Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Read, Relax and Rejuvenate 
Summer Reads
  June 2012 
Greetings!

 

Summer has begun! Time to head for the beach and take a good book with you. In this Newsletter, we have made great suggestions for your summer reading list. 

 

Reading Group Choices is offering three different books in our random drawings this month. Good Luck! 

 

Plus comments from your peers about what books made for the liveliest discussions in 2011 and why; a Twitter book club; Oprah's Book Club 2.0; and the Choose Kind Campaign.        

 

In This Issue
New Discussible Choices
Neely's Summer Favorites
New On the Bookcase Posts
Favorite Discussible Books of the Past Year
Twitter Book Club
Reading Group Choices Meets Carla Hall
Oprah's Book Club 2.0
"Choose Kind" Campaign
Summer Reading Season
New Discussible Choices
 
The Red House by Mark Haddon
 
The Red House by Mark Haddon Richard, a wealthy doctor, invites his estranged sister Angela and her family to join his for a week at a vacation home in the English countryside. Richard has just re-married and inherited a willful stepdaughter in the process; Angela has a feckless husband and three children who sometimes seem alien to her. Told through the alternating viewpoints of each character, The Red House becomes a symphony of long-held grudges, fading dreams and rising hopes, tightly-guarded secrets and illicit desires, all adding up to a portrait of contemporary family life that is bittersweet, comic, and deeply felt.

Skeleton Women by Mingmei Yip

Skeleton Women by Mingmei Yip When Camilla, a young orphan girl in Shanghai, is adopted and brought to live in luxury, she realizes that her "rescue" was part of gang leader Big Brother Wang's scheme. Camilla is trained in singing, dancing, knife-throwing and contortion--all to attract the attention of Wang's enemy, the ruthless Master Lung. Forced to become Master Lung's mistress, Camilla meets two other intriguing women. Both pose risks to Camilla's safety and status. As does Master Lung's eldest son, Jinying, who despises his father's violent lifestyle--but loves Camilla. Only by plotting to eliminate Lung can she make her escape, but at what cost?



Beach Season by Lisa Jackson
 
Beach Season by Lisa Jackson Golden sand, pounding surf, a sense of endless possibility--and four unforgettable stories of love, friendship, and second chances: "The Brass Ring" by Lisa Jackson--a story of a woman who won't let the memories of her and her husband's love vanish; "June's Lace" by Cathy Lamb--a story at rock bottom that's sets out to fix what is broken and find something unexpected; "Second Chance Sweethearts" by Holly Chamberlin--a story of a woman's attempt to get back to a life that she wanted, not the one she has, and her finding it in an unusual place; "Carolina Summer" by Rosalind Noonan--a story of a women in search of happiness and then finding it in a place not on the itinerary.



The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman

The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman Corrie Saunders didn't expect her Army husband, Jarrod, to sacrifice his life taking on an Iraqi suicide bomber. Soon after Jarrod's death, Corrie retreats to the family home her husband inherited. Something about the house suggests maybe she can feel Jarrod's presence. Jarrod's cousin Eli is helping Corrie with the house's restoration, and he knows that his dead cousin is not what Corrie senses. Eli, as a believing man, takes spirits with dark intentions seriously. Can he convince Corrie to let go of Jarrod and find the One she can truly put her faith into?


Neely's Summer Favorites

Neely Kennedy, Literary Director The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Actors aren't the only ones trying to make it in Hollywood....At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, sThe Next Best Thinghe hits the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie's going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother's impending nuptials.


Where We Belong by Emily Giffin 

Where We Belong by Emily Griffin 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. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian's perfectly constructed world and her very identity will be shaken to its core. Although this read is scheduled to be in bookstores in late July, some of your colleagues received Advance Readers' Copies, compliments of Reading Group Choices and St. Martin's Press. See their new book-club-generated comments and conversation starters!


The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller Iris Dupont, a budding journalist whose only confidant is the chain-smoking specter of Edward R. Murrow, feels sure she can break into the ranks of The Devil's Advocate, the Party's underground newspaper, and there uncover the source of its blackmail schemes and vilifying rumors. Some involve the school's new science teacher, who also seems to be investigating the Party. Others point to an albino student who left school abruptly ten years before, never to return. And everything connects to a rare book called Marvelous Species. But the truth comes with its own dangers, and Iris is torn between her allegiances, her reporter's instinct, and her own troubled past.


The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber A heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal. Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast--the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn--ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine. A touching novel of life's grand possibilities and the heart's ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.


The Innocents
by Francesca Segal

The Innocents by Francesca Segal Newly engaged and unthinkingly self-satisfied, twenty-eight-year-old Adam Newman is the prize catch of Temple Fortune, a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London. He has been dating Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen and now, to the relief and happiness of the entire Gilbert family, they are finally to marry. But as the vast machinery of the wedding gathers momentum, Adam feels the first faint touches of claustrophobia, and when Rachel's younger cousin Ellie Schneider moves home from New York, she unsettles Adam more than he'd care to admit. Adam finds himself questioning everything. What might he be missing by staying close to home?

New On the Bookcase Posts

Laura On the Bookcase Author On the Bookcase: Patricia McArdle, author of Farishta, explains why she wrote her novel as well as why she thinks it is it important.

Finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards: Hystera by Leora Skolkin-Smith.

Ladies' Home Journal Guest Blog Article by RGC's Neely Kennedy: Expectations and Next to Love.

Interview with author Ken Ballen; discussing his research involving in new book Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals.

 

Favorite Discussible Books of the Past Year

Book DotsCongratulations to Laura and Between the Lines, Elizabeth and Reading Between the Whines, and Gayle and the Twoghies for each winning a "Box O' Books!" In our survey this year, we asked what book produced the liveliest discussion for your book club. We have picked a few comments to share with you!

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

"There was SO much to discuss with this book in addition to the obvious Tiffany glass. We learned about women AND New York City at the turn of the 20th century. We were fascinated with the industrial revolution and something as simple as a bicycle giving  women "freedom". Finding information on Tiffany glass itself was easy--there are a lot of books and sites about it--and the fact that if Clara had been married, and therefore unable to work for Tiffany's, we may never had HAD Tiffany lamps! We also had a telephone chat with the author, and that was a lot of fun. She was very chatty! We also had spectacular refreshments--such as stained glass cookies, and a 'mosaic' made of chopped peppers on a veggie pizza."
Laura, Between the Lines, Belmont, MI


Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

"The book is based on the author's family and their immigration to the U.S. We discussed our own families' immigration, along with family secrets and what we would do for our children. We all loved the book and were inspired to look more closely at our genealogy."
Elizabeth, Reading Between the Whines, Blair, NE


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

"One of our members has a country house near the family home of Henrietta. We were able to go there and see Clover, and were even able to find the family gravesite. In addition to this field trip, we had a wonderful discussion about medical science and the sadness of this story."
Gayle, Twoghies, Henrico, VA


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!
 
Twitter Book Club

Twitter Book Club
Illustration by O.O.P.S.
Think you book group has difficultly deciding upon a book for next month's meeting? The New York Times article "Books with 140 characters" highlights a book group that has over 64,000 members living all over the world. Using only Twitter, members suggest, vote, and discuss books each month. @1book140 has many participants reading one book at the same time. One problem though...your thoughts better be kept under 140 characters! Check us out on Twitter too!

Reading Group Choices Meets Carla Hall

Carla HallReading Group Choices attended this year's BookExpo America and RGC's Laura Vianna met Carla Hall, a contestant on Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars as the Fan Favorite! She was there for a signing of her upcoming cookbook Cooking with Love: Comfort Food that Hugs You.

Carla Hall originally won fans' hearts on season five of Bravo's Top Chef with her warmth, enthusiasm, and delicious food, and she went on to beat out contestants from all seven seasons to be named Fan Favorite of the 2011 All-Stars season. In 2011, Carla began hosting ABC's The Chew and is now a familiar face to daytime television viewers across the country. Carla's specialty in the kitchen is enhancing great tastes while keeping preparation easy and getting reliable, accurate results. Carla believes that the only way to make transformative food is to cook it from the heart aCooking With Love by Carla Hallnd in the spirit of joy and fun that she brings to the kitchen. Cooking with Love tells how, with tempting and inspiring recipes for all sorts of sumptuous dishes that "show the love." Carla also teaches and shares culinary basics while providing fun tips and funny and poignant tales of her personal experiences cooking with family, friends, and fellow chefs.

 
Oprah's Book Club 2.0

According to Shelf Awareness, Oprah is going to resurrect her book club, which she shut down in 2010 as she prepared to end her show and shift to OWN, her cable network. The first pick of Oprah's Book Club 2.0 is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, about the author's hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, published earlier this year."

Oprah's Book Club 2.0 

 

"Choose Kind" Campaign

Shelf Awareness also reports that Random House Children's Books just launched Choose Kind, a campaign to curtail the nationwide rise in bullying by using the antidote of everyday acts of kindness.

Wonder by R.J. PalacioChip Gibson, president and publisher of the Random House division, said the initiative was inspired by Wonder, the debut novel by R.J. Palacio. The hero at its center, fifth-grader Auggie Pullman, is attending school for the first time. His cranial and facial abnormalities force his fellow students and teachers to come face to face with themselves.

Maybe Mother-Daughter book clubs will choose the book for their next discussion!


 

 
Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,
 

 
Summer Reading Season 
 

Beach Reading

 

It's time to take a deep breath and relax. The summer reading season is here! Novels that entertain take center stage as we choose a book for a day at the beach, the pool, or even a front porch swing.

 

 

Summer's longer hours also give us more time to contemplate; stories of love, family, friendship and the elements of human nature that tie us all together make for great vacation reads. We hope that you discover a new author or title among our suggested list to make your sunny days even brighter. Enjoy!"

 

   

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Chances to Win!
 
 
Neely's Summer 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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