The No-Obligation Book Club Reading List

A chronological guide to our monthly selections (plus all the runners-up).

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Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo

For more information on Real Simple’s No Obligation Book Club itself, click here.
 

September 2008

Winner: I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman

 

October 2008

Winner: Run, by Ann Patchett

Brother, I’m Dying, by Edwidge Danticat

The Book of Other People, edited by Zadie Smith

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

 

November 2008

Winner: Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates

The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani

Mrs. Bridge, by Evan S. Connell

Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris

 

December 2008

Winner: I Was Told There’d Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley

American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld

The House at Sugar Beach, by Helene Cooper

The Position, by Meg Wolitzer

 

January 2009

Winner: Dear American Airlines, by Jonathan Miles

Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dreaming in Cuban, by Cristina Garcia

The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

 

February 2009

Winner: Testimony, by Anita Shreve

Night of the Gun, by David Carr

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

 

March 2009

Winner: December, by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop

Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan

People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks

Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley

 

April 2009

Winner: My Abandonment, by Peter Rock

Angels of Destruction, by Keith Donohue

The Believers, by Zoe Heller

The Survivor’s Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life, by Ben Sherwood

 

May 2009

Winner: Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz

 

June 2009

Winner: Busy Woman Seeks Wife, by Annie Sanders

Blithe Spirit, by Noel Coward

The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

The Host, by Stephenie Meyer

 

July 2009

Winner: Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead

Flight, by Sherman Alexie

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie

 

August 2009

Winner: The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery

The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson

Change of Heart, by Jodi Picoult

 

September 2009

Winner: The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

I See You Everywhere, by Julia Glass

The Scenic Route, by Binnie Kirshenbaum

 

October 2009

Winner: A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore

The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb

Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

 

November 2009

Winner: The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson

The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis

Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich

 

December 2009

Winner: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Ten-Year Nap, by Meg Wolitzer

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme

 

 

January 2010

Winner: My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme

This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper

Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann

My Father’s Tears and Other Stories, by John Updike

 

February 2010

Winner: The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

The Plain Truth, by Jodi Picoult

On Beauty, by Zadie Smith

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiquro

 

March 2010

Winner: Truth & Beauty: A Friendship, by Ann Patchett

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

A Good Fall: Stories, by Ha Jin

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

 

April 2010

Winner: A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

An Education, by Lynn Barber

The Believers, by Zoe Heller

Some Things That Meant the World to Me, by Joshua Mohr

 

May 2010

Winner: House Rules, by Jodi Picoult

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan

The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, by Melissa Bank

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage, by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

June 2010

Winner: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford

Nine Stories, by J.D. Salinger

The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

 

July 2010

Winner: Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon

South of Broad, by Pat Conroy

Jackdaws, by Ken Follett

Guernica, by Dave Boling

 

August 2010

Winner: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender

Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Big Love, by Sarah Dunn

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, by Syrie James

 

September 2010

Winner: 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, by Jane Ziegelman

Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen

The Big Love, by Sarah Dunn

 

October 2010

Winner: When You Reach Me,  by Rebecca Stead
A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President, by Josh Lieb

 

November 2010

Winner: The Postmistress,  by Sarah Blake
Kapitoil, by Teddy Wayne

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson

Long for This World, by Sonya Chung

 

December 2010

Winner: I Capture the Castle,  by Dodie Smith
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The Best of Everything, by Rona Jaffe

Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder

 

January 2011

Winner: One Day, by David Nicholls
Ellington Boulevard, by Adam Langer

Nothing Is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn, by Alice Mattison

Family Planning, by Karan Mahajan

 

February 2011

Winner: Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls
Born Round, by Frank Bruni

Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan

Closing the Food Gap, by Mark Winne

 

March 2011

Winner: Room: A Novel, by Emma Donoghue
I Don’t Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall, by Kazuo Ishiguro

 

April 2011

Winner: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer

Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

 

May 2011

Winner: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark
Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris

Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy

 

June 2011

Winner: Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, by Rob Sheffield
Look Me in the Eye, by John Elder Robison

Making Toast, by Roger Rosenblatt

The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan

 

July 2011

Winner: The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar
The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert

The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, by Dinaw Mengestu

 

August 2011

Winner: The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

Just Kids, by Patti Smith

Your Voice in My Head, by Emma Forrest

 

September 2011

Winner: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand
Bossypants, by Tina Fey

This Must Be the Place, by Kate Racculia

I Don’t Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson

 

October 2011

Winner: The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
The Heights, by Peter Hedges

An Invisible Sign of My Own, by Aimee Bender

We Were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates

 

November 2011

Winner: The Heights, by Peter Hedges
The Hare With Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal

Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather

Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles

 

December 2011

Winner: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

The Member of the Wedding, by Carson McCullers

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

 

 

January 2012

Winner: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling

Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by Greg Lawrence

Ava’s Man, by Rick Bragg

Then Again, by Diane Keaton

 

February 2012

Winner: Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles

The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst

Snobs, by Julian Fellowes

 

March 2012

Winner: Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons

Love in a Cold Climate, by Nancy Mitford

A Room With a View, by E.M. Forster

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

 

April 2012

Winner: Bossypants, by Tina Fey

Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem

How Did You Get This Number, by Sloane Crosley

Bond Girl, by Erin Duffy

 

May 2012

Winner: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

Moloka’i, by Alan Brennert

Love in a Cold Climate, by Nancy Mitford

Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethe

 

June 2012

Winner: I Totally Meant to Do That, by Jane Borden

The Love of My Youth, by Mary Gordon

You Know When the Men Are Gone, by Siobhan Fallon

Trapped, by Michael Northrop

 

July 2012

Winner: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley

A Walk Across the Sun, by Corban Addison

The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan

 

August 2012

Winner: The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

My New American Life, by Francine Prose

Seven Years, by Peter Stamm

Stone Arabia, by Dana Spiotta

 

September 2012

Winner: The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman

The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker

The Empty Glass, by J.I. Baker

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

 

October 2012

Winner: In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson

An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin

State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett

Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan

 

November 2012

Winner: The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

 

December 2012

Winner: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan

The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty

The Cove, by Ron Rash

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

January 2013

Winner: Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom

My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store, by Ben Ryder Howe

The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

 

February 2013

Winner: The End of Your Life Book Club,  by Will Schwalbe

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

 

March 2013

Winner: Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan

The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet—A Memoir, by Dara-Lynn Weiss

Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

 

April 2013

Winner: What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo

The Suitors, by Cécile David-Weill

Defending Jacob, by William Landay

 

May 2013

Winner: The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, by Madeleine Albright

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin

 

June 2013

Winner: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell

Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck

 

July 2013

Winner: Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos

Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Danticat

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri

 

August 2013

Winner: The Silver Star, by Jeannette Walls

The Illusion of Separateness, by Simon Van Booy

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Forgotten Country, by Catherine Chung

 

September 2013

Winner: The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

Blue Plate Special, by Kate Christensen

And Sons, by David Gilbert

 

October 2013

Winner: Visitation Street, by Ivy Pochoda

Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers

The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri

White Teeth, by Zadie Smith

 

November 2013

Winner: Orange Is the New Black, by Piper Kerman

Enon, by Paul Harding

TransAtlantic, by Colum McCann

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

 

December 2013

Winner: The Partner Track, by Helen Wan

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Someone, by Alice McDermott

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty

 

 

January 2014

Winner: Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, by Anatole Broyard

 

February 2014

Winner: Embers, by Sandor Marai

Gourmet Rhapsody, by Muriel Barbery

Talking With My Mouth Full, by Gail Simmons

Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger

 

March 2014

Winner: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon

Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell

The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

 

April 2014

Winner: The Liars’ Club, by Mary Karr

Blood Will Out, by Walter Kirn

Little Failure, by Gary Shteyngart

Still Points North, by Leigh Newman

 

May 2014

Winner: Blame, by Michelle Huneven

The Wives of Los Alamos, by TaraShea Nesbit

The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman

Casebook, by Mona Simpson

 

June 2014

Winner: Rebecca,  by Daphne Du Maurier

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie

Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

 

July 2014

Winner: Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan

A Dual Inheritance, by Joanna Hershon

Euphoria, by Lily King

The Master’s Muse, by Varley O’Connor

 

September 2014

Winner: Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

A Dual Inheritance, by Joanna Hershon