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

Is Everyone Hanging Out: Pages 80 Through 158

Hello again! Bookies, you sure know how to pick ’em. This book is Magnificent with a capital M. I have grown from finding Mindy relatable and hilarious to flat-out endearing and delightful in the last few chapters. Simply fantastic. I had an inkling that “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities” would be a phenomenal chapter when I first viewed the table […]

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Is Everyone Hanging Out: Pages 1 Through 79

Hi, Bookies: There’s nothing funny about being “bad with names.” There’s also nothing funny about Mr. Cougar Mellencamp thinking the thrill of living was high school. That being said, there is a whole lot to laugh about in the beginning of this delightful book! I’ll be honest: I am loving every word of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Let’s […]

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Books Four and Five

Dear Bookies, I didn’t remember much of Books Four and Five from the time I read them at age 11. The first reading was all about the period details, like petticoats and Jewish rye. But this time around, I’d call Four and Five by far my favorite parts of the book. I do love seeing Francie (who’s still a kid! You forget it until […]

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Hi, Everyone!

Hello, fellow No-Obligation Book Clubbers and Simply Stated enthusiasts! My name is Jamie McNamara, and I am elated to be hosting this club as 2012 kicks off! As an avid Real Simple fan who happens to be fortunate enough to be employed by the marketing department, this is a real treat for me. Now, on to the gem of a book you voted to […]

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Book Three

Dear Bookies: Yesterday, December 15, would have been Francie Nolan’s 110th birthday. Oh, Francie, what would you think today of your beloved Williamsburg, where the old Sicilian bakery is now a comic-book shop? I wonder. So much has happened in the course of Book Three that I can’t even do justice to it all, which makes me wish this book […]

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Book Two

Dear Bookies: Okay, first, an open letter to my mother: I’m a grown woman now, and I’m ready to hear the truth. Did you tear Book Two out of my childhood copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? Because I don’t remember anything about sex-crazed “hoyden” Sissy, married at 14. Or how Mary Rommely “humbly submitted” to her husband’s “brutal […]

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Book One

Hi, Bookies! I hope Book One flew by for you the way it did for me. It’s easy to see why A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was such a phenomenal best-seller when it was published in 1943—3 million copies sold in the first two years. According to professor Carol Siri Johnson, the publisher literally could not print enough copies because […]

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I Get to Announce Our December Book!

Hi, everybody! I’m Amy Maclin, a deputy editor here at Real Simple, and I’ll be leading the book club next month. (I’ve never been in a book club, real or virtual, so I’m pretty tickled about it.) The winner of December’s poll is … A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which overtook the other three coming-of-age novels in our contest by […]

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The Heights, Part 5

Hello, Bookies: We’ve come to the end of The Heights and there is so much to discuss. I gobbled up the conclusion for the drama and storytelling, but also for the way Hedges plays with some big and thought-provoking themes. Hedges lays out many of his most important ideas at the start of the section. Tim tells the committee at […]

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The Heights, Parts 3 and 4

Dear Bookies, Welcome back to our discussion of The Heights. Raise your hand if you were able to stop reading at the end of part 4. If you were, I take my hat off to you. I didn’t have as much willpower—the story just keeps getting juicier and juicier and I couldn’t resist looking ahead (just a little). But for […]

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