By Sarah Jio
Starting a book club is the best excuse to uncorking the pinot and gathering around your girlfriends. If you’ve ever thought about starting one–they work via Zoom, too –may we suggest these thought-provoking books to help you kick things off? Below we rounded up the best reads that you’ll be recommending to all your friends.
“The book I’ve been telling everyone to read is The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave. I read it in 24 hours—while on deadline for my own novel! That’s how good it was. Dave’s story, which is about a woman whose husband disappears and instructs her to protect his daughter, puts a fresh spin on that age-old question: How well do we ever know the people we love? Rather than a black-and-white morality tale, this book is about the shades of gray behind life’s hardest decisions.” —Camille Pagán, bestselling author of I’m Fine and Neither Are You
“Am I the only one who finds the work of therapists endlessly fascinating? Imagine all the things mental health experts hear when people sit on their couches—deep dark secrets and all. We all get to be a fly on the wall in Lori Gottlieb’s fascinating memoir, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, where she cleverly writes about her own life crisis (spoiler alert—a bad breakup) in her personal therapy sessions while simultaneously leading her clients on similar journeys of healing. Grab your best girlfriends and pour some wine—this book wills park endless discussion, I promise.”—Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, including With Love From London (available from Random House on 2/8/22)
“Malibu Rising was one of my top-three reads this year (and I read a lot!). If you’re drawn to stories that take place in two different eras, like I am, you’ll love this book, which is set on the evening of a wild, star-studded party in Malibu. Beyond the glam backdrop, though, there’s so much for book clubs to discuss here, including the unshakable bond between siblings and the complexities of family dynamics.” –Lauren Vogt, founder of Lumvi, a clean skincare brand
“This novel is a psychological thriller that doesn’t disappoint! The story centers on a woman dealing with the unraveling of her marriage, who, oh, also happens to have an obsession with her ex-husband’s new fiancé (yikes). As you can imagine, there are plenty of shocking twists as the narrative alternates between the book’s two female characters—Exhibit A: the ex-wife; Exhibit B: the soon-to-be (?) new wife. Let the book club banter begin!” —Mimi Jung, morning news anchor of Seattle’s NBC affiliate, King 5
“The 1619 Project is a powerful collection of essays, short stories, poems and photography that examines the 400-year legacy and impact of slavery. Starting as an initiative from the New York Times, the project is now a published book, one that I think should be in every classroom and bookshelf in America. The craftsmanship is unlike anything else—painfully weaving the past and present into a mosaic of culture and trauma and experience. There’s nothing like it, and I’m sure book clubs everywhere will be talking about it” –Mae Martinez, Editorial Assistant Penguin Random House
“Bestselling author Lisa Wingate’s runaway bestseller, Before We Were Yours, weaves a heartbreaking past-and-present story about an unthinkable crime committed in 1939: four young siblings ripped from their home and taken to a notorious orphanage in Tennessee. Inspired by true events in American history, what also makes this novel so gripping (and book-club worthy) is how this historical tragedy catches the eye of a successful, young federal prosecutor in the present day who, while researching the fate of these lost children, uncovers dark secrets in her own family. Warning: Read with a box of tissues.” —Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, including With Love From London
Sarah Jio is a journalist and The New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels published by Penguin and Random House Books. Her latest release, With Love From London, will be released in February 2022. To learn more about Sarah, visit www.sarahjio.com or www.instagram.com/sarahjio.