While book clubs have had to adapt in recent months, reading and discussion is still happening, be it virtual or in a socially distanced setting. So if you're thinking about what your book club might like to read this summer, we have some suggestions. Below you'll find five titles, both fiction and nonfiction, which are sure to inspire discussion if not downright debate. You can find more titles to consider for your next book club read on the Summer Reading Book Club Picks page.
Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan
A Today Show #ReadWithJenna book club pick, Friends and Strangers is a story of connection and friendship, and how everything can change in the course of a single year. In her review, Amazon bookstore curator Katy Ball observes "This well-drawn domestic drama explores with verve and an almost scientific rigor how friendships form, especially across generational and socio-economic lines."
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and a personal favorite, Laurie Frankel tells the story of a family with a transgender child and the choices made to protect them and also give them the acceptance they deserve. Especially for parents, This Is How It Always Is compels us to consider what we would do in a given situation, and how we would react if carefully held secrets (and are they secrets or just something we choose not to share because it's no one else's business?) are suddenly, painfully, exposed.
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
There is a lot of conversation about race in America right now, and Ibram X. Kendi's book, How to Be an Antiracist, is perfect for book clubs wanting to dig into a timely topic. Kendi examines racism in a society where so few think they are racist, pointing out the ideas and values that have contributed to a hierarchy of human beings that is unjust and harmful, and offering guidance for change. Introspection is unavoidable while reading this book, and a lively and interesting book club conversation is almost guaranteed.
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
A Good Morning America book club pick, Oona Out of Order is at first glance a lighthearted read, but there is a lot here to contemplate about our own lives. Oona Lockhart falls asleep on New Year's Eve, which is also the eve of her 19th birthday, and wakes up to find herself 32 years into her future. Every year after brings a new time jump, with Oona never knowing what her life will look like on January 1st. An inspiring look at what's important and accepting that nothing in life stays the same, so you might as well enjoy the ride.
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
An Oprah Book Club pick, this fascinating true story about the Galvins, a family consisting of 12 children, six of whom were schizophrenic. The family was studied by the National Institute of Mental Health, and contributed greatly to our understanding of this mental illness. Reading Kolker's account of what the family went through is nothing short of mind-boggling. In her review, Amazon Books editor Vannessa Cronin says, "Robert Kolker’s Hidden Valley Road takes an astonishing, heartrending story and elevates it with empathy and superb storytelling."
Recommendations (both fiction and nonfiction) for books to ignite lively book club discussion.