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22 of the Best Picks for Book Clubs in 2022

Overhead view of three people sitting outside around a wood table reading.

A new year is upon us, and there’s no reason why 2022 can’t be the best, most bookish year yet! If you’re looking to scope out some of the best picks for your book club in 2022 (or maybe you want to start your own book club and are looking for books to excite and inspire), then look no further than these late 2021 and early 2022 releases that will surely be hits among your members!

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

Olga and Prieto are a brother and sister who seem to have it all…until the reappearance of their mother forces them to face the truth about their childhood and their family secrets.

Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen Ho

Fiona and Jane have been best friends since childhood, but as they pass through their tumultuous teenage years and head into adulthood, they find themselves separated by distance and circumstance, and must face who they’ve become both with and without each other.

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

When KB’s father dies and her mom is unable to properly care for her and her sister, the girls are sent to live with their grandparents for the summer, where KB uncovers secrets and must learn how to navigate through the world, alone for the first time.

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

It’s the eve of Alice’s fortieth birthday and she’s mostly happy with her life, except for the fact that her father’s health is failing. But when she wakes up the next day, she finds herself sixteen again. Now that she has a new perspective on what it means to be an adult, she goes about trying to understand her father now that he’s younger and healthy.

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

Set in 1964, newly married Hollywood starlet Katie Barstow her husband David Hill, decide that they want to honeymoon in Tanzania, and they’ll bring along their best friends and fellow Hollywood A-listers. They imagine vacationing in wild luxury, but when their group is kidnapped, their lives are changed forever.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

For fans of Cloud Atlas, pick up this ambitious novel about three sets of characters across the centuries: One in Constantinople in 15th century, one in Idaho in present day, and one on a space ship in the not-so-distant future who are all under siege and united by a single story.

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Kostas and Defne and Greek and Turkish teens who fall in love and meet in secret as their relationship ship deepens but unrest in their homelands grow. Decades later, Kostas returns to their meeting place, looking for his lost love…and across the continent, a young woman must begin reckoning with the secrets her family has kept.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

In this new novel by the award-winning and celebrated author of the speculative and prescient, a man is exiled from his home and finds a violin performance seemingly in the wilderness, a writer on book tour travels earth, even though her home is on the moon, and detective seeks to understand the connection between the three of them.

Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

When Joan and her mother and brother flee their abusive father, they end up in Joan’s mother’s hometown of Memphis, a city full of history and secrets. As Joan grows up and comes of age in the city, she discovers its rich backstories and the role this place has played in her family’s lives.

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

The Chao family has owned a restaurant, Fine Chao, for decades, where they serve Americanized Chinese food to their Wisconsin town. While no one normally bats an eye at the family, when the three sons of the Chao family patriarch reunite in their small town and their father dies under mysterious circumstances, the entire community soon can’t look away as a search for the complicated truth begins.

The Maid by Nita Prose

Neurodivergent Molly Gray works as a hotel maid, and enjoys it—the rules and etiquette are clear, and she is content in her routine. But when she walks into a room and discovers a wealthy guest dead, her peculiar habits soon have her at the center of a police investigation, and she must use all her wits and rely on a few unexpected allies to clear her name.

Violeta by Isabel Allende

With ambitious scope and capacious heart, Isabel Allende tells the story of Violeta, who is born in South American in 1920, and goes on to live 100 years, witnessing some of the biggest changes in humanity over the course of her century of life, and recounting them all in the form of a letter to the person she loves the most.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Inspired by true events, this novel follows Civil Townsend, a newly minuted nurse who is eager to help the poor Black communities in Alabama, and is excited about her new role in the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic. But when she uncovers an unthinkable injustice at work, it will change the course of her career, and her life.

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo

Anna is a woman in her forties who feels discontent in her life, and unneeded by her loved ones. While sifting through her recently deceased mother’s belongings, she finds a diary belonging to her father, a student radical. And then she learns that her father went on to become a president (and according to some, dictator) of a West African country. And…he’s still alive. 

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón

This is the story of the Alvarado family: Oscar, the patriarch, who is obsessed with the weather and has a big secret. Keila, his wife, who is desperate for intimacy and decides the only choice she has is to leave her husband. And their three adult daughters: Claudia, Olivia, and Patricia, who are completely shocked by their parents’ separation and must reconsider their lives and relationships as a result.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

When Joy Delaney mysteriously disappears, her husband Stan doesn’t seem worried but her four adult children are frantic. Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke are all harboring resentments and secrets from their childhood, which was spent on the tennis courts of their parents’ business, and they worry that their father may know more than he’s letting on. And then there’s the matter of the mysterious stranger their mother took in months earlier, a young woman who wormed her way into their parents home before disappearing abruptly.

Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire by Lizzie Johnson

Written by a journalist who was there when it happened and stayed for the aftermath, this is a riveting and horrifying account of the Pit fire that consumed Heaven, CA and left more than eighty people dead. 

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

In this twisty mother/daughter story, an idealistic young law student lands a coveted internship with a group hoping to exonerate wrongfully convicted people on death row. But her biggest secret? She’s not there to help anyone—she’s there to ensure a murderer doesn’t ever get out.

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Meroe Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean, has quite the storied history, and now it serves as the perfect adventure getaway for six twenty-something friends looking for a little excitement. But when one of them goes missing on the island, the rest of them are left to contend with horrible secrets and unspeakable danger.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Katy is looking forward to a long-awaited trip to the Amalfi coast with her mom, Carol, when the unthinkable happens: Carol dies. Devastated, Katy goes forward with the trip, having long wanted to see the magical place her mom spent a summer before meeting her dad. But once she arrives, she gets more than she bargains for when she discovers her mom…alive, thirty, and not altogether how Katy imagined her.

Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow

Farrah is one of the only Black girls in her affluent community, and the other one is her friend Cherish, who has white adoptive parents and is beyond spoiled. But when Farrah’s own Black parents face foreclosure, Farrah finds herself manipulating her way into Cherish’s life for her own advantage…until strange occurrences and inexplicable tensions prove that she’s not the only one with an ulterior motive.

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Greta James is a successful indie musician on the brink of launching her sophomore album when her mother dies and she falls apart very messily and publicly onstage. Her career seems ruined when the footage goes viral, and Greta is resentful for he fact that her dad sees this as a failure for not making a more practical career choice. So months later, she agrees to go with him on an Alaskan cruise her parents had booked to celebrate their anniversary, hoping to salvage their relationship…and they get a lot more than they bargained for.

Looking for more great book club inspiration? Check out our picks for the best book club books of 2021. And then, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as best books for your book club–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

11 DEAR EDWARD Book Club Questions

Book cover for Dear Edward by Ann Naplitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is a moving, heartbreaking book about tragedy and rebuilding your life after unspeakable loss, inspired by the true story of a young boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed his entire family. The novel was an instant bestseller, and a Read with Jenna book club pick. If your book club is looking to pick up this novel, then read on for a summary and some Dear Edward book club questions to get your meeting going!

Dear Edward Summary

When twelve-year-old Edward boards a plane with his older brother and their parents, he expects a normal, mundane flight from Newark to Los Angeles, where the family plans on relocating. The flight is populated with 191 other people, including a veteran, a young woman dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, a Wall Street banker, a woman running from her abusive partner, and a successful businessman. Halfway through the flight, the plane goes down…and only Edward survives.

Edward must now rebuild his life in the wake of devastating loss, without the people that he’s come to rely on. He’s taken in by his aunt and uncle, who are kind but they also have their own issues to deal with, not to mention they too are mourning the loss of family. Edward slowly makes sense of his new reality, befriending a girl next door and staying out of the media’s attention as best he can. Then, he discovers a trove of letters, all addressed to him. Written by the family members of the other victims of the crash.

Dear Edward Book Club Questions

Dear Edward was directly inspired by the real-life story of Ruben van Assouw, who lost his own family in a situation similar to Edward’s. Were you aware of the case before you read Dear Edward? Did reading this novel affect how you think of tragedies that are reported in the news?

Do you normally pick up books that you know will be tragic? Do you have to be in the right mindset for them?

How does reading a book about tragedy make you think about or evaluate your own life?

What did you think of the first chapter, when the author introduced us to all of the different characters? What was your perception of them? Did you feel differently knowing they would all soon die?

Some people in Edward’s life tell him that the tragedy would be easier to bear if he disliked his family or wasn’t as close with his brother. Do you think that’s true?

Discuss the idea of how losing your closest family can impact someone. Shay implies that Edward has already lived through the worst, most hurtful thing that’s ever happened to him or could ever happen to him. Do you agree?

What did you think of the relationship between Edward and Shay? Why do you think they seemed to click right away? Discuss how their relationship plays out.

What did you think of the stories of the passengers also on the flight? Did any of them stand out to you?

What, if any, responsibility do you think Edward has in reading or responding to any of the letters sent to him? Why do you think so many loved ones of the victims sent him messages? What are they hoping for?

What did you think of Edward’s aunt and uncle’s decision to keep the letters from him? Do you think they were unfair, or were they trying to protect him?

Discuss the structure of the novel. It alternates between the flight and the aftermath, so you have to get through the entire book to see the bigger picture. Did you like this structure? Why do you think the author chose to tell the story this way?

Why do you think Edward doesn’t care to learn why the plane crashed? Do you think knowing the reason would change anything for him? What was your reaction when you learned about the reason behind the crash?

Need more book club inspiration? Check out our guide to running a book club, and then if you want more heartbreaking but uplifting book club picks, then sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as book club selections–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

9 Firekeeper’s Daughter Book Club Questions

Book cover of Firekeeper's Daugher by Angeline Boulley

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley is one of the most buzzed-about book releases of 2021. It was a Reese’s Book Club pick, an instant bestseller, and it had been optioned by the Obamas’ production company in addition to winning a Goodreads Choice Award. It’s no surprise that it’s a popular pick for book clubs of all stripes, so if your group needs some Firekeeper’s Daughter book club questions ahead of your next meeting, we’ve got you covered!

Want some tips for running a book club meeting? Check out these tips!

Firekeeper’s Daughter Summary

Daunis Fontaine is an eighteen-year-old half white, half Ojibwe teen living in Salt Ste. Marie, Michigan. She’s always felt torn between her white, affluent family and her Ojibwe community on the reservation on nearby Sugar Island. With her grandmother ill and in the wake of her uncle’s recent death, she decides to stay in the UP for college despite gaining entry to the University of Michigan. She keeps busy at home, preparing to attend college locally, and is mostly content—staying home means she’ll stay with her best friend, and she’ll be near her half-brother Levi and her other family. Plus, the new guy on her brother’s hockey team, Jamie, is pretty cute.

But then a shocking murder changes everything for Daunis, and she is drawn into an FBI investigation into her Ojibwe community that has her walking a thin line between her two worlds, investigating the people she considers friends and family. As the mystery deepens, and as Daunis uncovers more secrets about the people she loves, she finds herself pulled in two different directions: Following the investigation through according to the letter of the law, but also honoring her people and learning what it means to be a good Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman).

Content warnings: Substance abuse, murder, grief, sexual assault, racism, kidnapping, death by suicide, gun violence

Firekeeper’s Daughter Book Club Questions

Daunis is someone who has a lot of traditions and rituals, both formal and informal. Discuss the significance of her various rituals, and how the inform her life and give structure to her day. 

Daunis is grieving at the beginning of the book, both the loss of her uncle and her grandmother’s illness. How does Daunis let her grief and her guilt guide her decisions? Do you think her decision to stay home and attend college locally is a wise one?

Daunis exists in many different worlds, and must learn how to navigate them and their various demands on her. How does she balance it all? What does she learn in trying to keep boundaries between her worlds? How does she succeed, or not?

Discuss identity and how each of the characters view their identities. Daunis is very aware of being biracial and feeling caught between worlds, and she and her best friend Lily also live with the weight of being unenrolled members of their tribe. How does that affect how they’re treated? Jamie also struggles to feel any connection to his heritage. Discuss the pitfalls and advantages of both being aware of your background, and also oblivious to your history.

Discuss the concepts of justice as portrayed in this book—how does Jamie view justice? How does Daunis? How do members of Daunis’s family and tribe view justice, and how does that differ from more traditional ideas of law enforcement?

Some of the most powerful scenes in the book occur in moments of ceremony and ritual. Discuss the significance of this, and how the author uses these moments to create tension and resonance.

How does Daunis learn who to trust? Discuss how she navigates her worlds, and how her decisions impact the investigation. Do you think there are times where her trust is misplaced? Discuss her motivations.

There are many elders in Daunis’s life who give her guidance and and share wisdom. Who was your favorite? If you could have a novel about any of the, which would you choose?

The end of the book finds Daunis in a different place, pursuing a different future than she first envisioned. Why do you think she decided to shift her focus? What do you think about her new path?

If you want more great book recommendations for your book club, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as new book club picks–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY Book Club Questions

Book cover for THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig took the book world by storm when it first released in 2020, winning a Goodreads Choice Award from readers and getting picked at the best book of the year by multiple outlets. It’s no surprise to find the novel making its way through book clubs, as it’s full of rich themes and big ideas that are perfect for book group discussions. If your book club has picked this title as its next read, then here are some The Midnight Library book club questions to get your conversation started!

Important note: Before picking this book, please be aware that this book depicts depression and a suicide attempt. That may be difficult for some book club members to read, so you might want to do a check-in before deciding on this book, just to make sure all members are okay with reading about this tough subject.

The Midnight Library Reading Guide

Nora Seed is a woman struggling with depression, desperate for a way out of her life. Not long after attempting suicide, she discovers the Midnight Library, a library full of of books that contain all of the versions of your life if you had taken a different path or made a different choice. At 35, Nora is living with the heavy weight of other people’s expectations and disappointments, and she’s full of regrets and what-ifs. When she enters the library and discovers all for he books chronicling different versions of her life, she opens them and lives these alternate versions for a short while, gaining some valuable input along the way. 

The Midnight Library Book Club Questions

Talk about Nora and where she is at the beginning of the book. A lot seems to be going wrong for her, and she’s not happy about her life. What regrets does she have? Is she allowing herself to be blamed for things that aren’t her fault?

Let’s talk about regrets. Do you have any? Do you think it’s natural to go through life with some regrets? Would you go back and change things or make different choices if given the chance? Has a fear of regrets ever motivated you to make certain choices?

If you were offered the chance to explore your alternate lives through the Midnight Library, would you take it? Do you think we as humans are better off not knowing what might have been, or do you think it helps inform our perceptions of life?

Which of Nora’s alternate realities do you find most interesting? Do you think Nora could have been happy in any of them in particular, even if they come with their own set of tragedies?

What moments do you think were significant in the book, and made Nora start to change her perception of her life?

Some of Nora’s struggles have to do with the fact that she gave up something she loves because she couldn’t be the best at it. Discuss the importance of doing something because you like it vs. because you’re good at it. Do you think it’s important to have hobbies that you might be bad at?

Do you think Nora’s life will be better, after the end of the book?

Nora experiences the midnight library as a library, with Mrs. Elm as the librarian. Other people experience it a little differently. If you had the chance to visit, what would your version look like?

What do you think are the ingredients to living a happy, fulfilled life? Did reading this book make you reconsider some of your thoughts on this matter?

Would you recommend The Midnight Library to others? If you enjoyed the book, what book would you recommend that is similar?

Would you read another book by Matt Haig? Why or why not?

We recommend: If you enjoyed the idea of exploring possibilities of different versions of the same life, we recommend My Real Children by Jo Walton!

Want more great book club resources? Check out our guide to running a book club, then hop over and discover our recommendations for some of the greatest book club picks for 2021!

And if you want more recommendations, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of—such as books like The Midnight Library—and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION Book Club Questions

Book cover for PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION

Emily Henry’s Beach Read was her debut adult novel and a breakout hit! Since then, it’s no surprise that people are clamoring to read her next adult book, People We Meet on Vacation. If your book club wants to see what all the hype is about, have no fear! Here is a reading guide to the book, plus some People We Meet on Vacation book club questions to get your conversation rolling!

People We Meet on Vacation Summary

Poppy and Alex have been unlikely friends since they met in college in Chicago twelve years earlier and shared a ride back to their small Ohio hometown. At a glance, they seem to be polar opposites: Poppy is outgoing and vibrant, a bit messy, and she loves living in New York City, where she works as a travel writer. Alex is straight-laced and serious, loves literature, and he’s content to settle down in their hometown and work as a high school English teacher.

The one thing they have in common besides a deep friendship, is a love of travel, and each summer they take a trip together. But after nearly a decade of this, they stopped after their last disastrous trip two years ago, and they’ve barely spoken since. Poppy is deeply unhappy in her life, and she thinks if she can just get back to her yearly trips with Alex, she can maybe figure out where her life went off the rails. She reaches out, proposes an impromptu trip…and Alex actually agrees!

Now, as their present day trip plays out against flashbacks to every single trip they took in the years before, she has to figure out how to repair her relationship with Alex before it’s too late.

People We Meet on Vacation Book Club Questions:

As an icebreaker, ask your club if they could pick one vacation destination, no matter the cost or barrier, where would they go?

Which of Poppy and Alex’s vacations sound most exciting to you?

Are you a plan-things-out-in-advance or fly by the seat of your pants kind of traveler?

Discuss Alex and Poppy’s first impressions of each other. Do you think that the old saying about opposites attracting is true? Do you think they’re unlikely friends, or meant to be?

Do you believe that heterosexual men and women can be just friends? Do you think that Poppy and Alex are deluding themselves by not confronting their true feelings?

Do you think that Poppy and Alex’s life goals and ambitions are compatible? Why or why not?

Discuss the influences of Poppy and Alex’s upbringings on their life goals. How did growing up in a small town affect Poppy? How did facing so much responsibility at a young age shape Alex? Do you think that by clinging to these earlier influence, they’re limiting themselves?

Who would your perfect traveling companion be? 

This is very much a novel about millennials and the millennial experience. Are you a millennial? if so, did you relate? If not, did you gain any new insight about the millennial generation? 

Have you ever experienced burnout the way Poppy experienced it at her work? What do you think is the key to pursuing your dreams while also staying grounded?

Do you think that having a purpose vs. being happy with where you are in life are two different things? How do you balance these two ideas?

Were you surprised about where Poppy and Alex end up at the conclusion of the novel? Do you think that they will stay together?

Book Club Meeting Ideas

As Poppy and Alex might say, “theme matters!” For your book club discussion, it might be fun to offer drinks and snacks that one might typically indulge in on vacation. Wine and fancy cheese boards, fancy cocktails, and treats from their travels, such as beignets to commemorate the time they go to New Orleans! Feel free to pick a locale from the book and design a spread around that, or offer something fun from every location!

Looking for more inspiration? Here’s how to run a book club if you’re just getting started, and we’ve rounded up some of the best book club picks of 2021 for your next meetings!

Want more book recommendations? Sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as fairy tales for adults–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

The Four Winds Book Club Questions

Kristin Hannah is known for her sweeping, emotional books that focus on women and their relationships with their families, often set against fascinating time periods throughout history. In her latest book, she takes on the years spanning the American Great Depression, which makes for an engrossing and bittersweet saga about loss and starting over…and would a great pick for your next book club meeting! These are some The Four Winds book club questions to get started with!

The Four Winds Book Summary

The Four Winds follows Elsa, a young woman in 1921 who is already considered too old to marry. When she meets Rafe Martinelli, she takes a fateful choice that sends her to the alter with him, and soon finds herself embarking on a marriage to a man she barely knows in order to preserve her reputation. The story picks up again over ten years later, when the Dust Bowl has ravaged Elsa’s family’s farm and options are bleak. With her marriage falling apart and no work to be had anywhere, Elsa finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Stay on her Texas farm and fight for the land she loves dearly, or give up everything and face an uncertain promise of a future in California.

The Four Winds Reading Guide

Before reading, you might want to check out some facts about The Great Depression, and learn about its causes and the effects that the economic downturn had on politics and on the great migration of Midwesterners to the west coast. Check out one of the most iconic images from that time period, Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, and learn about the context of that photograph. Consider what you know about the Great Depression, and what stories get told about that time period. If you have any questions about the Great Depression or you see events referenced you don’t understand, write them down to look up later.

The Four Winds Book Club Questions

How is Elsa’s life defined by the expectations of others, rather than her own desires? Do those external expectations change or shift throughout the novel?

How does Elsa’s life change when she becomes a mother?

How is the American Dream defined throughout the story? Do the characters all have differing ideas of what the American Dream means to them? Do you think the American Dream is still something we reach for now, almost 100 years later?

Discuss Elsa’s feelings for the land and the farm she lives on. Do you think that her connection to the place she’s from was relatable? Do you have strong connections to the places you’ve lived, or the place you’re from?

Do you think that Elsa made the right choice when it came to deciding to leave or stay? Discuss the hardships that those who stayed faced, and the hardships that those who went West encountered.

Do you see any parallels between life during the Great Depression and the times that we are living in? What can we learn from The Four Winds and Elsa’s experiences?

Throughout the book, hope is something that Elsa holds onto even when things are bleak. Discuss the power of hope, and how it buoys her. Do you think her hope is foolish?

Consider the famous photograph Migrant Mother. Does that photograph hold deeper meaning to you now that you’ve read Elsa’s story? Discuss how women were affected by the Great Depression.

Discuss the relationship between Elsa and her daughter. How does it change and shift, and how does the book leave them?

What is your favorite line in the book?

What other books about the Great Depression have you read, or would you recommend? Was anyone required to read The Grapes of Wrath in school?

The Four Winds Book Club Food Ideas

While many of the major themes surrounding this book are about doing without or not having enough, you don’t have to do without great food to accompany this book! Here are some ideas for food mentioned or inspired by the book that your book club can enjoy during their discussion or meeting:

  • Make an Italian dish or pasta, to honor Rafe’s Italian heritage. You can serve foettucinne, pancetta, and minestrone soup for your main dishes, and cannoli for dessert!
  • If you want to be extra adventurous, try your hands at some pickle and peanut butter sandwiches!
  • Try some “camp” food—casseroles, hot dogs, saltines, macaroni, etc.
  • For dessert, try your hand at an upside down peach cake, served at the Wolcott family Fourth of July picnic

Want more recommendations? Check out our list of book club recommendations for 2021. If you’d like to be a part of a book club, why not start your own? We have some ideas for how you can get started.

And if you want more great book recommendations, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as books like The Four Winds–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

Klara and the Sun Book Club Questions

Kazuo Ishiguro is a talented writer whose books have been bestsellers, award-winners, and beloved by book clubs, and his newest release is no exception! Klara and the Sun has been picked as Good Morning America’s book club choice, and it even made an appearance on President Obama’s 2021 reading list! If your book club decides to jump on the bandwagon, here is a reading guide and Klara and the Sun book club questions for your next meeting!

Klara and the Sun Summary

Kazuo Ishiguro presents readers with a lightly speculative tale that has big implications about what it means to be human. Klara is an Artificial Friend, a robot designed to be a playmate to human children. She lives in a store where she watches customers come and go every day, and she observes every detail about them. She’s hopeful that one day, someone will choose her and she’ll get to find a real home and friends, and someone to love…but will it ever happen?

Klara and the Sun Reading Guide

Before diving in, it might be helpful to know that this is a science fiction book but its focus is narrowed down on the experiences of a single robot, and how AI and humanity work together—or don’t. Kazuo Ishiguro’s previous novel Never Let Me Go also explored similar themes of what it means to be human, and how servitude and technology can be a slippery slope. If you’re not a regular science-fiction reader, don’t worry! This is a speculative book, but with the feel of a literary novel.

Klara and the Sun Book Club Questions

Discuss the term “Artificial Friend” and its implications. Do you think that Ishiguro picked that term intentionally, aware of the irony? How does it resonate in the book?

Discuss Klara’s level of sentience and sophistication. How do her interactions with the Artificial Friends reveal character, personality? Do you think it was an intentional choice of her programming?

What were your impressions of the family that takes Klara home? How does the death of Josie’s sister affect the family? How does Josie’s illness affect the family?

What measurements of success do the adults in this story use to evaluate their children, and their own parenting skills? Even if you aren’t a parent, do you agree with them? Why or why not?

How does Klara’s opinion of Mother shift after their excursion?

What is Klara’s relationship to the sun? To nature?

Based on Klara’s observations, what do you think of the way that people socialize in this book? Consider both the adults and children. Is it healthy? A consequence of the world they’re living with? 

What was your reaction upon reading the plan that Klara was to be turned into an avatar of Josie? Would you ever consider doing the same for a loved one? How does Klara learn how to emulate Josie, and how does it shape her understanding of what it is to be alive and human?

Aside from exploring big questions about humanity and what it means to love and live, this book also contains commentary on environmental destruction. Discuss how Klara’s journey is connected to this message. Do you think Ishiguro’s vision of the future feels plausible?

What, if any, considerations about AI did this book raise for you? Are there logistical and ethical dilemmas you’d never considered before? Did the humans act in an ethical or moral way regarding the AI that they created?

What did you think of Klara’s ultimate fate?

What do you think the advantages are of reading this story solely from Klara’s point of view? If you could get the point of view of any other secondary character, which would you like to explore?

Discuss the concept of loneliness, as its explored in this book. Did it surprise you to see that the Artificial Friends could feel lonely? What did you think of the depiction?

In the end, who seemed more human to you? The humans, or the Artificial Friends?

The setting is near future, and in many ways it feels very familiar to our current lived experience. Did the setting feel realistic to you? Why or why not? What details stuck out to you?

Looking to join or start a book club? We have a few ideas for how to run a book club, and some great 2021 book recommendations to get you started! If you need more recommendations for your book club, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as books like Klara and the Sun–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

10 LONG BRIGHT RIVER Book Club Questions

Long Bright River by Liz Moore has been a popular pick with readers since it first released in 2020, even landing on Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020 list! If your book club has decided to pick up this book, then we’ve got you covered with a Long Bright River book club questions, summary, and a reading guide to help your club have a great discussion!

Long Bright River Summary

Taking its inspiration from the very real and ongoing opioid epidemic, Long Bright River follows two sisters, Mickey and Kacey. They live and work in the same neighborhood, but in very different roles. Mickey is a detective with the Philadelphia Police Department, and she patrols Kensington, a neighborhood that has bee impacted by drugs and opioids. Kacey is a known user and prostitute who lives on the streets in Kensington, and although the two sisters are estranged, Mickey does her best to keep tabs on her sister when she can. Everything changes when a killer begins targeting women in the neighborhood, and Kacey disappears without a trace. Terrified that her sister could be the next victim, Mickey throws herself into the case, determined to unmask the killer and find her sister. The novel explores the complexities of family history, drugs, and the impact of crime on a community in this fascinating and well-written thriller.

Themes: Sisterhood, family history, class, addiction

Long Bright River Book Club Questions:

  1. Kacey and Mickey are sisters who end up in very different lives as adults. How are they similar? What decisions or events impacted them to diverge in such extreme ways?
  2. Kensington is a rich setting that is as interesting as any of the characters in the book. What did you think of the setting? What stood out to you about it? How does each characters’ relationship to Kensington influence the story or its telling?
  3. One of the major themes of this book is class. Discuss how class is presented in the book, and how each of the characters is affected by class–the class they were born into, the class they strive for, or the class they find themselves in as adults.
  4. Addiction plays a major role in this novel, and many of the characters struggle with addiction to drugs in the past and present. How does the author present addiction in the characters? How all the characters all, to a certain extent, affected by addiction even if they themselves are not addicted to something? What other dark impulses or addictions are present throughout the text? 
  5. Discuss who (or what) served as turning points in Mickey’s life. What characters have served as mentors to Mickey, and what experiences (or lack of opportunities) have led her to her current path? Would her life look different without the mentors and experiences she has?
  6. In many ways, Mickey was forced to be a mother to Kacey at a young age, after the death of their own mother. To what extent does Mickey feel responsible for Kacey’s decisions as an adult? How does she wish to make amends or avoid past mistakes?
  7. Although Kensington suffers from the opioid epidemic, in what ways are the residents a community? What does this community have to offer that might be positive? What are the downsides in this community, aside from the obvious presence of drugs and the murders? What elements of this community do you see reflected in your own communities?
  8. Were you surprised by the direction that the mysteries took? Were you able to anticipate any of the reveals or twists? If so, did that affect your enjoyment of the novel?
  9. Which elements did you find most compelling about this novel? Would you read another book by Liz Moore? Why or why not?
  10. What did you learn, if anything, about the opioid crisis? Did this novel add a human component to your understanding of addiction and the crisis?

For more reading, viewing, and discussion, consider checking out this New York Magazine about the best nonfiction about the opioid crisis. Your book club might also want to watch The Pharmacist on Netflix, an excellent documentary about the start of the opioid crisis in the U.S.

Want more book club suggestions? Check out our best recommended reading for book clubs in 2021. And if you want more great book recommendations, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as book club recommendations–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

His Only Wife Book Club Questions

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie was a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine book club pick, plus a New York Times Notable Pick, which means it’s gotten a lot of great buzz! If your book club is planning on picking it up anytime soon, we’ve got you covered with a book summary, themes, and His Only Wife book club questions to help your meeting run smoothly!

His Only Wife Summary

Set in Ghana, this book is about Afi Tekple, a young seamstress from a small town who works hard to make ends meet. Her mother has convinced her to marry a man that she knows of but doesn’t truly know: Elikem, a wealthy businessman who is in love with another, a woman considered an inappropriate match for him. Afi goes along with the marriage in order to make her mother happy and secure her future, but she’s quickly moved from her small town to the capitol city, where life is very different and Afi is dissatisfied with her new situation. Is this all there is to marriage and life, or can she perhaps find happiness on her own terms?

Themes: Marriage, independence, happiness on one’s own terms, defying tradition

His Only Wife Book Club Questions

  1. What did you think of the fate of Afi and Elikem’s marriage from the beginning, when Elikem couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the wedding? Would you have gone through with the wedding if you were in Afi’s shoes?
  2. Could you marry someone you didn’t love for the financial security of your family? Discuss Afi’s motivations, and the motivations of her mother and Aunty. Do you think that Afi might have married Eli if not for this external pressure? Discuss the influence of money and class on Afi’s decision.
  3. Discuss how Afi interacts with her new husband. What do you think it says about their relationship? What do you think it says about Afi that she wants to please her husband, who seems to have little interest in pleasing her? 
  4. Why do you think Eli went along with this marriage with Afi? What do you think he might have expected from her, or from this relationship? Does he get what he wants? What do you think Eli believes are his duties to his new wife? Does he fulfill these duties?
  5. When Afi moves into a fine home in Accra, does she seem satisfied by the financial status of her life? Does she view it as worth having to put up with an absent husband? 
  6. Discuss how the various characters view marriage and the expectations that come with being a “good” wife. How do they differ, and how are they similar? How does Afi come to shape her own views on marriage?
  7. Discuss how Afi learns of Eli’s girlfriend, the woman that his family disapproves of. Why do you think she is told lies about her, and how do her feelings about this other woman evolve over the course of the novel?
  8. Although Eli is married to Afi, in what ways do we understand that Afi isn’t his main priority? Does Afi see this at first? How does she react when she realizes that she may be his only wife, but not the only woman in his life?
  9. What do you think was the first moment in which Afi chose to rebel–against the other characters, but also in the expectations set out for her?
  10. How does Eli’s behavior towards Afi shift toward the end of the book? Do you think this shift has an impact on Afi’s decision at the end?
  11. What did you think of the ending and Afi’s choice? Were you happy? Disappointed? Surprised? Do you think Afi will be happy with her decision?
  12. Would you read another book by Peace Adzo Medie? Why or why not? What books would you recommend to readers who enjoyed His Only Wife?

Want more great book club recommendations? Check out our recommendations for the best book club picks of 2021! And if you want to stay up to date on the best, most engaging fiction that’s great for book club discussions, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as book picks for book clubs–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Bibliologist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers in the mail in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!

The Vanishing Half Book Club Questions

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was one of the most popular books of 2020, read and beloved by countless readers, including Barack Obama! It was also a 2021 Women’s Prize finalist and the perfect pick for book clubs everywhere. If your book club has chosen it for their next pick, we’ve got your The Vanishing Half summary, reading guide, and book club discussion questions to ensure your next meeting goes smoothly!

The Vanishing Half Summary

Stella and Desiree Vignes are inseparable twins who grow up in 1960’s Louisiana in a small town reserved for light-skinned Black residents. They dream of life beyond their town and the painful past of their father’s lynching, and it seems like they might actually get it when they run away to New Orleans together. But there, Stella begins to pass as white, and then moves to California where she has a husband and daughter and refrains from telling them the truth about her past. Meanwhile, Desiree has a daughter of her own who can’t even dream of passing, and she eventually relocates with her back to the hometown th twins were so eager to leave behind. This novel moves through the decades in the second half of the twentieth century to tell a stirring story of identity, race, and family throughout generations and across the U.S.

Themes: Identity, race, family, belonging, truth, reconciliation

How to Set Up Your Meeting Discussion

It’s best to have someone come prepared with questions to help get the conversation going, and to help keep the conversation on track if it lags. Start out the conversation with an icebreaker question, or with an easy question to help get the conversation rolling, and be sure to be inclusive of every member’s input! 

The Vanishing Half Discussion Questions

Icebreaker question: Have you read the 1929 classic Passing by Nella Larsen? If so, in what ways do you see that this novel is similar to Passing?

Stella and Desiree are so close as children–did you see their separation as inevitable, or something that could’ve been prevented? When did you first notice the rift between them? What do you think caused it?

Why does Mallard represent so much pain for the twins? Discuss how injustice and secrecy affect the sisters as young girls, and how that carries over to their adult lives.

How much do you think we are influenced by our nurturing and our nature? How about our environment? What outside forces shaped Stella and Desiree?

Why do you think that Desiree returns to Mallard? How does her impression of her hometown evolve now that she’s an adult and a mother?

Compare and contrast Kennedy and Jude, the twins’ daughters. How do their differences highlight the role privilege plays in a person’s life? How are their lives similar? How do their relationships with their respective mothers differ?

Discuss the idea of performance. How is identity a performance for the characters? Which characters perform, and which characters refuse to perform? How are their lives different as a result?

How does Stella’s relationship with her neighbor Loretta reveal her character, both to the reader and to herself? Do you think that Stella is afraid of becoming too close to Loretta, and what it could reveal about herself? Do you think Loretta suspects anything about Stella?

When Desiree becomes a fingerprint analyst, we see how identity and identification are often conflated and contrasted. What do you think the differences are between these two concepts?

What did you think of Jude and Kennedy’s relationship? 

What did you think of the twins’ eventual reunion? How have the years apart changed them?

Let’s talk about honesty and truthfulness in relationships. Which romantic couples were the most honest with each other? How does the idea of honesty and truth telling affect each relationship?

Each sister made different choices hoping to improve their lives or make things easier in some way. But ultimately, who do you believe had an “easier” life? Or does it all shake out pretty evenly when all is said and done?

Discuss the significance of the title. Who or what really is the vanishing half?

Want more book club book recommendations for your next meeting? Check out our best book club books of 2021!

And if you want more recommendations, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that sends you books you’ll love to read. Here’s how it works: Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you want more of–such as books like The Vanishing Half–and what you’re not keen on. Then, an expert Biblioligist will read your responses and recommend three books just for you. Receive your recommendation letter via email in about two weeks, or opt to receive your recommendations as brand new hardcovers from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME in about three to four weeks. Learn more and sign up now!