12 Book Clubs’ Excellent Picks For May 2023

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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.

If ever there was a month to join (however much or little you’re comfortable with) a book club, this is certainly the month. You can close your eyes and point at this list to pick your next book and not lose. It’s just a list of the best of the best basically, with something for everyone ranging from a graphic novel to horror. And I love that two different, big book clubs picked the same dystopian novel.

You’ll find the above mentioned dystopian (twice!), a graphic novel revolving around knighthood, a friendship saga, a new Becky Albertalli YA romance, and Oprah picked her 101st book club book!

There’s also a horror western set in 1915; a hockey romance with an obsessed her; a missing woman in Lagos, Nigeria; a historical fiction with old Hollywood and a will; and a love story that explores mental illness, friendship, and grief.

Plus, Sapph-Lit goes all out giving you a nonfiction, fiction, and May bonus title pick. Select one, two, all three–read everything on the list!

The Audacious Book Club in 2023

Chang-Gang All-Stars book cover

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

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

About the book: Pick this book to enter a dystopian world where prisoners compete in packed arenas in death-matches.

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

Subtle Asian Book Club

Squire Comic Book Cover

Squire by Sara Alfageeh, Nadia Shammas

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 on social media, and watch videos of their live author interviews.

What Subtle Asian Book Club said about the book: “we’re incredibly excited to be reading this beautiful and moving graphic novel. join us on discord for group discussions, and stay tuned for additional ✨ exciting news ✨”

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

Mocha Girls Read

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin Book Cover

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

About the book club: Mocha Girls Read is a monthly book club of Black women who love to read in the Los Angeles area.

About the book: If you’ve ever wanted a family saga but based on a friendship instead (found family!), spanning 30 years, set in the gaming world and exploring disability, identity, and our need for connection and love, this is your book club this month.

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

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

cover image for Imogen, Obviously

Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

About the book club: Lillianne Leight and Amanda Spivack created this book club with the 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: “We are beyond excited to finally reveal that our May pick is none other than IMOGEN, OBVIOUSLY by the incomparable @beckyalbertalli! We’ve been fans of Becky’s books for a long time and we are so honored that she’ll be joining us to chat about Imogen on MAY 31st at 8 PM EST!”

Follow Matzah Book Soup on social media: Instagram, Facebook


zami a new spelling of my name cover

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

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, life, and offer support.

Sapph-Lit picked THREE books for May! I’ll link to the individual Instagram posts for each title where you can find more info about the books, including listed CWs.

nonfiction: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde (See IG post for more info)

fiction: Rosewater by Tade Thompson (See IG post for more info)

May bonus book: The Faithless by C.L. Clark (See IG post for more info)

Follow Sapph-Lit on social media: Instagram, Geneva

NYPL and WNYC’s Virtual Book Club

cover of Lone Women by Victor LaValle; illustration of a Black woman in a white blouse and blue skirt standing in a field of wheat

Lone Women by Victor LaValle

About the book club: WNYC host Alison Stewart and New York Public Library have on-air and social media posts throughout the month about their pick, along with in-person and online book discussions led by librarians.

About the book: A horror novel set in 1915, with a locked trunk that should always remain locked because opening it means those around Adelaide Henry start to disappear…

Follow NYPL and WNYC’s Virtual Book Club: Events, live conversations

TODAY book club, #ReadWithJenna

Chang-Gang All-Stars book cover

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

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 about where we find entertainment. How violence has become so much part of who we are as a culture. It’ll make you have conversations about the prison industrial complex. It pushed me, for sure — but that’s the incredible thing about reading.”

Follow Read With Jenna on social media: Instagram, Facebook

Amor en Páginas: The Latinx Romance Buddy Read

cover image for Until I Get You

Until I Get You by Claire Contreras

About the book club: A monthly book club run by two Latinas with the goal of amplifying romance novels written by Latinx authors.

About the book: Love romance books and want a hockey romance with an obsessed hero? Then this is your book club this month!

Follow Amor en Páginas on social media: Instagram

“GMA” Book Club

cover image for The Nigerwife

The Nigerwife by Vanessa Walters

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: “For fans of My Sister, the Serial Killer and The Last Thing He Told Me, this twisted novel centers around a young woman who vanishes from her glamorous life in Lagos, Nigeria, and her estranged aunt who will stop at nothing to find the truth.”

Follow GMA Book Club on social media: Instagram, Facebook

#ReadWithMC: Marie Claire’s Virtual Monthly Book Club

Adelaide cover

Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler

About the book club: Marie Claire editors created an online monthly book club for people with busy schedules to still be able to read and to “Consider it socializing without actually socializing because, really, we all just want to take off our bra and lay down after a long day.” You can also share reviews online with the chance to have it featured on the site.

What MC said about the book:a bittersweet, relatable story about a twenty-something American in London who badly wants the man she loves to love her back.” And you can read an excerpt!

Follow #ReadWithMC on social media: Instagram , Twitter

Reese’s Book Club

cover image for Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?

Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith Paul

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: “This book is fascinating. I tore through the pages…It’s about what happens when a woman inherits the estate of a Hollywood icon and discovers secrets hiding in her family…”

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

Oprah’s Book Club

cover image for The Covenant of Water

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

About the book club: Oprah’s book club has taken on different forms over decades starting in 1996 on The Oprah Winfrey Show. And she’s still book clubbing, this month having picked her 101st title!

What Oprah said about the book: “It’s epic. It’s transportive. Many moments during the read I had to stop and remember to breathe. I couldn’t put the book down until the very last page. It was unputdownable!”

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

And if you’re curious what book clubs have previously picked, here’s a roundup for March and April 2023.