First thing you need to know about this list is I created it for a specific group of six women. Some of my favorite titles aren’t on this list, and neither are books that most of the individuals have already read. There are certain genres no one in the group will read and other genres that are more popular. Also, they don’t want to start a series they can’t finish.
I googled “popular book club books” and also looked at what I’d read recently and picked ones I thought they might like. Most of these books I haven’t read yet, because I’m in the group. Therefore, some of them may not be appropriate for all readers. In fact, I may not like all of them myself. If I have read them, I put a note about it in the description.
So, with that disclaimer, this is the list I sent them.
The Newport Ladies Book Club read these. (I didn’t include the ones we’ve read on this list. Nor did I include any of the Newport Ladies Book Club series, but I’ve read 7 of them and quite liked them. Feel free to add any of those titles to your list.)
- The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver. I loved it. (In fact, I’ve liked everything I’ve read by her.) Evangelical Baptist takes his family on mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. Tragedy ensues. This description sounds lame but it’s one of my all-time favorites.
- My Name is Asher Lev – Chaim Potok. About a Jewish man who struggles between religion and his creative passion/art.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot. Biography of a black woman’s whose cells were used to develop the polio vaccine.
- The Rent Collector – Camron Wright. Loved it. One of my all-time favorite books. Poor family who lives in Cambodia and the mother searches for cure for their sick child. And the grumpy woman who collects their rent.
- The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd. (Her book The Secret Life of Bees is one of my all-time favorites.) The relationship between a wealthy Charleston girl, Sarah Grimké, who will grow up to become a prominent abolitionist, and the slave she is given for her 11th birthday.
- The Language of Flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh. (Recommended by my daughter’s midwife. We were talking books while she labored. I read the sample chapters and it seems good.) After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, Victoria Jones is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. An unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life.
- The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman. (Also recommended by the midwife.) An Australian lighthouse keeper and his wife decide to keep a baby who has washed ashore.
- Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford. Loved this. It was on a lot of lists. A man remembers life in 1940s Japanese internment camp.
- Songs of Willow Frost – Jamie Ford. Haven’t read this one but put it on the list based on how much I liked his first one. William Eng, a Chinese American orphan whose mother died, goes to the theatre, sees actress and becomes convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.
- The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert. (I loved Eat, Pray, Love.) Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia.
- Dancing on Broken Glass – Ka Hancock. Loved it. Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler are married. He has bipolar disorder. She has a family history of breast cancer. The ups and downs of adapting and loving.
- Roots of the Olive Tree – Courtney Miller Santo. Loved it. Set in a house on an olive grove in northern California, brings to life five generations of women—including an unforgettable 112-year-old matriarch determined to break all Guinness longevity records—the secrets and lies that divide them and the love that ultimately ties them together.
- The Persian Pickle Club – Sandra Dallas. Loved it. Read it in a Book Club I was in years ago. 1930s Depression. The Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another.
- The Selection/The Elite/The One (series) – Kiera Cass. YA Dystopian romance trilogy. A friend mentioned this on FB, said she liked it better than Divergent because it has a better ending. Girls are picked to live in a palace and compete for the heart of the prince.
- Legend/Prodigy/Champion (series) – Marie Lu. YA Dystopian. June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. Of course they meet and fall in love. (I think).
- Matched/Crossed/Reached (series) – Ally Condie. YA Dystopian. I read the first two, loved them. Teens get matched with their ideal mate. But Cassia gets two possibilities. Then she discovers problems with their “perfect” world.
- Paper Towns – John Green. YA/mystery. (I’ve read several of his books. Some are wonderful, some are quirky. I loved The Fault in Our Stars.) After a night of mischief, the girl Quentin loves disappears.
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Mary Higgins Clark. Suspense. This is her newest one. The producer of a true-crime show must contend with participants with secrets as well as her husband’s murderer.
- Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. Suspense. A woman disappears from her Missouri home on her fifth anniversary; is her bitter, oddly evasive husband a killer? (Some people have said they don’t like the ending.)
- The Heist – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg. Suspense. First of a new series, Kate O’Hare, an F.B.I. agent, teams up with Nicolas Fox, an international con man, to catch a corrupt investment banker in hiding.
- Sugar and Iced – Jenn McKinlay. Suspense. First of a series of cozy mysteries. Melanie and Angie can’t say no when Fairy Tale Cupcakes is asked to prepare a beauty pageant display. But the search is on for a killer after a judge turns up dead.
Let me know which ones you liked, didn’t like, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, books you’d recommend for book club reading.