There are plenty of reasons to have a get-together with your girlfriends: dinner and dancing, Netflix and takeout, and of course, wine and books. I'm partial to that last one, so I always keep a few bottles of red in the cabinet and a long list of reading recommendations for the next time my book club gals want to meet up.
Whether you're a member of an all-women's book club or you have an unofficial group of girlfriends with whom you share recommendations, chances are there's a number of women in your life that you read and talk about books with. At least once a month, you have the ladies over and you all sit on the living room floor, passing the drinks back and forth as you discuss everything from your latest read — plot holes, character motivations, and that ending. Maybe you meet up for brunch to debate which side of the love triangle you were rooting for over breakfast pastries and mimosas. Or perhaps you prefer a picnic book club meet up, because you know the women in your discussion group get to passionate, and far too loud, to be inside. But no matter where your book club meets, you know the most important thing is that you have a book that satisfies everyone's taste.
For a book to be a truly good book club pick, it has to have characters you love to dissect, an ending you can debate about, something challenging regarding its structure, but most importantly, it has to interest everyone in your group. When it comes to pleasing an entire group of women readers? Well, that can be challenging, but maybe not as hard as you think. Women, who according to studies read more than men, often gravitate toward fiction over nonfiction, but they make up the majority of readers across most other categories as well, including poetry, short stories, and also nonfiction. So what does that mean for your book club? That the possibilities for your next selection are endless.
So whether your book club enjoys paperback romances, biographies and memoirs, family drama, murder mystery, or something in between, here are 11 book club books for your next all-gals gathering:
The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
Jeanette Walls may be best know for her memoirs, but her novel The Silver Star is just as honest and captivating as her nonfiction. All women know a little something about sisterhood, which is what makes this story about two sisters learning how to take care of each other — and take care of themselves — a great pick for all-female get together.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, secrets and lies — it would be harder to find someone who can't relate to the complicated relationships in this book than someone who can. Written in a similar format as Where'd You Go, Bernadette, it's as if Liane Moriarty's 2014 runaway bestseller was written for the purpose of dissection and discussion.
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
Love is complicated, and no one seems to understand that better than Toni Morrison. Her newest novel about the complicated love between parents and their children, specifically a mother and daughter, explores the effects the ripples of childhood have on adult life. Heart wrenching and unforgiving, you might need to bring a box of tissues or two to your club's meeting.
The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor
So much more than a story of a marriage coming apart at the seams, The Daylight Marriage deals with love, loss, and the complications of building a life together, and then living it. Laced with mystery and tragedy, this selection might have the women of your book club questioning the whole idea of marriage by the end of the discussion.
My Paris Dream by Kate Betts
Doesn't every girl dream of taking off and flying to Paris? Well, Kate Betts did just that, and you can relive it all in her memoir in which she details her time coming of age in as a fashion journalist in one of the most lively cities in the world. Enchanting as it is honest, My Paris Dream will have you considering moving your next book discussion to France.
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby's newest novel about Sophie Straw, a girl in London looking to reinvent herself, will have your entire book club laughing out loud. The truly memorable cast of characters (and their questionable life choices) provides plenty of fodder for your book club discussion — just don't be surprised if the tables turn and you all start discussing your own life plan in the process.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
If the unconventional narration of this book isn't enough to keep the discussion going, the fiercely opinionated and complicated titular character certainly will. Bernadette's attempt to find herself is something every woman can relate to, and likely cheer for.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Gripping and completely engrossing, Luckiest Girl Alive tells the story of one girl's complicated and dark past that comes crashing into her present, threatening her future. And even thought we all know gossiping isn't nice, Ani, the book's complicated main character, gives you the perfect opportunity to exercise your Mean Girls bone.
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
History meets family meets feminism in The Boston Girl , a novel that, at its core, tells a story about women and opportunity. In it, Eighty-five-year-old Addie answers her granddaughter's question, "How did you get to be the woman you are today," by explaining the story of her fascinating, heartbreaking, challenging, but ultimately beautiful life.
Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
Read it all at once or pick one story to dive into each week, either way, Mary Gaitskill's Bad Behavior is a collection worth reading and discussing. Unsparing, powerful, and provocative, Gaitskill's short stories explore love, longing, loss, identity, sexuality, rebellion, freedom — basically everything you want to talk about when you get a group of your favorite women together.
In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
You'd be hard pressed to find a lady in your life who hasn't read one of Judy Blume's classic young adult books, so it only seems natural that your all-women's reading group should pick up her latest book. Written in Blume's signature style, In the Unlikely Event takes a look at one family's history over three generations, and all the people, places, loves, and losses that shaped them into the people they became. Like all her novels, it is filled with moments of wisdom, sentiment, and unconditional love.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
Because Sissy Hanshaw is a personal hero of mine, and because Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a bizarre joyride that is too irresistible not to take, Tom Robbin's wacky western must not be left out. This fun and feminist novel takes you on Sissy's hitchhiking journey across America, where she meets truck drivers, advertising executives, famous artists, and, of course, the girls of Rubber Rose Ranch. Hilarious as it may be, Robbin's novel is really about freedom at its core, which is something every woman wants a piece of.