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Book Clubs' All-Time Favorite Books

All Time Favorite Book Club Books

What are your favorite book club books of all time?

In our most recent survey, we asked subscribers to tell us what their overall top three book club books were. More than 800 responded, and we've compiled their answers to calculate the current top ten books for book club discussion.

 

Book Clubs' All-Time Overall Favorite Books as of 2024

 

Rank Book % Respondents
1 A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016, Viking) 14.1%
2 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014, Scribner) 6.7%
3 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (2022, Doubleday) 5.6%
4 Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009, Knopf) 5.6%
5 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (2015, St Martin's Press) 4.8%
6 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (2018, Putnam) 3.9%
7 Horse by Geraldine Brooks (2022, Viking) 3.2%
8 The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (2021, Viking) 3.1%
9 The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (2013, Viking) 3.0%
10 Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (2022, Harper) 3.0%

 

The percentages above might seem to suggest that book clubs are reading a lot of the same books as each other, but while these ten titles were popular across the board, respondents' votes for all-time favorites, which added up to 2,311 total, spanned nearly 1,000 titles. Knowing this gives a view of the immense diversity and variety of tastes in groups' preferences.

Several of the higher-ranking books in this list also made our 2020 list when we asked the same question. The notable exception is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, a 2022 release jumping in at #3, surrounded by books from earlier years. Additionally, the bottom four of the top ten are newcomers: Three of these — Horse, The Lincoln Highway, and Demon Copperhead — have been published since the previous list, while one outlier, Daniel James Brown's 2013 The Boys in the Boat, narrowly missed the list last time and makes the cut at #9 now.

Below, you can see how books on the above list compare to where they were in 2020.

 

Top 10 Comparison 2024 vs 2020

 

2024 Rank 2020 Rank Book
1 1 A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016)
2 3 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)
3 - Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (2022)
4 6 Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (2009)
5 5 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (2015)
6 2 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (2018)
7 - Horse by Geraldine Brooks (2022)
8 - The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (2021)
9 - The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (2013)
10 - Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (2022)

 

Another thing worth noting is that The Boys in the Boat is the only nonfiction pick. Meanwhile, there's no denying the incredible popularity of historical fiction among book clubs. Six of the top ten are books set in the 1950s or earlier, and only one of the novels on the list takes place in contemporary times: Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead, ranked at #10. This may be because historical stories often tend to check a lot of the boxes that make for not just good fiction but good discussions: details drawn from a specific time that flow into interesting side conversations, the emotional communion evoked by seeing a known historical event from a personal perspective, a strong sense of place that stimulates the imagination. 

All of the books on the list were published within about the last 15 years. There were also plenty of older works among the votes, but the phenomenon of newer books ranking higher can be seen as simply reflective of modern titles having the greatest crossover effect between book club discussions in recent years.

While some of these books have clearly stood the test of time, it's also clear that it doesn't take long for new book club favorites to emerge. So we can only imagine what currently unknown works will make it onto book groups' best-loved lists in the coming years.

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