20 of the Best Book Club Books for 2020

A new year means a fresh slate for new book club books! As your club begins picking books for another great reading year, make sure you consider these twenty picks–the best fiction and nonfiction book club books from the end of 2019 and what will certainly be the most talked about new releases of 2020. No matter your club’s genre preferences, we’ve got some great book club ideas for everyone, from big-name authors to must-read debuts!

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

In this novel, a well-meaning white mother, Alix, is shocked when her black babysitter, Emira, is confronted while out with Alix’s toddler and accused of kidnapping her. When the contentious incident is filmed and goes viral, Alix resolves to make things right, but Emira is wary of her help, especially when the incident reveals a long-hidden secret from Alix’s past.

American Dirt by Jeannine Cummins

Lydia runs a bookstore in Acapulco, Mexico, where she stocks some of her favorite novels even though she knows they’re unlikely to sell. But when a man comes in one day and buys them, Lydia is pleased…until her journalist husband writes a profile of the man, exposing him as the local cartel’s new jefe. Forced to leave her home, Lydia and her young son make the treacherous trip north, to the United States, knowing the uncertainty of the trip is safer than staying in their home.

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

Emma Straub’s newest book is a family story that looks at three generations of a family trying their best. When grandmother Astrid is reminded of a mistake she made years ago as a young mother, it forces her to reconsider everything that she thought she knew about parenting, which has a profound effect on her three grown children, some of them parents themselves, and her granddaughter.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Comedian Ali Wong made a name for herself with her Netflix special about pregnancy, parenting, and being a modern mother and woman. She draws upon much of the same material in this memoir, which she addresses to her daughters, about being a comedian, parenting, connecting with her roots and growing up herself. This might be a great pick for any mother-daughter book clubs, or groups with lots of young moms.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Comedy writer and essayist Samantha Irby is back with a brand new collection of hilarious, honest essays. Irby’s life has changed a bit since her last book–she’s married, she moved away from Chicago, and she’s also seen success with her books and as a TV writer on the Hulu show Shrill. But she’s still an awkward Midwesterner at heart and unafraid to tell about it.

The Return by Rachel Harrison

When Julie goes missing, the only person who believes that she isn’t dead is her best friend Elise–and she’s right. Julie returns two years later and Elise is overjoyed. They go on a trip with two more college friends, Molly and Mae, to reconnect. But Elise is shocked to find that Julie is very different now, and as the weekend progresses, Elise, Mae, and Molly begin to question just who this new Julie really is.

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

This powerful crime novel is set in Los Angeles during the race riots. It follows two young adults from different families: Grace Park is a sheltered Korean-American who works in her family’s pharmacy. Shawn Matthews is African-American and has already seen too much racial violence. In the aftermath of a single crime, the Park and Matthews families will be forced to face their own secrets and pasts.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Bestselling activist and motivational author Glennon Doyle’s new memoir tells of the moment that she set eyes on another woman and knew, deeply instinctively, that she was the one. Actually coming to terms with this knowledge, and taking steps to live her true life, was a lot harder. In this book, Doyle talks about her experience coming out, but also about how women are often told to stifle themselves. Here, she offers inspiration to build your own unique life.

Black Sunday Tola Rotimi Abraham

Bibike and Ariyike are twins, close as can be, living in 1990’s Lagos when their once-stable family life is threatened by political unrest, job loss, and their father’s dangerous bet that leaves them without a home. They are sent to live with their traditional grandmother when their parents’ marriage implodes, and in order to survive find themselves on two separate and very different paths.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Set in 1953 and inspired by Erdrich’s own grandfather, this is a rich novel about a community facing upheaval. Thomas is a night watchman at the jewel bearing plant near the Turtle Mountain Reservation, and he is wary of a new bill in Congress that could have a major impact on the Chippewa nation. Patrice is a young woman who dreams of finding the sister that disappeared when she moved to Minneapolis. Their stories entwine in this gripping new book.

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

Lindy West, the author of Shrill, returns with another collection of essays critiquing our culture and media, with a special emphasis on the #MeToo movement and American politics. West urges readers to re-examine the stories they’ve been told and what they believe to be true in order to honestly address our society’s problems and address them, so we can move forward.

Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The author of Station Eleven brings us a new story about a young woman named Vincent, first seen as a bartender on an island where she meets Alkaitis, the man who will become her husband. Later, Alkaitis is caught at the center of a Ponzi scheme, and Vincent walks away, only to reappear years later on a ship, and disappear once more. Knowing Mandel, it’s sure to be a captivating story.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

This new nonfiction history by Larson examines Winston Churchill’s role as prime minister in some of the darkest days in England. It talks about how he worked to rally the British people in the face of the Blitz, his behind-closed-doors political maneuvers, and how his work even affected his family and home life. It’s a story of Churchill’s devotion to his family, country, and to leadership during dark times.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

In 2000, fifteen-year-old Vanessa becomes entangled with her teacher, a man nearly three times her age. In 2017, that man is accused of sexual abuse by another woman, who reaches out to Vanessa, now an adult. Acknowledging what he did to her will force Vanessa to redefine her past and sense of self, but ignoring the truth could stifle her. 

Real Life by Brandon Tyler

Wallace is an introverted young African America from Alabama who feels adrift at his  Midwestern university. He holds himself at arms’ length from his classmates and friends, until a series of confrontations breaks down is reserve, forcing Wallace to come to grips with the emotional toll of existing in a space where he does not feel welcome or at ease. 

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg

Alex is a lawyer who is desperate to understand her father, a real estate mogul finally on his deathbed. He’s always loomed large and mysterious in her life, but even now, as the family reconvenes in New Orleans, she’s having difficulties getting anyone, from her mother Barbra to her uncle Gary and aunt Twyla, to be honest with her about who her father really is and what he has done.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Everyone knows the name Brock Turner, a man who was sentenced to only six months in jail for assaulting a woman, sparking outrage and protests across the country. Now know the name of the woman he assaulted: Chanel Miller. But in this powerful memoir, Chanel Miller also tells you who she is, and how she struggled to respond to what happened to her and the massive amount of attention Tuner’s case received, and how she found the courage to speak up.

The House of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland

In River Bend, MI, three women who have made their escape from the small town return unexpectedly: Linda, her mother Paula, and Beth, one of the few black women from River Bend, with her own children. Their stories intertwine with Beth’s father, and Beth must confront what she’s been running from when a local scandal reminds her too much of her past. 

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Kidd’s newest novel imagines the life of a woman named Ana, a rebellious young woman living during Biblical times who embraces intellectual pursuits and falls for a young man named Jesus of Nazareth. They marry and make a home in Nazareth even as resistance to Roman rule makes everyday life dangerous, culminating in an act of rebellion that sends Ana on the run to Alexandria.Blue Flowers by Carola Saavedra

When Marcus, a recently divorced man, moves into a new apartment, he begins receiving letters from a mysterious woman who only identifies herself as A. A clearly believes that her former lover still lives at this address, and writes him long letters that allude to a relationship before a violent break. Marcus becomes obsessed with A, leading to his determination to unmask her identity.

Want more great book club recommendations? Catch up with 25 Great Book Club Recommendations for 2019, and the best-recommended books of 2019. And if you looking for more great book club picks, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! It’s a quarterly book subscription service that offers you personalized book recommendations, picked out just for you by a real power reader! You can get started by filling out our survey, and then you’ll be matched with a Bibliologist who will pick out three books just for you. Choose to receive your recommendations via emailed letter, or as three brand-new books shipped from our partner, Print: A Bookstore. You’ll never be without great book club suggestions when it’s your turn to pick the book if you sign up fro TBR! Learn more here.

10 Books Like EDUCATED by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover is the moving memoir of a woman who grew up far outside society in the wilderness of Idaho, raised by parents who believed in survival, resilience, and obedience. But from a young age, Tara realized she wanted more out of life and began pursuing an education, which expanded her world. It’s been a book club favorite, and inspired a lot of great discussion points. If you loved Tara Westover’s memoir, then here are ten more amazing books like Educated, read-alikes that are a nice mix of memoir and fiction, all about complicated parents, interesting childhoods, and survival.

Memoirs about complicated parents

The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien

When Maud was a little girl, her parents wanted to raise her to be tough, no matter what. So they withheld affection and forced her to endure cruel physical tests and trials. Miraculously, Maude sustained herself through this mistreatment by befriending the animals on her parents’ farm, and imagining herself as the characters in the books that she read on the sly. She held on through cruel treatment and living conditions, until one day a stranger’s arrival facilitated her escape.

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Patricia Lockwood’s father is a religious man found a loophole that allowed him to become a Catholic priest even though he was married and a father. Patricia had long since left the church when a crisis forced her and her husband to move in with her parents temporarily, bringing her two worlds into sharp contrast. This is a memoir about religion, the religious life, a larger-than-life father, and how Patricia navigates her worlds with humor and irreverence. 

Heavy by Kiese Laymon

In this memoir, Laymon examines his relationship with his mother, a complex woman from Jackson, Mississippi. He recounts stories of his childhood, early abuse, complicated family dynamics that extend beyond his mother, his struggles with weight and anorexia, and how he eventually left for college and became a professor in New York. But his relationship with his mother, the secrets between them, and the effect they had on Laymon followed him wherever he want. This is a profound memoir about growing up with a complicated family and the emotional toll of generational trauma. 

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

For a memoir that examines family, loyalty, and what it takes for children to carve out a different path from their parents, read this remarkable memoir about Walls’s unconventional upbringing. Her parents were educated and able, and yet they could not and would not hold down jobs. The Walls children grew up moving from place to place, before settling in their paternal grandparents hometown in squalor. It would talk all of their strength and bravery to break away and move to New York City to set up their own lives, and when they did, their parents followed, becoming homeless. This incredible memoir is an unflinching examination of Walls’s parents, and her love for them even as she drew her own boundaries in adulthood.

River House by Sarahlee Lawrence

Sarahlee Lawrence grew up in rural Oregon, and as an adult became an experienced river guide, rafting some of the most dangerous rivers in the country, and world. But when she decided to put down roots, she went home to her family’s homestead and together she and her father built her a log house completely by hand. Her father has always been deeply unhappy in Oregon, and Sarahlee hopes that in engaging in this task together, she can better understand him. This is a memoir about returning home, family roots, rural living, and a father and daughter connecting over a labor of love.

Novels about surviving extreme childhoods

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

If you are fascinated by the story of a family struggling to survive in the wild, read this novel about a family living in Alaska in the 1970’s. When Ernt comes home from the Vietnam War, he decides to move his family to Alaska, the last frontier. His wife and daughter have little choice but to go along with it, and they discover a welcoming community of hardy men and women. But the true test lies in the long, brutal winter that they are ill-prepared to weather.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

If you loved the fierce survival aspect of Educated, pick up this novel about Kya Clark, a girl who has survived for years on her own in a marsh near a small town on the North Carolina coast. Kya’s existence has earned her the nickname Marsh Girl, and when two young men become intrigued by her, and Kya herself wants more out of life, they’ll set off a series of events that will lead to a death and a lot of unanswered questions.

Memoirs about survival

If the Creek Don’t Rise: My Life Out West with the Last Black Widow of the Civil War by Rita Williams

Rita’s mother died when she was four, leaving her entrusted into the care of her aunt Daisy, the last surviving Black widow of a Union soldier who moved their sharecropper family west in order to reinvent themselves. Living a subsistence lifestyle, Rita became Daisy’s last hope when it came to growing up into a woman who was “a perfect credit to her race” but her complicated feelings about race, exacting standards, and heavy expectations became too much for Rita to bear, until one day she had to break free to become her own person.

Heartberries by Therese Marie Mailhot

Therese Marie Mailhot grew up on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest, and her childhood was not easy. her mother was a social worker with a weakness for prisoners, and her father was a brilliant artist and alcoholic who was murdered. When the pain and trauma of Mailhot’s experiences come to a head with a bipolar and PTSD diagnosis, she turns to writing as a way to understand her family, heal herself, find her voice, and reconnect with those she loves.

North of Normal: A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both by Cea Sunrise Person

When Cea was a child, she and her teen mother left California with her maternal grandparents to settle in the Canadian wilderness, an escape from society. They lives off the land as best they could, clothing was optional, and sex and drugs were a normal part of life. But when Cea and her mother leave when Cea is five, she begins to realize that her upbringing is not conventional and spends the next eight years pursuing a “normal” life, going to great lengths to escape until one day she makes a dramatic choice to leave everything behind at age thirteen.

If you’re looking for more readalikes to your favorite books, then check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! TBR is a personalized book subscription service that puts readers in control of what they want to read! Fill out the reader survey to get started, which includes questions about favorite genres and books, what you want to read more of, and what you don’t like. You can include special requests, such as more books like Educated. Then, a real power reader called a Bibliologist will recommend three books just for you! Get started now.

The Best History Book Subscription Boxes

Book subscription services have exploded in popularity, and there are so many to choose from these days. Even though they vary in genre and theme, it can be difficult to find subscription services for particular genres and sub-genres. Lots of services offer YA or mystery or children’s books, but very few offer exclusively historical fiction, history books, or nonfiction. However, never fear! We’ve rounded up a list of history book subscription boxes and services so that you can find the perfect box that will help you dive into the past with an amazing book. Here we go!

History Book Club – https://www.historybookclub.com

History Book Club is a flexible monthly service that lets you choose as many or as few books you want per month. At the start of each month, members can purchase credits for $17.50 each, and then redeem them for new hardcover history books. You can always skip a month or save your credits, but History Book Club has a wide yet carefully curated selection of historical books from different time periods all around the world. The nice thing about this box is that it includes fiction and nonfiction selections, so you have a lot of flexibility and options! Plus, if you buy two or more books each month, they ship for free! Some current books available now include The Season: A Social History of the Debutante by Kristen Richardson, The Great Pretender by Susan Cahalan, and Dreams of El Dorado by H.W. Brands.

UOpen History & Politics Box – https://www.uopen.com/subscription-box/history-and-politics-book-subscription-box

Do your tastes veer towards nonfiction and politics? The UOpen History & Politics box is for you, then! This is a monthly subscription box that offers readers a new history book or politics book, plus the occasional goodie. The monthly box begins at $23, but if you buy more than one month, you can save big time. It’s a British-based box, which means overseas subscribers may have to pay more in shipping, but the wide selections of biographies and political books make it worthwhile. Past books have included The Trial of Adolf Hitler by David King and The Future of War: A History by Lawrence Freedman.

The Book Hook Up: Political Nonfiction – https://www.strandbooks.com/strand-subscriptions/

The Strand in New York City offers a Political Nonfiction subscription service as part of their array of popular Book Hookup subscriptions. Each month you’ll receive a new, signed hardcover history or political nonfiction book, plus an assortment of goodies from The Strand and their partners. This is a great service if you want to build your collection of collectable books, and it starts at $50 per month–or if you want a really good deal, nab it for just $200 for the entire year. Past books have included One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson and A Colony in a Nationby Chris Hayes.

Boxwalla – https://www.theboxwalla.com/shop/3232/book-box

Although Boxwalla isn’t strictly a history book subscription box, they pride themselves on picking books from all over the world that feature contemporary and classic authors, and look at both the past and present with special attention to Nobel laureates. Each month has a theme of a different destination, making it a really good choice for the diversely minded, global reader. The monthly subscription starts at $29.95, and includes two books each month, making it a very affordable box for the value. Past books include Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich and The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat.

TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations

TBR is one of the few personalized book recommendation services available. You start out by simply filling out the reader survey, which asks you what books, authors, and genres you love, all-time favorites and recent favorites, what you want more of, what you want to steer clear of, and what your dealbreakers are. Then, you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will pick out three books based on your survey responses. You can choose to receive your recommendations two ways: recommendations-only, which comes as a recommendations letter via email, or as hardcover books, which are shipped to you from Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME.

This is an awesome service if you want to get particular about your history book picks. For example, you can ask for nonfiction history books about a certain region, or historical fiction set during the Civil War, or history books that look at certain themes or topics. And since you will receive three recommendations each quarter, you can really mix it up! Plus, TBR allows you to offer feedback on your books and your Bibliologist, and you can always revise your requests from quarter to quarter. The recommendations-only level starts at $15 per quarter, and the hardcover level is $79 per quarter!

Want to learn more about how TBR works? Read on for more details. And if you want to explore more book subscription service options, check out our list of the best book subscription services for every type of book lover!

Daisy Jones & The Six Book Club Questions

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the most talked about books of 2019, and for good reason. It’s a compelling novel written in the form of oral history that explores the meteoric rise to fame of a fictional singer and band in the 1970’s, and their ensuing dramatic split. It’s even been picked up by Reese Witherspoon’s book club, so you know it’s a great discussion-worthy book! If your club has decided to read it, we have 15 book club ideas that address Daisy Jones & The Six book club questions, themes, characters, and more, plus a few book club activity ideas! Go ahead and put on Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and get ready for a great book club meeting!

Daisy Jones & The Six Book Club Questions

Did you like the oral history format? Why or why not? Why do you think that Reid chose this format for the novel? Have you read any other (nonfiction) oral histories before? Did this one feel realistic to you? Book club meeting idea: Make a list of books or documentaries about 1970’s musicians to share with members.

Did you read the book in print or on audio? If you read it on audio, did you like the large cast of narrators? Did you feel like the narrators did a good job of portraying the various characters? Would you have picked someone else to narrate the various characters?

Daisy is a bit of a wild child in her early years. She says, “I had absolutely no interest in being somebody’s muse. I am not the muse. I am the somebody.” Discuss her journey a bit more. How did being taken advantage of shape her character, especially when she joined The Six?

Daisy and Billy are “pitted” against each other a lot–do you think their differences were surmountable, a misunderstanding? Or do they run deeper than that? What do you think is the real reason why Billy was so resistant to having Daisy join the band?

Many of the characters seem to be searching for something to fill a void, and they turn to music or drugs or sex. What do you think the various characters, particularly Daisy and Billy, are really looking for? Do you agree with Camila when she says about them, “The two of you think you’re lost souls, but you’re what everybody is looking for”? Did that provide any comfort for either of them?

What do you think was the turning point for Daisy and Billy to begin warming up to each other? Do you think they put into song what they couldn’t say to each other?

Were you surprised that Camila chose to stand by Billy? Do you agree with her decision? How do you feel about how she handled Daisy, both throughout the book and toward the end, when the band broke up?

Although they are fictional, do you think that Daisy and Billy would ever get in contact with each other after the book ends? Do you think it would be a good or bad idea?

Was there a character or characters that you gravitated to more than others? Which love story did you identify with or enjoy the most?

If you were alive during the 1970s, do you think that Reid captured the attitudes and feelings of the time? If you weren’t alive during the 70s (or don’t remember those years!), did you learn anything or gain any insight about the decade?

This style of narration highlights that memory is often unreliable–different characters have conflicting stories or versions of events, or have reshaped their thoughts and feelings over the years. How do you know what is supposed to be the truth? Do you think you can ever know the truth about an event or phenomenon?

Taylor Jenkins Reid includes the lyrics to the songs that Daisy Jones & The Six perform–did you like the lyrics? Did you wish that they were real songs you could listen to? If they were a real band, do you think you would have been a fan?

Although fictional, many readers have assumed that the inspiration for this book is Fleetwood Mac. How do you imagine that the band’s music would sound like–like Fleetwood Mac, or a different vibe altogether? Book club meeting idea: Watch some Youtube videos of live performances of Fleetwood Mac or any other 1970s bands.

If you had to create a playlist for the novel, what songs or albums would you include? Book club meeting Idea: Create a 1970s playlist to set the mood while everyone chats and snacks, either before or after the discussion!

Did the identity of the “author” of this book surprise you? Did it make you reconsider the story or any of the events at all?


If you enjoyed this book, what books would you recommend that are similar to Daisy Jones & The Six? If you didn’t enjoy this book, what other books would you recommend that similarly address the themes of memory, fame, and break ups? Have you read the author’s other book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?

If you’re looking for more great book club guides, check out our list of book club questions for Pachinko by Min Jin Lee! If you want more great book club suggestions, here’s our list of best recommendations for 2019!

If it’s your turn to pick the next book club pick and you’re stumped, don’t worry! TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations is here to help! TBR is a quarterly book subscription service that takes into account your personal reading tastes and habits to offer personalized book recommendations for every customer. To get started, simply fill out our reader survey and answer questions about your favorite books, genres, authors, plus what you want to read more of. There’s even an option to share what you don’t like reading, and any content warnings. Then, you’ll be matched with a real power reader called a Bibliologist who reads your responses carefully and even checks out your Goodreads page to recommend three books just for you! You can receive your recommendations in a letter delivered via email, or you can opt to receive them as hardcover books shipped from our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME. Want to learn more? Get all the details.

15 Horror Movies Based on Books

What do you find scarier–horror movie or horror books? No matter what your preferred medium for frights and jump scares, quality story trumps everything, and some of the best horror movies out there are based on books! We rounded up a list of great horror movies based on books–some classics, some new horror books–that should be on all horror fans’ radars. We left out Stephen King books and adaptations because let’s be real–it’s news when he writes a book that isn’tadapted. Note: When it comes to horror movies based on books, the genre tends to skew white and male. We hope that publishing and Hollywood can strive to be more inclusive going forward.

Get ready to get scared!

The Bird Box, based on The Bird Box by Josh Malerman

In this Netflix movie, Mallory is a mother of two who has somehow managed to survive an apocalyptic event caused by a strange force that causes people to go insane and become suicidal. Just setting sight on it is enough for a person to succumb, so she must navigate her two kids to safety completely blindfolded. This story is based on Malerman’s debut novel.

Audition, based on Audition by Ryu Murakami

Aoyama is a widower who decides it’s time to begin dating again and to find the perfect woman, he holds a casting call for fake film so he can review resumés. That’s how he discovers Yamasaki, but the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that she is dangerous and not to be trusted. The movie was filmed in Japanese and is available with English subtitles, and the novel is available in English as well.

The Birds, based on the short story “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier, collected in Don’t Look Now

Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movie is quite the departure from its source material, but both share a common theme: the unsettling notion of birds murderous birds. The film starts innocuously enough–a young woman goes to the country with a songbird, only to find that all of the birds in the sky begin turning on humans. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “a murder of crows.”

Fear Street, based on the Fear Street novels by R.L. Stine

Who was an R.L. Stine fan as a kid? The chilling Fear Street novels are headed to the big screen in 2020, with the movie Fear Street. It’s set to be the first in a trilogy, and while we don’t know much about the movie beyond that it’s based on the books and follows a group of teens who find themselves caught up in a murder mystery that may come back to bite them, we’ve also heard the protagonists are two gay teens! 

Psycho, based on Psycho by Robert Bloch

Another Hitchcock classic based off of a book, Psycho is the chilling story of Norman Bates, the seemingly kind motel owner who watches after his mother. When a young woman checks into the motel, she’s found murdered in the shower, and viewers are left to wonder who really killed her. Bloch’s novel was based on a true story!

The Silence of the Lambs, based off of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

The hit movie starring Jodie Foster is based on the book by the same name by Thomas Harris, which is actually the second book in his Hannibal Lecter series. In this story, an investigation by an FBI agent leads her to visit Hannibal Lecter, an imprisoned former psychiatrist with rather dark tastes. 

The Invisible Man, based on The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man film, set to release in 2020 and starring Elisabeth Moss, is an update on the classic novel by H.G. Wells. In the novel, the invisible man is a scientist who cracks invisibility but is unable to reverse it. He begins to falter and go insane, committing criminal acts in his descent. In the movie, Moss plays a woman relieved when her abusive ex-boyfriend dies by suicide, but she slowly begins to suspect he never really left–he’s just invisible.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, based on We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Merricat and her family live in a fine house but are ostracized by the local villagers, ever since her older sister was acquitted of the deaths of their parents and attempted murder of their uncle. Now they spend their days isolated, until a cousin comes to visit with nefarious intentions, pushing Merricat to her limits.

The Woman in Black, based on The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The 2012 adaptation of Hill’s novel stars Daniel Radcliffe, and is about a young solicitor who travels to a small English town to settle the affairs of a recently deceased client, and finds a ghost, the Woman in Black, is haunting the villagers–and she soon sets her sights on him.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, based on Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alan Schwartz

This classic collection of short stories, with creepy artwork, has been scaring young readers for years, and now it’s a movie! Stella and her friends play a prank on a bully one Halloween night, and when they go and explore a haunted house, they find a book of scary stories that begins to play out some of the creepiest tales from the original book.

The Ring, based on Ring by Koji Suzuki

The Ring is the story of four teens who die after watching a scary videotape, and the skeptical journalist who investigates the crime. In the movie, the journalist is played by Naomi Watts, but the film is based on a Japanese novel with a similar premise but some differences–the book is set in rural Japan, and the protagonist is a male journalist who is also the uncle of one of the teens who dies.

The Turning, based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This 2020 film is a modern update on the classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw. In the novel, a governess arrives at a manor to look after two children and quickly encounters a ghost. She suspects the children know of the ghost, but they adamantly deny it. In the movie, a new nanny arrives to take care of two orphans in Maine, and quickly realizes that something darker is at work.

Let the Right One In, based on Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Right One In is a novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay of the film adaptation. It’s about Oskar, a boy living in a Swedish suburb who is being bullied. He makes a friend in his new next-door-neighbor, a mysterious girl, and is unaware that she is connected to mysterious deaths in their community.

The Ghost Bride, based on The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

In this story, Li is a respectable young woman in colonial Malaysia whose future is uncertain after the family fortune is lost. So she agrees to become the ghost bride to the son of the Lim family, who died under mysterious circumstances. As soon as she does, Li begins experiences supernatural phenomena and must discover a dark secret in order to save herself. The Filipino adaptation is available on Amazon Prime, and it should be hitting Netflix in 2020.

The Grudge, based off of the Ju-On franchise created by Takashi Shimizu

The Grudge is an American horror movie about a curse that is passed from person to person, causing people to murder or die by suicide. They are based off of the Ju-On franchise in Japan, which began as a series of short films that spawned novels and manga about the grudge curse.

Honorable mentions: The Haunting of Hill House and Changeling

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson inspired a new Netflix show of the same name. Netflix updated the setting and tweaked the characters so that they are a family of four siblings haunted by the time they lived in Hill House as children before their mother’s untimely death. When their youngest sister dies, they are drawn back into Hill House’s thrall. Changeling by Victor LaValle is a horror novel about a man who is excited to start a family, until something strange begins happening to his wife and child. It’s currently in development as a TV show, so pick it up before it hits the screen!


Do you want more horror? Check out our list of the best horror book subscriptions. Plus, if you want to keep up to date on the latest horror books before they become movies, sign up for TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. TBR is a personalized book subscription service that lets you decide what kinds of books you want to read, and offers you personalized book recommendations every quarter. Simply fill out the reader survey and let us know what you love and what you want to read more of–like horror novels!–and a real power reader called a Bibliologist will pick out three books, just for you! Sound awesome? Learn more about how TBR works.

Everything You Want to Know About TBR Bibliologists

The magic of TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations is that each reader is given personalized book recommendations from a real power reader, called a Bibliologist. TBR wouldn’t be able to run without them! But who are these masked readers behind the TBR curtain, and how did they come to wield so much bookish power? Here is everything you need to know about our TBR Bibliologists and how they make the recommending magic happen!

How does one become a Bibliologist?

Bibliologists are super readers chosen from the pool of Book Riot contributors! Not only are they book lovers who can write eloquently, but we look for folks who have experience in recommending books beyond writing for the website–librarians, booksellers, and other people who treat recommending books as a serious job.

We also look for people who have broad interests, read widely, and can recommend lots of different kinds of books. We make sure that we have Bibliologists who can recommend in every genre and format, as well!

Who are the Bibliologists?

You can learn more about the Bibliologists on our Meet the Biblioligists page! They are Book Riot contributors and contributing editors, former and current librarians and booksellers, writers, podcasters, and mega readers!

On top of that, they are cat lovers and dog owners, lizard and snake keepers, ice cream aficionados who (mostly) don’t let a lactose intolerance hold them back, and they’re fairly split on whether or not they prefer indoor reading to outdoor reading. Read more about them to discover their desert island reads and the weirdest place they’ve ever read a book!

What genres do Bibliologists read?

You won’t find a genre that a Bibliologist doesn’t read or love! While not every single Bibliologist reads every genre (they are only human…mostly, we think), no matter what genre or sub-genre you’re into, there’s an expert Bibliologist ready and willing to offer you some terrific book recommendations.

We’ve found that our most requested genres are sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and literary fiction. Our most popular non-genre book requests are diverse books and books with LGBTQ+ representation, with books in translation closely followed! Needless to say, our Bibliologists have got you covered with all of these book requests!

What formats do Bibliologists read in?

Every format! Bibliologists are not format snobs–they might have personal preferences, but they read hardcover, paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks!

Bibliologists read new titles, advanced copies, and backlist titles! If you want a great audiobook recommendation, or are open to reading ebooks, let us know! Your Bibliologist may be able to steer you to great performances and offer ebook bonus recommendations that aren’t in print.

How do Bibliologists pick my books?

First, Bibliologists read your survey responses very carefully. The more information you give your Bibliologist, the better able they are to brainstorm books for you! Then, they check out your Goodreads page if you’ve included a link. They also see what was recommended to you before, and your feedback on those recommendations. Then, they brainstorm! Bibliologists are usually bursting with book recommendations because, collectively, they read thousands of books each year. Most of the time, it’s easy for them to come up with titles they think you’ll love, but occasionally they might crowdsource your request by asking other Bibliologists for input. No matter what, they pick out a book they are confident is great, and one they hope you’ll love. 

Then, Bibliologists check your Goodreads account to make sure their three picks aren’t books you’ve already read or marked as to-read! They want to make sure that it’s a new or new-to-you pick! They write a personalized letter recommending the book to you and explaining exactly why they picked the books they did. Once that’s written, your recommendations are delivered either via email or your books are ordered from Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME.

What feedback can I give my Bibliologist?

When you log into your TBR account, you can give each recommendation a star rating, and you can write something specific about each book. This can be anything from “I loved these characters” to “I loved the plot, but found the pacing slow” or “More like this, please!” Whatever you want! Both positive and negative feedback allows Bibliologists to better target their recommendations, and more information helps them pick better books! It’s important to know when a book doesn’t quite hit the mark, but Bibliologists also are book nerds who genuinely wish to make readers happy–so they want to know when their recommendation is a winner, too! 

There is also a field for additional feedback on your books selections as a whole! Feel free to give Bibliologists more information about how they did! Did you love the mix of genres? Do you want to mix it up? You can also always update your survey responses to reflect any changes you might have in your reading life!

How can I build a relationship with my Bibliologist?

While you won’t be connected with your Bibliologist outside of your recommendation letters and offering feedback, it can be great to build a relationship with your Bibliologist through these modes. Leaving feedback is the best way to do this, and  keeping your Goodreads page up to date is super helpful to the selection process!

Bibliologists want to connect you with your new favorite book, but if you never let them know how they’re doing, it is a little more difficult. Make sure to always leave feedback, update your survey responses if necessary, and keep your Goodreads account active. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either! 

How are readers assigned to a Bibliologist?

Our Pigeon-in-Chief reviews every order and assigns each reader with a Bibliologist based on genre preference, what a reader is looking to read more of, and sometimes format requests.

Our PIC knows what the Bibliologists’ areas of expertise are, and is always doing her best to make sure that the perfect Bibliologist for the job is matched to every reader.

Can I change my Bibliologist?

Absolutely! If your Bibliologist isn’t working out for you, you can always request a new Bibliologist in your general feedback box or by contacting us. We promise you that no Bibliologists’ feelings will be hurt–Bibliologists are readers too, and they want everyone to find the best books for their needs and tastes!

TBR is a service for book nerds, created by book nerds! It’s run by real people, not algorithms, and our Bibliologists are always doing their very best to find the perfect book for you! Read more about the service, and if you haven’t already signed up for TBR, start now by filling out the reader survey!

If I Cancel Audible, Do I Lose My Credits?

We know how easy it is to sign up for Audible, and then let your monthly credits pile up! Whatever your reason for deciding to cancel Audible, one big question looms: If I cancel Audible, do I lose my credits? The short answer is yes. However, don’t despair! There are a few options for you, and we’ll answer all your questions about canceling Audible and whether or not you have the option to gift Audible credits before you make the break.

If I Cancel Audible, Do I Lose My Credits?

We’ve covered the mechanics of how to cancel Audible before, but it’s good to review, as there will be options to hold on to your credits and take a break. First off, there is no way to cancel Audible completely and retain your credits. However, if you don’t want your hard-earned money to go to waste, you have three options:

  • First, you may spend your credits on  audiobooks (keep in mind you can use credits on pre-orders), and rest easy knowing that you always have access to your full audiobook library even after you cancel your subscription.
  • Second, you may pause your Audible membership for thirty, sixty, or ninety days. This alleviates from pressure off of your wallet while giving you time to catch up on your listening!
  • Third, you may gift your Audible credits to someone else who will enjoy them–although there are limitations to that.

How to Pause Audible Membership

If you’d like to take a short break from your membership, you can pause it and decide later if you’d like to resume. This is the only way to get Audible to stop charging your account and keep your unused credits. Keep in mind that you will not be able to purchase titles from the periodic sales or the Audible Daily Deals, and you won’t be able to download your two free Audible Originals during this time. You will, however, be able to use your outstanding credits whenever you like.

Pausing your Audible membership is not intuitive, as Audible doesn’t like to see people leave, but here is how to pause your Audible Membership in four easy steps:

1. Navigate to your name at the top right of the Audible and hover your cursor over your name to bring up the drop down menu. Click on “Account Details.”

2. In your account, the very first box you should see shows you membership details. Notice that you can switch your membership to adjust how frequently you receive credits. However, you won’t be able to pause your membership there–click on “Cancel membership.”

3. The next screen will prompt you to answer why you’re canceling. Provide an answer, and click on “continue canceling.” Don’t worry, the next screen will allow you to pause your membership!

4. Now Audible will offer you two options! You can switch to every other month billing (so you are billed and receive one credit every other month rather than every month), or you can pause your membership for one, two, or three months. Choose whichever option works best for you!

How to Gift Audible Credits

Say you want a clean break from Audible, but you want to make sure your credits do some good first–you paid for them, after all! Audible doesn’t let you simply offload your credits to someone else. Instead, you must purchase a specific audiobook and then you may gift that audiobook to anyone, whether or not they have an Audible account already!

1. From the home page, click on Gifts, at the top in the menu bar.

2. Once you come to the Gifts page, at the top are options to give someone credits or a subscription. Ignore this–these options will charge your account, and cannot be paid for in credits. Scroll down to “Give a specific Audible book.” From here, you can either click on the most wished-for and most gifted, or you can search the site for individual audiobooks. Keep in mind that not every Audible audiobook is giftable.

3. When you find the book you want to gift, look for the little “Give as a gift” icon below the the purchase options. If you do not see that link, then the book is not gift-able and you’ll have to pick a different title.

4. All you need to gift an audiobook is your recipient’s email address! Fill out the pertinent information and write a gift message! Note: Audible allows you pick the delivery date of the audiobook, which is great for scheduling holiday or birthday gifts! The recipient will receive an email notification of their gift on that date. If you don’t set a date, they will receive an email informing them of their gift right away. When you’re ready to check out, click Continue.

5. This page will summarize your order and allow you to review your recipient’s information to make sure everything is correct. It will also allow you to choose between charging the gift to your payment information, or redeeming your credit! If you have credits available, you will be able to use your credit!

And that’s it! Use up all your credits, and then proceed to the instructions on how to cancel your Audible membership!

Find Your Next Book

If you’re done with algorithms and want personalized book recommendations in any format, check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations!

TBR is a quarterly service that puts you in control of your book recommendations and offers you three personalized recommendations-only via an emailed letter, or three brand-new hardcover books! Start by taking the reader survey, which will ask you an array of questions about what you like, what you don’t like, what you want more of, and what your reading dealbreakers are. Then, your responses will be read by a real power reader, called a Bibliologist, who will recommend three books for you based on your responses! You can even include a link to your Goodreads page to avoid recommendations of books you’ve already read or want to read!

The recommendations-only level starts at just $15 per quarter, and it’s perfect for audiobook listeners and library power users! 

15 Perfect Romance Book Club Recommendations

Is your book club ready to turn up the heat? Whether or not your club makes a habit out of reading romance novels, we all can use a little bit of happily ever after in our reading lives, and there are more great, diverse romance novels than ever out there! If you’re looking to pick up a romance novel, here are fifteen of the best romance book club recommendations of the year for your next meeting!

1. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

In this fun take on digital dating, Rhiannon is the developer of a mega-popular dating app who she doesn’t let her dating life interfere with her career. But when a former NFL player ghosts her only to pop back in her life months later, and in league with a major competitor, Rhiannon has to decide just how willing she is to bend her own rules!

2. Fight or Flight by Samantha Young

Ava is flying back home to Boston after a funeral when a series of travel delays puts her return in peril, and a very handsome and very aggravating man named Caleb swipes her first class seat! Sparks fly between the two, and Ava is ready to right off their connection as a travel-induced blip, except Caleb keeps turning up back in Boston, forcing Ava to rethink her first impression of him and decide if she wants to take a chance on love.

3. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

When Esme Tran travels from Ho Chi Mihn City to the U.S. to meet a potential husband, she’s eager for a new life and new opportunities. But it turns out she has her work cut out for her with Khai, her intended. Khai has autism, and so he believes that he can’t really love someone. The more Esme tries to convince him otherwise, the more she falls for him–but will he realize that he feels the same way before it’s too late?

4. Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Georgette is ready to be taken seriously–she doesn’t want to just be seen as the woman who plans kids’ parties for a living. While she gives herself a major overhaul, she approaches her crush Travis Ford, a professional house flipper and her older brother’s best friend, and proposes that they pretend to date for a while. Travis agrees–but is unprepared when he begins falling for Georgette!

5. Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Guillory takes readers across the pond with this fun holiday romance about Vivian, who agrees to tag along to England with her daughter while her daughter styles a member of the royal family. There, Vivian meets Malcolm, a private secretary to the Queen. As their flirting and private tours turn into romance, will their connection last the holiday season to deepen into something more?

6. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

When Emily moves to Maryland to help her sister recover from an accident, the last thing she expected was to get roped into helping out at the local Renaissance Faire–or find herself attracted to its leader, Simon. It’s not exactly love at first sight, but as they trade barbs and banter, they begin to fall for each other. But is it their true selves that are falling, or their Ren Faire characters?

7. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

Trisha Raje has worked hard to become a doctor, and yet she still falls short of her family’s expectations. DJ Caine has worked hard to become a chef, and doesn’t like being so dependent on the Rajes, but a job is a job. Trisha and DJ clash spectacularly, but when Trisha is the only one who can save DJ’s sister, they find that there is more to each other than they first realized in this romance inspired by Pride & Prejudice.

8. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina is content with her quiet life of books and trivia teams and cozy evenings with her cat. But when the father she never knew dies, and she is suddenly exposed to a large family of strangers, Nina’s life is totally thrown off kilter. Add in a new suitor who is her trivia rival, and suddenly Nina has to figure out a way to come out of her shell, and fast!

9. The Marriage Clock by Zara Raheem

Leila dreams of having a Bollywood-style romance, where she falls in love with someone before they marry. Her parents are a bit more traditional. They cut a deal with Leila: she has three months to fall in love, or they’ll arrange a marriage for her. Now Leila is really feeling the pressure–and the looming possibility of not finding her true love in time.

10. Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

When Eliza accidentally posts a picture of a diamond ring on her left hand to Instagram, she has no idea that her followers would be so excited–which is good for business, as her jewelry store is struggling. Rather than clear up the misunderstanding, she decides to continue to ruse by finding a fake fiancé–but when real love comes along, her life gets even more complicated!

11. The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Alli

When Raina finally gives in to her family’s wishes and lets her grandmother play matchmaker, she has no intentions of just falling in line–she’s got to maintain some control of the process, after all! It’s her life! But with so many dates and so many eligible bachelors, Raina is finding it more and more difficult to be herself–and to not hurt her beloved grandmother’s feelings in the process.

12. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Annie is the ultimate Nora Ephron fangirl, and she can’t wait to fall in love with a guy just like the Tom Hanks heroes she loves. But when a new movie is filming in her neighborhood and Annie meets the star, Drew, he’s the exact opposite of Tom Hanks. And yet, she finds herself drawn to him in ways she couldn’t anticipate–but that doesn’t mean she’s guaranteed her picture perfect movie ending!

13. Fumbled by Alexa Martin

When Poppy became a mom at sixteen, she moved across the country, worked hard, and built a life for herself and her kid that she’s extremely proud of. T.K. has always loved football and is now living the dream–playing for an NFL team. When the two have a chance encounter, their pasts come rushing back and they’re forced to reckon with their teenage actions and their lingering feelings for each other.

14. Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

When Georgina’s life hits rock bottom, she finds a second chance in a new job as a bartender at a pub that’s doing pretty well. The only problem? The owner is Lucas McCarthy, the guy that Georgina fell in love with ages ago. What’s even worse? he doesn’t remember her at all. Talk about embarrassing. But working together in such close proximity brings a lot about Georgina’s past back up again, including a secret she’s been running from. Can she confront it–and get a second chance with Lucas?

15. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Kristen has just received the news that she must have a surgery that will make it impossible for her to have kids, but she’s keeping it a secret while helping plan her best friend’s wedding. When she meets the best man, Josh, she’s immediately attracted to him and the feeling seems mutual…but Josh definitely wants a big family. Kristen decides the best thing to do is put him in the friend zone, but it turns out nothing is quite that simple.

Need more romance book club recommendations? Check out our list of funny romance novels, and book club suggestions for 2019!

Want even more romances for book club? Check out TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations! It’s a service that offers you personalized book recommendations, based on your reading tastes and what you’ve already read. Fill out the reader survey to get started, and then get your three personalized book recommendations by choosing from two subscription tiers: recommendations only, which you’ll receive via an emailed letter, and hardcovers, which will get you three brand new hardcover books from our bookstore partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME! The service is quarterly, and truly adaptable to every budget, genre, and reading taste! Use TBR to get more book recommendations for book club, or for your own reading pleasure!  

The Best Sci-Fi Book Subscriptions For You

Book subscription services are plentiful, but very few services offer readers science fiction books and science fiction only! If you’re a big reader and thinking about treating your shelf to a sci-fi book subscription, your options may be more limited, but it’s not impossible! We’ve rounded up the ten best sci-fi book subscription services around, breaking them down by costs and perks! So whether you’re looking for your next great read, or sci-fi book club recommendations, we’ve got you covered!

1. Strand Books’ The Book Hook Up Sci-Fi and Fantasy

New York City’s Strand Books offers a monthly Sci-Fi and Fantasy subscription service that gets you one signed hardcover first edition of a new release, plus a paperback and bookish goodies from their store or other NYC businesses. While it’s not strictly a sci-fi service, you do get a sci-fi book in each box and past titles include Artemisby Andy Weir, The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, and The Future is Female!: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories from Women by Lisa Yaszek. You can buy a single box to test it out, or get a monthly subscription for $50! Buy a whole year and get a discount price of $200!

2. My Chronicle Book Box

My Chronicle Box offers readers a science fiction and fantasy subscription to their quarterly boxes! In each box, you’ll receive three new books, plus three bookish goodies, and exclusive author content like signed bookplates, a Q&A, or an author letter! Again, this is a combo genre box so you’ll likely get fantasy reads in the mix, but past sci-fi picks include The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal and Do You Dream of Terri Two? by Temi Oh. This is a UK-based company, but they ship anywhere in the world and their quarterly box costs $55.

3. Chamber of Fables

Chamber of Fables is a subscription service focusing on fantasy, science-fiction, and dystopian literature. You’ll get one book in either of those genres, plus an assortment of goodies, depending on your subscription level. The Mini box gets you the book and an exclusive bookmark, and the full box gets you that plus three goodies from Canadian vendors. This is a Canadian company, but they ship worldwide and boxes start at $29.

4. Science Fiction Book Club Subscription

The Science Fiction Book Club is one of the few book subscription services that allows you to pick just sci-fi books, and consist of just the books. This is a great service if you don’t care about frills or goodies, and just want great books. How it works: At the beginning of each month you get the option to purchase 2 credits at $14.99 each, and then redeem them for great books! Most of the options are sci-fi, but there are some fantasy picks mixed in. You get free shipping when you get two or more books, and occasionally you get the chance to buy books for $9.99 apiece! If you like the idea of a subscription service but don’t like surprises, this service is for you.

5. My Sci-Fi Book Club

My Sci-Fi Book Club is another great service that allows you to pick only science fiction books if you like, although they do have fantasy options as well, and the option to receive a mix of both sci-fi and fantasy. Each month you’ll receive a box with two new hardcover releases in your chosen genre(s), plus an ebook! With boxes starting at $16 per month, it’s a great deal for sci-fi and fantasy lovers!

6. Another World Escapes

If you read to escape into another world, then this box is the perfect portal for that escape. It’s a quarterly subscription that offers you one sci-fi or fantasy book, and plenty of high quality bath products (such as bath bombs or salts), a candle, and chocolate. It’s a great way to read an amazing book and pamper yourself while you’re at it! The quarterly box is just $29.99.

7. Universe Bound

Another goodie-heavy selection is Universe Bound! Their book selections tend toward science fiction and speculative, but they’ll also throw in a mystery or fantasy title every now and then. Each box is shipped monthly and includes one trade paperback, and an assortment of goodies depending on subscription level. The simple box includes the book, plus tea, candles, and bath powder, and starts at $15 per month. The deluxe box starts at $40 and includes two or more books, plus candles, bath products, candles, a beverage, and other handmade goodies. You can choose an audiobook box as well, and “six book cycle” boxes, which will be united by a continuous theme for six months!

8. Chocolate & Book Sci-fi and Fantasy

Chocolate and Book is a nice, reliable subscription service with a wide variety of genre selections. You can choose sci-fi and fantasy, and from paperback or hardcover. Then, you’ll receive a single book in your chosen genre and format, plus a carefully chosen chocolate and some kind of beverage like coffee or tea or hot chocolate. This service starts at $18.50, and ships from the U.K. worldwide.

9. Shelflove Crate

Are you a sci-fi lover and a big fan of YA? Shelf Love Crate is a subscription for YA fantasy and science fiction, offering new hardcovers plus exclusive collectibles and goodies from their partner vendors. Starting at just $19.95, you can receive the book and their goodies, and starting at $29.95, you’ll receive the book, collectibles, and four partner goodies! You may also make one-time purchases of upcoming boxes if you want to just try it out before committing long-term. Past sci-fi elections include The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg and LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff!

10. TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations

If you want personalized science fiction book recommendations, then sign up for TBR! TBR is the only subscription service that takes into account what you want to read and what you’ve already read to present brand new and new-to-you recommendations.

Start by filling out the reader survey, which asks about your favorite books, genres, what you want more of, what you hate, and what you want to steer clear of. This is a great time to be as specific as you like–maybe you want more time travel books, or sci-fi books set in space! You decide on what you want, and then an expert Bibliologist reads your responses and carefully selects three personalized recommendations for you. Choose from two subscription levels: recommendations only, or hardcover books! With recommendations only, you’ll receive three personalized book recommendations written as a letter emailed to you. With hardcover books, you’ll receive three brand new hardcover books, handpicked for you and delivered by Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME! You can then offer feedback to your Bibliologist, or change up what you want at any time!

And if you’re still looking for great subscription services, check out our round up of best fantasy book subscription boxes! 

PACHINKO Book Club Questions

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee was a National Book Award finalist in 2017, and hailed one of the best books of that year by many outlets, including Book Riot! Now that it’s available in paperback, it’s a popular book club pick for readers who love multi-generational stories, historical fiction, and world literature. If your group has picked Pachinko to discuss, but you’re running short on Pachinko book club questions, never fear! We’ve rounded up a list of questions that touch on Pachinko‘s theme, cast of characters, and the enduring popularity of the novel! Pick and choose from the list of questions, and see where the group discussion takes you!

Pachinko book club questions

Lee begins the book with the line “History has failed us, but no matter.” Do you believe that the narrator really thinks it is “no matter”? Why do you think Lee chose that opening line?

Share a favorite quote from Pachinko. Why did this quote stand out to you?

Which characters did you like best? Which characters did you identify the most with?

Early on in the novel, Sunja is made to feel shame for her pregnancy. How does the idea of shame persist throughout the novel, both in sense of morals and identity?

Compare and contrast the characters of Hansu and Isak. Which was the better father? The better provider? The better man? Do you believe that Hansu ultimately redeems himself? Is he deserving of forgiveness?

Another theme of the novel is bravery. What kinds of bravery does each character exhibit? How does a character’s bravery (or lack of bravery) shape the family’s story?

The definition and meaning of home is another theme to Pachinko. Lee prefaces to novel with the Charles Dickens quote, “Home, is a name, is a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered to, in strongest conjuration.” Why do you believe that Lee chose this epigraph? Do you think it is easily applicable to the novel? How does the concept of home, and belonging, evolve throughout the story?

The family goes through so much when they immigrate to Japan, and endure WWII. Their lives after are WWII also full of hardship, but a different kind. Did this trajectory seem realistic to you? In what ways were the family’s lives better and worse after WWII?

Discuss how the family’s relationships evolve across the generations. Do the parent-child relationship ships differ? The husband-wife relationships? The ones between siblings? Compare and contrast them.

The concept of cultural and racial identity is very important to the characters of the novel. Sunja and her family strive to be perceived as “good Koreans,” and “good Japanese” are hard to find. Discuss these concepts of identity and “goodness” that is attributed to identity. Do you think they are unfair standards? How do the perceptions change throughout the novel? 

Pachinko covers a long span of time, and is a rather lengthy novel. What did you think of the book’s length? If it’s too long, what would you have cut?

Considering the length, is the book’s pace too fast, too slow, or just right?

What do you think of the title? Pachinko, the game, doesn’t come up until we are well into the story, but its significance becomes important in the second half of the novel. Do you think that it’s an apt title for the book? Would you have chosen something different? If so, what?

Before reading this book, were you aware of the tensions between Koreans and Japanese in the early 20th century? Did you learn something about history through reading this story? Did you learn anything about Korean identity in this novel?

The novel began with “History has failed us, but no matter.” To what extent do you believe this novel is Lee’s attempt at telling the stories pushed to the margins of history? By the end of the book, do you think she’s succeeded?

What did you think of the ending of the novel? Did you find it tragic, or just right? If you could have changed anything about the ending, what would it be?

In many ways, Pachinko is about how one person’s actions can have a profound effect on family: Sunja becoming pregnant by Hansu, and Hansu abandoning her. Do you feel as though your life is largely shaped by your parents’ or ancestor’s decisions? Or do you believe that each person in each generation has autonomy to make their own choices?

Have you read Min Jin Lee’s first novel, Free Food for Millionaires? How did it compare to Pachinko?

Would you read another novel by this author, either Free Food for Millionaires or a future release? Why or why not?

If you got the chance to ask Lee one question, what would it be?


Do you want to find more book club suggestions? Check out our list of the best book club suggestions of 2019!

Are you looking for more personalized book recommendations? Whether you’re on the lookout for more great books to bring to your book club, or you just want to stack your shelves with great books you’re sure to love, TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations can help! TBR is a personalized book recommendation service that takes into account your personal reading habits and tastes to offer you three perfectly tailored book recommendations every quarter! Getting started is easy–all you have to do is fill out our reader survey, which will ask you what you like, dislike, what you want to read more of, and what your dealbreakers are. You can even link us to your Goodreads page!

Then, you’ll be matched with an expert Bibliologist who will read your responses carefully and recommend three books, just for you! You can choose to receive recommendations-only via email as a letter, delivered straight to your inbox, or you can choose to receive your recommendations as three, brand-new hardcover releases delivered to you by our partner, Print: A Bookstore in Portland, ME! Learn more about TBR today to get started!