|COMING UP IN|
BUZZING ABOUT BOOKS
THE REPLACEMENT WIFE
by Eileen Goudge
MY OTHER MOTHER
by Sharon Pywell
THE YEAR OF THE GADFLY
by Jennifer Miller
BOOK CLUBS RECOMMEND
Reading Suggestions from Book Clubs...and More
This spring, we offer a roundup of reading ideas from a bookstore, a publisher and as always, book clubs. Enjoy!
More New Book Recommendations
Cheryl Krocker McKeon of Rakestraw Books in Danville, California, recommends:
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Penguin, 2009), Fiction, 320 pages
"What better month than March to read the Booker-nominated Irish novelist Sebastian Barry. In his fourth novel, he intertwines the narratives of 100-year-old Roseanne McNulty, a resident of the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital for most of her life, and Dr. Grene, assigned to her case. While the therapist interviews Roseanne and researches her de facto imprisonment, she very lucidly writes her memoirs - which she hides beneath the floorboards of her room. An epic story of an Ireland torn by conflict, a culture dictated by the Church, and hidden love and tragedy, The Secret Scripture is a poetic novel, rich in language, characters, and history."
Pairing suggestions: A round of Irish soda bread, a block of Irish cheddar, and shortbread cookies, washed down with Guinness, hot Irish whiskeys, or Barry's Irish tea.
Hannah Harlow of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recommends:
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Mariner, 2011), Fiction, 368 pages
Short plot description:
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.
"I chose this title for book clubs because Foer tackles issues of family and loss, he incorporates a classic journey narrative using inventive storytelling techniques, a coming-of-age story, and - with humor, tenderness, and awe - he confronts the traumas of our recent history, specifically the tragedy of 9/11. Plenty of fodder for discussion!"
Asylum by Patrick McGrath
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Winner of our Book Recommendations Contest
Congratulations to Morsels for the Mind of Grand Rapids, Michigan - winner of our Book Recommendation Contest! The group won a copy of Table of Contents. Read their recommendation for Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell, featuring a fabulous French meal.
A Book Club for the Homeless
in Boston, Massachusetts
Their paths first crossed in the spring of '08 - a successful Boston attorney and a homeless man. Their conversations, mostly sports banter, were congenial, and their friendship grew. When they ran out of things to say about sports, talk turned to books - and that's when things really started to happen.
Peter Resnik, the attorney, lived at the time in a Back Bay apartment and walked to work each morning through Boston Common. When Resnik one day handed Rob - homeless, and an avid reader - Water for Elephants, the seeds of A Book Club for the Homeless were sown. Rob devoured the book and passed it along to another homeless man. Then, Resnik brought The Kite Runner, and then A Thousand Splendid Suns - all soon circulating among the men and women on the Common. The interest in books and discussion among the homeless became evident, and Resnik offered to fund a group by providing books and snacks.
Today, the club continues to meet weekly in the Church on the Hill in Boston's Back Bay. Anywhere from four to sixteen members participate in a given meeting. "Our club is about seeing parallels or disconnects between our lives and the book," says facilitator Ron Tibbetts, an Episcopal deacon. Titles that speak to their experiences resonate with group members, such as Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, a memoir by a man who worked at a Boston homeless shelter, that references outreach vans, people sleeping in ATMs, and "Kwelling", or being sprayed with chemicals to kill lice. Other accounts of challenging lives -- Angela's Ashes, All Souls, The Color of Water -- are among the group's favorites, but they enjoy a range of genres, including classics (Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain led to a discussion of whether Twain was a racist). As 73-year-old member Ned, who holds two college degrees, explains, "I'm a literary person, and I like to hear input from people who approach the book from a different perspective."
A Book Club for the Homeless members gain skills that can profoundly impact their daily lives. "These are people who are told to conform on a daily basis, in the soup kitchen line, filling out a housing application," says Tibbetts. "It's best if they can communicate in a civil, respectful manner - or they'll go to the back of the line." George, who recently attended a discussion of A Civil Action, agrees. "It's important to have command over our language," he said, "and book club helps with that."
More than a dozen book clubs for the homeless, modeled on the Boston group, have sprung up in cities around the country, including Madison, Wisconsin.
You can learn more about A Book Club for the Homeless (a program of the Oasis Coalition) on the Oasis website.
You can read more about the group and its discussion of Water
for Elephants in the revised edition of The Book Club Cookbook.
BOOK CLUB TIP
Ideas from Book Groups to Enliven Your Meeting
We couldn't resist sharing this terrific tip for a club menu based on a variety of biographies from The Ladies of Autumnwood of Grand Island, New York.
Pot Luck Dinner Paired with Biographies
From member Maryl Gavazzi:
"For a recent meeting, each of us chose a biography or autobiography and brought a dish pertaining to that author. Our host read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and prepared "Apple" cake and appletinis...clever. Another read a biography of Renoir and brought quiche. Someone else read a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt and brought angel food cake with strawberries -- Eleanor's favorite."
HOT OFF THE PRESS
The Book Club Cookbook, Revised and Updated
Our new book was released March 1. Featuring twenty new titles and recipes -- including Demetrie's Chocolate Pie paired with The Help, Jack's 6th Birthday Cake paired with Room, and Abraham Verghese's Almaz's Ethiopian Doro Wot (Chicken Curry) paired with Cutting for Stone -- this updated edition will inspire your book club.
See The Book Club Cookbook featured in USA Today.
This is a great gift for fellow book club members! We're happy to send signed bookplates.
We'd love to see you at upcoming book festivals in Portland, Maine, and Gaithersburg, Maryland, or events in the Boston area. Please check our events page for details.
We're now highlighting other book club related events on our events page; coming up, a seminar on the future of books at One Day University and the Go On Girl! Book Club's Author Awards dinner.