Finding top book club recommendations for women isn’t too difficult — all you need to do is a quick Google search to find lists and lists of books to read for book club.
But finding a truly great book to read for book club? That’s something different.
On this page, I aim to help you find the best reads for your own group, and I’ve done so by compiling a list of some of the books that provoked the most discussion within my own book club. I belong to an absolutely wonderful book club filled with educated women who have become great friends, and I credit some of the books below with bringing us together.
Below, you’ll find an ever-growing list of books, followed by a description and, where possible, a link to my own review on the site. And this is really cool — in a few instances, I’ve even linked to book discussion questions for particular books. It’s awesome to read a book and have your own opinions, but sometimes it’s helpful to have a few questions to go along with the book, just in case!
I won’t pretend that all of the books below are easy and enjoyable reads. Some are dense works, and others are controversial or emotionally difficult to get through, but I think that emotion and controversy is part of what helped evoke such great conversation among my own book club.
Anyway, scroll down to check out my list of top book club recommendations for women, and feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments below! (And of course, if you’re simply looking to start a book club, check out my How to Start a Book Club for Moms post.)
Below, the my top book club recommendations for women are listed in no particular order.
Novel Mom’s Top Book Club Recommendations for Women
All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
There is really only one book that has ever made me go numb and experience chills, all at the same time. For me, that book was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Frankly, it’s not your typical book-club read. The characters and the themes in the story lend themselves to the young adult genre, which in my experience isn’t exactly the book club audience. Still, this story is rife with discussion topics, ranging from mental health to stereotypes. All the Bright Places is not always a happy book, but it’s absolutely worth the read.
Find my full review on All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven here.
The Woman Upstairs (Vintage Contemporaries)The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud tells the story of a woman who, living without a family, feels as if she may have missed out on something in life. Couple that feeling with a lower-income job and the resentment she feels at caring for her ailing mother, and you’ve already got the makings of a vibrant book club discussion. Add to it odd feelings of obsession when a new family comes to town, and wow, The Woman Upstairs is a fruitful book for discussion.
You can find my full review of The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud here.
Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a controversial and complicated book, and you know what that means—lots of discussion! This story has tons of moral and ethical implications, and I’ll be frank: Not everyone in your group will love it. But that’s what makes for great discussion.
The book tells the story of sheltered children who are living life for one specific purpose. It’s as controversial as it is chilling, and your book club will be sure to have differing opinions on the revelations made in this story.
You can find my full review of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro here.
Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach UsParenting Without Borders by Christine Gross-Loh
Here’s a great parenting read for all the book clubs filled with mothers. Parenting Without Borders by Christine Gross-Loh is fascinating because it gives real perspective to how we raise our children here in the United States, versus how parents abroad choose to raise their children.
Gross-Loh has lived with her kids in several distinctly different cultures and has taken parenting tactics from each of them. Her personal story was truly eye-opening for me and for the other women in my book club.
You can find my full review of Parenting Without Borders by Christine Gross-Loh here.
The Red Tent – 20th Anniversary Edition: A NovelThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
I’ll be honest: I did not actually read The Red Tent for my book club because all the women in my club had already read it! Still, each of the ladies in my club assured me that this is one of the top book club recommendations for women. I agree.
The Red Tent is different from anything I’ve read before. The book focuses on what life may have been like for biblical character Dinah. Because Dinah did not play a huge role in the Bible, author Anita Diamant had a wide poetic license, which she uses effectively. The story is told in the first-person from Dinah’s point of view, and it provides an eye-opening account of what life may have been like for women living during biblical times.
You can find my full review of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant here.
Gift from the Sea: 50th-Anniversary EditionGift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh is the only book I read again and again and again. Written by the wife of famed aviator Charles Linderbergh, this book is an introspective memoir on the ways a woman’s life changes as she grows older. It’s quick and easy to read, but it provokes deep thought about the different seasons of life.
This is the first book I read each year, and it means something different to me every time I read it. The book is only about 130 pages long, but it’s deeply personal and chock-full of questions women should ask themselves (and perhaps their closest friends) at least once.