Reading Group Choices Newsletter
THE Liveliest Book Discussions Ever!
Reflections from Your Colleagues
May 2011

You and your colleagues have offered a treasure chest of unique and creative ideas to make your discussions this year the best ever! Plus, there's a brand new feature in On the Bookcase, new discussible releases, new discussible paperbacks, new discussible historical fiction, even new ways to "read" your books! Learn more in this month's issue of the Reading Group Choices Newsletter.

In This Issue
NEW in On the Bookcase
Graduation Gift
New Discussible Releases
Trade Paperbacks of Reading Group Favorites
Historical Fiction Livens Discussions
Get Ready for Audio Month!
Water for Elephants Discussion
Mama Drama: Happy Mother's Day
Your Own Discussible Choices
Another Tip from a Colleague
Reading Group Choices 2011 Has Arrived!
What's Worked Best in Your Book Groups?
NEW in On the Bookcase


Author SquaredA NEW feature for On the Bookcase: Author Squared -- Two Authors chat about writing, books, and everything in between. New York Times bestselling authors, Caroline Leavitt (Pictures of You) and Heidi Durrow (The Girl Who Fell from The Sky), chat about their novels, writing process, The Carpenters, an elliptical trainer, and a Happy File!

Comment on the blog and then enter for a chance to win free copies of both books. 

Keep in touch on the Facebook page for more Author Squared features.

Sarah WinmanAlso, in On the Bookcase, Sarah Winman, author of When God Was a Rabbit, writes that one of the themes in her book is of reversing the past. "We've all had the feeling of sometimes looking at our life and wanting time to stop, wanting to put it into reverse, wanting to change things."


Jessica Anya Blau Drinking Closer to Home by Jessica Anya Blau is based on events that happened to Jessica's family over the course of years. Jessica writes, "I think of my novel as more of a painting I've done of my family than a documentary I've made about them." Does her family still talk to her? Find out!


Mary MonroeMary Monroe's Mama Ruby will be out in June, and she wants to chat! On Monday, June 6 at 7:00 pm Eastern Time, Mary will join us on the Reading Group Choices' Facebook Discussion Page. You can post questions now and/or live on June 5. Mama Ruby is the prequel to The Upper Room. Let's get the conversation started!

Graduation Gift

My Reading Life by Pat ConroyPat Conroy's My Reading Life will make a thoughtful graduation gift. Conroy's book revisits the readings of his past that helped him to his present and leads him into his future. As his mother before him, Conroy writes, "Books contained powerful amulets that could lead to paths of certain wisdom." 


Learning is a lifelong journey. Start your grad off right with My Reading Life, and share Pat's and your own joy of reading.


Enter for a chance to win a copy of My Reading Life and a signed (by Pat, himself!), limited edition print of the My Reading Life first page with the My Reading Life cover art.  


New Discussible Releases

The Ninth Wife by Amy StollsWhat sane woman would consider becoming any man's ninth wife? The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls asks just that. Just as Bess is about to give up all hope of marriage, she meets Rory, a charming Irish musician, and they fall in love. When asking for her hand, Rory reveals that he has been married eight times before. Shocked and before she gives Rory an answer, Bess sets out on a cross-country journey to seek out and question the wives who came before her. Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of Loved Walked In and Belong To Me writes, "As Amy Stolls takes us into the minds, hearts, and histories of Bess and Rory, we grapple with the thorny, thrilling truth that love is always complicated, always-every time, every day-a risk."


The Summer of Us by Holly ChamberlinThree women, strangers to each other, rent a cottage in Martha's Vineyard for the summer in Holly Chamberlin's The Summer of Us. The only thing in common with Gincy, Danielle, and Clare is a desire to spend weekends away from the city. Different in every way, the three women find an unexpected bond over lazy beach days and warm, conversation-filled nights. Gincy, Danielle, and Clare will discover that friendship isn't always measured in how well you know a person's past-but in opening each other's eyes to everything the future could hold. A book about the beach for your beach read!


Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy  

Trade Paperbacks of Reading Group Favorites

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura LippmanLaura Lippman's new novel, I'd Know You Anywhere, deals with the issues of the abduction of a young woman and the decades-long aftermaths of that horror. Eliza cherishes the life she built -- a happy home with her husband and two children in the suburbs. But a letter she receives from Walter Brown, the man who abducted when she was a teenager, threatens to destroy her peaceful and ordinary life. "Lippman's taut, mesmerizing, and exceptionally smart drama of predator and prey is at once unusually sensitive and utterly compelling," writes Booklist.


The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-StoneMichele Young-Stone's debut novel, The Handbook of Lightning Strike Survivors, follows the parallel lives of Becca and Buckley. Becca has been struck by lightning at eight and, then again at sixteen. At thirteen, Buckley's mother was fatally struck by lightning. The novel explores their lives dealing with one tragedy after another. When Buckley and Becca finally meet, neither is prepared for the charge of emotions-or for the perilous event that will bring them even closer to one another, and to the families they've been running from for as long as they can remember. "In its starred review, Library Journal writes, "It's not often that this reviewer regrets a book ending, but that's what happened here. The sense of melancholy, tempered by the resilience and heart of the characters, makes this ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler."


Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy


Historical Fiction Livens Discussions


Who knew? The recent Reading Group Choices survey of thousands of reading groups revealed that over 16% of the books chosen for discussion in 2010 were historical fiction. So, why not select one of these for your next get-together?


The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning is a compelling story of Jane Clark's struggle in 1770 to find her own place and leave her own mark on the new country, America. Loyalist against rebel, command against free will, the violence of The Boston Massacre leads Jane to question her beliefs and truths. Gumming's novel is filled with some of the lesser known but most influential figures of America's struggle for independence-John and Samuel Adams, Henry Knox, James Otis. In its starred review, Library Journal writes, "Historical fiction at its best."


Russian Winter by Daphne KalotayIn Daphne Kalotaya's debut novel, Russian Winter, a mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret. When famed Russian ballerina, Nina Revskaya, decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, she believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, Nina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago. Michele Leber, Booklist, writes "... Kalotay (Calamity and Other Stories, 2005) has created appealing, well-rounded characters in well-researched settings, notably in capturing the fear, deprivation, and rampant suspicion of the Stalin era and its effect on artists."


Rivals in the Tudor Court by D. L. BogdanThe prequel to Secrets of the Tudor Court by D. I. Bogdan, Rivals in the Tudor Court chronicles the ambitious third duke of Norfolk, Thomas Howard's, life, loves, and remarkable capacity to endure. Told from the perspectives of Thomas Howard, his spirited wife, Elizabeth Stafford, and mistress, Bess Holland, the novel reveals a drama that sweeps across eight decades and the reigns of six English monarchs. Careful research and a gift for realistic and sympathetic portrayals give Bogdan's novel a sense of time and place.


Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy


Get Ready for Audio Month!


And speaking of historical fiction, many groups are listening to The American Heiress in May to prepare for their "June is Audio Month" discussion in June, compliments of Reading Group Choices and Macmillan Audio.


The American Heiress by Daisy GoodwinIn addition to leading questions about the book, groups will ask, "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?"


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. The 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!


Water for Elephants Discussion

Water for Elephants by Sara GruenDid your club read Water for Elephants and then go see the movie? Does your club plan to go? Here's your chance to review and discuss. Tell us how the movie compared to the book. Did the movie do the book justice?

Mama Drama: Happy Mother's Day

Word & Film has picked some of theirs favorite "mom" movie that "share the distinction of undergoing a successful page-to-screen transition, in our humble opinions."


Your Own Discussible Choices
Book DotsCongratulations to Karen and The CC Readers for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!

"Our group just finished discussing The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Wow what a story!  If you are looking for a change of pace, try this one.  It's a hum dinger!"

Cecilia, The Chapter 1 Book Club, Pearl, MS

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
Another Tip from a Colleague

Congratulations to Patricia and The CPC Book Club for winning the random drawing for this month's Reading Group Tip!


"Our group often goes for coffee after our class, so we decided to form a book club because most of our discussions were about books.  So the 12 gals around that table have been meeting for a year and having great discussions."

Patricia, The CPC Book Club, Chesterfield, MO


Reading Group Choices 2011 Is Still Available!
Reading Group Choices 2011: Selections for Lively Book DiscussionsThe print edition, Reading Group Choices 2011: Selections for Lively Book Discussions, is still 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 2010, 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's Worked Best in Your Book Groups?


What's worked in the best book clubs? 


Talk about creative!  The ideas you all have come up with to make your discussions fun are over the top! You told us about many, many of the unique notions that have worked for your groups, and we're passing on a few of them here. Maybe some of your colleagues' ideas will work for your group, too!


"One of our book meetings is done during a weekend at the beach-we call it our 'ReadTreat.'  We also throw a yard sale, culling gently-used articles from our households over the year, to raise money for our weekend at the beach."

Carol-Lee, Wine Women and Wit, Midlothian, VA


"The best thing we did to get better discussions is to have each member rate the book.  Sometimes it seems like we are through discussing the book, but when we start going around the room to get the ratings, new discussions pop up!"

Bea, The Words and Wine Book Club, Liberty Lake, WA


"Get involved in literary activities in your community and keep your members apprised of them.  You'll have even more fascinating activities to enjoy together."

Sally, Book Club, Princeton, NJ


"Once a year we have a husband/wife book group dinner; the person hosting the dinner gets to pick the book. The men enjoy it so much that they have asked us to do it more often.  We told them to start their own bookclub!"

Lisa, Newton Book Group, Newton, MA


"A diverse range of ages REALLY helps the discussion!"

Maria, Georgetown Book Club, Washington, DC


"I highly recommend including in your book group someone with a little beach getaway nearby! We had one great, memorable, bonding weekend together at such a getaway. Be true to your book club, hold it dear, and be ready to defend fellow members in any situation!! Your book club should offer refuge from reality as well as a point from which to explore the real world safely. Be the best baker you can be, and don't be afraid to overdo it with the refreshments, but avoid Moon Pies, even if your book takes place in Maine, because they are too huge and members will be embarrassed to be seen eating something so bad that's so big; this really happened. Decaf, period. If someone hasn't had a chance to read the book, but has made the effort to attend the meeting, find a constructive way to include her or him in the discussion. Make sure everyone gets to choose a book and lead a discussion. Is that enough?"

Susan, The Bluestockings, Avon, CT


Well, Susan, that's a lot, but there are many more ideas!  Click below to learn more...


Many More Ideas


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