Every State (Jennifer Vrozak, Reader's Digest)
100 Books Across America: Fiction and Nonfiction for Every State in the Union (Emily Temple, Lit Hub, 8[23-17)
Take a Literary Tour of the U.S. with These 50 State-Set Books (Keith Rice, Signature, 11-27-17)
The Ultimate 50 States Reading List (Caroline Rogers, Southern Living) The last and the best of these lists. Very thorough.


One City, One Book (Wikipedia) Also One Book One City, [City] Reads, On the Same Page and other variations... a generic name for a community reading program that attempts to get everyone in a city to read and discuss the same book. Links to many other articles and lists books certain cities read.

[To Top]

20 books to read in 2015: TED-Ed Educators share their top 5 must-reads
200 books recommended by TEDsters ( Kate Torgovnick May, TedEd, 5-31-13) and the 2014 list.
21 Novels You Must Find Time to Read (Jacquelyn Mitchard, AARP). This list: Charlotte's Web (White), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), Crossing to Safety (Stegner), The Killer Angels (Shaara), Red Dragon (Harris), Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), The Haunting of Hill House (Jackson), Different Seasons (King), In Our Time (Hemingway), The Magus (Fowles), Gone with the Wind (Mitchell), Jane Eyre (Bronte), The Alchemist (Coelho), The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Adams), Rebecca (du Maurier), Lonesome Dove (McMurtry), The Maltese Falcon (Hammett), Andersonville (Kantor), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Smith), True Grit (Portis), To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee).
21 Book Club Books Recommended by Bookstores This Winter (T.A. Maclagan, Book Bub, 3-6-18)

The Best Crime Books of 2018: Non-Fiction (CrimeReads,
The 25 Best True Crime Books Every Person Should Read (Maris Kreizman, Esquire, 3-6-16)
The 16 Best True Crime Books of All Time (Gabby Raymond, Time, 8-14-18) Among the less common recommendations: Party Monster: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland (Formerly Disco Bloodbath) by James St. James; My Dark Places by James Ellroy; Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent Into Darkness by Alfredo Corchado; I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara; Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann; Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker; The Grim Sleeper: The Lost Women of South Central by Christine Pelisek; Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Byran Stevenson; Missoula: Rape and Justice in a College Town by John Krakauer; Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs by Jim Atkinson and Joe Briggs.
33 Great True-Crime Books, According to Crime Writers (Leah Carroll, Vulture, 8-1-18) Among titles unfamiliar to us: Killer on the Road by Ginger Strand; The Skies Belong to Us by Brendan Koerner; Vulgar Favors: The Hunt for the Man Who Killed Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth; Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides; Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Startup by John Carreyrou; My Black Places by James Ellroy; Until the Twelfth of Never by Bella Stumbo (about a toxic marriage); The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr (a true crime story and the birth of forensics).
52 Great True-Crime Podcasts (Hillary Nelson, Vulture)
The 10 Best True Crime Books (Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, PW, 5-10-17) List by the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir. The 10: 1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 2. The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm, 3. Columbine by Dave Cullen, 4. Shot in the Heart by Mikhal Gilmore, 5. Son of a Gun by Justin St. Germain, 6. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 7. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, 8. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, 9. Killings by Calvin Trillin, and 10. The Other Side by Lacy Johnson.
11 True Crime Books You Should Read If You're Obsessed With 'Serial' (Emmie Martin, Business Insider, 12-18-14)
29 True Crime Books Fans Of "Serial" Should Read Goodbye, sleep. (Dan Dalton, Buzzfeed, 12-8-14)
Truly SINISTER - The Ten Best True Crime Books (Meredith Borders, Lit Reactor, 10-22-12)
Top 10 Best True Crime Books: (Marika, HubPages, 12-11-13)
25 Best True Crime Books as selected by Todd Jensen, whose forensicColleges.net blog provides advice to those considering becoming forensic scientists
26 Ridiculously Good Historical Fiction Books, According to Readers (BookBub)The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon, The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner, Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson, Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, The Diplomat’s Daughter by Karin Tanabe, The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason, Pacific Viking: An Epic Historical Fiction by Barnaby Allen, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck, As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey, The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, Karolina’s Twins by Ronald H. Balson, Dead Man’s Walk: Lonesome Dove 1 by Larry McMurtry, The Address by Fiona Davis

Now that Hollywood is interested in Asian stories, here are other books that should be movies (Crystal Hana Kim, WaPo, 8-15-18) The books she recommends and writes brief comments about could also be candidates for book clubs (as follows):
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
The Windfall by Diksha Basu
The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Le Thi Diem Thuy
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirsten Chen
Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon

[Go Top]


Many ebooks and online digital search engines and libaries are available free or at very low prices through digital libraries and sites such as the following:
The best free books to download on Kindle and Apple Books right now (Nicole Archer and Daniel Van Boom, C/NET) Seventeen classics in the public domain: Little Women, Peter Pan, Frankenstein, Dracula, Pride and Prejudice, Emma (Jane Austen), Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, and others.
BookBub (discover books you'll love through unbeatable deals on ebooks, handpicked recommendations, and updates from your favorite authors)
Early English Books online (a restricted database)
EBook Lending Libraries (https://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EBook_Lending_Libraries). You can get nonresident memberships at various large American libraries--among most popular: Brooklyn Library and Texas and Ohio consortiums (H/T Joanna Crews). Learn about the various formats (Kindle, ePub. JC explains: The ePub version of books uses Adobe Digital Editions as a reader and to manage the DRM that all these books come with (to enforce expiration dates). You can often get access to these books through your local public library.
Freebooksy. Helps you get books for free without subscribing to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited.
Google Book Search
The Hathi Trust
Internet Archive (moving images, live music, audio, and texts)
Internet Public Library
Kidspace (Internet Public Library)
Making of America (Cornell University Library’s digital library of primary sources in American social history)
Open Culture . Download 525 free audio books for free, plus 750 free online courses and 525 free movies
Open Library: An Update (Authors Guild) "Since 2011, the Internet Archive has sought donations of hard-copy books from libraries and individuals for purposes of scanning them, with promises of respecting copyright....Working with U.S. libraries and organizations serving people with print disabilities, Open Libraries can build the online equivalent of a great, modern public library, providing millions of free digital books to billions of people.”...But, contrary to their statement that they are “honoring the rights of creators,” they are not respecting creators’ copyrights. They do not limit Open Library to people with print disabilities. Rather, they are displaying and distributing full-text copies of copyrighted books to the entire world without authorization, in flagrant violation of copyright law." See also Controlled Digital Lending Is Neither Controlled nor Legal (Authors Guild, 1-8-19)
Overdrive Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and more from your local public library - anywhere, anytime. All you need is a library card.
Prime Reading (free books, magazines, audiobooks, etc., for members of Amazon Prime)
Project Gutenberg. See top 100 downloads from Project Gutenberg Lbrary
Project Libellus (free Latin and Greek texts, with restrictions on redistribution)
Secretly Public Domain (a Mastodon bot posts daily the name of a newly discovered public domain book)
Standard Ebooks (high-quality electronic presentations of public domain titles)
Teenspace >(Internet Public Library)
20+ Places for Public Domain E-Books (Mashable)
Wayback Machine (find web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago)
Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free (David Gault, Vice, Motherboard, 8-6-19) A quirk of copyright law means that millions of books are now free for anyone to read, thanks to some work from the New York Public Library.

Let me know if there are other resources to add to this list.

[Go Top]

ViewChange.org Stories Powering Progress.Watch videos about various developing countries."Using the power of video to tell stories about real people and progress in global development." Reading about a developing country such as Nigeria (Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, for example)? Learn more about the country here. Funded by the Gates Foundation.

What Novels Do Fiction Editors Read? (Carolyn Haley, Thinking Fiction, An American Editor, 1-11-17). Based on a survey of editors, and a follow-up to What do editors read? (10-12-16)

Whodunnit Book Club (Ning) "It's a crime to read anything but mysteries."

WNBA's 25th Anniversary book list (Women's National Book Association). One of my books -- Dying -- is on it!

Women's Words: 75 Books by Women Whose Words Have Changed the World (Women's National Book Association)

Writers' Top 10 from The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books by Peter Zane