Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Selections and Decisions 
Book Club Planning
  August 2012 

Starting to think about what book or books you are going to pick for your book club? In this Newsletter, we give you a preview of some upcoming books that may help you make a decision--and impress your friends. 


Reading Group Choices' Neely Kennedy offers topics and themes for a lively discussion of Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago, Ladies' Home Journal pick


Plus a tribute to Maeve Binchy, J.K. Rowling launches an online Harry Potter book club, and a Bathing Suit Book Club! 


In This Issue
Planning Your Book Club Selections
Ladies' Home Journal Book Club
Your Own Discussible Choices.
Tips from Your Colleagues
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Book Club
Author Tribute: Maeve Binchy
Bathing Suits and Books
Mapping Out Book Club Picks
Planning Your Book Club Selections
As September approaches, many book clubs are preparing their annual reading lists.  Here at Reading Group Choices, we have been busy reviewing some wonderful upcoming releases and would like to suggest a few great reads that you may wish to discover as well.

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. Some of your colleagues received Advance Readers' Copies, compliments of Reading Group Choices and St. Martin's Press. See their book-club-generated comments and conversation starters!

The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer. With her trademark wit and charm, Julia Stuart introduces us to an outstanding cast of lovable oddballs, from the palace maze-keeper to the unconventional Lady Beatrice, as she guides us through the many delightful twists and turns in this fun and quirky murder mystery.

Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel
Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel Sam Elling meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith. Then Meredith's grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. This entertaining novel delivers a charming and bittersweet romance as well as a lump in the throat exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life (both real and computer simulated).

A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb

A Different Kind of Normal by Cathy Lamb Jaden Bruxelle knows that life is precious. And she sees it in Tate, the boy she has raised as her son ever since her sister gave him up at birth. Tate was born with an abnormally large head--something Jaden's mother blames on a family curse. Jaden dismisses that as nonsense, just as she ignores the legends about witches and magic in the family. Jaden knows she needs to let go of Tate, of her fears and anger, and of the responsibilities she uses as a shield. And through a series of unexpected events and revelations, she's about to learn how.

The Things I Do For You by Mary Carter

The Things I Do For You by Mary Carter Bailey Jordan follows her husband, Brad, on every adventure--opening a sweater store in Seattle, a café in Colorado, a surf shop in Santa Monica. Each time, she's picked up the pieces when things fell apart. But now, it's her turn, until a car crash leaves Brad in a coma and changes their lives forever. Awakening after his near-death experience, Brad has a new mission. Grateful to have Brad alive, Bailey tries to make his dream her own. And then Bailey discovers a secret in Brad's past that compels her to question her husband, her marriage, and how far she'll go to keep them both...

The Vanishing Act
by Mette Jakobsen

Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen On a small snow-covered island--so tiny that it can't be found on any map--lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou's mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned. One morning Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father decides to lay him in the room that once belonged to her mother. Can her mother's disappearance be explained by the boy?

The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis 

Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis This brilliant novel is an epic tale exploring the backdrop of the most controversial work of the Italian Renaissance, The Prince. Here, Niccolo Machiavelli, the great "scientist" of human behaviour becomes, in effect, the first criminal profiler, while his contemporary and sometime colleague, the erratic genius Leonardo da Vinci, brings his observational powers to the increasingly desperate hunt for a brilliant, terrifying serial murderer. Their foil and partner is the exquisite Damiata, scholar and courtesan. All three know their quarry is someone who holds enormous power, both to tear Italy apart, and destroy each of their most beloved dreams.

Hemingway's Girl by Robuck

Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway's second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.

Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo

Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice. But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy.

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship. Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony's short life. Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband's long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again.

Ladies' Home Journal Book Club

Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santigo In the Ladies' Home Journal August book club pick, Conquistadora, Esmeralda Santiago, tells the historical-fiction epic, set in the mid-19th century, of one woman's unwavering ambition. Ana Larragoity Cubillas Nieves, inspired by her brazen explorer ancestors who once sailed with Columbus in discovery of the New World, hatches a plan to persuade her future husband and twin brother to move from Spain and purchase a sugar plantation in Puerto Rico. In search of her own pioneer adventure and legacy, she is willing to sacrifice at any cost.LHJ Book Club


Read "Ana's Legacy: Abuse of Power, a Book Club Discussion" by Neely Kennedy for discussible topics and themes!  


Your Own Discussible Choices

Book Dots Congratulations to Amy and the Senior Adult Afternoon Book Discussion group for winning the random drawing for this month's Discussible Book Choice!

"We enjoyed reading the book Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy. Even though there were A LOT of characters, we enjoyed the theme of a community being a family. Everyone could relate to at least one character in the book. A great read!"
--Amy, Senior Adult Afternoon Book Discussion, Proctorville, 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


Tips from Your Colleagues

Tips Congratulations to Shirley and the Bon Air Book Club for providing this month's winning Book Group Tip!

"One of our members always selects pictures from magazines to represent the characters of the book on which she is leading the discussion. This makes it interesting to see how close to what we all felt the character may have looked like. It is always a lively discussion when she is our leader."
--Shirley, Bon Air Book Club, North Chesterfield, VA

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 "Box 'O Books" for your reading group!

Lots More Tips


J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Book Club

The magical world of Harry Potter now has a book club! Scholastic, J.K. Rowlings publisher, is launching a website that will act as an online book club for kids as well as provide great resources to parents and teachers. Scholastic hopes that the site will introduce the Harry Potter series to a new group of young readers. J.K. Rowling herself will be able to interact with her fans via the page in a live webcast in October.

Harry Potter Book Club

Author Tribute: Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy According to 5NBCChicago, one of Ireland's most popular authors, Maeve Binchy, passed away this month at 72 years old. Binchy was a New York Times bestseller, in Oprah's Book Club, and the author of one of "Your Own Discussible Choices" this month. (Please see "Your Own Discussible Choices" article above.) Including Circle of Friends, Heart and Soul, and Minding Frankie, Binchy's stories have touched many readers,  especially book clubs. She will be missed, but her stories will live on through us.
Bathing Suits and Books!

In this summer heat, a bathing suit and relaxing with a good book seem to be the only cool relief. But why not have some fun with the two. Glamour magazine features a blog that matches bathing suit with beach reads! The examples they offer are pretty clever, including book club favorites like Life of Pi by Yann Martel and The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King.

Beekeeper Apprentice Suit
Life of Pi Suit
Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,

Mapping Out Book Club Picks  

Book Club Meeting


As September approaches, many book clubs are preparing their annual reading lists.  Here at Reading Group Choices, we have been busy reviewing some wonderful upcoming releases and would like to suggest a few great reads that you may wish to discover as well.  You will find a moving portrait of motherhood and friendship, an intriguing mystery,  a modern fairy tale, a novel of second chances, the little known story of Hemingway's forbidden love, and much more  A little something for everyone, including six hardcover releases and four new paperback originals.  We hope that you are looking forward to the fall season of reading as much as we are!





Chances to Win!
Ladies' Home Journal
Book Club


See what Ladies' Home Journal's Book Club and Reading Group Choices' Neely Kennedy are discussing!

Ladies' Home Journal Side Bar


Fresh Ideas for Discussion







More About Reading Group Choices 




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