It’s back-to-school season, so the time is nigh for you to reinvigorate your book club’s reading list. To help, we’ve handpicked a selection of some of this fall’s best fiction. Dissected over wine, coffee, or chamomile tea, the stories below are bound to stir up some great discussions.
The Garden of Letters, by Alyson Richman
In World War II–era Italy, Fascists endeavor to control every aspect of daily life, threatening anyone in their path to power—even ordinary people like cellist Elodie Bertolotti and Dr. Angelo Rossilli. In such a tumultuous world, courageous, defiant acts begin to define people and their futures, and love is considered an impossibility. Or is it? Curl up with this engrossing historical novel, and see what your friends have to say about it. We suspect they’ll be as dazzled as you are!
The Children Act, by Ian McEwan
McEwan—a master of piercing prose that seeps unapologetically into our moral consciousness—has constructed yet another beautiful story that tackles the uneasy relationship between religion and the legal system. Fiona Maye is a family court judge who, while known for her precision and farsightedness in the court, presides over a turbulent domestic life. When a case involving a critically ill teenager refusing treatment for religious reasons arrives in Fiona’s court, her personal struggles are brought to the forefront. A stimulating, necessary conversation will ensue when you and your friends reach the complex conclusion of this brilliant novel.
The Perfect Witness, by Iris Johansen
As a young girl, Teresa Casali discovered her unique ability to read people’s memories, but, exploited by her mob boss father in his corrupt business dealings, she eventually came to regard the gift as more of a curse. Unprotected and on the run from her family and enemies, Teresa encounters a man who is willing to save her, but who wants something in return. Filled with betrayals and spellbinding twists, this novel will grip you and your fellow bookworms until the very last page.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
Because we can’t imagine a better way to energize your book club than to introduce a novel that celebrates a life of books, Zevin’s latest page-turner makes our list. A.J. Fikry, the cantankerous owner of Island Books, has had a protracted run of bad luck. About to give up on all that motivates him—including the very books that have defined his career (and life!)—Fikry is faced with important decisions, and an opportunity for redemption.
Some Luck, by Jane Smiley
From Pulitzer Prize–winning, Iowa-loving Jane Smiley comes Some Luck, an enormous gift for book clubbers everywhere. The first in a trilogy that will span the most stormy periods in the last century, Smiley’s richly imagined epic begins at the end of World War I, and, broken into chapters that each focus on one year, tells of several decade in the life of a quintessentially Midwestern family that loves, fights, deceives, and demands our unwavering attention.
What book would you bring to a book club?