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3 Thought Provoking Books for Discussion Groups or Book Clubs

Updated: Jan 14

Looking for the perfect books to read with a group? Books that would illicit lots of internal thoughts to be shared, plenty of dialogue among readers, and hearty discussion? Read these three recommended books for your next book club meeting or discussion group and you won't go wrong!


Hands holding a coffee mug with a book and candles in the background.
Thought Provoking Books

Book clubs and buddy groups are always looking for books that leave the reader thinking about and digesting the story long after the last page has been turned. I've found that the best books for this with my own group tend to have a topic that isn't necessarily controversial, but one that has us think outside the box. Often the topic or overall theme allows for reflection and thoughts of how their own life is related (or not related) to the main characters.


Thought Provoking Books


Let's start with a book I just finished this week and can't stop thinking about:


Bouquet of Blue and black flowers against yellow backdrop

The Measure by Nikki Erlick is a fiction book that showcases a dystopian universe that felt so real I found myself wanting to talk about it with others. On what seemed like a normal day, people all over the world that were age 22 years old and older woke up to an indestructible box with their name on it and the inscription "The measure of your life lies within.". For those that venture to open the boxes, they discover a single string that is also indestructible.


Some people have short strings, others have much longer strings, and others choose to never open the box at all. The boxes continue to arrive on peoples doorstep when they turn 22 years old. After a great deal of study, it is determined that the length of the owners string represents their life expectancy.


The division between "Short-Stringers" and "Long-Stringers" starts to become more exaggerated as those with short strings are being denied loans, health insurance, and are being discriminated against. Some long stringers are toying with death by taking risks that they wouldn't have considered previously. And now governments all over the world are getting involved and removing individuals choices - making decisions for the general public.


Great story of how eight strangers handled this new found world - their lives intermingling with pain, love, and decisions. Some top discussion topics include:

  • Would you open your own box?

  • How would you change your life if you knew the end was near?


The number ":00" repeated over and over to represent midnight

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is another great book for discussion groups or book clubs. I was very fortunate that my own neighborhood group read this one together, so I had the opportunity to discuss the story immediately after reading it.


Synopsis for The Midnight Library: Nora is in a so so life, but feels that everyone would be better off without her. One night after a bad choice, she finds herself in a library filled with books on alternate lives of hers that would run in a parallel universe. The librarian is someone that she knows and trusts, helping Nora read through her book of regrets. Then Nora starts "visiting" some of those alternate lives. For example, the life that she would have had if she had continued swimming or followed her friend on a trip out of the country. These parallel lives in the books help her see what could have been had she chosen differently at any point in time.


It's a super interesting concept. I loved that many subjects were brought up like Quantum and string theory. It really makes you think about how different life would have been if you made a different choice on any given day!


Discussion topics for this book included several examples of how one decision changed our path (boyfriends, college, near miss accidents). It also lead to a discussion around who would take the opportunity to change their life if they were given the chance to chose a different path at a former moment in history.


Two females and a male running into an ocean wave

Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand is the third book that makes for great dialogue and discussion within groups. This book was one nominated by my book club this past year and as I often do, I went into it completely "blind" (not reading the blurb or cover for more details).


The book opens in a bit of an unexpected manner. It doesn't take too long at all to get to the main event - Vivi (a single, older mother of adult children) is out for her morning run and gets hit by a car and dies. If you are like me, at this point, I was wondering "where in the world is this book going to go from here?!?!?" I mean, the author just killed off the primary character!


It turns out that this book fabulously depicts a very wonderful version of the afterlife. Vivi has a guide with her and is given three "nudges" to use as she watches the real world drama that unfolds after her death.


I loved that you didn't have to be of any specific faith to enjoy this book. You don't even have to believe in the afterlife. And while it's obviously a work of fiction, my book club really felt this story. The interesting thing is that all of us seemed to recall an experience with a "nudge" at some point in our life - some decision we made or some event that transpired where we had an odd feeling that 'grandma' or someone was watching out for us. Golden Girl was written in a very positive manner even though the characters were dealing with grief. Could be a helpful read for anyone that has lost a loved one.


I hope you have the opportunity to read these thought provoking books with a friend, book club, or discussion group! I'd love to hear your stories if you do :)


Additional Book Recommendations




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9 Kommentare


Unknown member
24. Sept. 2023

Great suggestions! I might even decide to get one of these books. I sometimes get a book to read in Christmas or my birthday! My family knows I’m an avid reader! My favorite of the three would be the Midnight Library! I really relate to the main character having regrets and wishing she made different choices. I’m interested to see how she handles dealing with those regrets and if she eventually learns to be content with the choices she made. Thanks for sharing.


- Charli Dee

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
25. Sept. 2023
Antwort an

Hi Charli! It was such a good book! And to think of all the ways life could have turned out different if an alternate choice was made at any time is just crazy. Hope you do get one of these to add to your collection :)

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Gast
23. Sept. 2023

Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors and I have “Golden Girl” checked out to read. Can’t wait to start it tomorrow.

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Gast
22. Sept. 2023

These are great book suggestions. The Midnight Library sounds very interesting, love to check this one out. Thanks for sharing! - @styledbysetitra

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
22. Sept. 2023
Antwort an

It really was very good! Made for such a strong discussion as everyone thought about how every decision they make in life can have so many different outcomes!

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Gast
22. Sept. 2023

I loved the Midnight Library! It really was so beautiful and thought provoking. I definitely want to check out the other two, I’d never heard of them! Thanks for sharing!

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
22. Sept. 2023
Antwort an

Yea! I'm so glad that you've read one already! Yes, check out the other two as they will bring about similar feelings :)

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Gast
22. Sept. 2023

These all sound like very interesting reads but I think Golden Girl is right up my alley! Thanks!

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Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer
22. Sept. 2023
Antwort an

It was definitely a group favorite! One of the books that just stays with you for a while, too!

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