2013’s Best Book Club Picks

If you’ve been part of a book club, you know that the best books to read as a group are those with plenty to discuss. While it’s fun to sit and gush over a book you all loved, that only goes so far. Sometimes it’s best to let the drinks and words flow in equal measure, and you’ll need interesting or debatable characters and topics to do so. Here’s my list of 2013’s Best Book Club Picks: 

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
If you’re brave enough to tackle a book about a woman who becomes a middle school teacher to feed her sexual obsessions, your group might be able to handle anything.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Fame, jealousy and relationships all collide in Wolitzer’s amazing novel about a group of friends who meet as teens and stay in touch through adulthood. 

The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein 
Inoffensive but thought-provoking, Grodstein’s novel focuses on an evolutionary biologist who refuses to believe in religion but helps a student write her thesis on intelligent design.

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois
Rooted in the Amanda Knox case, but able to stand on its own, Cartwheel will have your group trying to untangle the mystery behind the death of study abroad student Lily’s roommate. 

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Don’t rule out non-fiction! You’ll have plenty to talk about when you hear about the crazy secrets behind Scientology.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
If your group is like the rest of the reading public, some of you will love Nora and some of you will hate her, but you’ll have a great time figuring out why. 

Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt
There is nothing better than a great romp through the pearled veneer of Southern culture. 

Margot by Jillian Cantor
The life of Margot Frank is re-imagined as a Holocaust survivor who starts over with an assumed identity in Philadelphia. 

Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas
A great psychological thriller that will have everyone in your group guessing what the next twist might be. 

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
With a questionable narrator and equally as questionable moral dilemmas, Yanagihara’s debut challenges readers at every turn.

What 2013 book would you recommend for book clubs to pick up?

  • Sam_TinyLibrary

    Yes, Tampa is perfect for a book group. When I finished it I made my husband read it straight away, just so I would have someone to talk about it with in real life!
    Margot looks interesting, I’ve added it to my wishlist.

  • JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    The Woman Upstairs would be a great book club pick! I loved it and will recommend it to my group as soon as it is available in paperback. Hope to read The Interestings soon, too.

  • Kelly Massry

    Oh wow, it was almost spooky that I saw this post from you this morning! My aunt just asked me two days ago “Kelly, what book should my book club read this month!” Sending her your link. I also like The Dovekeepers (Alice Hoffman) and Defending Jacob (William Landay) for picks

    • Fantastic, I hope it will help them out! I’ve heard so many good things about Defending Jacob lately, I think I need to find a copy of that one.

  • I’ve only read a few of these, but they’re great choices! And allll of them are on my reading list.

    Unrelated, but how do you make your image collages? They always look so pretty!

  • You’ve got a great list here! I don’t think I’ve read any of them but a few are on my wishlist.

  • Awesome!!!! If people can open up enough to talk about Tampa honestly, it would be a fab choice! Another good choice is Mitch Albom’s new one, The First Phone Call From Heaven, because it’s kind of a mix between spiritual/not-spiritual, so there’s a lot to discuss!

    • Ooo thanks for the extra suggestions!

      • And now that I’m re-visiting since you linked it up to the linky party, I have to say that I love that you’re calling people out about the nonfiction. Because NF could be sooooo good at book clubs but is probably overlooked more often than not!

  • Sarah Says Read

    I wish I had a real life book club to suggest some of these :( Someday…

    • Aw,I was wishing for one for so long, too. Eventually, I just put mine together with a few friends by reaching out through Facebook – it’s changed over time, but has settled into a nice little group now.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End

    Great list! I want to send this to my own book club for their perusal!

  • Words for Worms

    I have read none of these, thanks for expanding my TBR list!

  • The Book Wheel

    Oooh, this is making me so excited! I just got Tampa in the mail and really want to read Cartwheel. I can’t believe I haven’t read ANY of these yet!

    • Well, I can’t say I LIKED Tampa, but it’s definitely worth reading…and Cartwheel is fantastic! You’re in for some greatttt reading!

  • Great list! I have either read the books or have them on my TBR list, so it seems i will have some good reading in my future.

  • I need to forward this post to the mom of one of my piano students – I think the book club she’s in has very similar taste in books! :) Great post!

  • I’ve not really read many books published this year, so I don’t think I’d have much for a book club unless they fancy reading about genes, Hollywood politics or Eastern Europe. All the books you have listed here sound marvellous for a book club, especially Tampa, that would be an interesting one to discuss! – judging from the reviews I’ve read on it anyway.

  • Nice list! I however must admit that I haven’t read any of these books in your list :(… YET.

  • Our book club read Going Clear last year and it was one of the best meetings we’ve ever had! We ended up googling all the celebs that were Scientologists. Also – Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer is along the same lines…just switch to extreme Mormonism.

    • That was one of my group’s best discussions, too! We always, always reference crazy Scientology things now, too.

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