The best novels to make you wish you joined that book club

Who am I?

I love book club. If I could make it a requirement for everyone in the universe to give it a try, I would. I was an English major in college, so that feeling of ending an amazing story and needing someone to discuss it with never fully went away. All book club books should be thought-provoking, but the best add that intricate and wholehearted understanding, I think, that only literature can. Why do the characters you least understood or felt a kinship with suddenly have your heart, what do they want, need, feel, think? I hope these novels help you better understand. The who and what are beside the point. 

I wrote...

Life As An Almost

By Vered Hazanchuk,

Book cover of Life As An Almost

What is my book about?

Evie Mission is a survivor. A fiery, young woman who grew up in the foster care system, she is just trying to figure out what living a “normal” life even means. When Evie finds out her cerebral palsy dates back to her biological mother’s back-alley abortion attempt, her orderly world is turned upside down and she embarks on a journey to find answers. But finding answers means the one thing she’s dreading more than anything: finding her mother. 

Told through alternating narration, Life As An Almost is a poignant, timely story about mothers, daughters, and what we expect from the people we call family.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Home for Unwanted Girls

Vered Hazanchuk Why did I love this book?

I think I’ll be recommending this book to people until the end of time. It’s just so, so good.

What I love most about it is it brings a forgotten part of history to life: a time when orphanages in 1950s Quebec misdiagnosed children as mentally ill to qualify for the better funding allocated to psychiatric hospitals. An obscure moment in history, generations of family scandals and secrets, and a forbidden love story? Yes, please.

By Joanna Goodman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Home for Unwanted Girls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby…

Book cover of The Push

Vered Hazanchuk Why did I love this book?

Psych thrillers are always a solid choice for something people will want to talk about, and The Push is no different. This one was a huge page-turner for me. It’s one of those books that has you second-guessing the narrator just when you begin to think you’ve figured out what’s really going on. It’s about a mother and a daughter who have trouble bonding, and well, that’s really all I can say without giving it all away. Don’t worry. Picking apart all the intricacies of these characters is what book club is for.  

By Ashley Audrain,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Push as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | A New York Times bestseller!

"Utterly addictive." -Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

"Hooks you from the very first page and will have you racing to get to the end."-Good Morning America

A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family-and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for-and everything she feared

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of…

Book cover of The Dutch House

Vered Hazanchuk Why did I love this book?

I’ll admit, I’m a die-hard Ann Patchett fan. She could write instructions on how to run a dishwasher and I’d probably read it. The Dutch House was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and is particularly elegant. It’ll make for a great conversation about what drives some life-changing decisions, the reliability (or unreliability) of memory, and the complexity of family. Plus, the audiobook version is narrated by Tom Hanks. If that’s not enough to get people through a book, I really don’t know what is. 

By Ann Patchett,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Dutch House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lose yourself in the story of a lifetime - the unforgettable Sunday Times bestseller 'Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature' Guardian Nominated for the Women's Prize 2020 A STORY OF TWO SIBLINGS, THEIR CHILDHOOD HOME, AND A PAST THAT THEY CAN'T LET GO. Like swallows, like salmon, we were the helpless captives of our migratory patterns. We pretended that what we had lost was the house, not our mother, not our father. We pretended that what we had lost had been taken from us by the person who still lived inside. In the…

Book cover of The Two-Family House

Vered Hazanchuk Why did I love this book?

This book has everything a book club could ask for. Characters that you love, even when maybe you shouldn’t. Relationships that seem both familiar and endlessly fascinating. An epic dilemma that resonates and flourishes until the very end. It’ll definitely have you wondering, what would I do? At the end of the day, that question is all you really need for a lively book club discussion. 

By Lynda Cohen Loigman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Two-Family House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brooklyn, 1947: in the midst of a blizzard, in a two-family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart to two women. They are sisters by marriage with an impenetrable bond forged before and during that dramatic night; but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and their once deep friendship begins to unravel. No one knows why, and no one can stop it. One misguided choice; one moment of tragedy. Heartbreak wars with happiness and almost but not quite wins.

Book cover of The Secret History

Vered Hazanchuk Why did I love this book?

I didn’t read this one with a book club, but I really wish I did! The moment I put it down, I wanted to discuss it with someone. At times there’s a sinister, cult-like storyline that you just have to figure out and yet want nothing to do with, at others it’s a relatable group of characters you just want to invite over for a cup of coffee and help them straighten out their lives. In other words, this book has loads for you to talk about. 

By Donna Tartt,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Secret History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Everything, somehow, fit together; some sly and benevolent Providence was revealing itself by degrees and I felt myself trembling on the brink of a fabulous discovery, as though any morning it was all going to come together---my future, my past, the whole of my life---and I was going to sit up in bed like a thunderbolt and say oh! oh! oh!'

Under the influence of a charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at a New England college discover a way of thought and life a world away from their banal contemporaries.…

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Cold Peace: A Novel of the Berlin Airlift, Part I

By Helena P. Schrader,

Book cover of Cold Peace: A Novel of the Berlin Airlift, Part I

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Cold Peace: A Novel of the Berlin Airlift, Part I

New book alert!

Who am I?

I first went to Berlin after college, determined to write a novel about the German Resistance; I stayed a quarter of a century. Initially, the Berlin Airlift, something remembered with pride and affection, helped create common ground between me as an American and the Berliners. Later, I was commissioned to write a book about the Airlift and studied the topic in depth. My research included interviews with many participants including Gail Halvorsen. These encounters with eyewitnesses inspired me to write my current three-part fiction project, Bridge to Tomorrow. With Russian aggression again threatening Europe, the story of the airlift that defeated Soviet state terrorism has never been more topical. 

Helena's book list on the Russian blockade of Berlin and the Allied Airlift

What is my book about?

It is 1948 in Berlin. The economy is broken, the currency worthless, and the Russian bear is preparing to swallow its next victim. In the ruins of Hitler's capital, former RAF officers and a woman pilot start an air ambulance company that offers a glimmer of hope. Yet when a Soviet fighter brings down a British airliner, Berlin becomes a flashpoint. The world teeters on the brink of World War Three.

Award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader tells the backstory of the Berlin Airlift in Cold Peace, the first book of the Bridge to Tomorrow series.

Cold Peace: A Novel of the Berlin Airlift, Part I

By Helena P. Schrader,

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