Book Club Picks


If you’re in need of new selections for your book club, we can help! Our quarterly picks lists below are filled with engaging titles sure to spark lively discussion. For each title, we:

  • purchase multiple copies so they’ll be available to book club members
  • purchase multiple formats so you can read the way you like best
  • commit to keeping the titles for 18 months from the time we pick them so you can plan ahead

Whatcom READS


Whatcom Reads logo

Join the Whatcom READS discussion by reading Washington Black with your book group and then attending virtual events that explore themes from the book. Find a list of events here.

photo of Esi Edugyan and her novel Washington Black

Author Esi Edugyan visits Whatcom County via video conference in March 2021.

WINTER 2021 PICKS


Circe by Madeline Miller
Circe by Madeline Miller

“Circe is a bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’ story that manages to be both epic and intimate in scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.” Winner of the 2019 Indie Choice Award. 

Fiction

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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

A gripping and brilliant novel based on a true story about a boys’ reformatory school in Florida in the 1960s, written in spare, suspenseful prose. Winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Nonfiction

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In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

This creative, deeply reflective memoir challenges what we think we know about memoirs. Machado documents a relationship gone wrong through a maze of short stories and vignettes. Winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Nonfiction

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The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman
The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman

Desperation during wartime entwines four souls: a mother, her daughter, a mystical golem, and the woman who brings the golem to life. Set in Nazi-occupied France between 1941 and 1944, this is a bittersweet parable about survival, resistance, and how we define humanity. Emotional and gravely beautiful.

Fiction

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Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Lillian, an aimless young woman receives a surprising request from an estranged friend. She asks Lillian to nanny her kids for a summer while she campaigns with her politician husband. The catch: the kids spontaneously combust. A peculiar, entertaining, and insightful book about the hazards of child-rearing and the value of friends.

Fiction

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Furious Hours by Casey Cep
Furious Hours by Casey Cep

Casey Cep unravels two mysteries. The first: a court case that Harper Lee researched obsessively for years. The second: what happened to Harper Lee after To Kill a Mockingbird? A compelling hybrid of true crime thriller, courtroom drama, and a miniature biography of Harper Lee.

Nonfiction

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Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Dominicana by Angie Cruz

The year is 1965. At 15 years old, Ana marries a much older man and immigrates to New York City. Her lonely life becomes more complicated and exciting when her husband returns to the Dominican Republic during political turmoil and leaves her alone in the city. A lyrical coming-of-age novel about immigration, love, freedom, and the complicated road to adulthood.

Fiction

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Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higgenbotham
Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

An investigation into how Soviet propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of history’s worst nuclear accident. Despite being meticulously researched, this fast-paced narrative reads like a thriller or adventure novel. Winner of the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

Nonfiction

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Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Willis Wu is an actor who dreams of being a leading man but keeps finding himself in the same role: Generic Asian Man. This modern satire explores Asian stereotypes, cop TV shows, and the immigrant experience through a playful mix of formats. Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.

Fiction

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The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan
The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

In the 1970s, a Stanford psychologist and seven volunteers went undercover into asylums, where they remained until they “proved” their sanity. This real-life detective story delves into mental health care’s troubling history and asks the question: how should we define insanity? Gripping, investigative, and timely. 

Nonfiction

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EARLIER PICKS