Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Unusual Book Groups Soothe, Heal, & Connect
New Selections & a New Film for You and Your Group
August 2009
Your book groups may benefit you in ways you've never considered. See how some unusual groups are highlighting the advantages of shared reading.

New selections and a new film from a reading group favorite provide ideas to liven your next gathering.

Awards & chances to win.

All this and more in this month's Reading Group Choices Newsletter.
In This Issue
Exciting New Book Group Selections
Reading Groups Heal, Calm, & Bond
2009 Man Booker Dozen
NBF's Chance for a Stay in NYC
Your Own Discussible Choices
Limestone Ladies Diversity
Time Traveler at a Theater Near You!
Exciting New Book Group Selections
South of Broad by Pat ConroyAnother winner for Pat Conroy! South of Broad is a big, sprawling novel that is a love letter to Charleston and an ode to lifelong friendship. The novel gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, the narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a respected Joyce scholar. Leo becomes part of a tightly-knit group of high school seniors and, over time, and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades, from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Their test of friendship is something for which no one is prepared.

The Confessions of Edward Day by Valerie MartinThe Confessions of Edward Day by Valerie Martin is a fictional memoir recreating the seamy theater world of 1970s New York, when rents were cheap, love was free, and nudity on stage was the latest craze. Edward Day, a talented and ambitious young actor finds his life forever altered during a weekend party on the Jersey Shore. Valerie Martin, author of Trespass, Italian Fever, The Great Divorce, and Mary Reilly, returns with a dark comedy about love, sex, an actor's ambition, and the perils of playing a role too well.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri"You can always start again," Kate Robinson's mother once told her, "all it takes is a new thread." The Lace Makers of Glenmara "is a charming, moving story, written with a delicate touch," says Joanne Harris. Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, the struggling twenty-six-year-old fashion designer follows her mother's advice and flees to her ancestral homeland of Ireland, hoping to break free of old patterns and reinvent herself. Kate quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society circle. The circle offers Kate and the others the strength to face their long-denied desires and fears.

Casting Off by Nicole R. DicksonIn another story of escape to Ireland, Casting Off by Nicole Dickson tells the moving story of Rebecca Moray, a victim of an abusive relationship. She leaps at the chance to leave the States and study Irish sweater-making on a tiny island off the coast of Galway with her daughter Rowan. Rebecca notices that a local fisherman seems just as guarded and secretive as she. Can they help each let go on of their past mistakes?

Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange reflects the beauty and culture of the two islands of Trinidad and Tobago, while painting a compelling tale of family, belonging, and identity. Author Amanda Smyth relays the intriguing story of Celia and her search for love complicated with secrets and torn emotions.  The Financial Times (London) comments "Smyth's debut is an absorbing and morally complex read with a bittersweet twist at the end."

Henry's Sisters by Cathy LambEver since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. And this time, the message was impossible to ignore -- River requires open-heart surgery. Isabelle and her sisters come home to run the family bakery and take care of their brother and ailing grandmother. Cathy Lamb, in her new novel Henry's Sisters, delivers her most heartwarming work to date as three sisters reunite during a family crisis.
Reading Groups Heal, Calm, & Bond
A Boston Globe reporter tells of a group that gets together to discuss books. What is new and different about that? This book club started as a rare friendship between Peter Resnick, a Boston lawyer, and Rob, a homeless man on Boston Common. Through a series of daily conversations, the men found a common bond -- books. Started almost a year ago, the book club members are book lovers first and homeless people second.  

If, as The Birmingham Post says, "a library is a hospital for the mind," then "what could make more sense than using reading groups as a way of enabling people to recover from mental illness?" Two writers are launching another unusual book group in which mental health sufferers read and discuss poems and fiction. Polly Wright, one of the group's facilitators, says she has seen how effective it can be. "I see it work so much all the time," she says. "I think a piece of fiction, whether it's a piece of writing or a piece of theatre, can provide an external focus which allows people to reflect on painful things in their lives." She adds, "It's a safe way of encouraging people to start self-reflection, without all the risks."

Read & RelaxIn fact, new research indicates that reading works better and faster to calm frazzled nerves than other methods such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea. Even six minutes of reading can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds. reports that this is according to Mindlab International at the University of Sussex. Reading is relaxing -- didn't really need a report for that piece of news!
2009 Man Booker Dozen
The judges for the 2009 Man Booker Prize have announced the longlist of 13 titles - or the "Man Booker Dozen."

The Wilderness by Samantha HarveyIncluded is the list is The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey, a Reading Group Choices' selection. The chair of judges, James Naughtie reports "The five Man Booker judges have settled on thirteen novels as the longlist for this year's prize.  We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory, with two former winners, four past-shortlisted writers, three first-time novelists and a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix."

The 2009 shortlist will be announced on September 8th and the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009 will be revealed on October 6th.
NBF's Chance for a Stay in NYC 
New York CityThe National Book Foundation's (NBF's) celebration of the 60th anniversary of the National Book Awards will include a public vote choosing the Best of the National Book Awards Fiction. To publicize this effort, the NBF has created a book-a-day blog, featuring all of the fiction winners from 1950-2008. The blog will run from July 7th to September 21st.  Then when they return on September 21st, voters will have a chance to win two tickets to the National Book Awards Dinner and a two-night stay at the Marriott Hotel near Wall Street in New York City. 
Your Own Discussible Choices
Book DotsCongratulations to Kathy and The Bookenders Book Club for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!
"We really enjoyed The Devil in the White City. This is a book with two stories. One is the Chicago World's Fair, 1892, and the men who created it. The second is of Henry H. Holmes, serial killer."
Kathy, The Bookenders Book Club, Lee's Summit, MO 

See Kathy's Review

We enjoy hearing from book club members and sharing their choices with everyone. Please let us know about your group's discussible choices -- you may win a book-related prize for every member of your reading group! 
More Discussible Choices 
Limestone Ladies Diversity
Here's a comment (and a tip)Tips from The Limestone Ladies.
"Our club of eight ladies ranges in age from 30+ to 70+, and it never fails to amaze us on the different insights on the same novel.  We understand that our ages lay great weight to our impressions and opinions but often the 30+ will agree with the older members while the middle members have a different take and vice versa ... in any case we enjoy our differences and are often enlightened by the insight gained during discussion."
Jan, The Limestone Ladies Book Club, Kingston, Ontario
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Thanks for keeping the joy of shared reading alive,

Time Traveler at a Theater Near You!
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler's Wife is an enchanting tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love. It has already captivated many reading groups and now promises to do the same for moviegoers. Starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Baba, the film will be released on August 14th.
The international bestseller and book group favorite is the untraditional story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling makes the novel's unconventional chronology vibrantly triumphant. 
See the Trailer (Hint - Give it time to load)
 Audrey Niffenegger's new novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, will be released on September 29th! In it, Niffenegger weaves a captivating story about love and identity, about secrets and sisterhood, and about the tenacity of life -- even after death. Twenty lucky reading groups will win a SIGNED copy.  
Enter for a chance to win! 
 Something Missing by Matthew Dicks

Something Missing by Matthew Dicks  
The Rapture by Liz Jensen
The Rapture by Liz Jensen
A Chance to Win!
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