My unscientific rule is that a worthwhile novel will have more than 3.5 stars on Goodreads. Of course, Reese Witherspoon's reads all check that box. Here are my favorites from her club this year—along with the Goodreads' rating.
Where the Crawdads Sing (Goodreads: 4.54 stars)
"I'm not even sure I can express in words how much I love this book," Witherspoon said in her announcement—and 22,000 Goodreads readers agree. This is the highest-rated book of the pack, and it has everything we love in a book club read: romance, a protagonist's coming-of-age, murder mystery, and a stunning setting. The story's central character Kya has been abandoned by everyone in her family save for her abusive father, and though the odds are stacked against her, this is a story of survival.
Next Year In Havana (Goodreads: 4.03 stars)
Witherspoon has a knack for choosing stories that are both emotionally complex and culturally important, and this novel is no exception. Its dual timelines tell the story of Cuba in the 1950s and today through the stories of Marisol and her late grandmother Elisa. When Marisol returns to Cuba to lay Elisa's ashes to rest, both she and the reader begin to comprehend the truth of Cuba's fraught political history and present. About 14,000 Goodreads users have deemed this a must-read.
You Think It, I'll Say It (Goodreads: 3.8 stars)
Don't go exclusively by star ratings—this was my favorite read of the year. Reese's only short story collection for her book club is a funny, relatable, and fast read. Sittenfeld's distinct stories explore various women's inner desires, jealousies, and flaws. Each story revolves around a familiar situation—a romantic vacation, a lost license, a new mother's group—and as Witherspoon said, "you won't want these short stories to end!" Hoping she adds more collections to her club in 2019.
Still Lives (Goodreads: 3.39 stars)
Still Lives is the eponymous art installation of the novel, a look at famous murdered women by artist and feminist icon Kim Lord. But when Lord doesn't show up to her own highly-anticipated opening, the museum's copy editor Maggie is determined to discover the truth. Witherspoon loves a good thriller—and so do we. If you haven't picked up Hummel's fast-paced mystery yet, consider it the perfect winter break read.