Reese Witherspoon wears many hats. She’s an actress, producer, entrepreneur, and—the reason we’re here—book recommender. It’s easy to look at Reese and only recognize her from her iconic roles (yeah, I’m talking ’bout you, Elle Woods), when in reality she’s an avid reader and founder of Hello Sunshine, a media company that focuses on telling female-driven stories in film, TV, and digital platforms. But she’s not just about making content you can watch, she’s also into curating content you can read.
Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine chooses a new book every month, announcing the selection on Instagram, exclusively highlighting stories written by women. The club doesn’t discriminate against any genre, so there really is something for everyone, from murder mysteries to romance tales. In my opinion, the coolest part of picking up a book from Reese’s book club list is the fact that it has a pretty good chance of eventually being made into a movie or TV series. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng became a limited series starring Reese and Kerry Washington on Hulu, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is being developed into an Amazon Prime series, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is in the works to become a movie. Securing a spot on Reese Witherspoon’s book club is great for authors and readers alike. So the next time you’re scouring Amazon for a book to add to your cart, make sure to take a whirl through Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club list first.
‘Furia’ by Yamile Saied Méndez
This novel, Reese’s latest YA pick, follows Camila, a talented young soccer star living in Rosario, Argentina, who hides her passion (and her skills) for fútbol from her super strict parents. Female empowerment and some light adolescent romance against the backdrop of a fascinating place, culturally—you’ll speed through this one, promise.
‘The Last Story of Mina Lee’ by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
After Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, stops returning her phone calls, she sets out to figure out what’s up—only to discover that her mom has died under suspicious circumstances. Margot then embarks on a journey to uncover who her mother really was. Flipping between the past and present, this story is a twisty tale about the complicated dynamics between mothers and daughters.
‘You Should See Me in a Crown’ by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty feels like the ultimate outsider. Being Black, poor, and awkward doesn’t exactly help her fit into her small, rich, Midwestern town. The only way out is to get a scholarship for college, which is exactly why she’s determined to nab her school’s scholarship for prom queen and king.
‘Everything Inside’ by Edwidge Danticat
Why read one story when you can read eight extremely inspiring stories, ya know? This collection follows Haitian women’s experiences with love and loss.
‘I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness’ by Austin Channing Brown
The next time someone asks you to explain racism to them, just direct them to Austin Channing Brown’s memoir about her experience growing up as a Black woman in America. Systemic racism can feel both complicated and impersonal, but after reading Austin’s words, it’ll be impossible to ignore the racial hostility that consumes institutions like schools, churches, universities, and businesses in this country.
‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley
There’s nothing better than cuddling up in bed with a murder mystery, but you might wanna flick all the lights on before diving into Lucy Foley’s novel. What starts as a picture-perfect wedding turns into a murder investigation when one of the guests ends up dead.
‘The Henna Artist’ by Alka Joshi
Seventeen-year-old Lakshmi manages to escape from an abusive marriage and travel to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. In spite of her troubled past, she sets up shop as a henna artist to wealthy upper-class women and soon becomes privy to their secrets. Juicy.
‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle
There are a lot of expectations placed on women. Society tells us how to look, how to act, what we should and shouldn’t do with our bodies…honestly, the list goes on. Glennon Doyle’s memoir is all about breaking out of those boxes and freeing herself from what she thinks she *should* be.
‘The Jetsetters’ by Amanda Eyre Ward
Since not all of us have the money or time to travel across the world (plus, there’s that whole ~global pandemic~ thing going on), treat yourself to a copy of Amanda Eyre Ward’s page-turner. You’ll fall in love with the disconnected family who reunites while on a cruise through Europe. After 70-year-old Charlotte Perkins wins a contest, she takes her estranged children on an adventure on the high seas. What could go wrong?
‘The Scent Keeper’ by Erica Bauermeister
Emmeline lives on a remote island with her father who teaches her about the natural world through her five senses. But what remains a mystery are the scents stored in glass bottles in the walls of their cabin—oh, and the time machine that created the bottles. Before long, she’s forced back into the real world and has to figure out her real identity.
‘Such a Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid
Kiley Reid’s debut novel tackles race, privilege, and work dynamics through the lens of Elmira, a struggling 20something babysitter, and her boss, Alix. After Elmira is falsely accused of kidnapping Alix’s daughter, she’s launched into a complicated journey about adulthood and the dynamics involved in being paid to take care of someone else’s child.
‘Conviction’ by Denise Mina
They say that your entire life can change in an instant, which is exactly what happens to Anna McDonald after her husband announces that he’s leaving her. And if that’s not bad enough, then Anna realizes that the true-crime podcast she’s been binge-listening to….well, she actually knows one of the murder victims. So naturally, she decides to try to solve the case herself.
‘The Giver of Stars’ by Jojo Moyes
Everyone knows that the best stories are inspired by true events. Alice Walker is suffering from culture shock after moving from England to small-town Kentucky. It’s the 1930s and her only form of refuge is joining a small group of women known as the Horseback Librarians of Kentucky to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library.
‘Fair Play’ by Eve Rodsky
Ever make your boyfriend dinner, only for him to leave you cleaning the dishes? Or wash your wife’s clothes, only for her to not put them away for days? If so, then you’ll love this read about a foolproof system that gives couples a new way to split up chores and household responsibilities.
‘The Secrets We Kept’ by Lara Prescott
Set during the Cold War era, two CIA secretaries are given the mission of smuggling Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a spy, you’re about to find out.
‘The Last House Guest’ by Megan Miranda
There’s something about a rainy New England town that just oozes murder-mystery vibes. I guess we can thank Stephen King for that, huh? Sadie visits a quaint Maine town where Avery lives year-round and they become best friends. All is good until Sadie turns up dead, and Avery might take the fall for it…unless she can prove who really did it.
‘Whisper Network’ by Chandler Baker
Murder mystery meets the #MeToo movement in Chandler Baker’s read about three female colleagues who team up to take down their highly inappropriate new boss. Wait, how’d he get the job, you ask? Oh, the CEO suddenly died. Yeah. It’s good.
‘The Cactus’ by Sarah Haywood
Susan is 45 and mourning the loss of her mother when she finds out that she’s pregnant. Surprise! This book is about how motherhood requires even the most Type-A among us to relinquish a bit of control.
‘From Scratch’ by Tembi Locke
In this poignant memoir, you follow Tembi’s journey of love and heartbreaking loss after her husband, Saro, passes away, and she has to rely on the support of three generations of women. Her story is a reminder that you can overcome every curveball life throws at you.
‘The Night Tiger’ by Yangsze Choo
Tigers are scary enough in their mortal form, let alone in any kind of mystical form! The two main characters here have to work together after the wild animal begins to hunt, or rather, haunt their Malaysian village.
‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy Jones, an incredibly talented singer, spends her time sneaking into clubs and sleeping with rock-stars (hey, it’s the ’70s!). So she teams up with an up-and-coming band, The Six, kicking off a legendary adventure. Daisy’s story, which is being turned into a TV series starring Riley Keough, has fully convinced me that being a groupie would be kinda cool.
‘The Proposal’ by Jasmine Guillory
There are a few things you can rely on when go to a baseball game, like hotdogs, beer, and maybe seeing a home run. And if you’re Nikole: your boyfriend of five months will pop the question in front of a stadium of 45,000 people. Thankfully, Nikole gets rescued after turning down her beau (er, ex beau) by a hunky stranger…who soon becomes an even hotter rebound.
‘The Library Book’ by Susan Orlean
If you love libraries and their cozy, escapist vibes, then you’ll get sucked right into this retelling of the April 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire. By the time the fire was contained, it had already destroyed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Let me just warn you now, though, the most important question of this decades-old mystery remains unanswered: Did someone intentionally try to burn down the library?
‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver
A love story set in the winter is just the kind of romance my quarantine bod needs right now. Laurie doesn’t believe in love at first sight, well, until she locks eyes with this guy outside her bus window. Eventually they cross paths again, but not under particularly ideal circumstances. If you’re a sucker for missed connections and tempting fate, crack open this book ASAP.
‘The Other Woman’ by Sandie Jones
Adam fell in love with Emily, but Adam’s mother, Pammie, really wished that he hadn’t. So much so, in fact, that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of Emily…forever.
‘This Is How It Always Is’ by Laurie Frankel
Every family has their secrets. Some secrets are small and others have the potential to change everything if they’re exposed. Claude’s family is hiding the fact that when he grows up, he wants to be a girl—but it’s a secret that won’t stay hidden for long.
‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ by Delia Owens
You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but even if you tried to guess what Delia Owens’ novel is about just by looking at it, you’d 100% get it wrong. The best-selling story combines love, mystery, and murder told through two intersecting timelines.
‘Still Lives’ by Maria Hummel
Avant-garde feminist icon Kim Lord goes missing on the opening night of her groundbreaking exhibition, and what follows is a mysterious tale that will keep you up all night turning every page until you learn what happened.
‘Next Year in Havana’ by Chanel Cleeton
Taking an international trip to scatter ashes isn’t exactly the kind of vacay people dream about. But when Marisol gets to Havana to honor her late grandmother, she discover secrets dating back to the Cuban revolution.
‘Something in the Water’ by Catherine Steadman
Honeymooning in Bora Bora is the perfect escape…until newlyweds Erin and Mark go scuba diving and find something shocking in the water. This psychological thriller will keep your attention until the very last page.
‘You Think It, I’ll Say It’ by Curtis Sittenfeld
Another collection of short stories makes Reese’s list thanks to Curtis Sittenfeld’s complex characters and astonishing insight. In ten stories, Sittenfeld tackles class, relationships, and gender roles in ways both deeply analytical and delightful.
‘Happiness’ by Heather Harpham
Don’t be fooled by the title—Heather Harphan’s memoir contains its fair share of darkness. It starts with her breakup after finding out she’s pregnant. Then her doctor delivers gut-wrenching news about the baby. Your heart will surely break, but you’ll also find joys in her words.
‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Spice it up with a little erotic storytelling. Nikki is a West London bartender-turned-teacher whose students are Sikh widows. Their subject? The art of erotic storytelling.
‘The Light We Lost’ by Jill Santopolo
Love is a lot of things, but simple isn’t one of them. After meeting in college, Lucy and Gabe’s romance spans 13 years. If you physically have to watch When Harry Met Sally whenever it’s on, then you’ll be intoxicated by their story.
‘Braving the Wilderness’ by Brené Brown
If you ever feel a little lost, pick up a Brené Brown book. An icon in the self-help sphere, here she teaches her audience how to bridge society’s political, social, and racial divides. That’s no easy task, Brené.
‘The Last Mrs. Parrish’ by Liv Constantine
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer—a nice sentiment, unless your friend is secretly a maniac. Amber Patterson befriends socialite Daphne Parrish, but her real goal is far from innocent. She wants to take over Daphne’s life. Yikes.
‘This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage’ by Ann Patchett
Combining literature and memoir, legendary author Ann Patchett gives readers a peak into her real life, and all the moments—from childhood through adulthood—that have shaped her as a woman and a wife.
‘The Rules of Magic’ by Alice Hoffman
Didn’t your parents ever teach you to follow the rules? Even magic has its limits—or does it? In the Practical Magic prequel, Susanna Owens tries to keep her kids from whatever awaits them in her Massachusetts hometown.
‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Celeste Ng
Celeste Ng tackles it all—race, class, and privilege—in her novel about what happens when worlds collide in a seemingly perfect Cleveland suburban town. After you finish the book, promise me you’ll watch the TV adaptation, okay?
‘The Lying Game’ by Ruth Ware
A must-read and I’m not just saying that because it’s currently sitting on my bookshelf. Ruth Ware is the master of writing thrillers that surprise you at every turn. When friends from high school reunite after one of them sends an ominous text, you quickly realize that what bonds them is way more than friendship.
‘The Alice Network’ by Kate Quinn
‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman
If you’re in need of a laugh, dive into the story of Eleanor, a loner who connects with a man from her office and then, oh yeah, the elderly man they save from falling on the sidewalk. Sure, the plot sounds a bit weird, but don’t you trust Reese’s recs by now?
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