Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Holidays Ideas for Your Book Group!
Happy Holidays!
December 2009
The Holidays! A special time of year for you -- and for your group. Some ways you and your friends can celebrate and some discussible choices -- all in this month's Reading Group Choices Newsletter.
In This Issue
More Discussibles
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
Share a Movie with Your Group
3 Groups Win; Cater Next Event
Lists, Lists, Lists!
Short Stories Win First Book Award
Your Own Discussible Choices
Reading Group Choices 2010 Now Available!
Holiday Happiness
More Discussibles

Everyone She Loved by Sheila CurranPenelope Cameron, loving mother, devoted wife, and generous philanthropist, has convinced her husband and four closest friends to sign an outlandish pact. If Penelope should die before her two daughters are eighteen, her husband will not remarry without the permission of Penelope's sister and three college roommates. For years, this contract gathers dust -- until the unthinkable happens. 
Read on in Sheila Curran's new novel, Everyone She Loved, about the powerful bonds among four women who've come of age together only to discover that - when it comes to the essentials - life's little instruction book will always need revising.
Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy! 
Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael GreenbergIn his memoir, Hurry Down Sunshine, Michael Greenberg recounts in vivid detail the remarkable summer when, at the age of fifteen, his daughter was struck mad. It is a tale of a family broken open, then painstakingly, movingly stitched together again.
In The Front Table, Michael Greenberg shares his thoughts on The Brothers Karamazov, which he read with some friends in an improvised book club. Coincidentally, the Wild Women of the West chose The Brothers Karamazov for discussion in October -- see their comments below in "Your Own Discussible Choices."

Inquiring Minds Want to Know
On The BookcaseEveryone knows that reading group members know all and are very creative, so other readers are asking for your advice in their postings to the On the Bookcase blog. Please help them out -- go to On the Bookcase with some suggestions and/resources to these inquiries.
For example, Karen runs a "Movie Discussion Group" at her local community center. She wonders, "Are there any resources with "suggested questions" for use when discussing movies? Thanks."
And Bonnie asks: "Any ideas for the December meeting? Christmas/ holiday themes? One year we went to a play - The Christmas Carol. Last year we all brought in our favorite holiday book -- some adult, some classic, some children's. That was fun, but what should we do this year?" 
Keep the Conversation Going

Share a Movie with Your Group
"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

The Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldSo begins Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, a reading-group favorite. This is the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her murder, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.
Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy. And, the movie looks like it will be a winner, as well. Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) directs Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) as the protagonist. Susie Salmon, along with Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) and Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) as her parents, Jack and Abigail Salmon respectively. The Lovely Bones movie releases December 11th in limited cities and January 15th USA-wide.

Enjoy the Video!
3 Groups Win; Cater Next Event
Three reading groups will have a extra-special December gathering -- compliments of Reading Group Choices! The lucky winners of $75 each were drawn from thousands of participants in this year's Reading Group Choices' exclusive Favorite Discussible Books survey. Congratulations!

Martha Quest by Doris LessingJackye's Book Club in Amelia Island, Florida,found that Martha Quest by Doris Lessing produced the most lively discussion in their group during 2008.  Jackye tells about their group's experience:
"Jackye's Book Group is comprised of 12 women who are all fairly new to our area.  We are all retired.  Some of us have fun part-time jobs, and we all love to read! Some of our best discussions, including Martha Quest, come out of books that most of us don't like.  We chose this one, because Lessing had won the Nobel Prize for Literature for her body of work.  Martha was a character we all came to dislike intensely."

Bel Canto by Ann PatchettClub Read in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, chose Bel Canto by Ann Patchett for one of their discussions in 2008. Says Michelle of Club Read, 
"Bel Canto was a great book -- well written and intriguing.  The government of an unnamed South American country hosts a party for a wealthy Japanese businessman in hopes of persuading him to do business there. During the evenings' festivities, as a world class soprano performs for the guests, a terrorist group storms the Vice Presidential mansion and takes all the people in attendance hostage. During the course of the novel, relationships begin to form between these unlikely characters, some that you grow to love and some that you detest.
"These relationships and the characters involved provided much discussion. How would we react in such a situation? Would we be able to survive such adverse circumstances? How can friendships exist between the captors and those they've taken hostage?
"We found ourselves rooting for the least likely characters and sympathizing with people we thought we'd dislike throughout the novel. The true grit of the people who are living in this desperate situation is revealed as the book unfolds. We were surprised by the way some of the characters disappointed us in their actions, while others surprised us with their compassion, strength and love. 
Bel Canto is really about the struggle many of us face at some point in our lives -- that is between what you want to have happen and what you know will be the inevitable outcome of the situation. Bel Canto is a book we would highly recommend." 
Details about the third winning group will appear in the next newsletter.
Reading Group Choices will post the survey for the Favorite Discussible Books of 2009 on the website and in the newsletter in January. Complete the survey -- and YOUR group may be among the next lucky winners!

Lists, Lists, Lists!
It is that time of year for book lists to appear - best of, holiday gifts, critics choices, authors' choices - you name, it they have it! You will choose the Favorite Discussible Books of 2009 when Reading Group Choices conducts its annual survey in January. Meanwhile, peruse these lists -- they may help you in selecting your 2010 book discussion list and/or picking holiday gifts: The New York Times Holiday Gift ListNPR What We Are Reading, Telegraph Novels of the Year, Guardian Books of the Year, The Globe and Mail Best Reviewed, Buzziest Books of 2009 and the list of lists, Large Hearted Boy Online List of 2009 Books of the Year. Enjoy!
Short Stories Win First Book Award
As reported in The Guardian, Petina Gappah became only the second short story writer to win the Guardian First Book Award in its 10-year history in a celebration held December 2. Gappah's collection of 13 stories, An Elegy for Easterly, tells of the lives of people, rich and poor, caught up in events over which they have little control.
The Guardian award is unique in that it gives a vote to the collective voice of reading groups, organized by Waterstone's at branches in Bath, Oxford, Edinburgh, Leeds and London. Long live the short story and reading groups!
Your Own Discussible Choices
Congratulations to Jackie and The Springport Book Discussion Group on their first anniversary and for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice! We also send to Patricia and their brand new group our best wishes and high hopes for many lively discussions in the months to come!
Book Dots"Our book club just celebrated our 1st anniversary. We have only eight members but have had some wonderful discussions. Our last selection was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It prompted a discussion about autism, mathematics (are mathematicians slightly autistic?), marriage, and sensory enlightenment!"
Jackie, The Springport Book Discussion Group, Albion, MI
"So far, we have only read Christmas Jars - our first meeting is next Wednesday, and we are hoping for this to continue for a long time.  Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the book, but we will be discussing this week in length."
Patricia, "Undecided", Deer Park, NY
"October book read was Fyodor Dostoesvsky's The Brothers Karamazov.  While most of us relied on our CliffsNotes, one member gave us a wonderful review of the book...her former book club has studied Russian literature for two years.  We came away with a somewhat better understanding of Dostoevsky's composition of The Brothers Karamazov."
Hedy, Wild Women of the West, Sahuarita, AZ
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

Reading Group Choices 2010 Now Available!
Reading Group Choices 2010: Selections for Lively Book Discussions is now available.
Reading Group Choices 2010The 2009 guide marks the 16th annual print edition, which once again includes reading recommendations of some of the publication industry's best authors. Reading Group Choices 2010: Selections for Lively Book Discussions includes over 75 new titles for recommended reading and book group discussion. Titles by such reading group favorite authors as Barbara Delinsky, Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Noble, Geraldine Brooks, and Dennis Lehane, as well as work from debut authors have been selected for inclusion. The guide also includes valuable resources available to reading groups and book clubs all over the world. 
To order copies of Reading Group Choices 2010 - or any of the other annual editions from 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004 - visit the store, email us, or call us toll-free at 1-866-643-6883.
Purchase a Copy 
Thanks for keeping the joy of shared reading alive,

Holiday Happiness
Happy Holidays!
 December! Time to take care of one another and yourself, and time to enjoy all the holidays have to offer.
Of course, books can help, and so can your book group. Your group is a source of rejuvenation and support. Many groups gather this month to exchange ideas and gifts, share food and drink, or even partake in some special and creative activities to bring them closer together.
For example, The Books and Brunch Club is sharing their joy of reading with others. The past three years, this reading group has donated money to organizations that promote reading. This year, according to, the holiday gift will go to The Literacy Council of Horry County, SC. Keeps the joy of reading and of the season going far beyond the holidays!
Perhaps you want to share your ideas and experiences with other groups. See the article "Inquiring Minds Want to Know" at the left to find out how. Or join the others in your group to see a reading group favorite on the big screen - see "Share a Movie" for the latest idea. Or visit All About Book Groups, Wine by the Book, Music by the Book, or Food by the Book for even more suggestions.
Books as GiftsOf course, books make a thoughtful, personal gift for many on your list or in your book group. See the ads below for a couple of great ideas, visit our website for many more possibilities, or give a copy of Reading Group Choices 2010 to your group members.
And the holidays are a time for lists - shopping lists, gift lists, and of course, book lists. See the article at the left for a few of this year's lists, see what your colleagues have won as they (and you) helped to create this year's Favorite Discussible Books of 2008 list, and get ready to put together the Favorite Discussible Books of 2009 in January.
However you choose to enjoy the holidays, we at Reading Group Choices hope you have a good time with lots of friendship, laughter, and prosperity. And thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive!

New York, The Novel
A Chance to Win!
Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Ann C. Heller 

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