Best Fiction Books from Luminary Book Clubs

As book nerds, we believe that all books are magical, but there’s something particularly extraordinary about a fictional novel. A writer infuses each page with their imagination, conjuring whole worlds, people, and plots so convincingly that sometimes, it’s hard to know which world is the real one—yours, or the world your thoughts have traveled to.

You can open a fiction book and watch as your studio apartment transforms into an eerie medieval castle, a languid tropical beach, or a bustling 18th-century street corner.

Fiction also has the invaluable potential to transform us. You learn how to see the world through the eyes of another, and along the way, your capacity for empathy and understanding grows enormously. With that in mind, we’ve curated our Luminary thought leaders’ latest picks for the best fiction books from our Luminary Book Clubs. 

Read on, and choose your next adventure!

Malala Yousafzai’s Pick: Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

Image Source: https://www.amazon.com/Fifty-Words-Rain-Asha-Lemmie/dp/152474638X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

In her debut novel Fifty Words for Rain, author Asha Lemmie tackles themes of love, loss, prejudice, pain, and family.

Set in 1948 Kyoto, Japan, Lemmie introduces us to our protagonist Nori, the child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American lover. Nori struggles to cope with the loss of her mother and her confinement at the hands of her maternal grandparents, who are set on concealing her existence. When Nori meets her half-brother Akira, she finds both an ally and an entire world outside of her grandparents’ estate.

Lemmie presents readers with a modern epic that spans decades and continents, and contemplates tradition, family, and oppression.

You’ll love this book if…

  • You crave historical fiction that incorporates contemporary confrontations of race and prejudice
  • You delight at putting your emotions through the literary ringer
  • You’re always on the hunt for stories and perspectives that aren’t included in history books

Stephen Curry’s Pick: Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Image Source: https://www.amazon.com/Black-Brother-Jewell-Parker-Rhodes/dp/0316493805 

Jewell Parker Rhodes offers a profound coming-of-age story in her novel Black Brother, Black Brother, which tells the story of two biracial brothers, one who presents as white and one who presents as black.

Mocked as the “Black Brother,” 12-year-old Donte finds himself suspended and arrested after being framed by bullies. Searching for community and belonging, Donte begins to train with a former Olympic fencer, hoping to beat the captain of the fencing team who framed him.

As his talent for fencing grows, Donte learns he must also confront the racism and corrupt systems that led to his unjust arrest. Rhodes expertly weaves a prototypical coming-of-age story with a powerful social commentary on the school-to-prison pipeline.

You’ll love this book if…

  • Plots with identity struggles and family conflict sing to you like a siren
  • Sports mentorship and personal growth makes you feel all the feelings
  • The complexities of high school social hierarchies fascinate (and sometimes enrage) you

Susan Orlean’s Pick: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Image Source: https://www.amazon.com/News-World-Paulette-Jiles/dp/0062409212/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

Captain Kidd travels the untamed Texas frontier, reading newspapers to paying audiences eager to learn the titular news of the world, until he is hired to bring orphaned Johanna to her remaining living relatives. But there’s a major hurdle: 10-year-old Johanna was raised by the same Kiowa raiders that had killed her family, so she has forgotten English and struggles to escape Captain Kidd constantly.

An unenthusiastic reunion with Johanna’s aunt and uncle forces Captain Kidd to face the ethics of abandoning Johanna again or becoming a kidnapper himself. One of the best historical fiction books we’ve read yet, Jiles’ novel carries readers along Captain Kidd’s literal and moral journeys. 

You’ll love this book if…

  • You enjoy pondering moral ambiguity and ethical quandaries
  • You love watching Westerns but wish they had a bit more nuance (and strong female protagonists)
  • You love the “Grumpy Dad/Baby-sitter and Small Ferocious Child” trope (Looking at you, Hopper and Eleven!)

Find the Latest and Greatest Fiction with Literati

Keep your bookshelf stocked with the latest and best fiction books recommended by Luminaries like Malala, Stephen Curry, and Susan Orlean by joining Literati’s Luminary Book Clubs!

With a book club subscription, you’ll receive a book handpicked by Literati’s sensational Luminaries, but that’s not all. You’ll also have access to online discussion forums, book guides, exclusive interviews, and the occasional gift like signed notes from the likes of Malala or Richard Branson! 

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to travel to other worlds. 

On Key

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