Readers' Corner

Best Book Club Books of 2022

An Ultimate List of the Best Books to Get Your Group Talking

Finding a good book that will awe your mates at the book club is always challenging. The variety of books out there can be overwhelming, but you need one book that you can immerse yourself in and then have a hearty discussion with your friends at book club. That is one of the many benefits of joining a book club. That and to stop being hung up on a single great book for months!

No matter the genre, we have looked into all the juicy books released and found the perfect ones for you to enjoy at your book club.

The Good Son by Jacquelyn Mitchard

The New York Times best-selling author – Jacquelyn Mitchard, is back with another powerful masterpiece! The book titled ‘The Good Sun’ was released in January this year and has already racked up a 4.5 stars rating from Barnes & Nobles.

The book follows Thea Demetriou as she and her son try to move on after her son comes back from prison for murdering his former girlfriend. 17-year-old Stefan murdered his girlfriend Belinda in an episode of drug-induced psychosis and has no recollection of the incident.

As he struggles to reintegrate into society, his efforts are hindered by a community that refuses to forgive him. Meanwhile, Thea receives calls from a girl who claims to know more about the night of the murder.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

With a 4.3 stars rating on Goodreads, Sea of Tranquility is another successful piece from Emily Mandel – the author of the award-winning books “The Glass Hotel” and “Station Eleven.” This book combines apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction with time travel as it explores a single disruption that unites several characters from different timelines and different walks of life.

An 18-year-old English man exiled to Canada in 1912, a lonely young girl in 1995, her brother in 2020, and an author stuck in a pandemic-stricken world in 2203. All these people have experienced a disruption they can’t explain. Join Gaspery Roberts, a detective in a moon colony in the 2400s, as he sets out to investigate what exactly happened and how these timelines are connected. Not only this, but any books by Emily St John Mandel would be perfect fit for your book club.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

One Italian Summer is a story of a married young woman who goes on a journey of self-discovery after losing her mother. The story follows Katy as she embarks on a vacation to a town in Italy where her mother, Carol, met Katy’s father. The story takes a twist; she meets her mother’s younger version in the town, and Katy learns more about the young woman her mother was.

Part of the New York Times bestseller’s list, the novel talks about people’s flaws and how to embrace them. The book is the work of the bestselling author – Rebecca Serle and has already been awarded a 3.8 stars rating on Goodreads.

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Notes on an Execution is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Ansel Packer, a serial killer who will die in twelve hours. In true serial killer fashion, Ansel does not just want to be executed and forgotten. Instead, he wishes to be understood and celebrated for his crimes against the women who disappointed him.

Danya Kukafka uses the women in Ansel’s life to deconstruct his story. Lavender, his abused mother that abandoned him; Hazel, his wife’s twin sister; and Saffron Singh, a police investigator. She is unraveling the story of his crimes. A haunting narrative – Notes on an Execution promises to be a perfect read this year. Notes on an Execution is one of the best crime books to read at your book club.

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Jessamine Chan has used The School for Good Mother to highlight society’s expectations of women once they become mothers. They must be perfect with no desires of their own. They must always be giving to their children. This debut novel focuses on a dystopian government where mothers are simply one mistake away from losing their child to the government.

As the story begins, we meet Frida, a Chinese American woman struggling after her husband left her for a younger woman. She has a job in academia and an 18-year-old girl named Harriet. A single bad day is all it takes for the authorities to take Harriet away. So begins Frida’s fight to get her daughter back while proving that she is a good mother.

Sister Stardust by Jane Green

For the first time, the writer of multiple New York Times bestselling novels, Jane Green, has written a novel based on a true style icon of the 1960s, Talitha Getty. The story shows the dutch actress’s story as described through the eyes of the protagonist, Claire.

Claire is a young woman from Dorset who moves to London after her father marries a woman despite Claire’s dislike of her. Claire seeks out an entirely different life in London, filled with artists and other glamorous people. As she socializes, she ends up in Marrakesh, where she meets Talitha Getty. The story sees her getting close to the actress while Claire wonders if she is ready for the apparently glamorous life that the actress leads.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

We have another debut novel, this time by Charmaine Wilkerson. Readers have given an extremely positive response to Black Cake. To the point that the novel has a 4.2 stars rating on Goodreads. The book follows two siblings as they grapple with their mother’s death and uncover family secrets.

Benny and Benny are estranged siblings that must put their differences aside to decipher the inheritance their mother left them, a black cake, and a recording. In the recording, Eleanor, their mother, reveals all her secrets. They learn about a young swimmer who escaped from her village under suspicion of her husband’s murder and a long-lost child. All this has them questioning their parents and themselves.

30 Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani

Nina Mistry is a British Indian woman whose life is in shambles. Her career as a freelance journalist isn’t going well, and she has broken up with her fiance. This unfortunate turn of events leads to her moving back in with her mother. To top it off, she ends up in a holding cell on her birthday after she is caught up in a protest. It is safe to say Nina Mistry has hit rock bottom.

A guard takes pity on her and leaves her with a self-help book. Thus, begins Nina’s journey of self-love. She decides that by the time she reaches her next birthday, she will have discovered thirty things she liked about herself. Hence, we follow her as she navigates her life, gains new experiences, and makes new friends.

Wahala by Nikki May

Wahala by Nikki May is a tale of friendship and betrayal that explores the dark turn friendships between women can take. The book starts with three Nigerian British women who have been friends since their university days seventeen years ago. At different stages in their respective lives, the women still retain their friendship.

Ronke is a successful dentist in search of a happy ending. However, her boyfriend refuses to commit. On the other hand, Boo has a loving husband and a beautiful child. She has the perfect family, but she is frustrated with her life. Simi is a fashion brand executive. She is married to a kind husband that wants nothing more than a child. The problem is Simi’s not ready for a child. When Simi’s childhood friend, Isobel, shows up, she apparently takes their friendship to another level. But soon, we realize that something is amiss.

Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso

Sarah Manguso, acclaimed poet and writer, has dived into the world of fiction with her first novel, Very Cold People. The novel is a coming-of-age story set in an imaginary town called Waitsfield in Massachusetts at the end of the twentieth century. The story follows Ruth, an only child in a dysfunctional family.

Ruth’s father is Italian with a bad-tempered and distant personality, and her mother is a narcissistic Jewish-European. Thanks to her parents, Ruth suffers from low self-esteem in a town plagued by class differences and a history of colonization. As she moves to high school, she is already plagued by the trauma of living on the edge of poverty. Now, she bears witness to the new hell of sexual abuse. As her tendency to self-harm grows more severe, all she can afford to focus on is surviving.

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

How High We Go in the Dark is a story of how the human spirit lasts even in the most hopeless of times. Sequoia has beautifully captured the heartbreak associated with death and the adaptability of humankind as a virus plagues the world. Additionally, with the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the story is all too relatable.

The story starts in 2030 when a heartbroken archaeologist continues his daughter’s work in the Arctic Circle. Researchers come across a perfectly preserved female body while researching the impact of newly discovered microorganisms on humans. The catch is that the girl died from a virus, and that virus leaks into the world.

As the death rate skyrockets, funerary arrangements become the biggest market, ways to make the infected as comfortable as possible. The work to get the survivors off the planet catches pace. We see all these developments through the stories of different characters as they deal with loss.

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

“Why are you still single?” That is a question that has plagued us all at least some point in our lives. Lizzie Blackburn takes an incredible take on the question and shows us how one character decided to deal with the nagging. Thus, we go on a quest with Yinka to find a husband.

Yinka is a 31-year-old woman with a British Nigerian heritage and a degree from Oxford. She has a decent job and cool friends. However, that hasn’t stopped the aunties in her life from constantly asking her to find a husband. One overzealous aunt goes as far as to publicly pray so that Yinka is delivered from her single life.

As her cousin gets engaged, Yinka decides to find herself a date for her wedding. However, she suddenly has the additional task of looking for a job. The company decides to lay her off from her well-paid job. To add insult to injury, it was just when she bragged about nearing a promotion.

The Last Suspicious Holdout by Ladee Hubbard

The Last Suspicious Holdout is a collection of thirteen powerful stories that cover the lives of realities of the black community in America. The book is a testament to the spirit and resilience of the Black people through the ages. Ladee Hubbard’s stories are gripping from start to finish, as expected from an award-winning author.

The book is set in an unnamed southern neighborhood and spans the period between 1992 and 2007. The first story begins in 1993 and covers Henry, who is struggling between running his bar and fighting for his activist brother, who was convicted of murder.

Another story involves Millie calling a black councilman’s wife and telling her of his affair. Later, Millie reappears in the title story as she works for the Leon Moore Center for Creative Unity which is under suspicion of vandalism.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

The New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn is back with a story about a woman in Kyiv who becomes the world’s best female sniper. The story springs from the life of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who earned herself the title of Lady Death during the Second World War thanks to her stellar shooting ability.

The story begins in the city of Kiev (renamed Kyiv) during the winter of 1937. Mila is a history student with a library job and a young son. She enrolled in a school to learn shooting so that she could later teach her son. However, the war thwarts that plan. When Germany invades the Soviet Union, she picks up her gun to enlist in the Red Army.

Soon she sets herself apart for her skill, and upon her three hundredth kill, the government takes her off the battlefield. Instead, she must embark on a diplomatic tour to the US to convince the president to lend his aid to the war effort. She experiences an unexpected friendship with the first lady, and it seems there will be happiness. However, things change when an old enemy makes a reappearance. The Diamond Eye is one of the perfect books to be discussed at your book club.

What Might Have Been by Holly Miller

The thought of ‘What if’ has plagued even the best of us! We constantly make choices and wonder what might happen if those choices had been different. Holly Miller has taken that thought and shown us exactly what may or may not happen. Through Lucy, we learn how a single choice can decide what turns our lives can take.

Lucy has lived in Shirley, England, for more than ten years. The story begins as she quits her unrewarding advertising job. That night, she bumps into two guys. One is a local photographer by the name of Caleb. The other is Max, who she once thought was her soulmate.

Lucy has the choice to leave the town to get a better job in London or become a writer in Shorely. At this point, the book diverges into two storylines, each panning out after a different choice. From her own perspective, we follow Lucy to see if there are any changes in her destiny because of her choice.

French Braid by Anne Tyler

A New York Times bestseller from Pulitzer-winning author Anne Tyler, The French Braid is a tale of family and how your family affects your life. The story unfurls over time as members of the Garret family grow older.

The story starts with the Garrets on a family vacation in 1959. We see that the family is oddly distant, with Mercy busy painting the scenery and Robin talking about their expenses. They have three children; Alice, Lily, and David. Lily is crazy about boys, and David can’t wait to get away from his family.

The family is not prone to talking about what they are thinking. Resultantly, we have to rely on their perspectives as the author allows us to see them. As time passes, Mercy chooses to separate and gets a studio, while David also keeps a distance from the family. We get to see the influence of the family on each individual’s life, even when they go on their own journeys. Anne Tyler’s French Braid is one of the best books you can start your book club meetings.

Conclusion

That wraps up our books recommendations for your book club. If you are a veteran book club member or runner, we hope you have the time of your life reading these books and discussing them with the other members of your club.

However, if you are just starting a book club or even thinking about starting it, we may have more to offer you. Deciding what type of book club you want can be hard. You will need to consider how flexible your schedule is, among other things. Furthermore, you need to set a few ground rules to ensure the meetings run smoothly, and you can also find some tips for hosting your meetings! Now that you have all you need to know before starting a book club, we wish you the best of luck with your quest.

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