Last week, a member of “Now Read This,” the joint book club by the PBS NewsHour and the New York Times, asked other book club members for recommendations for “a really, really good book to get lost in.”
Rebecca Spiro’s question received hundreds of responses on the book club’s Facebook group, with answers ranging from novels and memoirs to classics and nonfiction.
If you’re longing to be transported, here are eight books to dog-ear now:
The top pick
Video by Nashville Public Television
The most recommended book? “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, a 2018 novel about a sleepy town in North Carolina where a handsome man is found dead and a young woman known as “Marsh Girl” is suspected of the crime. “Now Read This” member Susan Castledine described the novel as revolving around a “child abandoned by almost everyone in her family and community.” Kristen Crippen said it was the “best book I read last year.”
Past book club selections
Other members recommended previous “Now Read This” picks, including Tara Westover’s memoir “Educated,” which Joan Knothe Stein called “a great story” and “a memoir that reads like a novel,” and Min Jin Lee’s historical fiction novel “Pachinko,” which Monica Borrin Flint described as having “extraordinary characters and fascinating history unfamiliar to many.”
Novels with an air of trouble… or mystery
Many of the recommendations for books to get lost in were recent novels. Hanya Yanagihara’s unsettling 2015 novel “A Little Life,” which follows the lives of four men in New York, was recommended by Sofia Di Biase, who called it “a book that you are going to remember for a long time.” Amy Van Cleave-Singam replied that it was her “favorite book of all time, despite needing therapy afterwards.”
Others recommended mysteries, including the Louise Penny novels, which are set in Quebec and all revolve around a character named Inspector Gamache. Janice B. Carmichael said the series was full of “unforgettable characters who travel with you from book to book.”
A not-so-recent pick …
Still others recommended older books. Member Rick Watts suggested checking out John Williams’ “Stoner,” a 1965 campus novel and cult classic about a man’s undistinguished career, unhappy marriage and love of literature.
… And more recent history
Nonfiction made it in, too; Chuck Rodabaugh recommended “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy,” which follows the people who caused the tragedy in Flint, Michigan, those who suffered, and the heroes who fought for accountability and a response.
And, finally, for those looking for a good thriller
And for those who want to be unnerved while they read, Kathy Cassaro Shoufer suggested “The Bird Box,” a post-apocalyptic thriller told through flashbacks, saying the book is better than the new Netflix film. Sandi Watters called it “one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read” and said it was “beyond suspenseful!”
“What a treasure trove you have collected for all of us, Rebecca,” Now Read This member Deborah Nye Corgan wrote on the page. “📚 Thank you!” And we agree.
Check out more of the recommendations from Now Read This members and NewsHour staff here.