Reading Group Center

Best Books For Reading Groups

Ever wondered what other groups have read and enjoyed? We asked hundreds of groups from across the country for a list of their favorites. See if you agree with the top 50 below. And click here to read select comments from book club members!

Is there a book that your group particularly enjoyed that didn’t make the list? Email us at, and we’ll update the list periodically.

And the winners are:

1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
2. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
3. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
4. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
5. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
8. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
9. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
10. A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
11. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
12. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
13. The Color of Water by James McBride
14. Corelli’s Mandolin* by Louis de Bernieres
15. Angle of Repose* by Wallace Stegner
16. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
17. A Thousand Acres* by Jane Smiley
18. The God of Small Things by Arundati Roy
19. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
20. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
21. Beloved* by Toni Morrison
22. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
23. Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
24. Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
25. The Liar’s Club* by Mary Karr
26. Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler
27. She’s Come Undone* by Wally Lamb
28. The Road from Coorain* by Jill Ker Conway
29. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
30. Where the Heart Is* by Billie Letts
31. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
32. Bastard Out of Carolina* by Dorothy Allison
33. In the Lake of the Woods* by Tim O’Brien
34. The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle
35. Birdsong* by Sebastian Faulks
36. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil* by John Berendt
37. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
38. The Red Tent* by Anita Diamant
39. Our Guys* by Bernard Lefkowitz
40. Personal History by Katharine Graham
41. Charming Billy* by Alice McDermott
42. A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
43. All the Pretty Horses* by Cormac McCarthy
44. Fugitive Pieces* by Anne Michaels
45. I Know This Much Is True* by Wally Lamb
46. Lolita* by Vladimir Nabokov
47. Martin Dressler* by Steven Millhauser
48. Pigs in Heaven* by Barbara Kingsolver
49. Possession* by A. S. Byatt
50. The Sparrow* by Mary Doria Russell

* Received the same number of votes as the title listed immediately above.

More Reader Recommendations

EVENING by Susan Minot

• “This book would definitely cause a great book club discussion as there are multiple levels for interpretation.”
–Trish R., Zimmerman, MN

• “After spending a month watching my own mother die, I was drawn to this book, despite being unable to focus enough to read anything else. An excellent book with great insight into the process of death, memory, hopes, dreams, regrets and reality.”
–Christine C., Lexington, MA

• “This book was fascinating yet heartwrenching; learning about Ann’s life in bits and pieces, so much like real memory.”
–Marcia L., Cedar Rapids, IA

• “Grasped my attention from the start. . . . It conveys the passion that every human being desires to feel–indeed, deserves to feel–at least once!”
–Joyce B., Albemarle, NC

• “I’d heard this book was sad, but I didn’t find it so. A woman found solace on her deathbed from a memory that wasn’t sullied by time or reality. Who could ask for more?”
–Laurel C., Minneapolis, MN


• “Love this book! I’m a teacher and I love finding great outside reading books for my high school seniors. They adore this. It’s irreverent. It breaks rules. I continue to suggest this time and again!” –Julie G., Los Angeles, CA

• “I have never read a book like this! I’m definitely going to recommend this one to my reading group–not sure if it will be everyone’s cup of tea, but those books make for the best discussions!” –Melissa M., Windsor, CO

• “I’m finally able to begin to understand young people, thanks to this book. I can’t wait to discuss it with my single, twenty-nine-year-old son. I belong (and have for thirty-five years) to a book club, and this will be my selection for our next meeting. There are twelve of us, ranging in age from fifty-three to seventy-three, so it should be quite an interesting meeting!” –Jane H., Port Republic, MD

• “What an absolutely appropriate title–it sums up the book in five words. I might add witty, but the title might become too cumbersome. Without glossing over the grittiness and messiness of his life, Eggers honestly portrays the true emotional roller coaster of life ‘bringing up brother.’ A gem of a book.” –Lani S., Narberth, PA

• “A well-drafted memoir such as Eggers’ is a credit to the genre, and his poignant recollection of a heartbreaking time in his young life is a lesson for us all.” –Sonja M., El Dorado, KS

• “Great read. . . . It takes you on a frenetic ride and never lets you get off. Passionate, compassionate, and full of laugh-out-loud passages.” –Stephanie C., Spring Valley, CA

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden

• “With different likes/dislikes, backgrounds, etc., my book club of 10 rarely agrees on anything. But the one book we all thought was our best “read” yet was Memoirs of a Geisha! We were all sorry when it ended!”
–Sally M., Great Neck, NY

• “Vintage Books really has a grasp on what readers and book clubs want to read. Recently, I read Memoirs of a Geisha, which kept me hooked page after page after page. It was like I stepped into a world I never knew existed. The author not only shows a world very few are familiar with, but also makes you feel the strength, weaknesses, and emotions of the characters. After reading it, you feel as though you have traveled on some great journey, exhausted, but filled with a new knowledge.”
–Susan M., Dassel, MN