Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Survey to Reveal Your Most Discussible Titles of 2010
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January 2011

What books generated your best discussion in 2010?  Plus suggestions for great discussions in 2011, new thoughts from favorite authors, and creative ideas for activities in the coming year. All this and more in this month's issue.

In This Issue
Eclectic Choices
Afghan Writers and Your Book Group
New Author Post in On the Bookcase
June is Audiobook Month
ARCs for ARCs
Page 69 Test
Your Own Discussible Choices
Reading Group Choices 2011 Has Arrived!
What Was YOUR Most Discussible?
Eclectic Choices

Under the Mercy Trees by Heather NewtonHeather Newton's debut novel, Under the Mercy Trees, tells the story of Martin Owenby, his troubled past, and his unspectacular present. Could there be a bright future? When Martin receives word that his older brother, Leon, has gone missing from the Owenbys' farm, he must return to Solace Fork to help his family in their search. But going back means facing his past - full of troubling secrets and past shame. Booklist's starred review reveals "Readers of both Pat Conroy, on one hand, and Carson McCullers, on the other, will relish Newton's flawed characters and piquant portrayal of small town life."


The Nine Rooms of Happiness by Lucy Danzinger and Catherine Birndorf The Nine Rooms of Happiness is a way of looking at your life through the metaphor of a house, where each room corresponds to a different part of your life:  the bedroom for love and intimacy, the family room for grown siblings and parents, the bathroom for body image, health, and vanity, the living room for friends, the office for bills, career and so on. Lucy Danziger and Catherine Birndorf lead the reader through each area and help you feel happier and more satisfied in your life. Tidy up YOUR rooms!


Enter to win a free copy


Alice I Have Been by Melanie BenjaminPart love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin's spellbinding historical novel, Alice I Have Been, leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she'll always be known simply as "Alice," the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland. Says  Publishers Weekly (starred review), "Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature... spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice in Wonderland...Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends facts with fiction. This is book club gold."


A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahimi The author and filmmaker, Atiq Rahimi, was seventeen years old when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. He fled to Pakistan during the war and was eventually granted political asylum in France in 1984. His first novella, Earth and Ashes, incorporate all the fractured emotions of a country caught between religion and the political machinations of the world's superpowers prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Rahimi's second and third novels (A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear and The Patience Stone) embrace the viewpoint of Afghan women, for whom war can bring suffering and sometimes, a curious freedom. 


Afghan Writers and Your Book Group


HeartworldKhaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns writes in the introduction of The Patience Stone, "For far too long, Afghan women have been faceless and voiceless . . ." Now, through the Afghan Women's Writing Project (AWWP), the voice of some afghan women can be heard. The Afghan Women's Writing Project is sponsoring a series of Living Room Chat Fundraisers around Valentine's Day to build a bridge of support for the women and their newly opened AWWP Writers' Hut. AWWP writers gather in this sanctuary, in an undisclosed location in Kabul, to share community and the written word. Sounds a lot like a book group, doesn't it? AWWP will offer Skype conversations with team members in Afghanistan and the U.S.


Have a Skype chat with AWWP members in February. For details about how to join in, contact AWWP Special Events Coordinator Leanne Moore.


Read a powerful story written by one of AWWP writers.


To give you a taste (Food by the Book!) of what the Living Room Fundraisers project has to offer, here's one of AWWP's writer's favorite holiday recipe, a dish called biryani. 


Reading Group Choices supports AWWP and its assistance to empower Afghan women to tell their stories. Women, Writing, World!


New Author Posts in On the Bookcase

On The BookcaseAuthor Paula McLain, explains how she "was literally swept away" by her research of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway for her novel, The Paris Wife.


"...consciously or otherwise, we all interpret what we read in the light of our own experience - and it's a deeply personal affair," writes Ruth Downie, author of Caveat Emptor: A Novel of the Roman Empire.


Teresa Medeiros, author of Goodnight Tweetheart, chats with us about her characters and her "eavesdropping on a conversation between two very dear friends and potential lovers."


And don't forget to visit Reading Group Choices website for more reading group ideas.


June is Audiobook Month

What? Have we skipped a few months? No! Is your group willing to LISTEN to a book and discuss it in June? Here is your chance. Reading Group Choices will run a drawing to provide CDs (very limited amount) and/or audio downloads for every member of your group. Listening to a book brings another element to your June discussion. 


The American Heiress by Daisy GoodwinThe audiobook provided is American Heiress, (to be released in June 2011). Daisy Goodwin's debut novel is a deliciously literate and compelling story of a rich American heiress who marries an English Duke and gets more than she bargained for. American Heiress and its main character, Cora, are loosely based on Consuelo Vanderbilt, the beautiful American heiress who married the 10th Duke of Marlborough in 1895. History, culture, love, mystery, -- great discussion topics. Plus the conversation concerning the audio -- Did listening add to the experience of the book? How well did the narrator "fit" the characters' personas? Were accents and different tones used effectively?


Enter for a chance to win audiobooks for your group and give your eyes a rest! 


ARCs for ARCs

Thanks so much for your response in the Advance Readers' Copies for Advance Reader Comments Program. Some of you were picked for this month's selections (American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin and narrated by Katie Calgrin, Townie by Andre Dubus III, One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman, or Art and Madness: A Memoir of Love Without Reason by Anne Richardson Roiphe) and will be contacted soon.


If you haven't already registered, and if you are willing to devote some time to listen or read an upcoming title and comment and develop a discussion questions and two, please enter for this exciting program. You might be published in a Reading Group Choices' guide!


Enter the ARCs for ARCs Program

The Page 69 Test

Neat idea at The Page 69 Test. Hundreds of authors describe how page 69 of their book addresses the character and themes of the whole book. Interesting concept! Ruth Downie applied the 69 test to Caveat Emptor.


Some other Reading Group Choices authors who bring the page 69 test to their books: Julie Metz, Perfection; Laura Corona, Penelope's Daughter; Kristina Kittle, The Blessings of The Animals;  Heidi Jon Schmidt, The House on Oyster Creek; Martha McPhee, Dear Money;  Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. Check it out - another good way (besides Reading Group Choices!) to choose a book for a lively book discussion.


Your Own Discussible Choices
Book DotsCongratulations to Ann and The Clapp Critics for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!

"Our book group read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.  It was one of the most popular books our group has read! It was charming, funny and at the same time it addressed some bigger issues such as racism.  I would highly recommend it!"

Ann, The Clapp Critics, Belchertown, MA


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen SimonsonBy the way, Penny Clark Iannicello, the book buyer at Costco, also picked Major Pettigrew's Last Stand for her December Pennie's Pick!


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! 

Reading Group Choices 2011 Has Arrived!
Reading Group Choices 2011: Selections for Lively Book DiscussionsThe print edition, Reading Group Choices 2011: Selections for Lively Book Discussions, is now available! This is our 17th annual print edition, which once again includes reading recommendations of some of the publication industry's best authors. Reading Group Choices 2011 includes over 65 new titles for recommended reading and book group discussion. Titles by such reading group favorite authors as Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Syrie James, Barbara Kingsolver, Laura Lippman, Alexander McCall Smith, Anchee Min, and Ann Hood, 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 2011 - or other annual editions from 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005, and 2004 - visit the store, email us, or call us toll-free at 1-866-643-6883.

Purchase a Copy for Everyone in Your Group  
Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,

What Was YOUR Most Discussible?
Favorite Discussible Book Survey 

It's one-of-a-kind: a list of favorite DISCUSSIBLE books for book groups! Though there are many lists of books and many book awards, not all of the books on them make for the kind of lively, fun, interesting, thought-provoking, unforgettable discussions that reading groups crave. Well, here's your chance - join with thousands of other book group members to tell us which books did all that for your group in 2010. We'll compile and publish the list for you, and let you know how it compares to those chosen in previous surveys. 
What worked for your book group this year? Reading
 Group Choices
wants to know! How do you connect with authors, if at all? What do you and your group think of e-books and audiobooks? The survey is up and waiting for these answers too, but it won't take long to complete - we know how busy you are!

And when you complete the short survey, Reading Group Choices will enter your name into a random drawing for $100 to jazz up your next get-together! Five lucky groups will win!

Complete the Survey 
You and your group can use the survey results to select some great discussibles that you may not have otherwise chosen. To see what we mean, take a look at past years' lists.

See Past Years' Favorites

Chances to Win!
New Author blog Post
Fresh Ideas for Discussion 
New 1-On-One

Stephanie Dray



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