Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Mother-Daughter Book Clubs 
Top 10 Book Club Favorite Discussibles 
  May 2012 
Greetings!

 

In honor of Mother's Day, this month's newsletter will give you suggestions for a Mother-Daughter book club!

 

The 2012 Reading Group Choices Survey results are in! See what books you and your colleagues said generated the best discussions in the past year. Thanks for all of your input. Your comments help us help you!

 

Plus a guide for starting and maintaining a Mother-Daughter book club, the 2011 New Vision Award, new blog posts, lots of tips and ideas from book clubs, and Discussible Choices winners.   

 

In This Issue
Favorite Discussible Books of the Past Year
New Discussible Choices
Mother's Day Featured Book Selection
Book by Book (Guide to Mother-Daughter Book Clubs)
Neely's Mother-Daugher Favorites
Tips from Your Colleagues
New On the Bookcase Posts
Your Own Discussible Choices
2011 New Visions Award
Mother-Daugher Book Clubs
Favorite Discussible Books of the Past Year

The results are in! Thanks to the thousands of you who let us know what were the most discussible books of the past year in your book groups.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett For an unprecedented third year in a row, The Help by Kathryn Stockett won the #1 position among book groups! "People couldn't wait for a turn to talk," said one group member. "So many topics and cultures to discuss and so historical too," said another. Members of many groups had personal experiences that related to the events in the book - "We all remember the Civil Rights movement, and all had different stories regarding life in the 60's," was a theme we heard over and over.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese rounded out the #2 spot for a second year in a row. The book created lots of lively discussions, because it "was set in a different culture", had "characters people identified strongly with" and "moral values and decisions [that] shaped the characters actions." According to one book group member, the book "covered so many topics: love, family, history, medicine, loss, politics, religion, renewal - very rich and moving. Exotic location too."

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Jumping from the #8 spot last year to #3 this year was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. One book group member summed it up as follows: "There was something about Henrietta's life that called out to every person in the group, whether it pertained to the medical aspects or the racial unfairness or the family dynamics - all that had to do with Henrietta seemed to speak to the many people (we had 14; we usually have 6) who participated that day."

Room by Emma Donoghue A number of new entrants graced this year's list, among them Room by Emma Donoghue (#4), Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (#7), The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (#8), and - are you ready - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (#10)! "So many 'what would I do' questions!" said one group of Room. Another related, "So many Moms in our group.....the issues of what is a good Mom, how to parent...were engaging." One group found that The Paris Wife generated "many differences of opinion which always makes for a lively discussion."

It is always fascinating to see which books you choose as the most discussible each year. See the full list of this year's top ten discussibles--and those from past years as well!
 
New Discussible Choices
 
Living Single by Holly Chamberlain
 
Living Single by Lliane Moriarty At twenty, singlehood is a lifestyle choice. At thirty-two, it starts to feel like an affliction. Erin Weston has a rewarding PR career, loyal friends, and a wonderful Boston condo. But in between weekend brunches, farmers' market forays, and dinners in Cambridge and the South End, Erin can't shake the sense that something's missing. The traditional ideal-husband, house, clothing-coordinated children once seemed too obvious, and pride in her accomplishments doesn't keep the loneliness at bay. Now, ready to venture into uncharted territory, Erin is going to claim the life she thinks she wants. And in the process, she might just figure out exactly what and who she really needs...



Ties That Bind by Marie Bostwick
 
Ties That Bind by Marie Bostwick Margot Matthews' friend, Abigail, is trying to match-make even though Margot has all but given up on romance; she just never thought she'd still be single on her fortieth birthday. It's a shock to the entire town when Phillip A. Clarkson, the new pastor turns out to be Philippa, a woman. Yet despite a rocky start, Philippa begins to settle in and forges a fast friendship with Margot. When tragedy threatens to tear Margot's family apart, that bond and the help of her quilting sisterhood will prove a saving grace.


Mother's Day Featured Book Selection

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller braids a multilayered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy-Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the boiled cabbage grimness of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil-war-torn Africa of her own childhood. At its heart, this is the story of Fuller's mother, Nicola. Born on the Scottish Isle of Skye and raised in Kenya, Nicola holds dear the kinds of values most likely to get you hurt or killed in Africa: loyalty to blood, passion for land, and a holy belief in the restorative power of all animals. Fuller interviewed her mother at length and has captured her inimitable voice with remarkable precision. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness is as funny, terrifying, exotic, and unselfconscious as Nicola herself.

This selection is a beautiful story of a mother and daughter and their family. This memoir would be a great pick for a Mother-Daughter book club or a Mother's Day themed book club meeting!

Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs

Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs by Cindy Hudson Hudson offers suggestions on book topics, club guidelines, and how to keep the club going as daughters grow older. How big should the club be? Whom should we invite? How often should we meet? How do we make sure we actually read the books? Hudson has all the answers. With recommended book lists (divided by four age groups), online resources, and suggested recipes for book-club treats, Book by Book is a great resource for helping moms and daughters form new memories and traditions.

"What a fabulous book! Inspiring and informative, Hudson's warm, engaging guide is like having your best friend walk you through the ins and outs of the mother-daughter book club process. If you're in a mother-daughter book club or are looking to start one, this indispensable tool deserves a spot on your shelf. "--Heather Vogel Frederick, author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club novels for tweens

Neely's Mother-Daughter Favorites

Neely Kennedy, Literary Director Mothers and Daughters by June Cotner

Mothers and Daughters
reveals the full breadth and depth of the mother-daughter bond as only poetry can. From pregnancy to toddlerhood, adolescence to leaving home, grandmotherhood and 
Mothers and Daughter by June Coter
beyond, and every passage in between, this collection captures the voices of mothers and daughters as they write about the most moving moments of their times together. The perfect gift for mother or daughter, this is a book that women will want to revisit and share for years to come. 



Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous. But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life. 

Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes by Louis Sachar Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment--and redemption.

Book of Nonsense by David Michael Slater

Book of Nonsense by David Michael SlaterThe book is ancient, ravaged and full of utter nonsense. But the moment it enters Daphna and Dexter's lives, bizarre things begin to happen. Why is their father, who found the book, suddenly so distant? Is the old man who took it from him some kind of hypnotist? Why is a giant, red-eyed boy menacing them? And what does their thirteenth birthday have to do with all this? Daphna and Dexter can't stand each other, but they'll have to work together to learn the truth about the Book of Nonsense--before their lives unravel completely.

The Next Full Moon by Carolyn Turgeon

The Next Full Moon by Carolyn Turgeon This thoroughly compelling, gorgeously told tale begins as the weather turns warm enough to swim in the local lake. Ava's crush, Jeff, is most definitely taking notice of her. Everything is going beautifully...until Ava starts to grow feathers--all over her shoulders, arms, and back. Is she some kind of freak? Or something truly special? Only Ava's parents know her mysterious secret. But she is about to discover the truth, and herself.

Tips from Your Colleagues

What's worked in the best book clubs? "Box O' Books" to Mary and the The Book Bites for winning the random drawing for book club tips!

"Our best discussions are over historical fiction & fictionalized biography. Our group spans a wide range of ages, nationalities & backgrounds and we love to compare our own lives to the 'book people'"
Mary, The Book Bites, Clinton, NJ
 
We enjoy hearing from book club members and sharing their ideas 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

 

New On the Bookcase Posts

Laura On the Bookcase Ladies' Home Journal guest blog article by RGC's Neely Kennedy: "The Language of Flowers and Nature vs. Nurture"

Author On the Bookcase: Jennifer Miller, author of The Year of the Gadfly tells us how her novel was inspired by the ancient tradition of Sortes Vergilianae.

View pictures of author Alexandra Fuller's family and return trip to Africa associated with her new memoir Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

Lisa Napoli, author of Radio Shangri-La, promotes building libraries in Bhutan through the READGlobal organization.

 

Your Own Discussible Choices

Book Dots Congratulations to Lynn and Sandy's Couples for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice! Box O' Books coming your way!

"We read at least one short story collection a year.  Among those that we've enjoyed the most are: The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr; Burning Bright by Ron Rash; Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout; The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe; Runaway by Alice Munro; The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri; Ship Fever, and Servants of the Map by Andrea Barrett; and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (a sort of hybrid of short stories posing as a novel?).  Many groups are reluctant to take on short stories because they prefer the experience of longer immersion in a novel, but we've found there to be great rewards in reading short stories, which are more like reading poetry in their immediacy and impact.  Most story collections have a common theme throughout that is expressed differently or in different styles in the individual stories, and this can sometimes help with discussion and give the stories great cumulative power. "
Lynn, Sandy's Couples, Seattle, WA

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

2011 New Visions Award

Little Princes by Conor Grennan "The Quality Paperback Book Club and William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, announced the winner of the 2011 New Visions award today. The award has been given to Conor Grennan for his book Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal.

"'It's never easy to break through the noise of popular culture and we're thrilled to be able to call attention to writers who are breaking down barriers and opening up a thoughtful dialogue with readers through their writing,' said Michael Connor, Senior Editor, the Quality Paperback Book Club.

"Winner Conor Grennan said, 'I was thrilled to learn that Little Princes has been awarded the 2011 New Visions award. We strive to spread the story of the children of Nepal far and wide, and QPB just made our job a little easier with this recognition.'"

 
 
Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,
 

 
Mother-Daughter Book Clubs  
 

 

Mother-Daughter Book Clubs

 

Celebrate Mother's Day this year by organizing a Mother-Daughter book club meeting--it's a great way to spend time with your daughter while encouraging her to read. Through reading and discussing a great book, you may gain new insight into her thoughts, feelings, and opinions; a character's experiences and choices open the door to discussing both lighthearted and serious subjects. Another bonus: it's a great way to meet and mingle with your daughter's friends and their mothers. For the civic-minded duo, you can even make your meeting a way to help others. Consider adding a book drive or event such as reading to assisted living residents. Whatever you choose, enjoy these special moments together as you and your daughter learn more about both literature and one another.

 

   

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Chances to Win!
 
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Living Single

Ties That Bind

     
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Neely's Mother-Daughter Favorites 

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Top 10 Favorites of 2011

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Choices
 
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Fresh Ideas for Discussion

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New Blog Posts
More About Reading Group Choices 

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