Looking for book club recommendations for the new year? Just choose one of these top 22 book club books for 2022.
My neighborhood book club night used to be one of the highlights of each month. We’d gather together in someone’s living room and discuss the best book club books … or just gossip and share life advice.
How times have changed.
My book club hasn’t met since the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean yours can’t. Your format might change, but your discussion doesn’t need to end.
If you are looking for good books for a book club, I’ve got you covered. With discussion-worthy historical fiction, fascinating nonfiction, and fun reads from the last few years, you won’t have to debate what new book club books to read next.
Here are my top 22 favorite book club books for 2022.
Book Club Books 2022
At the top of my list of book club books 2022 is a novel about grieving and understanding a parent from the author of the GMA book club pick, In Five Years. When her mother dies just before their planned mother-daughter trip to Italy where her parents met, Katy decides to still spend the summer exploring the Amalfi coast as she grieves. Magically, Katy meets a younger version of her mother, giving Katy a whole new perspective on her mother as a person.
Emily St. John Mandel
In 1912, a young man exiled from English society hears a violin playing in the Canadian woods. Centuries later, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, investigates an anomaly in time. Covering parallel worlds and missed opportunities, Mandel’s time travel novel would be an excellent fit for those who love blending mind-bending science fiction with thought-provoking literary fiction.
As an end-of-life doula, Nova’s job is to help the terminally ill cope with their impending death. When Mason Shaylor, an up-and-coming indie singer-songwriter, comes in asking for help to say goodbye after a deteriorating condition that has already caused him to lose his ability to play the guitar. Months later, Mason’s mom comes in accusing Nova of assisting Mason’s suicide after he dies in a car accident, Nova questions everything she thought she knew about a patient she had become extremely close to. If you are okay with book club books that will make you cry, The Next Thing You Know is sure to make waves in 2022
Great Book Club Reads
After a car accident caused by her drunk driving, Sunday Brennan returns to her large Irish family in New York. Five years earlier, she had abandoned them and her high school sweetheart with no explanation. Determined to rebuild her relationships, Sunday is startled when a man threatens the family’s business and forces the family to confront painful mistakes. A brilliant family drama that is one of the best book club books for 2022.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid has done it again with one of the best book club books to read this year. In 1983, four famous siblings throw an epic summer party at their Malibu mansion. Secrets come out, the party gets out of control, and a fire will burn it all down by dawn. Malibu Rising is a gorgeous family drama that surpasses a simple beach read. The story of the Riva children abandoned by their famous rockstar father is heartbreakingly sad and yet still hopeful. The characters come alive as each sibling ponders if they can escape their parents’ fates.
In the 1970s, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Kabul as the daughter of one of the President’s right-hand men. When the communist coup results in the murder of her entire family, Sitara escapes and is adopted by an American diplomat. Now a renowned surgeon, her world is rocked when the man who rescued her appears in her operating room, sending her on a search for answers.
In the Bible, the Book of Genesis tells the story of Jacob, who worked seven years for his wife Rachel but was tricked to marry her sister Leah. Diamant casts a different view of the story of Jacob and his four wives. Told in the voice of Jacob’s daughter Dinah, The Red Tent shows ancient Hebrew life from a woman’s perspective, imagining a fierce woman caught up in a patriarchal society.
Sela is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. She’s possibly found the perfect match; but how do you turn someone else’s life upside down by revealing that you are her previously unknown half-sister, the product of her father’s affair? As Sela begins to connect with Caroline, she must decide which she wants more – a sister or a kidney. With realism and nuance, Strawser’s family drama of complicated relationships was a surprise entry on my top book club books in 2022.
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Light-Hearted Book Club Books
On their annual girls’ trip, Emily and Kristen are having the time of their lives in Chile. On the last night, Emily comes back to the hotel to find Kristen in the room with a dead body. Kristen claims that the cute backpacker she picked up attacked her and she killed him in self-defense. Except, the same thing happened last year. As Emily’s guilt over the cover-up reaches a boiling point, Kristen makes a surprise trip to visit her and Emily has serious doubts about their friendship.
Gay Uncle Patrick, loving referred to as GUP, has always enjoyed spending time with his niece and nephew. When his brother goes through a health crisis, the once-famous sitcom star finds himself their primary guardian. All at once, Patrick learns the weight of parenting children, even if just temporarily, in this heartwarming choice perfect for those looking for uplifting book club books.
In 1791, Nella uses her London apothecary shop to sell poisons for women to use against abusive men. The only rules are that the poisons cannot be used against another woman and that you must leave a record in the apothecary’s register. When she befriends a 12-year-old girl, the consequences will last generations. With feminist themes throughout the book, this beautifully rich novel would be a great one for a book club discussion.
Instamom Emmy Jackson is known for telling it as it is to her millions of Instagram followers. She knows exactly how to monetize her life as a “good-enough” mom. When Emmy’s online narrative pulls further from the truth, it begins to strain her marriage. Meanwhile, an obsessed follower begins stalking the family, with a major grudge against Emmy. Good book club books make you rethink your own behaviors, and this accurate portrayal of influencer life (with plenty of thrills thrown in for fun) will make you consider how putting our lives online affects us.
Discussion Worthy Book Club Books 2022
In a small town in Massachusetts in the 1960s, Dahlia and Louie Moscatell have finally found a rhythm as long-term foster parents. Then a social worker begs them to take on one more foster child – a six-year-old indigenous girl who will change their family dynamics forever. Patry Francis hits the emotions hard in this powerful story of love and family and the struggles of the foster care system. You’ll cry with their heartaches and rejoice in their victories, and I can emphatically declare this one of the best book club books in 2022.
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with one purpose – to reintroduce gray wolves into the highlands despite the fierce resistance from the local population. When a farmer is mauled to death, Inti buries the evidence, terrified the locals will accuse her beloved wolves. But if the wolves aren’t to blame, who caused his death? And will it happen again? One of the best book club books to read this year, this hauntingly beautiful novel about healing from trauma – in people and in nature – will hook you from the beginning.
Khaled Hosseini writes the best books for club books, and I had a hard time choosing between them. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini covers thirty years in Afghanistan, from the Soviet invasion to the post-Taliban years. Illegitimate child Mariam is forced to marry Rasheed, a man thirty years her elder. Stuck in a horrible marriage, Mariam’s life changes when they take in a teenage girl. Discussing family, friendship, and the struggle to survive, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a thought-provoking read.
Born with red eyes, Sam Hill has been called the “Devil Boy” all his life. Reflecting on his life, Sam realizes that his childhood friendship with two other misfits – Ernie Cantwell, the only African American boy at his school, and Mickie Kennedy, a firestorm in the form of a girl – has defined and shaped his extraordinary life. Dugoni’s touching coming-of-age tale was captivating from the first page with its story of friendship and acceptance of what life throws at us.
Historical Fiction Books for Book Club
In 1960s Harlem, Ray Carney has a reputation as an upstanding used furniture salesman. Although Ray strives to live up to what he knows he can be, times aren’t like they used to be, and he occasionally supplements his income with a side gig fencing items for the underworld of Harlem. When Ray’s cousin ropes him into being the fence for a heist gone wrong, Ray finds himself caught up with shady cops and local gangsters.
In an award-winning piece of literary fiction, Maggie O’Farrell imagines the life of William Shakespeare’s wife. Since almost everything about her is forgotten to history, O’Farrell has free reign in imagining Agnes as a fierce and misunderstood woman, who marries a poor Latin tutor, the son of a disgraced businessman. While flashing back to Agnes and William’s past, the crux of the story focuses on the death of their son Hamnet, showing the endless depths of grief of a mother who loses a child and imagining how Hamnet’s death influenced Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, written just four years later.
Growing up a tomboy on her father’s Kenyan estate, Beryl Markham has always shunned the traditional limitations placed on women. Blazing a trail as both a renowned horse trainer and a female pilot, Markham was the first person to fly nonstop from Europe to America. Circling the Sun details the tempestuous life of a fierce woman, making it a great choice among those looking for book club books for 2022.
Nonfiction Book Club Recommendations
As a therapist, Lori Gottlieb spent all day helping others with their problems. Yet, when her longtime boyfriend unexpectedly broke up with her, she found herself on the receiving end of therapy. Gottlieb’s memoir is top-notch with exceptional pacing, slyly weaving in explanations of therapy within the fascinating story of Gottlieb’s therapy sessions. You’ll quickly become attached to finding out what happens to her patients – a narcissistic tv producer, a dying newlywed, and a depressed senior citizen. One of the best book club books of all time, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone highlights the importance of discussing mental health.
Qian Julie Wang
When Qian was seven years old, her family immigrated to the United States. As her parents struggled to cope with the transition from respected professors to “illegal” sweatshop laborers, Qian tries to find her place in a new world. Highlighting the dichotomy of coming to America for free speech but being afraid to speak, this moving coming-of-age memoir, a Jenna Bush Hager book club pick, brings home the reality of the immigrant experience in the US.
From the First World War to the 1970s, a mass exodus ensued of Blacks leaving the South and settling in northern and western cities. Wilkerson’s book highlights three stories from The Great Migration: Ida Mae Gladney who left sharecropping in 1937 for a blue-collar life in Chicago; George Starling, who left Florida in 1945 for Harlem where he fought for civil rights; and Robert Foster, who moved from Louisiana in 1953 to become a personal physician. Isabel Wilkerson’s more recent book, Caste, which was one of Oprah’s book club picks, would also be an excellent choice if your book club wants to discuss race relations in the United States.
What book club books are you reading in 2022?