Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Book Clubs & Irish Fun
Shammrock Your Book Club!
March 2012 


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!  


Reading Group Choices has a new Pinterest page! Follow our boards, and let us know what you think.  


Plus a celebration of Irish authors and settings, "Food by the Book", "118 Year Old Book Club," and reading group tips from your friends -- all in this month's Reading Group Choices Newsletter.  


In This Issue
A Chance to Win CA$H
New Selections for a Great Discussion
Food by the Book
RGC's NEW Pinterest Page
Stock Up On Book Club Favorites
Where We Belong: ARCs for ARCs
Neely's Irish Favorites
New On the Bookcase Posts
Tips from Your Colleagues
Book Group of the Month
Your Own Discussible Choices
Book Clubs for the Blind
118 Year Old Book Club
Happy St. Patrick's Day
A Chance to Win CA$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 Selections for a Great Discussion!
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she's had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes. Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess's sailor manages to survive but the Midwestern tycoon is not so lucky. On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah's Key says that "[from] the minute Tess sets foot on the doomed ship, this is the kind of novel you simply cannot put down and cannot forget."

The Good Father by Noah Hawley The Good Father by Noah Hawley
As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons--hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin... Chris Bohjalian, author of Secrets of Eden says "The Good Father is hypnotic and haunting and I lost all track of time when I was reading it."

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
Nobody could have foreseen what would happen the day that Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in the cafeteria of her daughter's elementary school. When a bully starts to tease her daughter, Melly, Rose is about to leap into action--but right then, the unthinkable happens. Rose is faced with an emergency decision that no mother should ever have to make. What she decides derails Rose's life and jeopardizes everyone she holds dear, until she takes matters into her own hands and lays her life on the line to save her child, her family, her marriage--and herself. Lisa Gardner, author of Love You More, describes Save Me as "Heart-pounding!"

Being Lara by Lola Jaye Being Lara by Lola Jaye
What other explanation could there be? With her dark complexion and kinky hair, so unlike her fair-skinned parents, Lara knew she was different. At eight she finally learned the word "adopted." Twenty-two years later, a stranger arrives as she blows out the candles on her thirtieth birthday cake--a woman in a blue-and-black head tie who also claims the title "Lara's mother." Unexpected, dangerously unfamiliar emotions are turning Lara's life upside down, pulling her between Nigeria and London, forcing her to confront the truth about her past.

Food by the Book

This month's Food by the Book selection is Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris.

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris Los Angeles, 1941. Violinist Maddie Kern's life seemed destined to unfold with the predictable elegance of a Bach concerto. Then she fell in love with Lane Moritomo, an ambitious son of Japanese immigrants. Maddie was prepared for disapproval from her family and Lane's family, but when Pearl Harbor is bombed the day after she and Lane elope, the full force of their decision becomes apparent. When her husband is interned at a war relocation camp, Maddie follows, sacrificing her Juilliard ambitions. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything to prove his allegiance to America, at tremendous cost.

RGC's NEW Pinterest Page!
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With more pin boards to come! Let us know if you there is a board of a particular interest or category you would like to see on RGC's Pinterest, and the RGC team will do their best to help you and your reading group. 

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Stock Up On Book Club Favorites

Sourcebooks Book Club Favorites Promo
Where We Belong: ARCs for ARCs
Where We Belong by Emily Griffin Thanks 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 Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.

Book Summary: Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves--a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

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 question or two, please enter for this exciting program. You might be published in a Reading Group Choices' guide!

Neely's Irish Favorites

Neely Kennedy, Literary Director May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy
 This remarkable debut draws from the great themes of literature--famine, war, love, and family--as it introduces four unforgettable characters. Ethan McOwen is an Irish immigrant whose endurance is tested in BrooklyMay the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troyn and the Five Points at the height of its urban destitution; he is among the first to join the famed Irish Brigade and becomes a celebrated war photographer. Marcella, a society girl from Spain, defies her father to become a passionate abolitionist. Mary and Micah are slaves of varying circumstances, who form an instant connection and embark on a tumultuous path to freedom.

On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry

Told in the first person, as a narrative of Lilly Bere's life over seventeen days, "On Canaan's Side" opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. Lilly revisits her past, going back to the moment she was forced to flee Ireland, at the end of the First World War, and continues her tale in America, a world filled with both hope and danger. At once epic and intimate, Lilly's story unfolds as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched.

The Gathering by Anne Enright The Gathering by Anne Enright

The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him--something that happened in their grandmother's house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester. The Gathering is a family epic, clarified through Anne Enright's unblinking eye. This is a novel about love and disappointment, about how fate is written in the body, not in the stars.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy--exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling--does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father's tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

It began with Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, growing up, inseparable, in the village of Knockglen. Benny--the only child, yearning to break free from her adoring parents... Eve--the orphaned offspring of a convent handyman and a rebellious blueblood, abandoned by her mother's wealthy family to be raised by nuns. It widened at Dublin, at the university where Benny and Eve met beautiful Nan Mahlon and Jack Foley, a doctor's handsome son. But heartbreak and betrayal would bring the worlds of Knockglen and Dublin into explosive collision...

The Sea by John Banville The Sea by John Banville

In this luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife. It is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the center of this elegiac, gorgeously written novel--among the finest we have had from this masterful writer.

New On the Bookcase Posts

Laura On the Bookcase Author of the memoir Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq, Jessica Goodell is interviewed by NPR Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Penguin Publishing is offering a special book club discount when you buy five or more of a book club favorite!

Author On the Bookcase: Meg Wolitzer, author of The Uncoupling, tells us about how her new novel came to exist and what initiated the interest in researching "the way female desire changes over time."

RCG's Literary Director, Neely Kennedy, guest blogs for Ladies' Home Journal giving book club tips for the book Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner.

Author On the Bookcase: Kate Furnivall, author of The White Pearl, discusses how she thanks her note-taking skills for all of her novels.


Tips from Your Colleagues

What's worked in the best book clubs? "Box O' Books" to Rosa and The Brown Bag Book Club for offering their book club tips this month!

"The hostess put out a question. We wrote the answer and put it in a fish bowl. The answers were read and we had to guess which member wrote the answer."
Rosa, The Brown Bag Book Club, Moon Township, PA

We enjoy hearing from book club members and sharing their choices with everyone. Please let us know about your group's tips - you may win a book-related prize for every member of your reading group!

More Tips From Your Colleagues 
Book Group of the Month

Congratulations to Pat and The Aqua Aerobics Water Babes Book Club for being selected as the Book Group of the Month for February!

The Aqua Aerobics Water Babes Book Club

"We formed the group nearly two years ago. There are 12 members, and we meet in individual homes. Hopefully, we can keep it small, because our discussions can be more intimate. Our most recent book was The Paris Wife, and the hostess had an authentic French lunch complete with Crepes. The meaning behind our name is that we all belong to a Water Aerobics first we exercise, and then we read."

Pat, The Aqua Aerobics Water Babes Book Club, Chesterfield, MO

Your Own Discussible Choices

Book Dots Congratulations to Mary Kay and The Day Book Club for winning a "Box O' Books" in the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!

"We read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The discussion about prisoner of war camps, human cruelty and survival were among the topics we discussed. Great book. Long, but riveting and well researched."
Mary Kay, The Day Book Club, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

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

Book Clubs for the Blind

Sometimes we don't realize that we take being able to read for granted. Usually book clubs for the blind have to stick to National Library Service's talking book format, but they are always looking for volunteers to read and record books for them. How about seeing if there is a book club for the blind community in your town and offering your and/or your book club's help?

Venetia V. Demson "This is Venetia V. Demson, chief of adaptive services for the D.C Public Library, near some braille magazines at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library. Her department serves disabled patrons and she was a winner of the 2011 national 'I Love My Librarian Award'. (Photo by John Kelly/The Washington Post)"

118 Year Old Book Club

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Aurora Reading Club, founded in 1894, is one of the oldest African American book groups in the country. They even have a group motto--"Lifting As We Climb!" The book group has had many generations of family members and friends join over the years. The great-great-niece of the group's founder is a current member. This group really enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
The Aurora Reading Club
Photo credit: Renee Rosensteel


Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Book Clubs!  


 Read Me, I'm Irish!


This month we are honoring the unique voices of Irish authors. In Neely's Monthly Favorites she has chosen five titles that exemplify modern Irish writing, each promising an engaging group discussion. Liven things up by serving a traditional Irish dish of potato and kale stew, soda bread, or pints of Guinness. Don't forget to view the works in light of the country's centuries of social and political change.


If your group decides to use an Irish inspired book for your meeting, tell us about it and be entered for a chance win a "Box O' Books" of discussible choices!


Discussible Choices 





Chances to Win!

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Where We Belong
(ARCs for ARCS) 
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