Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Five Authors' Posts in On the Bookcase
Did Your Group Win?
May 2010
Three groups each won $75 to host their next gathering. Was yours one of them?  
Plus Mother's Day discussibles, new ideas for your next selection, and a wealth of ideas and choices from other book groups that make get-togethers fun and discussions lively.
In This Issue
Authors' Posts in On the Bookcase
Mothers' Day Discussibles
More New Picks for May
Volcanos, Literally Speaking
From Your Book Group Colleagues
Your Own Discussible Choices
Come to BookExpo America
Reading Group Choices 2010 Now Available!
The Winners Are...
Authors' Posts in On the Bookcase
On the Bookcase
On the Bookcase
What are your favorite authors saying about reading groups, their discussible books, their writing process and their inspiration? Find out what five of them say in the Reading Group Choices blog, On the Bookcase.
Laura Brodie (author of The Widow's Season)
Elise Blackwell (author of An Unfinished Score, Grub)
Mary Sharratt (author of Daughters of the Witching Hill, The Vanishing Point
Barbara Delinsky (author of Not My Daughter, While My Sister SleepsThe Secret Between Us, Family Tree)
Emily St. John Mandel, author of the just released, The Singer's Gun and Last Night in Montreal
Mothers' Day Discussibles
Mothers are a big part of so many reading guide picks - old and new - The Joy Luck Club, Midwives, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Of Men and Mothers, The Secret Between Us, Daughters of the Witching Hill, The Threadbare Heart, to mention a few. Here are a few more titles that celebrate mothers and the bonds between their children. 
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca WellsA tale of family and friendship, tragedy and triumph, loss and love, Rebecca Wells novel The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder gives us an unforgettable heroine to treasure. Wells' novel is the journey of Calla Lily from the small town of La Luna to the big city of New Orleans, her first love and the heartbreak, and her power - passed down from her beloved mother, M'Dear - of healing through the humble womanly art of "fixing hair." 
Read Rebecca Wells' guest post as she says "Ya-Ya to reading groups" in On the Bookcase. Watch Rebecca's video celebrating her mother.

Her Mother's Hope by Francine RiversThe first in an epic two-book saga by beloved author Francine Rivers, Her Mother's Hope explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over several generations. Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Marta's experiences convince her only the strong survive. Marta's daughter, Hildie, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother. Hildie marries and begins a family of her own. Each woman is forced to confront her own faulty but well-meaning desire to help her daughter find her God-given place in the world. Her Mother's Hope is a rich, moving epic about faith and dreams, heartache and disappointment, and ultimately the resilience and tenacity of love. 
John the Revelator by Peter MurphyA young man, his sick mother, and his new found friend: Peter Rock's John the Revelator reveals humor, wildness, Irish myth, and sense of mystery in this coming-of-age story. The starred review of Publishers Weekly reports, "Murphy understands the gracelessness of teenage boys and that peculiar delinquent wisdom shared by all the great coming-of-age novelists. With this novel, he doesn't have to bow to any of them."

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More New Picks for May

Return to Sullivans Island by Dorothea Benton FrankDorothea Benton Frank revisits the enchanted landscape of South Carolina's Lowcountry made famous in her beloved New York Times bestseller Sullivans Island in Return to Sullivan's Island.  Frank focuses on the next generation of Hamiltons and Hayes, earning high praise from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writing, "Frank brings to vivid life the rich landscape and its unpretentious folks. A reader need only close her eyes for a moment to feel that thick-sticky heat, smell the wild salt marshes."


Sometimes Mine by Martha MoodyFrom Martha Moody, the author of the runaway bestseller Best Friends, comes Sometimes Mine, an engaging new novel of love, loss, and enduring friendship. Genie throws herself into her work as a top cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio and holds her emotions and people at bay. She is independent, and she can take care of herself. Only Mick Crabbe--the charming, famous, married college basketball coach with whom she's had a decade-long affair--can penetrate her shell. Then Mick falls ill, and the nature of their relationship is forced to change. Genie finally understands the importance of making connections with others, and learns, even from the outside world, the extremely moving validation of her importance in Mick's life.


My Abandonment by Peter RockTold through the startlingly sincere voice of its young narrator, Peter Rock's My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope. A thirteen-year-old girl, Caroline, and her father live in sheltered cave in the park. A lapse by Caroline brings police attention, and they are taken in custody. Publisher's Weekly writes, "This is a tale of survival, of love and attachment, of mystery and alienation. It is an utterly entrancing book, a bow to Thoreau and a nod to the detective story."


The German Woman by Paul GrinerPaul Griner's The German Woman is a riveting war story that introduces us to the beautiful Kate Zweig, the English widow of a German surgeon, and Claus Murphy, an exiled American with German roots--two lovers with complicated loyalties.   The Louisville Courier-Journal writes, Paul Griner is "a novelist who can take you absolutely anywhere, never wastes a sentence, and, most impressive of all, understands the beating heart of a woman."


Miss You Most of All by Elizabeth BassLife, love, family, secrets, and friendship are all rounded up in Elizabeth Bass' Miss You Most Of All.  Two sisters, Rue and Laura, have fixed up their Texan homestead into a successful tourist attraction, Sassy Spinster Farm. Guests come for solace and hope to discover the important things in life.  Heidi, onetime stepsister to Rue and Laura, is back, and she's hiding something from them. Can the sisters, all three, find solace after the secret is revealed?  Bass explores the lengths one cobbled-together family will go to for each other, and the power of a connection that never fades.


Volcanos, Literally Speaking

Now that the ash has settled, do you know volcanos in literature? 
Take the Guardian quiz!
From Your Book Group Colleagues
TipsWe were overwhelmed with the number of new twists that you've tried with your groups, good ideas that you have for them, and lively-discussion tips that you shared with us in the recent survey. You will no doubt enjoy trying some of your colleagues' ideas in your groups, so we'll tell you about them in this and future newsletters.  Here are just a couple for this month. 
"In July we have a 'themed' mother daughter book club. In December we pick a husbands/wife book to discuss -- we have to pick thinner books for that one!!"
Vera, Book Group, New Prague, MN 
"Have a facilitator or let the leader of the discussion watch the 'quieter' ones, who probably have things to say about the book, and call on them personally once in a while, especially if they nod or look very interested. After the discussion, have each person give it a 'grade' from 1 to 5, 5 being the best. At the end of the year, have someone who's kept track tell you what the top reads were, scorewise...although only those who've finished the books can be giving a score, everyone can give their opinion but our 'rule' is that to give a grade, you must finish the book--and some have said they finished it just to give it a grade. :-)"
Bobbie, The Bookies, Quincy, IL 
"Our group tries to participate in one book, one community, and the Big Read program [each year] to expand our discussion and bring fresh ideas."
Betty, St Peters Readers, Amelia Island, FL 
"I like the idea of the Listening Group -- many of us love audio books."
Deanna, Port Jeff Book Club, Port Jefferson, NY 
More Tips
Your Own Discussible Choices
Book DotsCongratulations to Kristie and The Ashland Library Reading Group for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!
"When Everything Changed by Gail Collins. It's nonfiction about women and women's rights from 1960-present. Everyone had a great time and related many personal stories. Very thought (and story) provoking."
Kristie, The Ashland Library Reading Group, Ashland, OH 

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
Come to BookExpo America
BookExpo America (BEA), the premiere book industry event of the year, is welcoming reading group facilitators and members. Meet authors, learn about the upcoming fall titles, and be a part of the exciting world of the book. It's a chance to get a jump on the fall season and learn about all the upcoming titles for your groups to consider. 
BookExpo America 2010BookExpo America will accept reading group leader and member registrations on a first-come, first-served basis with a total of 250 being accepted. BEA takes place May 25-27th in New York at the Javits Convention Center. Wednesday, May 25th is dedicated to education and special events, and there will be a panel of publishing gurus discussing fall reading group choices at 10 a.m. The show floor is open on May 26-27.

If you are coming, please let us know - we'd love to meet you and learn about your group! 
BEA Pricing Information
Reading Group Choices 2010 Now Available!
Reading Group Choices 2010: Selections for Lively Book Discussions is now available.
Reading Group Choices 2010The 2010 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, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrows, 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 reading alive,

The Winners Are...
Favorite Discussible Books of 2009
Three lucky reading groups who participated in the recent Reading Group Choices Favorite Discussible Book survey will receive $75 to enhance their next get-together!
The Chick Chat Club in Raleigh NC picked The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows as their most discussible book of 2009.  Says Libby from the group, "Both the history-infused story and lively, diverse characters [made this our favorite]." The group's second choice was My Life in France, which "revealed a side of Julia Child that was unknown, and instigated a 'cook a dish' pot luck dinner from her cookbook!" Number three was The Help by Kathryn Stockett, because "Most of the club members were raised in the South, with families that employed domestic help, so this story provoked memories - good and bad." 
The Convivial Readers (aka Diva and Darlings) of Bellingham WA selected The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón as their 2009 favorite.  "This was such an epic tale, with many colorful and intense characters [and] with an original story and plot twists," says Joanne. Number two for them was The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. According to Joanne, "It was such a multi-layered saga, with an exceptionally original story, cast of characters both from the past and present and rich dialogue. It was a page turner!" Their number three was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. "We went outside our comfort zone in reading a book with 13 narratives but about the same character. This was a compelling read for our members which made us reflect on our own lives," quotes Joanne.
The Northrup Book Club chose Loving Frank by Nancy Horan as their favorite, with Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and Moloka'i by Alan Brennert as their #2 and #3 choices.

Four titles of the three groups' selections are on the 2009 Top Ten Favorite Discussible Books list, and two selections were in the Top Ten lists of 2005 and 2006!

Chances to Win!
New 1-On-One
Fresh Ideas for Discussion 
 Black Water Rising
Boy Alone
Four Freedoms
More About Reading Group Choices 
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