Discussion Starters: Top 10 Book Club Picks

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish and was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.

This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Book Club Picks

I choose books based on discuss-ability because  although I am not in anything as cool as a book club, I imagine nothing kills a meeting faster than having NOTHING to say about the book club choice.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, Book Cover, Dominoes, Prinz

The Book Thief

Why?: I feel like after reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it’s best to have a support group and what better support group than your book club?

2. The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie

The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven Cover

The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven

Why?: First, there’s a movie based on The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven called Smoke Signals which could be cool to watch and compare. Second: SO MUCH TO DISCUSS.  There’s short stories that are interconnected and themes of race, class and gender. That’s a debate waiting to happen.

3: Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi, Book Cover

Ship Breaker

Why?: Ship Breaker is intelligent YA that delves into themes of environmentalism and social class. It is fantastic.

4. Chime by Franny Billingsley

Chime, Franny Billingsley, Book Cover, Girl, Hands,


Why?: Look, sometimes it’s nice to have a group to fangirl over beautiful writing with, or hate on overly complicated prose. I notice with Chime — people either love it or they hate it. Boom. Discussion right there.

5. The House Of Peter Bognanni

The House Of Tomorrow, Peter Bognanni Book Cover

The House Of Tomorrow

Why?: It seems not very many people have read The House Of Tomorrow which makes me sad, because this book is excellent and all about what it means to be a teenager – to struggle with angst, society, and yet be so PASSIONATE about something – in this case punk rock. So if your group is comprised of aging punk rockers, rebels without a cause – they will LOVE The House Of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni.

6. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Book Cover


Why?: Are you lucky enough to be in a book club comprised of feminists? Sick of reading about subordinate females playing into patriarchal societies? Can you even just decode what I said? Do you speak women’s studies jargon? YES? DID YOU ANSWER YES? Okay, peep this book it’s all about this kick ass girl named Katsa, it is sex positive and asks important questions about females in society.

7. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly Book Cover

A Northern Light

Why?: Oh, sigh. Let’s see: First upstate NY setting HOLLA! Second Grace Brown murder — yeah buddy you can tie this into An American Tragedy by Theodore Dresier. Third beautiful writing. Fourth themes of duty, loyalty, class, race, gender. SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT AND LOVE.

8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman Book Cover

The Graveyard Book

Why?: The Graveyard Book is a Newbery award winner with good reason. Gaiman’s writing isn’t trite or saccharine.  ALSO – I could go on and on about Bod and who/what Silas is.

9. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones, Book Cover

Howl's Moving Castle

Why?: Sometimes you need a group and a club to dish about certain characters – is Howl charming or annoying? How much did you really love Sophie and her steadfast-ness? CALCIFER BOOM ROCKS THE FIREPLACE.

10. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness, Book Cover, audiobook

A Monster Calls

Why?: First, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is another book that requires a support group. Second, there are pictures. Third, it’s all about grief, letting go, and death. Clearly, that could generate discussion.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. The Book Thief should be mandatory for every human being to read. Period. Excellent book club pick (one of mine also). Have you read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne? Small book. Big impact.

  2. I dithered about putting The Book Thief on my list but really there wasn’t room – so hard to choose books this week! And when I read it, I feel very jealous and possessive about it, like I want to keep the beauty to myself – while at the same time, I kept reading beautiful passages aloud to my husband and discussing it with him! Funny how that works. 😉

    I caved and got a copy of A Monster Calls – I’m going to give Ness another go. Second time lucky! I have Shipbreaker and I’m looking forward to it.

    Here’s my list.

  3. We have Graceling and A Monster Calls in common. And I was thisclose to listing Chime, and that is an excellent choice with the unreliable narrator and the lovely prose. You’re right – that is a love it or hate it book. (obviously it’s love for me) I think I’d enjoy reading Howl’s, Ship Breaker, and A Northern Light with a book club. They all sound very compelling.

  4. I absolutely cannot wait to read The Book Thief! It’s one of the books that I’ve always meant to read, but never gotten off my butt to do it. This is THE year – and I bought it just last week so it should be happening really soon!

    I loved Graceling. And Fire. And I can’t wait to read Bitterblue!

  5. I love how blunt you are about why you should read a book.. or in this case why it should be part of a book club. Sometimes I get all “aw, this sounds like such a great book!” over people’s reviews but then I get to yours and I think “okay, okay! I NEED to read this ASAP!” Graceling is sitting on my shelf and I keep thinking it’s going to be my next read… It’s going to be my next read, thank you very much! 🙂

  6. Awesome list! Thank you for the club read suggestions. A few of these titles are new to me. As for Book Thief, I still have not read it. Maybe soon.

    -FABR Steph@FiveAlarmBookReviews
    My Top Ten…

  7. The Book Thief is the most amazing book. I’ve seen it on a lot of lists and with good reason! And I’m happy to see Chime on here– haven’t read it yet, but I checked it out from the library recently so I will be soon!

  8. I’ve read a couple and have a couple that I’m planning on reading this year–so I think you’ve compiled a great list. I loved the Book Thief and The Graveyard Book. kaye—the road goes ever ever on

  9. Graceling and Howl are two fantastic picks! Calcifer is definitely my favourite characer in both the book and movie.

    Happy reading!

  10. I’d never heard of Graceling- now it’s going on my TBR list =)

  11. Ok, so THIS would be an awesome book club!! A Monster Calls would be a FAB book club book!! And I’m so reading The Book Thief this year. It just sounds to incredible.
    Great call, too, on The Graveyard Book and Graceling, both of which I was tempted to add to my list. The Graveyard Book totally made me cry at the end, but I’m an easy score when it comes to making me cry while reading. And Graceling…that’s probably one of my top 5 fave YAs, and such a great fantasy to discuss without being overwhelming. (I thought about adding GoT to my list but left it off because it’s huge and time-consuming and…well, you know.)
    Howl’s Moving Castle is creeping up my TBR because it just sounds so magical and awesome. And I’ve got TWO Jennifer Donnelly books to read ASAP! Holla, book club!! 🙂

  12. I really, really, REALLY need to read Graceling. It’s jumping to as close as I can get it to the top of my to-read list.

  13. Solid list, April.

    I wish we were in a book club together. Oh the rad books we’d read…

  14. I enjoyed #6 & #8. The rest look pretty interesting to me too

  15. This is my favorite list so far this week because of all the fantastic YA love!! I either loved or already had every one of these on my own reading list, and that is impressive. Also pretty much anything by Sherman Alexie would make a good book club selection imho.

  16. I have The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven waiting to be read on my shelf. I know I need to get to it, thanks for the push!

  17. Okay well you know when I see Ship Breaker I nearly have fainting spells and fits of love because I love that book so hard. I just do. You’re right, there are so many discussable things about this book, it isn’t even funny. I found myself – as an adult – trying to imagine what I’d write if I was a student writing a paper on it. I mean, I was literally making an outline. That’s how bad I have it for this book. Asheley + Ship Breaker = TRUE LURVE.

    Also, The Graveyard Book. Ah, see this is wonderful. Book club? Okay, maybe. But what I want to discuss here is audio vs. printed copy, which is totally off-topic but hey, this is my comment so I’m allowed. I read the printed copy and salivated and savored every single page because of the delicious illustrations. Friend, I am a sucker for a picture. Truth. But Neil Himself narrates the audiobook. So I have it on my list for audio, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Not yet. But soon. Not sure why I wanted to talk about that, but I felt like it. Totally irrelevant to a book club. Except maybe it would be fun to discuss how awesome it would be to be named Bod…

  18. I like your point about books that have movie adaptations being good for book clubs. I agree. That way, even if there isn’t much to say about the book, there are always things to say about how well it has been adapted.

  19. I’ve heard so much about The Book Thief that I’m gonna have to read it. And while I’ve just joined my first book club, it seems like a great idea to choose books where you can eventually watch the movies together! Fun!

  20. I REALLY need to read The Book Thief! Chime and Graceling are such great choices and two of my favorites.