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

A Gate at the Stairs: Chapter 4

For me, Chapter 4 was all about Tassie and men. She has multiple awkward encounters with Edward. She meets and falls in love with Reynaldo. Edward is downright creepy, from him staring at her while she cradles Mary Emma bare-breasted (ok, this is weird in my book: that Sarah would recommend it, and that Tassie would oblige) to his repeatedly […]

Read More

A Note for Our Fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife

Hello, book clubbers: Well, we just got some news: Unfortunately, Audrey Niffenegger will not be able to participate in our Q&A. She is currently promoting her new book, and though initially she thought she would be able to fit in answering the club’s questions, that has proved to be a challenge. We’re so sorry to disappoint you. But in the […]

Read More

Don’t Forget to Vote!

Hello, book clubbers: So what’s on your reading list in November? You get to pick the book! Your choices: two works of fiction (one narrated by a dog; yes, you read that right) and two works of nonfiction (including a reporter’s account of giving up her middle-class life to explore the true cost of low-wage living). Vote for your choice […]

Read More

A Gate at the Stairs: Chapter 3

Hi, everyone: Chapter 3 is jam-packed. More Sarah oddities. The introduction of Edward and his hair cape. Their marriage and Tassie’s assessment of it. Baby Mary. Roberta and the Adoption Option. I’ll share with you what really stood out for me in this chapter, and I would love to hear the same from you. I took note of: 1. Moore’s […]

Read More

A Gate at the Stairs

Call me Ishmael. This sentence is forever part of my high-school memories. Mrs. Masterson spent at least a week (or so it felt) teaching us the importance of Herman Melville’s opening sentence from his novel Moby-Dick. I was catapulted back to 10th grade when I read the opening sentence of A Gate at the Stairs, “The cold came late that […]

Read More

What Will the November Book Be?

Hard to believe, but it’s time to pick your November book. Executive Editor Kathleen Murray Harris will lead the discussion of the winner of the four books below: two works of fiction (both favorites of club members), two works of nonfiction, and—all told—four works of note. Vote for your choice by Sunday, October 25! The Art of Racing in […]

Read More

A Gate at the Stairs: Hello

Hey, everyone: I’m Gary Ryan, and I will be hosting this month’s edition of Real Simple’s No-Obligation Book Club. Two things: First, I’m a woman despite the boy’s name, which happens to be my middle name AND my mother’s name (my first name is Mina—also my mother’s—but I’ve been called Gary from day one). Second, I think I’m one of […]

Read More

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Conclusion, Plus Audrey Niffenegger Takes Your Questions

Hi, everyone: Great news! Audrey Niffenegger has graciously agreed to answer our questions about The Time Traveler’s Wife. Please post your queries here: any outstanding puzzles about the book, the motivation of the characters, her writing process, how she came up with the idea, or even more personal fare like how she became a writer—all questions welcome. We will send […]

Read More

A Special Message From the Author of The Help

Dear Real Simple readers: Thank you for taking the time not only to read The Help, but to think about the conflict, the characters and the writing process. Since The Help was released in February 2009, I’ve answered a great deal of questions about the story. Certainly more than I ever anticipated. Before it was published, I was told this […]

Read More

Who’s Your Favorite Fictional Character?

Hello, book clubbers: You may be wondering why we’ve recently started posting these questions to you. So here’s the exciting news: Beginning with the November issue, our book club will have a page in each issue of Real Simple that will feature, among other things, a selection of your answers. (We’ve also been posting the questions on Facebook and Twitter.) […]

Read More