We know that books about books are popular with readers – and, by extension, so are books about book clubs. This particular category is about more than the power of books in a person’s life: it’s about their power to facilitate connection and community. Isn’t this largely why people join book clubs? We want to discover new books and gain knowledge, yes, but we also want to express ourselves in the company of other book lovers. Books about book clubs capture this desire and fulfill it.
Even knowing this, I was a little surprised by the abundance of books where book clubs play a main role. In many of the titles listed below, book clubs aren’t only settings: they’re catalysts, whether for plot advancement or for character growth. Granted, it may be a little self-centered (I mean, we don’t get to ‘Dante writing self-insert fan fiction where he’s praised by Virgil’ territory, but we are readers who enjoy reading about other readers). But it’s fascinating, too. It makes me wonder about this need to bond over this thing we love.
The books I listed here all delve into that need. They’re mostly fiction, but the appeal of book clubs (and their power) are very real.
The Perks of Loving a Wallflower (Wild Wynchesters #2) by Erica Ridley
Philippa York’s life has few bright spots. One of them is her reading circle, a group of bluestocking friends who gather at her house every week to discuss books. When one of the members’ cipher is stolen by her uncle, Philippa recruits Tommy Wynchester, part of a family specialized in heists.
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Nafisi, an Irani professor, gathered seven of her female students to read Western classics. But this book club came together at immense risk: it took place during the Islamic Republic of Iran, where fundamentalists controlled universities and killed even the slightest of dissenters.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, Translated by Ina Rilke
Exiled to a mountain village during China’s Cultural Revolution, two city boys meet a young seamstress and discover of stash of forbidden Western classics translated to Chinese. Soon, to the villagers’ delight, the boys are retelling the stories they’ve learned in their newfound books.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
One of my all-time favorite books, this epistolary novel tells the story of a London author and the members of the book club she comes in contact with. Set in post-war Guernsey, it’s a delightful and moving tale about the power of community and books in harsh times.
The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson and Piper Kendrix Williams
Group memoirs aren’t all that common, which makes this one a rare gift. Four friends find that Toni Morrison’s novels are a wonderful springboard for necessary conversations about racism in all its forms.
Meet Cute Club (Sweet Rose #1) by Jack Harbon
Jordan Collins is worried about the dwindling membership of his romance book club. Worried enough, in fact, to accept Rex Bailey, the annoying new employee at his local bookstore, when he wants to join. But there may be more to Rex than meets the eye…
The Secret, Book & Scone Society (Secret, Book & Scone Society #1) by Ellery Adams
Nora Pennington, owner of Miracle Books, has a gift: she can always prescribe the right book to the right person. That’s what a visiting businessman wanted…but before he can keep their appointment, he’s found dead on the train tracks. Nora starts the Secret, Book & Scone Society, determined to find the truth behind the man’s death.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Patricia Campbell isn’t happy with her life. The one thing she enjoys is her book club, formed by Charleston mothers with a penchant for true crime and suspense. When an attractive stranger arrives at the town, and local children go missing, Patricia’s suspicions arise. But even she could never have suspected the bloody truth behind the disappearances.
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