Whether you’re in a book club where you physically catch up, or you’re in a virtual one, discussing books with other people is a joy – even if you don’t always agree. The difficult part is choosing what to read next…
Here are some suggestions for new – and not so new – books guaranteed to get you talking.
Margaret Atwood is a living literary legend, and The Handmaid’s Tale shows us just why this is. Set in a dystopian future, this is a powerful novel full of wit and astute perception, looking at what happens when breeding becomes regulated by the government. A modern classic, this is now also a hit TV series. Read it before you watch it!
Ache by Eliza Henry Jones tells the story of a devastating bushfire that ripped Annie’s world apart. This is a heart-wrenching, tender and lovely novel about loss, grief and regeneration; not only a story of how we can be broken, but how we can put ourselves back together. This perfectly captures the Australian outback and the destructive effects fire can have.
Did you know that Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is being made into a big budget movie directed by Kenneth Branagh later this year? If you or your book club haven’t tried the Queen of Crime, perhaps now is time to start! A classic whodunit, set on the luxurious Orient Express will keep you all guessing right to the very end.
Perfect for a book club, Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley is set in a bookshop. This second-hand store has a section where readers can write to strangers, to lovers, to friends – all through the pages of a book. It’s also the story of Henry and Rachel, who were once best friends, and now have to figure out what the future holds. This is a story of the books people love and the words that they leave behind.
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich is a compelling and intriguing book. Told from multiple perspectives over different times, this is (mostly) the story of a family. They drive up a mountain for a day out, but up there something so unimaginably shocking happens that it will scatter the family in all directions. A psychological masterpiece, you’ll want to talk to someone as soon as you finish this book.
Monica McInerney delivers again with The Trip of a Lifetime. This highly anticipated blockbuster novel is about 85 year old Lola Quinlan going back to Ireland for the first time in 65 years. A rich and entertaining story about family, love, lies and memories and the true meaning of ‘home’.
A classic tale with a surprise ending, Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue is deeply insightful and delightfully entertaining. Set in 2007 in New York City, Jende Jonga, newly arrived from Cameroon, becomes driver to Clark Edwards, a senior partner at Lehman Brothers bank. When the financial crisis looms, both men must decide how far they will go to pursue their dreams and what they are prepared to sacrifice along the way. This is a modern day fable about immigrant aspiration, and a perfect snapshot of Modern America.
Wimmera by Mark Brandi is an absolute gem of a novel, even more impressive as it’s a debut. The story of a long hot summer in 1989, and two best friends – then everything changes when a newcomer arrives in the town, having a long-lasting effect on both the boys. Beautifully written and extremely evocative, this is definitely recommended, and a treat for any book club.
Emma Donoghue (author of the bestselling Room, among others) goes back in time with The Wonder. Set in rural Ireland in the 1850s, this book is inspired by the numerous cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth and twentieth century. An eleven year old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story. Sure to provoke much conversation.
The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham is compulsive page turner. Everyone has an idea of what a perfect life is, and for Agatha, Meghan seems to have it all. These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common – a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear. Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.
Most book clubs often discuss fiction, but why not try some non fiction? Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance has been called the political book of the year, and one of the most important books written about America. Highly topical, this is the story of a man who grew up poor in the rust belt of America and who prospered. An insightful look into America’s class system and how that led to the political situation today.
Closer to home, there is Not Just Lucky by the very talented Jamilia Rizvi. This is a book that looks at why women today do the work, but often don’t take the credit. Looking at case studies, detailed research and her own experience, this book will provoke debate about women’s place in today’s society.