Reading Group Choices Newsletter
You May Still Win $100!
Weekend Getaway with Your Favorite Authors
July 2011

Tips, books, and ideas to enhance the next book club event that you host.  Plus a premier opportunity to spend some face-to-face, personal time with some of your favorite authors. 


This month, reading groups can save 50% on the audiobook Fallen - see the coupon at the bottom of this column!
In This Issue
$100 Winners
A Discussible Mystery
Four Brand-New, Really-Good Discussibles
Club Read
Book Clubs Listen as Never Before
Keep Truckin', Sisters!
Author Posts in On the Bookcase
Revolutionary Literature
Inspirational Readers' Choice Award
Novel Discussions - In More Ways than One
Your Own Discussible Choices
Buzzfeed's Best Movies Based on Books
Reading Group Choices 2011 Is Still Available
New Ways to Delight Your Reading Group
$100 Winners: Favorite Discussible Book Survey


So far, three book groups who participated in the Reading Group Choices Favorite Discussible Book survey earlier this year have claimed their $100 prize won in the random drawing. Check out the pictures of The Mom's of Turnerville and also the BROWSE (Book-Reading Opinionated Women Seeking Enlightenment / Entertainment / Education) Book Club!


The Moms of Turnerville
The Moms of Turnerville


Laurie, who responded to the survey on behalf of The Mom's of Turnerville, was not able to be in the picture, but the rest of the members are. When the picture was taken, they were discussing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, one of the top ten choices from the survey.  But their favorite selection from 2010 was Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. Here's what Laurie had to say about their 2010 choice:


"The reason we thought Those Who Save Us was a good discussion (I don't know that I'd say "fun") was that there were so many interesting topics that we didn't go off topic nearly as much as we usually do, AND many of the personal side discussions we were having we were able to somehow relate to the story.  It was a great read and a great discussion! Thank you--and keep up the good work bringing us great suggestions of books to discuss!!"

Laurie, MOMs of Turnerville, Gainesville, VA


Eileen, from the BROWSE (Book-Reading Opinionated Women Seeking Enlightenment/Entertainment/Education) Book Club, shown below (with a few members seeking enlightenment / entertainment / education elsewhere at the time of the picture shoot), writes that their group's favorite in 2010 was Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.


BROWSE Book Club
The BROWSE Book Club


Says Eileen, "Olive Kitteridge is such a remarkable and intricate book that our book club discussed it twice last year.  This collection of linked short stories is an examination of a cranky, mostly unpleasant, but occasionally compassionate person.  In some stories, Olive is the main character; in others, she is merely mentioned, but the way that she is mentioned reveals something new and important about how she is perceived by others.  All of us could relate to some part of Olive, but we couldn't ultimately agree on what kind of person Olive really was, and none of us could figure out how Elizabeth Stout managed to create such a complex, fascinating, and occasionally irritating character.  Our discussion about Olive's true character lead to an equally engaging discussion about aging and family relations, and how they change over time."


RoadTownReads, another reading group consisting of fifteen avid readers, also won the $100 prize. Their favorite discussible in 2010 was Day for Night by Frederick Reiken. Here's what Molly says made their discussion so good:


"The author was able to join us for our discussion, and was wonderful."

Molly, RoadTownReads, Shutesbury, MA


If you responded to the survey but didn't win the $100, don't lose hope!  Two respondents (Jeri from Zionsville and Kathy from Bakersfield) were selected to win $100 in the random drawing, but we haven't heard back from them yet.  If we don't hear by the end of July, the prizes will go to other lucky respondents chosen at random.


A Discussible Mystery

Hotwire by Alex KavaIn New York Times bestselling author Alex Kava's new thriller, Hotwire, Special Agent Maggie O'Dell investigates the death of three teenagers in Nebraska. What started as a group of kids filming their drug-fueled party ends in an explosive light show, leaving the victims apparently electrocuted. Meanwhile on the East Coast, Maggie's FBI partner, R.J. Tully, and Army colonel Benjamin Platt are at the scene of a deadly outbreak, desperate to identify the pathogen that has infected children at a Virginia elementary school. Despite the miles that separate them, the two cases collide as Maggie, Tully, and Platt uncover secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the remote Midwest landscape. Maggie finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy involving biological warfare.  In its starred review, Publishers Weekly writes, "Outstanding . . . A sizzling plot, achingly real characters, and government officials working their backsides off to save their backsides, all strike as lethally as lightning."


Four Brand-New Really-Good Discussibles

Three trade paperback originals and one hardcover are new this month and guaranteed to delight book groups.  Is one of them your group's next choice?


The Art of Saying Goodbye by Ellyn BacheEllyn Bache, author of The Art of Saying Goodbye, tells a beautiful and poignant story of four suburban women who gain new insights and appreciations of their own lives when a much-loved neighbor falls gravely ill. The Art of Saying Goodbye is a tale of friendship, love, commitment, and self-discovery that will enthrall readers. Publishers Weekly reports, "A moving, gratifying, and inspiring reminder to live life to its fullest and demonstrate love in every possible way to friends and family."


Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan is both a love story and a lyrical, evocative depiction of the immigrant experience in early 20th century America. Set in the 1920s, Kerrigan's novel tells of a young Irish woman who must choose between her new life in New York City and her husband back home in Ireland, brilliantly capturing these two vastly different worlds in the process. Readers of historical fiction, as well as fans of the novels of Frank Delany and other Irish-themed works, will adore their time spent on Ellis Island. "Kerrigan is excellent at evoking both rustic Ireland and 20th-century New York," writes Publishers Weekly.


Miss Timmins' School for Girls by Nayana CurrimbhoySet in India during the monsoon of 1974, Miss Timmins School for Girls by Nayana Cumimbhoy tells the tale of a conventional young girl who leaves her cloistered small town home to teach at a remote boarding school run by British Missionaries. Part coming-of-age novel, part suspenseful murder mystery, Miss Timmins' School for Girls is a brilliant evocation of a colorful time and place-India during the love, drug, and rock 'n' roll era-woven into the page-turning tale. Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of The Space Between Us, comments about the novel, "An irresistible novel that hurls forward at breathtaking speed toward an unpredictable climax."


Escape by Barbara DelinskyIn Escape, Barbara Delinsky explores every woman's desire to abandon the endless obligations of work and marriage-and the idea that the most passionate romance can be found with the person you know best. Emily Aulenbach leaves work early one day, goes home, packs her bag, and takes off. Groping toward the future, uncharacteristically following her gut rather than her mind, she heads north toward a New Hampshire town tucked between mountains. During her college years, she spent a watershed summer here. Painful as it is to return, she knows that if she is to right her life, she has to start here. "[Delinsky] . . . keeps the story moving with some nice twists on a familiar plot, rich characterizations, and real-feeling dilemmas that will keep readers hooked," writes Publishers Weekly.


Club Read 


Club Read - A readers' retreat...where books mean the world!


Club ReadJoin us Saturday, October 15th to Sunday, October 16th at Mariner's Landing in Huddleston, VA, for a book club retreat. You'll dine, socialize, learn, chat, laugh, and make friends with a dozen book-club-favorite authors including Adriana Trigiani, Joyce Maynard, Sena Jeter Naslund, Gretchen Rubin, Susan Henderson, Heather Newton, and Jessica Anya Blau. This is an intimate gathering of authors and readers with fun activities hosted by the authors. Check out some of the exciting events planned, including:  


Passion Play - Authors share their passions, besides writing and reading!

Twitter Time - Can an author answer a question in 140 characters or less?

Club Read Waterside Cook Out - Authors and readers - drinking, dining, and dishing about books! 

Milk & Cookies Pajama Party & Bedtime Readings 

Sunday Morning Breakfast - with Joyce Maynard

Author Visit - with Sena Jeter Naslund, and

Sunday Luncheon - with Adriana Trigiani.


All of this and more, plus hotel and food, are included for $500. Book your reservation now!


Book Clubs Listen As Never Before

The American Heiress by Daisy GoodwinBook groups and book lovers are listening to literature as never before, and Reading Group Choices is proud that we and 400 of you are a part of it.  Read about what your colleagues did to celebrate Audiobook Month! According to The Sacramento Bee, "Working with the bookclub resource Reading Group Choices, [Macmillan Audio] offered to send copies of The American Heiress audiobook by Daisy Goodwin to book clubs across the country, urging them to discuss it at their June meetings. More than 400 reading groups did just that." Please write and tell us how your listening experience went.


See the Whole Sacramento Bee Article


Keep Truckin', Sisters!

Sisters of the Traveling ComputersInstallment 3 of the novel by The Sisters of the Traveling Computers novel is up! Can you match the passage to the author!


New Author Posts in On the Bookcase


Kate Christensen, author of The Astral, shares her inspiration of her new book - "my homage to a building and a novel." 


Karen Essex talks about her research of Victorian asylums for Dracula in Love - "truth is stranger than fiction."


Impatient With Desire: The Lost Journal of Tamsen Donner's author Gabrielle Burton chats about her "long and winding road" to success.


Down from Cascom Mountain by Anne Joslin Williams is a tribute to her father's (writer Thomas Williams) fictional locations and, in Anne's words, "the landscape I loved." 


Author of Ellis Island Kate Kerrigan takes us to her writing den where she can "explore the characters and adventures that inhabit the strange world of a writer's mind."


Revolutionary Literature


Big Events for Reading GroupsHope you had a great Independence Day! With the American Revolution on peoples' minds, here is a quiz of your knowledge of revolutions in literature from The Guardian


Awards: Inspirational Readers' Choice

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, sponsored by the Faith, Hope and Love chapter of the Romance Writers of America. 


Novel Discussions - In More Ways than One

TipsLast month, Artie told us about The Troy Book Club's experience discussing The Help with another book group in Michigan. They teleconferenced in a friend from Mississippi, and the varied backgrounds of the members made for an interesting discussion.


After reading about Artie's group's Michigan outing, Carla wrote us about her Alabama-based group's experience.  We think you'll find her comments fascinating!


The Help by Kathryn Stockett"I found this meeting of two groups to discuss The Help interesting.  Imagine a turnaround situation.  We discussed The Help in our book club which consists of women raised in the South and myself, the token Midwesterner.  The concept that the type of class system and segregationist attitudes described in the book are, to this day, seen as ok and normal was eye-opening for me.  It was interesting to hear a discussion from a polar opposite perspective than my own."

Carla, Book Club, Madison, AL


And for yet another take on the experience, read what Pesha has to say:


"At our review of The Help, I invited a 3rd-generation Virginian who was raised by a nanny.  She brought photos of them. The members of the Book Club could question her [about her] childhood and her take on the contents of the book."

Pesha, Boca Country Club Book Club, Boca Raton, FL


Thanks so much for your comments, Carla and Pesha! "Bag 'O Books" on its way to each of you for you and your groups!


More Book Club Tips for Novel Discussions


Your Own Discussible Choices

Book DotsSurprise! There are TWO winners this month in the drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!  Congratulations to Mim and The Brunswick Library Book Club and to Mari and The Viking Book Club - both groups won a "Box 'O Books" to share and discuss. See what they had to say about their unusual discussible choices!


"This month our read was The Woman Behind the New Deal by Kirsten Downey. Our group felt that this book should be required reading in the schools. Only those members in their 80s had ever heard of Francis Perkins before reading the book. The others could not understand how the woman responsible for Social Security, child labor laws, the 8-hour day, workmen's compensation, unemployment insurance, the FHA and more can have been all but erased from the history of women in the U.S. They were also struck by how the issues she dealt with are the same as the ones on the front pages of today's newspapers. Everyone thought it a great and important read."

Mim, The Brunswick Library Book Club, Knoxville, MD


"Our book club has enjoyed a large number of books this past year. One that we loved and even had the author respond to some of our member's questions was Amigoland by Oscar Casares. Mostly, this book was quite easy to relate to, since we all have family members, parents, grandparents, etc. that we all experience as they go into the sunset of their lives. WONDERFUL read."

Mari, The Viking Book Club, Corpus Christi, TX


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


Buzzfeed's Best Movies Based on Books

There are many book adaptation films coming out in the next couple months and throughout next year. The Help, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Hobbit. Buzzfeed selects their fifteen best movies based on books.


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,

New Ways to Delight Your Reading Group!


$100 Winners 


Earlier this year, thousands of you participated in the Favorite Discussible Book Survey, voting for the book that led to your best discussion in 2010.  We announced the results in the April Newsletter.  Since then, we've chosen five groups at random from all the participants to win $100 each to use as they see fit to enhance one of their 2011 discussions, and they have been telling us more about their experiences.  We think you and your group will find their stories fascinating - read about them in the left-hand column.


Equally fascinating are the comments some of you had about your discussions of the #1 discussible favorite - The Help! Read about them in the left column as well.  You may get some ideas from them and some of your colleagues' other tips and discussible choices to make your discussions even more enjoyable!



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New Author blog Posts
Fresh Ideas for Discussion 






Everything Beautiful Began After 




The Soldier's Wife


Picking Bones from Ash




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Order a copy of Karin Slaughter's electrifying new thriller FALLEN from AudioGO for everyone in your reading group, and save half off the retail price!  Now through July 31st, if you order 8 or more copies, you can get them for only $9.98 each!  Order via phone at 1-800-621-0182 or online and use the code CHOICES to get this special offer!


Offer Expires: July 31, 2011