Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Celebrating Reading & Friendship
Win $100!
February 2012 
Greetings!

 

A chance to win $100 cash for your book club - just tell your colleagues about your best discussions of the past year in the favorite discussibles survey!  

 

Receive an Advance Readers' Copy of an exciting new release in the ARCs for ARCs Program.

 

Plus a celebration of friendship, "Food by the Book", "Read Dating," and reading group tips from your friends -- all in this month's Reading Group Choices Newsletter.  

 

In This Issue
A Chance to Win CA$H
New Selection for a Great Discussion
ARCs for ARCs
Neely's Nuggets
Tips from Your Colleagues
Food by the Book
The Belle of Amherst
Book Group of the Month
Your Own Discussible Choices
Cupcakes, Cookies, & Pie, Oh My!
Happy Birthday Charles Dickens
Read Dating
Celebrate Friendship This Valentine's Day
A Chance to Win CA$H!

Five lucky groups will win $100 each! Use the cash to cater your next gathering, buy books for your next discussion, go to a movie or play with your group - let your imagination go wild!  

Survey 2011  

 

Winners will be selected at random from those who tell us in the Favorite Discussibles Survey about their best discussions in the past year.  

 
New Selection for a Great Discussion!
 
More Than Words Can Say by Robert Barclay
 
More Than Words Can Say by Robert Barclay Chelsea Enright never expected to inherit her grandmother's lakeside cottage deep in the Adirondacks. When Chelsea finds her grandmother's WWII diaries, she's stunned to discover that they hold secrets she never suspected. Even more surprising is the compelling presence of local doctor Brandon Yale, and Chelsea soon finds her "short stay" has stretched into the entire summer. She cannot put this cottage and her family's past behind her easily--and the more she learns about the woman her grandmother truly was, the more Chelsea's own life begins to change . . . and nothing will ever be the same again.

ARCs for ARCs
 
The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey BatemanThanks so much for your response in the Advance Readers' Copies for Advance Reader Comments (ARCs for ARCs) Program.  As you may remember, some of you are selected to receive complimentary Advance Readers' Copies of upcoming releases in return for your comments and Conversation Starter suggestions.  Ten groups will soon receive ARCs of The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman.

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!

Neely's Nuggets

Neely Kennedy, Literary Director Neely Kennedy used
an unconventional Valentine's Day theme to choose her "nuggets" for this month. She decided to emphasize friendship with her selections.  Celebrating the friendship you have in your book club would lead to a lively discussion as well as a sense of appreciation!


The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

The Wednesday Sisters by Me Waite Clayton For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. These "Wednesday Sisters" seem to have little in common, but as the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women's movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them--in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul--they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing Anna is a writer, author of one very successful novel, who now keeps four notebooks. In one, with a black cover, she reviews the African experience of her earlier years. In a red one she records her political life, her disillusionment with communism. In a yellow one she writes a novel in which the heroine relives part of her own experience. And in a blue one she keeps a personal diary. Finally, in love with an American writer and threatened with insanity, Anna resolves to bring the threads of all four books together in a golden notebook.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood In her version of the Brothers Grimm tale "The Robber Bridegroom", Atwood brilliantly recasts the monster as Zenia, a villainess of demonic proportions, and sets her loose in the lives of three friends, Tony, Charis, and Roz. All three "have lost men, spirit, money, and time to their old college acquaintance, Zenia. At various times, and in various emotional disguises, Zenia has insinuated her way into their lives and practically demolished them. To Tony, who almost lost her husband and jeopardized her academic career, Zenia is 'a lurking enemy commando.' To Roz, who did lose her husband and almost her magazine, Zenia is 'a cold and treacherous bitch.' To Charis, who lost a boyfriend, quarts of vegetable juice and some pet chickens, Zenia is a kind of zombie, maybe 'soulless'" (Lorrie Moore, New York Times Book Review).  

Tips from Your Colleagues

What's worked in the best book clubs? "Box O' Books" to both Mo and Booktini and Gail and The Whiskey Flats Bookies for offering their book club tips this month!

"This past year our book club added a digital component. We started a private Facebook page for members only where we post info about upcoming meetings, locations, themes and book selection. It's also a great forum to discuss other books that we happen to be reading in addition to our featured selection. Also, our book club President started a blog. Here, members take turns posting about great literature they have come across as well as other topics of mutual interest--family, food, shopping and more!"
Mo, Booktini, Raynham, MA

"Our book club is new, but we have decided that each one of us will host a month and decide which book is to be read and come up with a theme, questions, and food. We have had a 'cocktail' meeting when we discussed Cocktails for Three. Eternal on the Water meeting was held by the river in a gazebo. We have been assigned our months, so we have plenty of time to think of our books and themes."
Gail, The Whiskey Flats Bookies, Anoka, MN

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 Tips From Your Colleagues 
 
Food by the Book

This month's Food by the Book selection is The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant. Placed with the slaves in the kitchen house under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her new adopted family, even though she is forever set apart from them by her white skin. As Lavinia is slowly accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles an opium addiction, she finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When Lavinia marries the master's troubled son and takes on the role of mistress, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare and lives are put at risk. The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail..

The recipe offered with is this book is "Belle's Molasses Cake."

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugarFood by the Book
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup of molasses
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 dashes of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inchsquare baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and the molasses. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Add each of these alternately to the butter mixture, beating well between additions. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

The Belle of Amherst

If your book club is looking for a change of pace or something to liven up your meeting, why not try a different genre, such as poetry? Sinda Nichols stars in a one-women play based on the writings of Emily Dickinson. The play is called "The Belle of Amherst" by William Luce and directed by Ron Kurtz. The play has toured to Florida, Wisconsin, and even Ireland! This play would be a great field trip for your group if Emily Dickinson's poetry were one of your group's selections! February 17th, 18th and 19th "The Belle of Amherst" will be take the stage upstairs at The Henegar in Melbourne, Florida. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Melbourne's Friends of the Library.
The Belle of Amherst Play
Book Group of the Month

Congratulations to Joyce and The Happy Bookers of Haddon Heights for being selected as the Book Group of the Month for January!

The Happy Bookers of Hadden Heights

"I started this book club in 2008 with only five members. The thirst for reading and sharing what we read reached out to become eighteen members by the end of 2011. Since my contention has always been to share a book and a meal together, I would make dinner for the monthly meetings at my home. We tried sharing the meetings at other members' homes, but somehow...we always end up back here. It's been great fun, as I love the now sharing of recipes each member who cooks or bakes and brings to the table, and, oh my, do we eat well for that one Tuesday evening of the month! Our reading has been a variety of fiction, nonfiction, classics and new writers. I have hosted two new authors to our table and each Christmas make a special dinner (with the help of my daughter and granddaughter) to celebrate our diversity. Some of our members are retired, some teachers, some therapists, storytellers, artists, and one a struggling author who is trying to get published with two wonderfully-written books. To say the least, we are all avid readers with interesting takes on each of our monthly selections. I love your website, very well organized, and thought I would write and let you know that we are a club that appreciates your extensive research and easy maneuvering around the website. Let's Discuss!"
Joyce, The Happy Bookers of Haddon Heights, Haddon Heights, NJ  

Your Own Discussible Choices

Book Dots Congratulations to Pesha and The Boca Country Club Book Club for winning the drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice! "

As we were discussing Mudbound, we came to look upon it as a predecessor to The Help. It was set in the time period immediately following WWII, and focused on the shock with its consequences of black soldiers returning from WWII where they were treated as people and then coming back to the Mississippi Delta where they were treated less well than a dog. The focus on the obedient southern wife who accepted all sorts of hardship until she had to stand up for herself. The characters who were noble amidst their misdeeds and acknowledging that who are we to judge anyone else. Truly a page turner!"
Pesha, The Boca Country Club Book Club, Boca Raton, FL

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

Cupcakes, Cookies, and Pie, Oh My!

Cupcakes, Cookies, & Pies, Oh My! Liven up the winter with a sweet treat. New York Times best-selling authors of Hello Cupcake are back with a spectacular new cookbook Cupcakes, Cookies, and Pie, Oh My! Full of whimsical ideas, our favorite is the Year of the Dragon Cupcakes. From simple to complex, there is something fun for everyone.
 
Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

Charles Dickens 200th Birthday February 7th marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth. A Victorian writer, Dickens' work remains relevant; tackling the themes of love, class, economy, and offering insightful cultural commentary. Certainly his focus on the lives of working class people speaks loudly today. Try his classic A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations

Read Dating

Read Dating
With Valentine's Day quickly approaching single book lovers might find themselves wondering how they'd like to celebrate. Vancouver Public Library tried out something they call 'Read Dating'. They had singles rotate around the room, spending four minutes each with about 20 others, all armed with a favorite book to break the ice. It may be worthwhile to see if the library in your town is holding a similar event. Even if you don't leave with a soul mate, you might acquire a new reading list!.

 
Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,
 

 
Celebrate Friendship This Valentine's Day 

 

 Friendship

 

This month's Neely's Nuggets highlight five wonderful titles that celebrate the bonds of friendship. As all of our reading club enthusiasts know, it is not only the love of a good book that draws us to book group meetings! We also gather together to enjoy time spent with friends. While we discuss our literary ideas, our relationships flourish as we share parts of our own life stories. We hope you enjoy reading one of our selections as you take a moment to reflect on the strength and the comfort that we gather from our deepest connections.

 

At your book club gatherings this month, trying adding to the discussion what it means for each member to be in the group.  Bring chocolate or roses to the meeting to show an appreciation for the friendships you have made!

   

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