Judging a book by its cover is something we all do as we peruse bookstores and scroll book lists online. Often, it’s the title and cover combination that drives a book club to blindly select their next read. But how often is it that one of those monthly reads ends up being the total package?
With such a vast selection of books to choose from and only so much time for book club meet-ups, it’s easy to see how many compelling reads regrettably slip through the book club cracks.
If you’re looking for the perfect book club pick, these four novels offer a unique and narrative voice that will fuel discussion, excel in beautiful prose, and bend the arms of your moral compass.
The type of book I wish I'd written. In the age of social media, this chilling novel will have you questioning how much access other people have to your life. With a little bit of cunning, what can a person get away with? A page turner with one of the most distinctive narrative voices I've ever encountered in a book, the story of Joe and Beck will give you whiplash. It's up to you to decide if YOU is a story about love or obsession . . . or maybe both. Read it before the new TV adaptation hits Netflix in September.
Joe doesn’t like artisanal soda, trust fund kids, Dan Brown, Brooklyn hipsters, or Vice magazine. He does, however, like you, ever since you walked into his East Village bookshop looking like Natalie Portman. Shame that Joe is a cold-blooded killer and adept stalker. In the all-too-rare second-person narrative, YOU takes place inside the obsessed brain of Joe Goldberg, who’ll stop at nothing to make boho-wannabe Guinevere Beck (the “you” of Kepnes’s page-turning novel) his. Crazy like:
Crazy like:The lovesick and the just-plain-sick.
Best crazy moment: The DA VINCI CODE reading marathon.
In a sudden act of brutality, a mother kills her six-year-old daughter with a hatchet. With the mother's lack of history of violence or mental illness, the reader is left to wonder why. The setting is rural and the time frame of the book spans more than a decade. It's easy not only to get lost in this tragic tale, but in the exquisite prose that will leave you asking: How can something this ugly sound so beautiful?
Astrid is the daughter of a beautiful single mother who wields her power by manipulating men. When her mother's obsession turns dangerous, she kills her lover and is sentenced to life in prison. Alone in the world, Astrid must navigate the perils of foster care. Poetically beautiful, WHITE OLEANDER is a novel about art, sexuality, and the painful process of forgiveness.
Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.
We know from the classics that the South provides the most poignant settings for a story. Larry Ott is a nice guy, a sort of gentle weirdo. Twenty-five years earlier his only friend, a girl, went missing. When another little girl goes missing in the present day, Larry is immediately suspected. The painfully accurate truth that the past is never dead comes out to haunt Larry.
Seamlessly blending elements of crime and Southern literary fiction, CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER is the powerful and resonant story of two boyhood friends. Torn apart by circumstance, they are brought together again by a terrible crime in a small Mississippi town.