No-Obligation Book Club
You love curling up with a classic novel. You love talking with friends about the latest Jodi Picoult bestseller. But you can’t stand the obligations of a book club. (What time? What place? Who’s bringing the chip dip?)

We feel your pain. That’s why has started the No-Obligation Book Club.

No time frame, no deadlines, no obligations: just the pleasures of reading good books, as suggested―and led―by Real Simple editors. The goal is to get the benefits of a book club...without feeling overwhelmed by rigid schedules.

Recent Posts By No-Obligation Book Club

The Awakening: Chapters 27 to 39

Hi, Bookies: I finished The Awakening about a week ago, but I still feel as though I’ve just emerged from a dream. The main thing I have right now is sensation, as opposed to thoughts—above all a very deep pity for Edna. I say this even though I often found her obnoxious in this last section, like an entitled, petulant […]

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The Awakening: Chapters 14 Through 26

Hello, Bookies: First, let me say that this is not only my first time at the No-Obligation Book Club but my first time in any book club (unless literature seminars in college count), and I’m really enjoying the group dynamic. Your honest, insightful comments got me thinking and changed my perspective a bit on some of the characters; I hope […]

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The Awakening: Chapters 1 Through 13

Hello, Bookies: I hope all of you East Coast readers weathered the storm all right; I live in Brooklyn relatively close to the water, but I was lucky enough not to experience any damage or lose power. So while the wind rattled against my windows, I curled up by my reading lamp with this wonderful novel. Kate Chopin is poetic […]

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Hello, Readers!

Hi, Bookies: I’m Jenny Brown, the associate copy editor at Real Simple and your discussion leader for this month. My job entails thinking about words and punctuation and sentence structure and reading Real Simple all day—it’s a pretty great gig for a grammar lover like me. I’m also a fiction fanatic, and The Awakening has been on my reading list […]

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The Light Between Oceans: Part 3 (Spoiler Alert!)

Hi, Bookies: Welcome to the third and final discussion of The Light Between Oceans. I pretty much read this last section in a single sitting. I couldn’t wait to find out what would become of poor little Lucy-Grace. On a whole, I thought this was a beautiful, haunting novel—I hope you all would agree! As I read through Part 3, […]

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The Light Between Oceans: Part 2 (Spoiler Alert!)

Hi, everyone: Welcome back! What did you think of Part 2? My stomach churns with every page, but I can’t put this book down. I am absolutely devouring it! After reading the flash-forward section that opens the novel, I doubt anyone was surprised when Tom and Isabel decided to keep the baby. Still, I expected Tom to put up more […]

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The Light Between Oceans: Part 1

Hi there, Bookies! I hope you’re enjoying the first section of The Light Between Oceans. Author M.L. Stedman had me hooked after just the first few pages of the novel. An isolated beach, a mysterious corpse, a (presumably?) orphaned infant—the flash-forward section was compelling and captured my interest immediately. What did you think of the flash-forward? Did this structure work […]

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Hello Again, Bookies!

Welcome, Bookies! Erin here, associate producer for In addition to producing all of our online food content, I also make daily updates to our Facebook and Twitter accounts. I am thrilled to be back leading the book club for the second time. Nonfiction lovers may remember me from April of last year, when we read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. […]

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The History of Love, Pages 192 Through the End (Spoiler Alert!)

Hi, Bookies: In our final section of the book, Krauss takes us back to the Singers: Uncle Julian heading home, Charlotte becoming “more withdrawn, or…obscure, as in faint, unclear, distant.” And Alma’s memories of her dad becoming “more faint, unclear, distant.” Nice parallel writing. Alma digs into trying to figure out who Isaac Moritz is and discovers his books, one beginning […]

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The History of Love, Pages 135 Through 191

Welcome back, Bookies: Hope your reading’s going well—I even see that some of you have finished the book ahead of schedule, the sign of a good book! In this section, Alma pursues her quest to find out if there was a real Alma Mereminski. She explores the N.Y.C. birth and death records’ offices, but to no avail: “Loneliness turned into […]

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