The books I see at a constant loop on my social media are always the book club picks – Reeses bookclub, read with Jenna, Belletrist, Onward bookclub, Amaries bookclub, Oprah’s booksclub, Good morning america’s book pick etc. Of course it brainwashes you to want to read the books you see over and over and over everytime you look at your phone. I am heavily influenced by this, NYTBestseller lists, Reading lists, Obama’s favorites etv. But I wanted to chose one bookclub to follow through the year, but I can’t figure out which one has the books that best cater to my taste, so I decided to try them all to see which bookclub is the better fit for me.
What is my criteria? Personally, I prefer a variety of books. I don’t enjoying reading the same book over and over. Books that follow a certain pattern, a typical, overused trope or clishé is not for me. I loved gone girl, but I didn’t particularly love all the other books that were the “next gone girl”. I also like well rounded complicated and well formed characters, they can even be slightly unlikeable, but they need to have redeeming qualites. A straight up unlikeable narrator with side characters used to push the story loses my interest fast. I like a book that is an obvious love child, not a churned out stencil story. Give me originality, diversity and make me believe it and I’m on board. (It can be fantasy or sci-fi, but the world building has to be on point!) Bonus if it’s a book that makes me think and stays with me after I’m done.
A few books on my favorites list, just for reference: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, The stranger by Albert Camus, Extremely loud and incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer, The time traveler’s wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, All the ugly and wonderful things by Bryn Greenwood, Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Of women and salt by Gabriela Garcia and anything written by John Green (I have yet to read anything of his that I don’t like). I could go on, but I’ll cap it there, I feel this shows a variety over several decades, contemporary and classic.
The january book club picks:
One of the largest and most known bookclubs with monthly picks is Reese’s book club. I’ve followed her book club for a while, but I’ve only read a handful of her picks. What is different about her book club is that all her selections are written by women. Reese is very much an advocate for female voices and stories. And also has a production company that produces some of the books to movies and tv-shows. (Look out for Daisy Jones & the six coming out march 3, 2023.)
Not too long ago (yesteryear?) she also expanded her book club to add a YA monthly pick as well. I’ll keep my eyes open for those picks as well.
January’s pick: The house in the pines by Ana Reyes – a debut thriller with an unreliable narrator. Maya is having klonopin withdrawals as she sees a video of a woman dropping dead in front of a man she knows, because her best friend died in the exact same way in front of the same man 7 years earlier. She set’s off to find answers, but truth is hard to find when your mind is playing tricks on you.
Read with Jenna is quickly growing and following in Reese’s footsteps with producing her picks into Movies and television. The many daughters of Afong Moy being adapted as a tv-series as we speak. I’ve liked many of Jenna’s picks and I also liked that she chose an older book with a 20 year anniversary in december. (Donna Tartt – the secret history – a favorite of many!) I definiely would love more older books and not just brand new releases to push sales. These books are also harder to come by when you don’t live in the US.
January pick: Sam by Allegra Goodman, a coming of age story of a girl from age 7 until she goes off to college at 19.
Goodman has written several books before, but I am not familiar with her writing, but looking forward to trying.
Belletrist is a bookclub by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss started when the two friends who lived on different coasts would send books to one another. They are now on the fifth year of the official bookclub. This book club does deep dives with podcasts, author interviews and has two newsletters, one just for the weekly book quote.
January pick: All this could be different by Sarah Thankam Mathews. A debut contemporary novel about a queer indian woman who starts an entry-level position in Milwaukee.
Amerie’s book club is a fairly new bookclub, started at the turn of the millennium. It aims to highlight diverse and unique perspectievs and voices. So this book club is right up my alley! I just recently discovered this book club, so I’m excited for her picks and diving into past picks as well.
January pick: Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor. One of the longest books this month at over 500 pages, but those should fly by with all the vices of money, power and pleasure in the form of a family saga. It sound thrilling! Described as a binge worthy mortality vs desire with heavy levels of corruption that takes place in India – I can’t wait!
This book is also a part of the Book of the month book selection. This is a curated book membership for US & canada where you pay a monthly fee and chose one of the books in their selection to be shipped to you. (Comes with their special edition BOTM cover.)
Good moring America book club! GMA is a talkshow in America on ABC – which so happens to be Amerie’s partner too. If this is the reason they have the same book pick, I don’t know. I also do not know if they will have the same pick every month. (I’m new to this!) But we will see. But with Amarie, BOTM and GMA choosing the same book, it must be fire! Putting it on the top of my list!
Diverse spines is a book community dedicated to expanding awareness through diverse literature. They highlight books by Black women and women of color. This is also very much the voices I enjoy reading, as a minority woman. So I will definitely be reading their picks!They have already released january, february and march’s picks! Yay!
January: Black cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
February: Moonrise over New Jessup by Jamily Minnicks
March: Take my hand by Dolen Perkins Valdez
I love that all three books are already available, so this isn’t just a marketing tool, but curated books for the community! Getting them asap!
Books that matter UK is a subscription box where you get a box with the book and other curated artifacts like a book mark, or a treat or tote etc. They pick empowering stories, powered by women.
I have desperately wanted this subscription box many times, but the shipping to Norway is a killer, so no box for me. Hoping they will partner with bookdepository or some other outlet that can ship for free. (I refuse to pay 5-15 dollar shipping for a book! add tax to that! hard pass!)
January pick: Really good actually by Monica Heisey. This is the debut novel of the award winning screenwriter for (amongst ohers) Schitt’s creek, working moms etc. Inspired by her own divorce in her 20’s, this book is said to be hilarious and painfully relatable. I’ve never been married, but I am single so I’m hoping it will be some good single girl empowering content! (Update: I just found out it comes out January 17, which is ridiculous for a January pick because January is almost over by the time you get it.😭)
Did I forget any must read book clubs? I know there are plenty more I haven’t mentioned that are painfully obviously missing, like Oprah’s bookclub – but she doesn’t have montly picks. In fact I think her latest pick was Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver back in October 2022. Which is cool, nobody needs to be pressured to read a book a month, but I personally read more than that. I will definitely add Oprah to the list the months she has picks. Same with author Elizabeth Gilberts “Onward” book club where she highlights black womens voices. She has not announced a january pick. But I’ll be checking in on her when she announces anything.
I’ve deliberately not chosen book clubs by publishers. But if I’ve missed a great public book club that you know of, please let me know! I’ve gotten a great start on this month and I’ve already read a few of these and I’m actually hoping to get through them all! Will let you know how that went, but I’ll definitely try them all for a few months before deciding anything. The goal is to find the best book club for me. Key words: Variety, diversity, originality!
Have you read any of these or will you read any of these or think they look exciting? Let me know!