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12 Book Club Picks For May 2024, From #ReadWithJenna to NYPL’s Teen Banned Book Club

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Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

New month, who dis? Just kidding: it’s now May (how is time equally slow and fast? What is this sorcery?!) and a bunch of great book clubs have selected their books for this month’s reading! I, a deeply nosy person, love knowing what is being picked as a sense of what’s happening in the world and what people are feeling and thinking. I also appreciate how you can join in as little or as much as you’d like with these book clubs — almost all are virtual or have a virtual component. My TBR list is not as thrilled with my monthly roundups, but I don’t listen to its feelings, because I will conquer it one day. So what great selections can you peruse, pick, read, and enjoy this month from 12 book clubs’ picks?

There’s a queer poetry collection with an excellent cover, a historical satire that is also part ghost story and murder mystery, and a historical novel by one of our top living authors. (I don’t say this lightly: you should be reading James McBride!) You can read about James Baldwin’s childhood in commemoration of James Baldwin’s centennial year — he was born in 1924. Roxane Gay selected two books this month: a three POV multi-generational family novel and a poetry collection! There’s an inventive sci-fi mystery by the author of The Underground Railroad, a romance with alternating POV where they are friends online and have no idea IRL, an emotional contemporary romance, and a genre blend novel that explores a government time travel program. Oprah picked a historical novel centering an Irish immigrant in NY, and the Teen Banned Book Club at NYPL has a new pick with the perfect title!

And my favorite thing happened again this month: two book clubs picked the same book!

Teen Banned Book Club at NYPL

Book cover of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

About the book club: The NYPL is selecting young adult books that have been challenged or banned from schools and offering them free nationwide via digital access. The book club also hosts the authors for an event.

What The New York Public Library’s Teen Banned Book Club said about the book: “As we celebrate Pride Month in NYC, we are delighted to welcome Sonora Reyes, author of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, to The New York Public Library for a special free author talk for teens. NYPL library cardholders ages 13 and above can borrow Reyes’s book right away on SimplyE, our free e-reader app, through June 30, 2024.”

Author talk with Sonora Reyes: Wed, June 5 | 11 AM ET | Stephen A. Schwarzman Building & Online

Follow The New York Public Library on social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram

Sapph-Lit

cover image for Gay Girl Prayers

Gay Girl Prayers by Emily R. Austin

About the book club: Born from TikTok, Sapph-Lit is a safe space book club for sapphic women and nonbinary readers to come together and chat books and life as well as offer each other support. One book a month is selected, alternating each month between fiction and nonfiction.

What Sapph-Lit said about the book: “A collection of poetry reclaiming Catholic prayers and biblical passages to empower girls, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Follow Sapph-Lit on social media: Instagram, Geneva

Subtle Asian Book Club

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka cover

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

About the book club: Tiffany and Alexandra, longtime friends, created the Subtle Asian Book Club in 2020 with the goal of uplifting Asian voices and storytellers. You can read along with the monthly book chosen, join in on discussions on social media, and watch videos of their live author interviews.

About the book: If you’re looking for a genre blend that is satire, historical fiction, magical realism, ghost story, and murder mystery, this is your book club this month!

Follow Subtle Asian Book Club on social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Discord

The Audacious Book Club in 2024

Real Americans Cover

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

About the book club: Author Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist, Ayiti, The Banks) selects a book every month with the goal of uplifting “authentic and necessary perspectives from writers who fearlessly share their stories.”

What Roxane said about the book: “Next month in the Audacious Book Club, we’re talking about the novel Real Americans by Rachel Khong and the poetry collection With My Back to the World by Victoria Chang. I hope you’ll join us at The Audacity to discuss these two beautiful books.”

Follow Roxane Gay on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Mocha Girls Read

cover of The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

About the book club: Mocha Girls Read is a monthly book club of Black women who love to read. They currently have chapters in 14 cities across the U.S. Starting in 2024, anyone can join an “IG Live every first Saturday of the month at 5 pm PT. Alysia, our founder, will chat about our current book club selection.”

What Mocha Girls Read said about the book: “Our June theme will be My President’s Reading list. We’ll read a book from Barack Obama’s best of lists.”

Follow Mocha Girls Read on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MeetUp, Goodreads, Pinterest

Eclectix The Book Club

the intuitionist cover image

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

About the book club: Dawnshaeé Reid is a self-proclaimed eclectic blogger who created this book club with Black authors as a priority. It aims to highlight a wide range of genres. There’s an in-person, once-a-month meeting option if you’re in Louisville, KY, and a virtual option that meets the last Tuesday of every month.

What Eclectix The Book Club said about the book: “📗 May 2024 Pick: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead — genre: speculative fiction “set in the curious world of elevator inspection, portrays a universe parallel to our own, where morality, politics, and race reveal unexpected ironies”

Follow Eclectix The Book Club on social media: Instagram, Discord, TikTok

The Stacks Book Club

cover of No Name in the Street by James Baldwin

No Name in the Street by James Baldwin

About the book cub: Hosted by Traci Thomas, The Stacks is a podcast that chats all about books, and there’s a monthly book club! The book chosen for the month is discussed on the podcast the last week of the month with a selected special guest.

What The Stacks Book Club said about the book: “…And now our announcement of our May book club pick. It is No Name in the Street by the one and only James Baldwin. 2024 marks James Baldwin centennial year and we want to commemorate that by reading one of his books. And for this one, we’ve picked a memoir about his childhood in Harlem and his subsequent experiences throughout the country. You will have to listen on May 1st to find out who our guest will be for our May 29th book club episode.”

Follow The Stacks on social media: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok

Matzah Book Soup: A Jewish Own Voices Book Club for All

cover of Flirty Little Secret

Flirty Little Secret by Jessica Lepe

About the book club: Lillianne Leight and Amanda Spivack created this book club with a focus on Jewish books and characters “with varying relationships to Judaism” that welcomed all readers — Jewish and non.

What Matzah Book Soup said about the book: “This month we’re so excited to be reading FLIRTY LITTLE SECRET by @authorjessicalepe! It feels like the perfect time of year to enjoy reading a romcom together, and we can’t wait to chat about this one with all of you!

We are meeting with Jessica on MAY 28TH @ 8 PM EST via Zoom!”

Follow Matzah Book Soup on social media: Instagram, Facebook

TODAY Book Club, #ReadWithJenna

Real Americans Cover

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

About the book club: Jenna Bush Hager — current co-host of Today with Hoda & Jenna — independently chooses a book each month that she personally loves. (“Jenna was not paid to mention these items and is unaffiliated with the authors and publishers“)

What Jenna said about the book: “It’s set in 2000, right when Y2K was happening, and it starts as a love story. But then it spans time and place, so that really, it’s a story of family and what we carry, what we pass down, secrets, and how they can divide us, and then bring us back together again. You will love, love, love this book.”

Follow Read With Jenna on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Read With Jenna Goodreads group

Good Morning America‘s GMA Book Club

cover of The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

About the book club: Read along with Good Morning America Book Club, which aims to “showcase book picks from a wide range of compelling authors.”

What GMA said about the book: “A blend of multiple genres from romance to thriller, her debut fiction novel chronicles the journey of a civil servant who is offered the salary of her dreams working for a new government ministry gathering ‘expats’ across history to find out if time travel is attainable.”

Bonus: “This month, we are also teaming up with Little Free Library to give out free copies in Times Square and at 150 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Since 2009, more than 300 million books have been shared in Little Free Libraries across the world. Click here to find a copy of The Ministry of Time at a Little Free Library location near you.”

Follow GMA Book Club on social media: Instagram, Facebook

Reese’s Book Club

cover image for How To End A Love Story

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

About the book club: Every month, Reese Witherspoon picks a book for Reese’s Book Club that centers a woman in its story.

What Reese said about the book: “Our May @ReesesBookClub pick is here! #HowToEndALoveStory by @yulin.kuang is about what happens when two writers with a complicated history end up working on the same TV show… but can they re-write their story? Check out this Reese’s Book Club pick wherever you get your favorite reads! ✍️📚💫

*Author’s Note: This story contains on-the-page discussions of complicated grief, suicide loss, and the death of a sibling.”

Follow Reese’s Book Club on social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube

Oprah’s Book Club

cover image for Long Island by Colm Tóibín

Long Island by Colm Tóibín

About the book club: Oprah’s book club has taken on different forms over decades, starting in 1996 on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She’s still book clubbing, and this month she picked her 105th title!

What Oprah said about the book: “We’re back with the newest Oprah’s Book Club selection: “Long Island” by best-selling author Colm Tóibín!

This novel centers around Eilis Lacey, an Irish immigrant living in New York’s Long Island (hence the book’s title), surrounded by her husband’s extended Italian American family. Within the first few pages, Eilis gets some truly devastating news that forces her to rethink everything she thought she knew about who she is and where she belongs.

“Long Island” is, in some ways, a sequel to Colm Tóibín’s award-winning 2009 novel Brooklyn, but you don’t have to have read it to dive fully into this new novel. As Oprah explains, ‘This novel has everything you need to know in its own completely riveting story.’

We urge you to get a copy of this novel of heartbreak, second chances, and new beginnings. We are so excited to read Colm Tóibín’s latest with you; we have a feeling it will generate some spirited conversation. Tap the link in our bio for more information on our new selection and author! #ReadWithUs

Follow Oprah’s Book Club on social media: Instagram, Twitter

If you’re curious about what book clubs previously picked, or if you like posts about book clubs, find it all here. You can also sign up for our book club newsletter, In the Club.