Book clubs are just one of the things having to adapt at the moment, and with those adaptions includes changing the books to read, particularly as access issues are now a key factor, between being limited to online shopping, and Kindle. Conversations can still take place via things like email, Facebook Chat, Zoom, and similar. With that all in mind, here are some of my top recommendations for book clubs during this time period. I’ve tried to pick books that are generally cheap and easy to get hold of, including regularly being on offer on sites like Amazon as well as readily available from stores such as Waterstones who are still fulfilling delivery orders.
Where The Crawdads Sing
A top choice during the latter part of last year for book clubs, this book is as haunting as it is beautiful. With amazing writing, a powerful story, and characters to make you fall in love, this novel will transport you to the south states of America, whether you are sat on a (personal) beach or in a comfy armchair with rain outside. There are so many factors to discuss about this book that it will keep any members of book groups occupied whilst reading and discussing with ease.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
Since coming out in 2017, this book has received endless praise and numerous awards. It may well be the case that the book club or clubs you are a part of have already covered this book with it having been out for so long, but if you haven’t yet read it, solo or as a group, I highly recommend you come back to it. Powerful, painful, poetic, Eleanor Oliphant is a character you will not forget, and a story that will stay with you long after you close that final page.
The Cuckoo’s Calling
Another book that has been out for several years, this is the first book in a series that sees the fifth novel coming out this September. A mismatched pair end up investigating a crime, with their own lives spiraling somewhat around them. For Strike, he finds himself finally putting some trust in someone for the first time in a long time. For Robin, it’s a step into the world she always dreamed of entering. With the latest book due out this Autumn, right now is the perfect time to discover a new series.
Fleishman Is In Trouble
An absolutely stunning read, this has so many points available for discussion. I don’t know where to begin with putting this into words. From the roles of religion to the roles of women, this curious novel is one of the best books I have read. Absolutely fascinating and constantly moving, there is no time to get bored of what you’re reading at any point. There is something for everyone in these pages, and discussions will flow, even if they do have to be typed.
The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
One of my favourite books of all time, this quirky novel is perfect for talking about because absolutely everyone I have ever met who has read it takes something different away. The phrase “one of a kind” is sometimes thrown around too easily, but in this case, it really is accurate. You won’t see things coming from this, it will take you aback, and send trains of thought spinning. Wonderful to read by yourself, sublime to read with others.
Daisy Jones and The Six
Based around music and mystery, this stunning book has been receiving praise from the moment it stepped out into the sunlight. While this book is entirely fictional, it has weaved into it all those typical – and stereotypical – tales that surround rock bands. With drugs, creative differences, tension within the band, and a lead singer who likes to just take off, you will find yourself immersed in the wonder of 70s rock. Great for both older and younger members of book clubs alike, this has all sorts to offer as points of discussion.
Little Fires Everywhere
Great for sparking conversation, this story will draw you in without thought. When a house burns down, the officials confirm it to be arson; “little fires everywhere”, they say. Watching two families intertwine, with perfect lives and perfect lies, Celeste Ng does her job as perfectly as ever, creating a wonderful tale full of twists and turns, and a writing style that anyone will appreciate.
My Sister, The Serial Killer
One of my favourite books from last this, this short sharp shock of a novel is one of the most loaded fiction that I’ve encountered. The story is as exactly as the title says – the narrator’s sister is a serial killer. Her boyfriends keep mysteriously dying, and after the first time, when she asked for the narrator to help her clear up the mess she caused, how can she possibly be trusted again?
This book is highly emotive, and powerful as anything.
The Song of Achilles
A true wonder of historical fiction, Madeline Miller’s story flows with both delicacy and intensity, following the friendship between Achilles and Patroclus from childhood, to the battlefields of Troy. Strong and endearing and heartbreaking, this book is a must read, for anyone at all. This is a friendship written about throughout time, endlessly, and this book captures better than maybe any other just how powerful friendship can be.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
One of my most anticipated reads this year! Nine year old Jai thinks he knows better than everyone around him, in that wonderful childlike arrogance we have all had. So when a school friend goes missing, he is determined to investigate exactly what is going on. As more children disappear, his experience of Police Patrol might not be enough, even with the support of Pari and Faiz.
A book to turn your thoughts upside down, draw you into a mystery, and back into the world of childhood thinking, this can’t be recommended more highly.
I hope this helps for anyone planning out book clubs during this difficult time. The only book between these that might be that bit more expensive to get hold of is the last one due to publishing costs with all of this happening too. They’re all fantastic books, and all worth reading solo, or in a group. Enjoy!