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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.