One of the best parts of book club is the lively discussion that takes place over a good read. But sometimes even the most genre-diverse book clubs can get a little predictable. Conversations might start sounding like, “I’ve actually read a book where someone was murdered like this before,” or “Enemies-to-lovers, again?!” To keep things fresh, it might be time to add some books around current events to your list to spark invigorating conversation. To expand the discourse at your next book club meeting, consider choosing one of these all-too-relevant titles for your next reading experience.
Emi Vargas was lucky—at least that’s what people told her. She’d been born after the climate crisis, and her parents had played pivotal roles in saving the world. But Emi’s illusions quickly shatter when a dozen climate criminals are assassinated and her mother, Kristina, vanishes after being accused as a suspect. Emi must leave her once safe utopia and travel with her father, Larch, from Greenland to the ruins of New York City to search for her mother. As she embarks on this journey, we travel back in time to when Larch and Kristina become part of The Great Transition, creating a new world and a new life together. Alternating perspectives, this novel expertly captures the love we have for family and home, while offering a sobering look at what the near future could look like.
For fans of Station Eleven and The Ministry for the Future, this richly imaginative, immersive, and “profound” (Alice Elliott Dark, author of Fellowship Point) novel is the electrifying story of a family in crisis that unfolds against the backdrop of our near future.
Emi Vargas, whose parents helped save the world, is tired of being told how lucky she is to have been born after the climate crisis. But following the public assassination of a dozen climate criminals, Emi’s mother, Kristina, disappears as a possible suspect, and Emi’s illusions of utopia are shattered. A determined Emi and her father, Larch, journey from their home in Nuuk, Greenland to New York City, now a lightly populated storm-surge outpost built from the ruins of the former metropolis. But they aren’t the only ones looking for Kristina.
Thirty years earlier, Larch first came to New York with a team of volunteers to save the city from rising waters and torrential storms. Kristina was on the frontlines of a different battle, fighting massive wildfires that ravaged the western United States. They became part of a movement that changed the world—The Great Transition—forging a new society and finding each other in process.
Alternating between Emi’s desperate search for her mother and a meticulously rendered, heart-stopping account of her parents’ experiences during The Great Transition, this novel beautifully shows how our actions today determine our fate tomorrow. A triumphant debut, The Great Transition is a breathtaking rendering of our near future, told through the story of one family trying to protect each other and the place we all call home.
To misquote one of our generation’s greatest songwriters, Harper Cruz is unhappy, broke, confused, and lonely at the same time. Desperate to make rent and get out of her dead-end job in New York, Harper eagerly applies for a position that offers triple her last paycheck. Turns out the job is with self-help guru Charlotte Green. While Harper isn’t familiar with Charlotte or her company, she’s dazzled by Charlotte's relentless optimism and the fact that she chose Harper out of hundreds of applicants. Accepting the role, Harper is thrown into a glamorous new life in Nashville, where Charlotte’s employees are a family who are offered countless bonding opportunities and other perks in return for their loyalty. But as Harper spends more time in her new role, she soon finds that there’s a high price to pay to survive #girlboss culture.
The Devil Wears Prada meets The Assistants in this compulsively readable debut following a young woman who takes a job working for an enigmatic influencer and quickly discovers there’s an ugly side to being a #GirlBoss.
After a series of go-nowhere jobs in the New York publishing world, Harper Cruz is broke, lonely, and desperate for a salary that won’t leave her scrambling to make rent each month. So when she stumbles across a job posting from an influencer offering triple her last paycheck, she automatically submits her résumé.
Harper may not be familiar with self-help guru Charlotte Green, but her relentless optimism and charismatic can-do spirit has created a cult-like following of women across the country. When she selects Harper among thousands of other applicants in less than twenty-four hours, it’s obvious she sees something she likes. Despite the pressure to accept the offer just as quickly as she’s been given it, Harper decides to take a leap of faith and become the newest member of The Greenhouse.
Accepting the job means a move to Nashville, and Harper is quickly dazzled by the glamourous world Charlotte has built in Music City. The Greenhouse is more than a workplace—it’s a family—and Harper soon finds herself swept into its inner circle. At first, she loves working in such an inspirational environment, where mandatory dance parties, daily intentions, and group bonding activities make up for long hours and Charlotte’s persistent demands for loyalty. But the deeper Harper is pulled into Charlotte’s world, the more she realizes that having it all and being it all comes with a price.
Spanning decades, LOOKING FOR JANE tells the stories of three women who share unbelievable secrets. In 2017, Angela Creighton finds a letter that contains a life-changing confession and knows it must wind up in the hands of its intended recipient. She does some research and learns about a group of women who ran an underground abortion network decades ago in Canada known simply by the code name Jane. Flashing back to the 1970s, we then meet Dr. Evelyn Taylor, who was forced to give up her baby for adoption as a teenager. Determined to give women a choice, she became an abortion provider as part of the Jane Network. Less than a decade later, Nancy Mitchell’s life is turned upside down by a shocking family secret and an unexpected pregnancy. With no one to turn to, she becomes a part of the Jane Network. A beautiful look at the hard choices women must face, made all the more memorable knowing the book is inspired by true stories.
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This “powerful debut” (Hello! Canada) for fans of Kristin Hannah and Jennifer Chiaverini about three women whose lives are bound together by a long-lost letter, a mother’s love, and a secret network of women fighting for the right to choose—inspired by true stories.
2017: When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane.
1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.
1980: After discovering a shocking secret about her family, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.
Looking for Jane is “a searing, important, beautifully written novel about the choices we all make and where they lead us—as well as a wise and timely reminder of the difficult road women had to walk not so long ago” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
For 30 years, Stanford Solomon has kept a shocking secret: He assumed the identity of his best friend after faking his own death. Stanford’s real name is actually Abel Paisley. Near the end of his life, he comes face-to-face with his long-lost daughter, Irene Paisley, who is a home health aide. THESE GHOSTS ARE FAMILY delves into the consequences of Abel’s choices—spanning from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem. As readers learn about the lives of the Paisley family, a compelling story of love and trauma unfolds against the backdrop of history, slavery, and migration.
Longlisted for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A “rich, ambitious debut novel” (The New York Times Book Review) that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
*An Entertainment Weekly, Millions, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2020 Pick and Buzz Magazine’s Top New Book of the New Decade*
Stanford Solomon’s shocking, thirty-year-old secret is about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford has done something no one could ever imagine. He is a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present-day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of a single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the houseboy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
This “rich and layered story” (Kirkus Reviews) explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is a “beguiling…vividly drawn, and compelling” (BookPage, starred review) portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret.
After an amicable divorce and move to a new neighborhood, the future is looking bright for Iris (nee Inés) Prince. That is, until she wakes up one morning to find a wall in her front yard that somehow appeared overnight. To make matters worse, Silicon Valley has launched a high-tech device called “the Band,” which people wear on their wrist to replace driver’s licenses and IDs. The problem is the Band is only available to people who can prove parental citizenship. As a second-generation Mexican American, Iris is deemed to be of “unverifiable origin.” Her once bright new beginning is now a hate-fueled nightmare, and Iris, who has a 9-year-old daughter, must find a way to protect what she loves most.
Brando Skyhorse, the PEN/Hemingway Award–winning author of The Madonnas of Echo Park, returns with a riveting literary dystopian novel set in a near-future America where mandatory identification wristbands make second-generation immigrants into second-class citizens—a powerful family saga for readers of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind.
Iris Prince is starting over. After years of drifting apart, she and her husband are going through a surprisingly drama-free divorce. She's moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, and has plans for gardening, coffee clubs, and spending more time with her nine-year-old daughter Melanie. It feels like her life is finally exactly what she wants it to be.
Then, one beautiful morning, she looks outside her kitchen window—and sees that a wall has appeared in her front yard overnight. Where did it come from? What does it mean? And why does it seem to keep growing?
Meanwhile, a Silicon Valley startup has launched a high-tech wrist wearable called "the Band." Pitched as a convenient, eco-friendly tool to help track local utilities and replace driver's licenses and IDs, the Band is available only to those who can prove parental citizenship. Suddenly, Iris, a proud second-generation Mexican-American, is now of "unverifiable origin," unable to prove who she is, or where she, and her undocumented loved ones, belong. Amid a climate of fear and hate-fueled violence, Iris must confront how far she'll go to protect what matters to her most.
My Name Is Iris is an all-too-possible story about family, intolerance, and hope, offering a brilliant and timely look at one woman’s journey to discover who she can’t—and can—be.
Even at twelve years old, Bird knows to not ask too many questions or stand out too much. Laws that preserve “American culture” govern his life. Because of these laws, authorities can take away the children of dissidents, especially those of Asian descent, and ban books considered unpatriotic. Living with his loving yet broken father, he’s grown up detached from his mother, a Chinese American poet who left unexpectedly three years ago. But when he receives a mysterious letter, it takes him on a quest to find her. On his journey, Bird discovers an underground network of librarians, children who have been taken from their families, and why sometimes acts of defiance against hate can lead to necessary change.
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