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Article  •  18 October 2023

 

The best books to read with your book club in spring 2023

These are the Penguin Random House books that over 48,000 book clubs voted as the best group reads this October.

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to host a book club.

But the essential question awaits: which book will you read?

To discover the books that readers around the world are loving, we turned to Book Movement, where over 48,000 book clubs cast their votes. Based on their reviews, this is what readers are loving this October. Which one will you choose?

The top-voted book club reads of October 2023

Lessons in Chemistry Bonnie Garmus

Last spring, Lessons in Chemistry topped the 2022 version of this list, so the fact that it’s still taking first place is a testament to how much book clubs adore this novel. Following a feisty chemist named Elizabeth Zott, the book charts her course to becoming the reluctant host of a cooking show where she sneaks in quips about 1960s society and gender. You can even make your book club meet-up more fun with a pavlova inspired by the book and a quiz that will tell you which element you are. We also have book club questions to spark your group's converation. 

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Hello Beautiful Ann Napolitano

Hello Beautiful was an instant New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s 100th book club pick. The novel centres around the four Padavano sisters who bring loving chaos to their close-knit Italian-American neighbourhood. But when a catastrophic rift leaves the family on two sides of a fault line, it’ll take more than just an apology to help the sisters find their way back to each other.

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Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow Gabrielle Zevin

From Jimmy Fallon to John Green, it seems like everyone is obsessed with Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow – and for good reason! This open-hearted novel tells a different kind of love story, exploring the working relationship of two video game designers whose shared passion shapes the trajectory of their friendship – and their lives. For discussion inspiration, make sure to check out our book club questions for this unputdownable novel.

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The Personal Librarian Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray

This book is a perennial book club favourite, thanks to its rich characters and the deep discussions it inspires. Telling the story of Belle da Costa Greene, J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian, the book centres around her struggles to conceal her true identity as an African-American woman. In a world where racism and discrimination run rampant, Belle does everything she can to pass as white to protect herself, her family and her legacy.

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None of This is True Lisa Jewell

If your book club prefers a thriller, then None of This is True is a must-read. When local podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming fan named Josie, she agrees to do a trial interview for the podcast. Though Josie’s life seems complicated, Alix can’t resist the temptation to keep digging. Soon, Alix realises that Josie has ingratiated herself into Alix's life – but dark secrets are coming to the surface. Who really is Josie? And what has she done?

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Someone Else's Shoes Jojo Moyes

From bestselling author Jojo Moyes comes this fun book about two very different women whose lives converge after an accidental shoe swap. Nisha’s husband has unexpectedly cut her off, and Sam is struggling to keep her family afloat. But when Sam accidentally grabs Nisha’s gym bag – complete with designer shoes inside – she can’t help but try them on. Walking tall, Sam’s newfound confidence gives her self-esteem a boost. But Nisha wants her life back . . . and she’ll start with her shoes.

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The Thursday Murder Club Richard Osman

With the fourth book in this series just released in September, it’s the perfect time to start from book one: The Thursday Murder Club. When four unlikely friends in a retirement village start a club to investigate unsolved murders, they accidentally find themselves in the middle of a live case. If you think your book club will enjoy it, meet the characters and check out book club questions to help guide your discussion.

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Anxious People Fredrik Backman

Readers loved reading this book last spring, so it’s no surprise that it’s made the list again this year. Anxious People tells the story of seven strangers who become hostages when a bank robbery goes wrong. The longer they’re trapped, the more annoyed they become. Turns out, the criminal isn’t great at robbing a bank – but if this is going to be their last day on earth, shouldn’t it be a little more dramatic? If this piques your fancy, start reading a snippet to see if it’s right for your book club.

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The Second Life of Mirielle West Amanda Skenandore

Though this book is set in the 1920s, readers today will resonate with the protagonist’s experience of isolation in quarantine. When socialite Mirielle West is branded as a leper, she’s carted hundreds of miles to Carville, Louisiana, where she takes a new name to spare her family and famous husband the shame that accompanies her disease. At first, she hopes her exile will be brief, but soon learns that those sent to Carville are more prisoners than patients. Within the community, she will struggle to redefine her self-worth while fighting an unchosen fate.  

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The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot Marianne Cronin

Another timeless book club favourite, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot tells the story of two friends who meet in the terminal hospital ward. Lenni is seventeen and Margot is eighty-three – between the two of them, they have a shared century. To celebrate their 100 years, the two friends decided to paint their life stories. Along the way, their friendship deepens and one thing becomes clear: life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet. These book club questions are the perfect jumping-off point for your book club discussion.

 

For more inspiration, check out all of our book club notes

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