Celebrity book clubs are all the rage but they can be a lot to keep up with and not all their picks are actually worth reading.
So what’s a book worm to do? Where should you start? Whose book club is worth following?
We can help! We’ve kept up with many celebrity book clubs and we have our favorite picks from each listed below. There is also a link to each of the full lists where the books are ranked from 5 stars to 2.
*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.
The Best Celebrity Book Clubs
Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club was really the first of the modern celebrity book clubs to catch on in recent years. Started in 2017, her list features thrillers, romances, historical fiction, YA, non-fiction, and modern fiction.
Our favorites are below, but you can see the whole book list, ranked, here.
February 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
I adored this mystery novel set during the 11 days of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. It’s told from the perspective of Christie’s husband’s mistress and it is utterly absorbing. This biographical novel is totally fictional because there is no account of what actually happened to Agatha Christie during those 11 days.
There are layers of mystery throughout, with a side of a love story. It’s actually a hotel novel because the majority of the book takes place at a small hotel.
I never felt I would be able to sympathize with a mistress but I was cheering for her by the end. If you love mystery books, historical mystery books in particular, this is a must-read.
I raved about this book when I read it earlier this month! Well-chosen, Reese! The story of a stepmother and her daughter as they try to find the girl’s father after his abrupt departure.
This mystery has so much heart as you see Hannah bond with and try to protect her new stepdaughter, Bailey. I did not see the ending of this book coming, but absolutely adored it.
I started reading this book but when my audiobook library hold came in I changed over to the audiobook version. HOLY COW. The audiobook is EVEN BETTER. Seriously, I think this might have been my favorite audiobook of all time. I expect it to sweep the Audies this year for sure. The book is laid out in chronological order about the making of a band in the 70s, but the story is told in interview style from a dozen sources.
The audio version has a different narrator for each character and the performances the actors give are stupendous. I was overcome with emotion numerous times while I was listening. The story itself about the rise and fall of one of the hottest bands was so utterly fabulous – it’s pure sex, drugs and rock n’ roll in all the best ways. There is a Spotify playlist that goes with it – scroll down for all the details.
I have not read many books where the central characters are American
While this is characterized as
Wow! There are so many things that I loved about this book. Rosie and Penn have five boys. The youngest, Claude wants to be a girl when he grows up. As this family navigates life with secrets, there is never a good time to explain that your youngest daughter was born a male. These loving and supportive parents try to navigate a world in which not everybody is open-minded. This book is poignant and all too realistic. It captures the innocence of youth and the struggles of an entire family.
Jenna Bush Hager started her book club on the Today show back in the spring of 2019. Her picks are generally stellar, with very few duds in the bunch.
They are often more literary than Reese’s picks and cover a variety of thought-provoking topics. You can see all of Jenna’s Book Club picks here, where we ranked them.
February 2023 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
This story about Maddie, known as Maame to her family, was immersive and beautifully complex. Dealing with friendships, racism, familial obligations, and then grief, this story swept me away. Maddie lives in London as the primary caretaker of her father who has Parkinson’s. Her mother spends most of her time in Ghana.
I felt fiercely protective of Maddie while reading this book. There were times I wanted to swoop in to relieve some of the burdens of this wonderful character with a heart of gold. But it was more rewarding to see Maddie finding her inner strength and learning to prioritize herself and her dreams.
I can’t recommend this coming-of-age book about grief enough – especially as a book for book clubs. It’s one of the best books of 2023 and a great pick for a list of book club books. This is one of the heavier books in our beach reads 2023 post, but the list would not be complete without it. This is also one of the best novels about Africa I have ever read.
September 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
I was blown away by Javier Zamora’s memoir about his solo journey to America. At just 9-years-old, he traversed 3,000 miles, to reunite with his parents in America.
While his grandpa accompanies him for the beginning of his journey, they soon have to part ways and he is left in the care of the adults traveling with him on his journey.
This book about immigration is one that is seared into my memory. I was so grateful for the mother on the journey that took him in as her own. Frustrated, sorrowful, and ultimately joy were all emotions I felt while reading this book. Its a best book of 2022 pick for me for sure.
I absolutely loved this book that is a story about love, family and acceptance. It captured me from the first page with the story and the writing.
When Eleanor Bennett dies, she leaves a voice recording for her two children Benny and Byron. She wants to tell them things about her life that she could not say when she was alive.
While listening to their mother’s story, Byron and Benny learn about their mother, their family and about themselves. They try to piece their relationship back together. The novel looks at everyone’s life in the present and in the past.
May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time. Elderly, recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.
But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man who newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.
Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.
I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation because it’s my favorite book of 2022 and my pick as one of the best audiobooks of 2022.
GMA’s answer to Read with Jenna was to host their own celebrity book club. This one launched in the Fall of 2019 and it’s probably the best one of the bunch.
It’s not one of the celebrity book clubs with the face of one celeb, but rather the whole cast of GMA morning show anchors. For the whole list of GMA books, ranked, check out this post.
February 2023 Good Morning America Book Club Pick
Prior to reading this story, I had little concept of what the end of slavery meant in the Caribbean. I knew nothing of the apprenticeships and horrible conditions formerly enslaved people were forced to endure.
And I certainly had no idea of what it would take to reunite a family of formerly enslaved individuals who had been ripped apart when they were sold by their owners.
Rachel’s story changes that. She runs away from the plantation in Barbados to reunite with her family. She sets off on a journey to find her 5 children. What she finds out about each encompasses some of the many ways a formerly enslaved person’s life could turn out.
I don’t think anyone will be able to read this story without shedding a tear and thinking hard about colonialism and the ripple effects it has had on generations. This is another book that is heavier in our ultimate beach reads 2023 post but you will not want to miss reading this pick.
January 2022 Good Morning America Pick
Molly Gray works as a maid in a grand hotel and gets joy from leaving things orderly and pristine. Molly struggles with reading social cues and has had even more trouble since her gran can no longer help.
When Molly finds a dead body in a room at the hotel, she becomes a prime suspect and will need all her friends to help her.
I loved the description of this book and I hoped it would live up to my expectations. It did that and more. I loved every minute of this feel-good book from the ultimate list of mystery books and closed the last page smiling. Definitely add this one to books for book clubs to read. If you are looking for The Maid Book Club Questions, we have you covered. It is also a perfect mystery book for books like Lessons in Chemistry.
Good Morning America Book Club December 2021 Pick
I DEVOURED this contemporary fiction story of a billionaire music mogul who releases her death announcement 2 days early so she can read her own end-of-life articles.
The best part was that during the snowstorm that trapped her family with her at the ski chalet, she neglected to tell them about her terminal illness and her harebrained scheme.
We get to see the impact the decision has on her family as well as get a look at her colorful life before her cancer diagnosis. This family saga book about motherhood was so compelling.
I loved Matt Haig’s Last Book (How to Stop Time) and I was so excited to read this book. I loved it even more- it is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. This is a library that has books filled with the infinite possibilities of the lives not lived. Have you ever wondered about a choice, or a path not taken? When Nora finds herself in the library she is forced to face the choices that she made in her life- relationships, education, profession…This is a magical book and I loved every minute of it.
This is a book that will scare the pants off most mothers. It’s compulsively readable.
Blythe Conner comes from a long line of bad mothers, but she’s determined not to be one. When she has Violet, she struggles to connect with her.
The reader is left wondering if Blythe is a mother who sees the worst in her child or if there really is something off with Violet. Something that even her husband can’t see.
And now we arrive at the OG. The queen bee of celebrity book clubs started picking best sellers back in 1996. After a brief hiatus, she relaunched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 in 2012.
Oprah picks anywhere from 1-4 books a year and they are all heavy hitters. Deep, thought-provoking texts that can be hard to read at times, Oprah’s picks are best for when you are in a certain mood.
With over 88 book picks under her belt, we have her full ranked list in this post, but our favorites are below.
March 2023 Oprah Book Club Pick
I adored this family saga about the four Padavano sisters and the man that enters their family orbit. William Waters grew up in a house with indifferent parents, so he fell head over heels for Julia and then her family.
But William’s inner demons cause a rift between the sisters that shakes the family to its core and dramatically changes the dynamics between all the Padavanos. Told over decades, this story examines the ties that bind us to our family through the ebbs and flows of life.
As one of four children, this coming-of-age story really spoke to me. Napolitano does an incredible job of accurately depicting the individual sibling relationships with one another and the role each person plays within the larger family dynamic. It’s a tall order and a near-impossible challenge to nail the complexities of a big family, but Napolitano does it with aplomb.
It’s going to be one of the best books of 2023 without a doubt. It strikes a balance between creating moments for book club discussion but also being entertaining enough to be a beach read pick. It’s a book about sisters I’ll be recommending to everyone all year.
August 2021 Oprah’s Book Club Pick
Wow. This is one of the best books I’ve listened to this year, and yes, I recommend it on audio for a few reasons. We absolutely love this Oprah Book Club Pick
First, the different narrators help tell this dual-timeline contemporary fiction. Through one narrator, we learn about Ailey’s life as an African American woman in the 20th century. The other narrator tells the story of the female ancestors of Ailey’s going all the way back to her Indigenous, black, and white relatives from two centuries earlier.
Through Ailey and her ancestors, the weight of what it means to be a black woman in America means. The sacrifices, injustices, struggles, and harassment endured by Ailey and her kin in the present day and the past are explored with a depth so real, I forgot it was a fictional story at times.
The second reason this book is great on audio? It’s LONG. It clocks in at over 800 pages or almost 30hrs of audiobook time. The narrators sucked me in and those 30 hrs flew by.
I will say, this book made me consider my White Privilege in a way no non-fiction book could have. It’s a heavy story, but very worth the read and a great book for book clubs.
Stop everything and add Hidden Valley Road to your TBR now!! Thank you so much Libro.fm and Double Day for my advanced copy of this book. All I can say is wow!
This is the amazing story of Don and Mimi Galvin whose family paved the way for schizophrenia research over the past 50 years. Of their 12 children- 10 sons and 2 daughters, 6 of the boys have schizophrenia.
The struggles of this family to survive through the age of lobotomies and institutionalization provides a look into the history of this disorder. It’s unbelievable to think how far we’ve come and yet, we are not even close to understanding this disease
For the record, I read this book BEFORE Oprah picked it! We spent a semester learning about this family saga during my Senior Year. Each person was assigned a symbol to report on throughout the book each week.
Mine was goldfish -part of the symbolism of amnesia and the duality between amnesia and nostalgia. Yep. I still remember the lesson. Maybe is was the teaching that contributed but, this remains one of my favorite books ever. This is a perfect example of a literary fiction book that is also a magical realism book.
I have a personal story about this book. My husband’s grandmother grew up in the same town as Elie Weisel. She knew both him and his wife. This was the first thing that she told me when I met her (My husband’s name is also Elie but this is purely coincidental).
This is a must-read non-fiction book about the Holocaust written by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a short but very powerful book that will emotionally wreck you. For more amazing Oprah’s Book Club Picks, you can see the full list.