Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Discussible Selections in PB, HC, & TG (Techno-Gizmo)
"I'd Rather Curl Up with a Real Book!"
August 2011


Can eBooks and eReaders help animate your group's discussions? See what your colleagues are doing, and weigh in yourself.  Whether you read an eBook, a paperback, a hardcover, or listen to audiobooks, you'll find some great choices here to make your next discussion lively. All this and more in this month's Reading Group Choices Newsletter.

In This Issue
Conversation Queries
eReaders You're Using
More Really-Good Discussibles
Author Posts in On the Bookcase
Books to Movies
2011 Man Booker Longlist
Life & Literature
Literary Bankruptcy
Book Nerds
Your Own Discussible Choices
Reading Group Choices 2011 Is Still Available
eBooks--For Your Reading Group?
Conversation Queries


Sisters of the Traveling ComputersIf you did read a book or books on an eReader in the past year, what did you read?  More specifically, what genre did you read?  That question is the basis for one of this month's (very short and quick) Conversation Queries.  It's not a scientific sampling, to be sure, but the results should be interesting just the same - we'll let you know how you answered in next month's newsletter.


 What genre did you read on an eReader?


And won't you librarians, booksellers, facilitators, and readers share some thoughts on how eBooks and eReaders are affecting your world?


 How are eBooks changing your world? 

eReaders You're Using

eReadersAmong reading group members using eBooks, most eBooks were read on the Amazon Kindle (59%), with the Barnes & Noble Nook now in second place at 26%.  The Nook is rapidly catching up, however--up from just 7% in the prior year. Relatively speaking, usage of tablet computers as eReaders exploded among reading group members last year. Our survey showed that almost 20% of the eBooks you read last year were read on a tablets! 

Really-Good Discussibles

The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola ShoneyinThe Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin tells the story of a nigerian woman named Bolane, a young university graduate, who agrees to marry into the polygamous world. Though the life is full of expensive clothes and a generous allowance, Bolane finds herself very unpopular. The wives that came before her, Iya Femi, Iya Tope, and Iya Segi, do not approve of the newest and most educated wife. Bolane's presence threatens the secrets the family has kept quiet for years, because unleashing them could change everyone's lives forever. The Sacremento Bee Review writes, "Alternately funny, shocking, and sad...a complex depiction of family and culture in modern-day Nigeria."


How to Love an American Man by Kristine Gasbarre How to Love an American Man, the unforgettable memoir by Kristine Gasbarre, portrays a love life that rarely resulted in happiness. With the decision to change her own misfortune and to get back to her roots, Krissy eventually returns to her hometown to care for her aging grandmother. With the advice, storytelling, and lessons from her grandmother, Krissy is able to overcome her fears of falling in love and cherish the old-fashioned approach to romance. Liz Oz, a New York Times bestselling author and radio host, proclaims How to Love an American Man is, "a beautifully written, heartfelt gem. Disguised as a romance, it is actually a story of familial bonds, personal growth and faith."


The Things We Cherished by Pam JenoffSpanning countries and decades, The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff is the story of love and betrayal. Two lawyers find themselves falling for each other while working to defend an accused Nazi war criminal, Roger Dykman. Roger offers little help to proving his innocence. The only clue to his innocence lies with a timepiece that was last seen in Germany. The Things We Cherished uses historical detail to capture love under the worst of circumstances. The Things We Cherished "further cements Jenoff's reputation for adeptly using the harsh realities of WWII Europe as a context for a timeless love story," declares Publishers Weekly.


Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson reveals the story of the Virgin Queen's biggest rival; her cousin, Lettice Knollys. Lettice and Elizabeth shared a man, Robert Dudley. Dudley had his eye on sharing the throne with Elizabeth.  Elizabeth allowed herself to fall for Dudley and to rely on him, but she did not marry him to protect herself. Elizabeth eventually discovers that Dudley had secretly married the much prettier Lettice. Rival to the Queen tells the story of the two people related by blood and destined to clash. What are the consequences for crossing the Queen? Library Journal reports, "An exquisitely realistic portrait of Tudor England. . . . This is much more than a historical romance; Erickson's attention to historical detail and the depiction of Elizabeth's struggle to maintain her control over her kingdom make for compelling reading."


Shadows on the Sand by Gayle RoperGayle Roper's mystery, Shadows on the Sand, weaves crime and romance into one story. Carrie Carter owns a small café in Seaside, New Jersey, where she has had her eye set on fellow local and customer Greg Barnes. Wrapped up in his family's tragic past, Greg pays no attention to Carrie. That all changes when Carrie's dishwasher is killed and her young waitress goes missing. Greg offers his help to solve the mystery. As the two become closer, secrets from Carrie's past could be too much for the new and fragile relationship. Lauraine Snelling, author of the Daughters of Blessing Series and the Red River of the North Series says, "Gayle Roper's mysteries get deeper and develop more tangled threads with each book. The characters and setting are so real I wanted to run out and help them. Happily ever after was in serious doubt. Very well done."


Fallen by Karin Slaughter Fallen brings beloved characters from Karin Slaughter's previous series, but this time the case is personal. Faith never had a problem following the protocol of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, until the crime scene is her childhood home. Forced to handle the investigation and her home life now turned upside down, Faith wonders how well she really knew her mother. Michael Connelly simply states Fallen is, "crime fiction at its finest."

New Author Posts in On the Bookcase


On The Bookcase Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio's longtime "voice of books," chats about book browsing - "a form of dreaming."


Here's the fourth Installment of the Sisters of the Traveling Computers novel. Another character has appeared!


What happens when you're a visiting author at your own book club? Jael McHenry, author of The Kitchen Daughter, shares her story!


Be a writer and get the girl? Jay Varner, author of Nothing Left to Burn, describes his high school issues in being accepted.


Author Squared: Michele Young-Stone, (The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors) and Cara Hoffman (So Much Pretty) reveal their books' inspiration.


 Susan Gregg Gilmore (The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove) goes back to her childhood town and finds her story.




Club ReadJoin us October 15th and 16th at CLUB READ -- a one-of-a-kind event where booklovers get to spend quality time with their favorite authors. For 24 hours, you'll dine, socialize, learn, chat, laugh, and make friends with a dozen of the finest book-club writing authors - authors including Adriana Trigiani, Sena Jeter Naslund, and Joyce Maynard. Awesome events with authors, plus four meals, refreshments, internet access, and sleeping accommodations. 



Books to Movies

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyYou heard it here first. Twice on the RGC's Top Ten Favorite Discussible Books of the year, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will be made into a movie! The movie is expected to begin production in the spring. Variety reported that Fox 2000 "is circling" Kenneth Branagh to direct the film based on the novel by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer.


And, if you have been living under a rock, The Help, the movie based on the novel The Help, will be in theaters on August 10. 

2011 Man Booker Longlist

This year's Man Booker Longlist is out! Some of past Man Booker winners have become reading groups' favorites - The Finkler Question, Wolf Hall, The White Tiger, The GatheringThe Inheritance of Loss, and The Life of Pi 


See the 2011 Man Booker Longlist 

Life & Literature


According to, New Jersey Blood Services has started a book club. Give blood, get a free book, and then come to NJBS book club to discuss it. The first pick was The Help. Very cool!  


Literary Bankruptcy

With all this talk about the United States debt in the last couple months, it may be the perfect time to take The Guardian's latest quiz: literary bankruptcy.  


Book Nerds

For those whose book group starts up again in September, try a literary game or two to get the year off right. Would you be able to guess a book with just the first line?  Flavorwire reports Literary Games for Book Nerds. Be Prepared - Flavorwire is humorous, but can be a bit crass! 

Your Own Discussible Choices

Congratulations to Karen and Culpepper's Finest Book Club for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!


The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger"The book that created the most spirited discussion this past year was The Time Traveler's Wife. One of our initial club rules was "no science fiction!"  Well, we broke the rule for this book, and so glad we did.  It opened up our minds to reading bookstyles not in our normal libraries."

Karen, Culpepper's Finest Book Club, Locust Grove, VA


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 2011 Is Still Available!
Reading Group Choices 2011: Selections for Lively Book DiscussionsSupplies are running low, but the 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,

eBooks--For Your Reading Group?




One quarter of you indicated that you had read at least one eBook in 2010, according to our recent survey of thousands of reading groups representing more than 200,000 reading group members.  But only a few said that they read all, or even most, of their books on eReaders.


Your survey responses  received plenty of attention! Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness, and Book Business Magazine all showed interest in your answers.


In any case, eReaders are proving useful in assisting reading group facilitators and members to prepare for discussions.


For example, using their eReader, reading group participants can search by word or phrase to find every occurrence within the book, make notes in the text, highlight and clip key passages, bookmark pages, and export notes for reading group discussions into one inclusive document.


eBooks are also frequently lower-priced than their traditional counterparts. Many titles are available for $9.99 - but of course, this is offset by the hefty initial price tag for the device.


And what do you do when you haven't read the book yet, it's Saturday night and your bookstore is closed, and your group meets on Monday?  Well - you can download the eBook onto your eReader and get started right away!


Reading group members who wish all books came in large-text editions may have found that the eReader genie has granted their wish. The eReader allows users to change their read into large type (or to switch fonts), making reading more pleasurable for those with eye-strain or those who like to read while working out on the treadmill or stationary bike.


And those reading groups who have entered into the techno-world of social networking and electronic books can now even share and discuss book passages, get a read on friends' reviews and to-be-read list, and lend eBooks -- all from the eReader! The technology here is evolving quickly, so stay tuned to our eNewsletter for updates as they occur.


But we're curious - for those of you who have used an eReader in the past year, what did you read? Let us know, if you please, in this month's "Conversation Query!" More about this in the article in the left-hand column.  And what about libraries, bookstores and eReaders? We'd like to know how eBooks are changing the landscape for you, too.


As our own Barbara Drummond Mead said in a recent interview, "The use of eBooks in concert with printed books only serves to reaffirm book clubs' passion for literature."


Chances to Win!

Discussible Choices



You & RGC in the News!


New Author blog Posts

Fresh Ideas for Discussion 




 Low Town


Adam & Eve


 The Call


 The Good Daughters


 You Know When the Men are Gone


 Skipping a Beat


 The Bird Sisters


 So Much Pretty




 The Kitchen Daughter


 The Improper Life of Besellia Grove



More About Reading Group Choices 



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