Looking for book club recommendations for the new year? Just choose one of these top 23 book club books for 2023.
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 23 favorite book club books for 2023.
Book Club Books 2023
After a childhood of being ignored by his family, William Waters finds refuge playing basketball in college. When William meets Julia Padavano, a lively girl extremely close to her parents and three sisters, he quickly becomes a part of the close-knit Padavano family. Although cracks start to appear in the family, William never imagined he’d be the wedge to drive them apart. A homage to Little Women, Hello Beautiful gorgeously describes family and sisterhood, mental health, and forgiveness, in such a way that you will never forget this story. One of the best books you will read all year, Hello Beautiful is the ultimate book club book for 2023.
Lauren Fleshman is one of the most-decorated distance runners in the United States. In Good for a Girl, Fleshman tells of how she fell in love with running as a girl and shares her own running journey. Yet, Good for a Girl isn’t just a memoir. It’s a powerful look at how competitive sports are designed for men and boys and routinely fail female athletes, leading to injuries, eating disorders, and mental health issues. Having already read a copy, I can tell you that it will be on my “Best Books 2023” book list!
R. F. Kuang
Although June and Athena went to school together, Athena has found major success as an Asian-American novelist while June struggles to get a foot in the door, probably because she’s just another basic white girl. When June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she impetuously snatches up Athena’s unfinished work. Publishing it as her own, June rebrands herself as a racially ambiguous Juniper Song and becomes an instant bestseller. Yet as the truth threatens to come out, June must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her secret in one of my top picks for book club books in 2023.
When the grandmother who raised her ends up in the hospital after a fall, Jess rushes back from London to Sydney to take care of her. While going through her grandmother’s house, Jess discovers a true crime journal, following a notorious murder at a mysterious mansion on Christmas Eve in 1959. As any journalist would, Jess begins to look into the mystery and the surprising connections to her family’s history. It’s been over 4 years since Kate Morton released a book, so Homecoming is undoubtedly one of my most anticipated book club books of 2023.
Mary Beth Keane
From the author of Ask Again, Yes comes a highly anticipated book club book to read in 2023 about a marriage in crisis. When his boss retires, longtime bartender Malcolm jumps at the chance to buy The Half Moon. But Malcolm quickly learns that turning a profit is harder than he anticipated. Meanwhile, his wife Jess’s battle with infertility has her reassessing her life dreams. As Malcolm learns a secret about Jess, a bar patron goes missing and a blizzard strikes.
Great Book Club Reads
On a bitterly cold day, Sam Masur runs into Sadie Green on a train platform and they renew their childhood friendship bonding over video games. Together, they create Ichigo, a blockbuster game that changes their lives. Over the next three decades, their friendship is tested as their success leads them to money, fame, love, and betrayal. More a heartrending story about friendship than video games, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is an unputdownable read with complex character development that easily earns it a place among the best book club books for 2023.
Elizabeth Zott has always defied stereotyping, especially as the only woman chemist at the Hastings Research Institute in the 1960s. After falling in love with another chemist who sees her for who she is, life throws her a curveball. Now as a single mom, she unexpectedly finds herself the host of a tv cooking show. When Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking charms her audience, the women who watch her begin to question the status quo in their own lives, making Elizabeth a target of those who find the change unwelcome. In one of the best books of 2022, Garmus presents an engrossing progressive historical fiction read with heartfelt depth and a searing look at sex discrimination in the past (and today).
Estranged siblings Byron and Benny are brought back together by their mother’s death. For their inheritance, they find a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording from their mother. Eleanor’s message tells the turbulent story of her life, one full of secrets and a long-lost child that will leave the siblings questioning everything they thought they knew. Wilkerson does an excellent job bringing to life the complicated family dynamics underlaid with the powerful story of Eleanor’s life.
In a Florida already wracked by climate change, Frida gives birth to baby Wanda amid a deadly hurricane. As the world continues to disintegrate, Wanda grows and adapts to an ever-changing world. Living in a community abandoned by society, Wanda seeks adventure, community, and love in a place remade by nature.
Discover the Best Upcoming Releases!
Light-Hearted Book Club Books
Ove, a cantankerous old Swede, just wants to be left in peace so he can commit suicide, but his pesky neighbors keep getting in the way. This heartwarming tale that you’ll find downright hilarious will be a book club favorite for years to come. Highlighting our need for connection in the modern world, A Man Called Ove typifies how important it is to leave our digital worlds and make sure we check in on our neighbors. Be sure to check out the Tom Hanks film adaptation, A Man Called Otto, releasing in January 2023.
Shelby Van Pelt
After her husband died, Tova Sullivan began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Thirty years ago, Tova’s son Erik disappeared on a boat in the Puget Sound, and cleaning the aquarium helps her cope. When she befriends Marcellus, the aquarium’s giant octopus, Marcellus discovers what happened to Erik and must find a way to show Tova the truth before it’s too late.
In medieval Russia, Vasya and her family live in the far north, where winter lasts most of the year. She loves to hear tales of spirits who live that protect their home from evil, especially of the Frost Demon. When Vasya’s mother dies and her father remarries, her stepmother forbids the pagan practices, the weakened household spirits cannot protect them from a growing evil. Beautifully blending folklore with an unforgettable atmosphere, you’ll be completely drawn into this imaginative historical fantasy series.
Discussion Worthy Book Club Books 2023
As a female politician, Emma knows it only takes one slip-up to ruin your reputation. Using her position as an MP, Emma is determined to fight for female victims and pass a law against revenge porn, even though it brings a slew of threats, both online and in person. When her teenage daughter lashes out at a high school bully, the consequences could be disastrous as Emma is put on trial for the death of a reporter who threatened to publish the story. Not only did Vaughan write a compelling narrative but also she managed to really hit home on her main themes, violence against women and how our reputation affects our actions. The combination of a killer narrative (pun intended) and deeper underlying themes makes this one of the best book club books of 2023.
In 1975, the Indian government declares a state of emergency that forces a widow to take in a student boarder and two tailors fleeing caste violence and seeking work. In a deep examination of human nature, Mistry presents a character-driven story that completely draws you in while explaining the larger political landscape that affects them on an individual basis. Bleak, yet beautiful, Mistry’s epic novel explores the fine balance between hope and despair.
With one foot in both worlds, biracial teen Daunis Fontaine has never fully fit in with the wealthy white residents of her hometown or with the members of the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis’s eye gets caught by her brother’s new hockey teammate, who isn’t whom he seems. When Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she gets pulled into a drug investigation that could tear her community apart. This fast-paced young adult thriller had the perfect blend of love story and action while still showcasing the issues facing Native communities.
In a modern-day version of David Copperfield set in the American South, Demon Copperhead speaks of how institutional poverty damages young boys today. A child of a single mother living in a single wide trailer, young Demon must survive foster care, child labor, poor schools, addiction, success, and failure in this epic tale perfect for book clubs who love thought-provoking topics.
Historical Fiction Books for Book Club
In this intensely emotional coming-of-age book club book, Lisa Wingate bases her story on a notorious real-life scandal of an adoption agency that kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families. In 1939, twelve-year-old Rill Floss is asked to watch her four younger siblings while her father takes her mother to the hospital. Suddenly, a group of strangers arrives and takes Rill and her siblings to a Memphis-based orphanage where Rill must fight to keep her siblings together under the eye of the cruel director.
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by the Bolsheviks and sentenced to spend the rest of his life on house arrest. Thus the wealthy count is forced to move from his suite at the Metropol, a grand hotel across from the Kremlin, to a servant’s room in the attic. Over the ensuing decades, he witnesses Russia’s tumultuous history from his window and must ponder what it means to be a man of purpose. This glorious literary fiction novel is one you’ll want to read slowly, savoring every word.
William Kent Krueger
In the sleepy town of New Bremen, Minnesota, death will forever shape one young man. In 1961, Frank Drum is having a typical teenage summer with his family: his minister father, his doubting mother, his talented older sister, and his quiet younger brother who stutters. When deaths start accumulating by accident, nature, suicide, and murder, Frank’s ordinary life is rocked by the secrets and motives of an adult world he doesn’t fully understand. A stunning addition to any book club book list, Ordinary Grace was exactly what you want from coming-of-age historical fiction.
Nonfiction Book Club Recommendations
Both vulnerable and hilarious, Jennette McCurdy’s tell-all memoir sends a poignant message of the dangers of child acting. McCurdy brilliantly embraces her inner child by describing how desperately she wanted to please her mom by acting, even if it lead to an eating disordered and a chaotic relationship with her family that she didn’t fully understand until attending therapy after her mother’s death.
Growing up in a small town in El Salvador, Javier Zamora watched his father and mother both migrate to the United States when he was very young. When he turned nine, Javier left the protection of his extended family to reunite with his parents. Traveling alone with strangers with the help of a “coyote,” Javier’s two-week journey turns into a two-month trek full of danger and uncertainty and the kindness of the strangers he was traveling with.
In an uncertain world, former First Lady Michelle Obama teaches strategies to help you find hope and balance. Instead of cliche affirmations, Obama digs deep into the conversation about difficult topics and finds practical wisdom to help readers cope. With insightful stories and usable tools, Obama hopes to empower readers to find connections in an ever-changing world, making it one of the top book club books in 2023.
Should you have it all and be the perfect version of you or should you ignore what others think and do whatever? Kendra Adachi implores you to take a third path – the lazy genius way. By being a genius about what matters to you and lazy about what doesn’t, Adachi promises to help you avoid overwhelm and discover a better way of life. Combining the best advice in a unique way, Adachi always emphasizes the importance of doing what’s best for you.
What Book Club Books Are You Reading in 2023?
Do you know what your book club is reading in the new year? What book club books of 2023 are you most excited to read? As always, let me know in the comments!
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