Reading Group Center

8 Women We Want to Invite to Book Club

Being a good book club member can be hard work: You need to be a thoughtful reader, reliable attendee, and excellent snack provider all at the same time. And while we firmly believe we’re up to the challenge, finding new friends to add to the book roster can be a loaded task. Below we compiled a list of a few of our dream book club members.

Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice and author of My Beloved World

Sonia Sotomayor might be a little too busy serving on the Supreme Court to make book club meetings, but her inspiring life story—and the honest way she shares it in her memoir—makes us eager to invite her anyway.

Read an excerpt from My Beloved World | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book



WowSamantha Irby, author of Wow, No Thank You. and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.

Samantha Irby literally wrote an essay about how she’s bad at book club, but we’re inclined to not believe her. Even if she only read a few pages of the book, she is sure to have something thoughtful and hilarious to say about it. And if you follow her Instagram, you know she’s going to bring killer snacks (like this spicy flourless chocolate cake).

Read an excerpt from Wow, No Thank You. | Buy the book | Read an excerpt from We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. | Buy the book | See all books by Samantha Irby

Claire Dederer, author of Love and Trouble

Claire Dederer’s lastest book, Love and Trouble, is a simultaneously powerful and vulnerable look at the perils and pleasures of girlhood, womanhood, and life itself. She would certainly be the person we turn to for thoughtful insight into the characters we’re discussing.

Read an excerpt from Love and Trouble | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book


Joan Didion, author of The Year of Magical Thinking and South and West

There’s no doubt about it: Joan Didion is an icon. Her signature irony and sharp wit run through all of her writing, but her latest book South and West reveals that even Didion’s notes are brimming with insight. She might only say one thing during a book club meeting, but it would be the comment you consider for weeks.

Read an excerpt from The Year of Magical Thinking | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book | Read an excerpt from South and West | Buy the book | See all books by Joan Didion

Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior

Speaking of icons, Maxine Hong Kingston created an entirely new form of writing in The Woman Warrior—an exhilarating blend of autobiography and mythology, of world and self, of hot rage and cool analysis. If that doesn’t sound like a great book club meeting, we don’t know what does.

Buy The Woman Warrior | See all books by Maxine Hong Kingston


Maggie O’Farrell, author I Am, I Am, I Am

We’ve been fans of Maggie O’Farrell’s novels for a while, but her memoir, subtitled “Seventeen Brushes with Death,” is a truly extraordinary achievement. Including moments from a harrowing encounter with a man on a remote path to a close call on a country road, O’Farrell’s manages to capture the preciousness and beauty of life itself. We’d definitely love to hear about the near death experiences that didn’t make it into the book.

Read an excerpt from I Am, I Am, I Am | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book | See all books by Maggie O’Farrell

Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl and The Story of More

Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl is memorable for so many reasons, but the thing that struck us most is Jahren’s relationship with Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. Their support and respect for each other made us sure that Jahren, and her simultaneous scientific and creative mind, would be a welcome addition to any book club.

Read an excerpt from Lab Girl | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book | Read an excerpt from The Story of More | Buy the book

Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny, Beautiful Things

What is there to say about Cheryl Strayed that hasn’t already been said? Her grit, vulnerability, and compassion come through in interviews as well as in her writing and it would be a thrill to hear her thoughts on books and every single problem we’ve had in our lives.

Read an excerpt from Wild | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book | Read an excerpt from Tiny, Beautiful Things | Buy the book | See all books by Cheryl Strayed