Book club dates with girlfriends are about catch-ups, giggles, and more often than not, wondering (and sometimes debating) what book to nestle up to for the next few months. We have made life a little easier by choosing your next 17 book club reads which guarantee loads of interesting plots and relationships to talk about…
Here are our 17 book club must-reads of 2018:
1. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia – a fear of public spaces – and has been a recluse in her New York home for 10 months. She spends her days drinking a little too much wine and recalling happier times. She also keeps tabs on her new neighbours, the picture-perfect Russells, by looking out her window. One night she witnesses something she wasn’t supposed to ever see, and while uncovering the truth about what happened she wonders if anyone will believe her – or if she can trust herself.
Why we recommend it: A gripping thriller that will leave your book club members on the edge of their seats.
Bag it: R292 at Exclusive Books
2. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
It’s 1986, and 12-years-old Eddie and his friends visit the town fair on their own for the first time. A fun day out turns tragic, but it’s at the fair that they meet Mr Halloran, The Chalk Man, who inspires them to create a coded language using chalk. The friends leave secret messages for each other for a few weeks after the incident at the fair. Until one day, chalk messages start appearing on their own… and lead to a dead body. Thirty years later, Eddie is shocked when a drawing and a piece of chalk mysteriously arrive in the post – and it forces him to find out what really happened all those years ago.
Why we recommend it: A compelling novel with unexpected turns.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R267
3. Accidental Heroes by Danielle Steel
A John F. Kennedy airport security agent, Bernice Adams, finds a postcard with a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on it, and an ominous message. With two planes en route to San Francisco, and her supervisor dismissing her concerns, Bernice contacts Homeland Security. Agent Ben Waterman discovers motives for a list of potential suspects on one of the planes – but who could really be the author of the note? And what danger are they all in?
Why we recommend it: A change of direction from Steel, but gripping nonetheless.
Bag it: Loot.co.za for R203
4. Turtles all the way down by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Aza and her best friend Daisy are intrigued by the disappearance of their small town’s billionaire, Russel Pickett, who also happens to be the father of Aza’s childhood crush. There’s a reward for Russell’s return, which spurs the girls on to investigate – even though Aza struggles constantly with invasive OCD thoughts, which at times leave her unable to focus on anything but the anxiety that they cause.
Why we recommend it: Another brilliant novel from the author of The Fault in Our Stars that highlights the challenges of mental illness.
Bag it: Takealot.com for R299
5. Last Stop Tokyo by James Buckler
Alex Malloy, an English teacher now living in Tokyo, tries to forget his dark past as he settles into his new life in Japan. His old friend from university, Hiro, offers to show him around and then introduces him to the mysterious Noako, whom Alex immediately falls in love with. But as soon as they get involved, Alex’s circumstances take a turn for the worse.
Why we recommend it: Buckler exposes the twisted underbelly of Tokyo in this superbly-written debut that’s very hard to put down.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R267
6. Dear Mrs Bird by A.J. Pearce
It’s 1940 in London, and Emmy Lake is tired of the drudgery of war. All she wants is a little excitement – like being a ‘Lady War Correspondent’. When she sees an ad for a newspaper job she jumps at the opportunity – but it’s not quite what she imagined. Emmy ends up typing letters for an advice columnist, Mrs Bird, who insists that letters containing any ‘unpleasantness’ mustn’t be indulged. But when Emmy starts reading the desperate women’s letters, she secretly responds, putting her job at risk.
Why we recommend it: A feel-good read that’s both hilarious and moving.
Bag it: Loot.co.za for R236
7. The Standing Chandelier by Lionel Shriver
Feisty and opinionated Jillian Frisk has been friends with Weston Babansky for 25 years. Although they’ve slept together a handful of times it’s their bond as best friends that has endured. That all changes when Weston announces his engagement to Paige – who can’t stand Jillian. Battle lines are drawn between the women in Weston’s life when Jillian gives him a handmade sculpture as an engagement present.
Why we recommend it: Shriver shines a light on the emotional risks that come with intimacy between men and women.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R224
8. The Secret Keeper by Susan Lewis
You never really forget your first love even if you learn to live without them and move on. Olivia learned to live without her first love Sean Kenyon and was building a life with her husband Richmond and their two children when Sean unexpectedly appears. He turns her world upside down once again and Olivia starts to question everything. Is her husband really the person she thought he was?
Why we recommend it: It’s a family drama with an intriguing plot that will have you wondering if you’re completely over your past.
Bag it: Loot.co.za for R160
9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
A young Slovakian Jew, Lale Sokolov, is made the main tattooist in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust. His job is to tattoo blue numbers on prisoner’s arms, but he uses his limited freedom of movement to help keep some prisoners alive. One day, he has to tattoo the arm of a terrified young girl, Gita, and from that moment, their love story begins.
Why we recommend it: A novel based on the true story of Lale and Gita – fact-checked and endorsed by the son they never thought they would have. Morris paints a story of love and courage, during a dark time in history.
Bag it: Takealot.com for R375
10. Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
Sylvie and Dan have been married for 10 years and seem to have everything; twin girls, great jobs, and a comfortable home. But panic sets in after a routine doctor’s check-up predicts they might both live to 100. Another 68 years is a lot longer than they anticipated, so they put a plan in place to keep things exciting. However, in the pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me they uncover secrets that were best left hidden.
Why we recommend it: A comical yet very touching story about trust and longevity in relationships.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R267
11. The Season of Glass by Rahla Xeonpoulos
In ancient Ethiopia, a Jewish warrior queen gives birth to twins. Based on a messianic prophecy, their destiny is to save humankind from itself. As they journey through periods of history in different guises – India during the sixteenth century, Austria on the eve of World War Two, Johannesburg in the 1970’s and even a far-off future – they try to provide relief to the world in times of turmoil.
Why we recommend it: A spell-binding, well-researched novel that comes with a message of hope.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R282
12. The Hum of the Sun by Kirsten Miller
Soon after their mother’s passing, siblings Ash and Zuko embark on a journey to the city to find their long-absent father. Ash, who is on the brink of manhood, has to protect his eight-year-old brother who doesn’t speak. Zuko is only interested in the patterns that he sees in nature. Some think that he might be cursed, while others believe he is magical. As they traverse the land, with only each other to hold onto, what awaits them in the city?
Why we recommend it: A beautiful story about the bonds of brotherhood.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R297
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13. Bitter by Francesca Jakobi
It’s 1969 and Gilda is estranged from her son Reuben after walking out on him when he was a small boy. She’s never forgiven herself, yet she yearns for a normal mother-son relationship. Now grown-up, Reuben marries Alice who’s everything Gilda isn’t, and who receives the love from her son that Gilda craves. What does Alice have that she doesn’t, and how far will Gilda go to find out?
Why we recommend it: A moving story about the fragility of love and relationships.
Bag it: Loot.co.za for R282
14. The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
Juliette Price will stop at nothing to get exactly what she wants – even if that means visiting her ex-boyfriend Nate Goldsmith’s home, while he isn’t there. It’s been six months since they broke up, but she knows they’re meant to be – she’s even become a flight attendant for the airline where Nate is a pilot, so she can keep tabs on him.
Why we recommend it: An unputdownable psychological thriller that will have you debating about how far is too far.
Bag it: Loot.co.za for R253
15. White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
It’s 1943 and Hana and her sister Emi live in Japanese-occupied Korea. Hana is a haenyeo, a female diver of the sea, and the sisters make a living from catching fish off the southernmost tip of Korea. One day, Hana sees a Japanese soldier approaching her younger sister while she’s guarding the catch of the day. When Hana saves Emi, the sisters are separated and Hana is captured and forced to be a ‘comfort woman’ in a military brothel. Almost 70 years later, Emi has tried to move on from that fateful day, but now she must confront the past.
Why we recommend it: A beautiful story about sisterhood and a bit of Korean history.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R267
16. Shame On You by Amy Heydenrych
Holly was bullied as a child, but as an adult she is a social media sensation who gained a large following after beating cancer through a vegan diet, meditation and natural remedies. When she is attacked by a man she agreed to have dinner with, she starts questioning his motive. Surely her followers would be devastated to learn of her misfortune. But her life spirals out of control soon after the attack and people start questioning who she really is.
Why we recommend it: A riveting story about the dangers of social media.
Bag it: Loot.co.za for R150
17. The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner
Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends for 20 years. They’ve stuck together through thick and thin, and share everything with each other – like Sophie’s shame that she doesn’t want to be a mother (even though she has two children), Amy’s abusive yet ‘happy’ marriage, Melissa’s spiralling alcohol problem, and Emily’s struggles with single motherhood. But one big secret is about to be revealed – can a lie that’s lasted as long as their friendship be their undoing?
Why we recommend it: A book about female friendships and the boundaries that test it.
Bag it: Exclusive Books for R263