9 Genre Fiction Book Recommendations for Your Lit Loving Book Club in 2021

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Kim here with some genre favorites that would make really great book club discussion picks! Let me know if you see any you think your book club would like…

Alternate History – The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

I picked this book because both my husband and I read it and found ourselves talking about it at length. There’s really a lot to discuss in this one. It starts with the main character attempting suicide so be warned of that. She finds herself in a library with her elementary school librarian. The librarian tells her that each book contains a different version of her life. She begins opening them. Experiencing all these alternates to her life has her wondering just exactly what a good life means.

The-Midnight-Library

(Trigger Warning – Suicide)

Book Club Discussion Questions – If you could change anything about your life/past, what would you change? Do you believe that the life we are living is the life we’re meant to have or do you believe there are infinite possibilities for our lives?

Mystery / Suspense / Thriller … The Wife Upstairs, Rachel Hawkins

I just finished this one the other week. It’s a solid thriller with a surburbian housewife setting. I honestly think that just about any murder mystery makes a great book club choice. It’s fun to discuss the motive, the method, and the reveal.

Book Club Discussion Questions – Why do you think Jane was drawn to Eddie? Why do you think Eddie was drawn to Jane? Were you surprised by the killer reveal? How about that ending- what do you think really happened?

Historical Fiction … The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

I loved this book so much when I read it. The glitzy hollywood vibe is such a fun setting and Evelyn is such a complex character. There were main surprising moments in this one including that twist of an ending!

seven husbands of evelyn hugo

Book Club Discussion Questions – The book takes place from the 50s to the 80s. How accurate do you feel the author portrayed those time periods? How did you feel about each of the seven husbands? Which one did you like the least? The most? What do you think about Evelyn’s sexual evolution?

Middle Grade … Before the Ever After, Jacqueline Woodson

Don’t discount a middle grade book for your book club choice! They often have adult themes (seen through the eyes of children) in them worth discussing. This one in particular left me heart broken for the family. I’m not a sports person but now I’m invested in knowing how athletes are taken care of after an injury and what precautions have been put in place to prevent injury.

Before The Ever After

Book Club Discussion Questions – The book is written in verse. Did you like this format? What is your impression of ZJ’s friends and how they treat him both before and after his father begins to lose his memory? If you were ZJ’s mother would you be able to remain as strong and advocate for your husband’s rights? How do you feel about the way that sports today handles players injuries such as CTE, (a degenerative brain disease is generally found in sportsmen who have suffered repeated blows to the head?)

Magical Realism … Night Theater, Vikram Paralkar

I didn’t know what to expect going in to this one but wow. It packs a punch. A surgeon is just cleaning up his small clinic for the night, feeling exhausted and unsure that he continue doing this any longer because of the mental strain. A family of three show up at his door, all with horrific injuries. Injuries so gruesome he can’t believe they are still standing. They plead with him to operate and save their lives. The book traces the surgeons actions and thoughts throughout the night as he realizes what is really going on. Again, a book that begs for discussions on the justification of death and the meaning of life.

Night Theater

Book Club Discussion Questions – What was your first reaction when the teacher, his pregnant wife, and his son showed up bloody at the surgeons clinic? How did you feel about the social injustice against the family and do you feel they deserved to live? Did your emotions mirror the emotions the surgeon experienced throughout the night?

Non-Fiction – The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis, Christina Figueres & Tom Rivett-Carnac

I’m sneaking a non-fiction in with the other genres. I hate that the climate crisis is such a controversial subject and people are so divided on it, but I do understand. It’s an extremely complex problem that requires innovative solutions. A book that honestly, everyone should be discussing.

Future-We-Choose

Book Club Discussion Questions – The authors outline three mindsets- do you identify with any of these mindsets regarding climate change? How realistic do you think the authors descriptions of what Earth will be like by 2050 are?

Dystopian … Scythe, Neal Shusterman

Huh, I’m sensing a theme in this post. Ha! Imagine a world where no one can die. We’ve solved world hunger, there is no disease. But now we have the problem of people living forever and our world getting over populated. So we have Scythe’s who apprentice to the position of choosing who will die, when they will die, and how they will die. (That last one seems the worst to me.) What’s even more interesting about this book is that it follows two teenagers in their training to become Scythes. Can teenagers handle such a task? Perhaps you should discuss it with your book club!

Scythe

Book Club Discussion Questions – In a world where people cannot die, do you agree with the role of Scythe’s to determine who will be put to death and when? If not, what other solutions to this situation can you think of? How do you feel about the age of the main characters when they are apprenticed to be Scythe’s- is this something a young person can mentally handle?

Science Fiction … A Long Way to A Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers

This is one of the books I always recommend when people tell me they don’t like science fiction. Science fiction is more than just space battles. Becky Chambers is a testament to the fact that science fiction is about humanity, what it means to be human, and the differences between individuals- how we can relate to each other. What makes us care about others, love others who are different, etc. There’s a lot to unpack in this book about a crew of individuals who all come from different backgrounds.

LThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Book Club Discussion Questions – What are your first impressions of each member of this diverse crew? What do you think of Lovey’s desire to have a human body? Which character do you identify with most or are the most drawn to?

Young Adult Contemporary … Like A Love Story, Abdi Nazemian

This book is uplifting and heart breaking at the same time. Three teens living during the AIDS epidemic are directly affected by it. Art, an openly gay teenager, takes care of his uncle who is dying from the disease. Reza is an Iranian boy who is new to New York and also struggling with his sexuality. Judy is their friend and a typical teenage girl who is trying to believe in herself and her worth. Their stories intermix and they find themselves involved in AIDS activism. It’s a good one to talk about.

Like a Love Story

Book Club Discussion Questions – The book takes place during the AIDS epidemic. If you lived through these years, how old were you and what were your impressions of the epidemic at the time? How do you feel about the teenagers choosing to involve themselves in protests and activism? Do you think the teenagers handled their relationships with each other well?

Would you choose any of these books to read with your book club?

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