Reading Group Choices Newsletter
Winning Discussible Books
The results are in!
May 2014
Greetings!

Reading groups have spoken! Your choices for your favorite DISCUSSIBLE books of the past year are now available! It includes some surprises and some lasting favorites.  Read on for more!

Here, there are other winners as well.  Check out the Pulitzer Prize winners that will delight your group as well as discussible picks from the big Quail Ridge Book Club Bash.  

Plus: Gillian Flynn hosts The Wall Street Journal Book Club, a study on the happiness of library goers, and a new Spotlight Book Club to meet.

The Reading Group Choices 2014 printed guide is now available! Order copies for your book group.
 
In This Issue
Fresh Ideas for Discussion
For Your Teen, Tween, or Group
2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners
Gillian Flynn Hosts WSJ Book Club
NEW "Spotlight" Book Club
Quail Ridge Book Club Bash Selections
Library Trips Are As Good As A Pay Raise
Reading Group Choices 2014 Printed Guide
Award & Survey Winning Titles
Your Favorite Reading Group Titles           

Thanks to you all for your responses to the recent Favorite Discussible Book survey!

Rocketing to the top of the list from last year's tenth place was The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand held on to their places among your top three choices, and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain stayed among the top ten.

Newcomers to the list include Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls, and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.  Making the top ten for the sixth time in the last seven years: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak!

It seems that favorite book club titles make great movies! Take your book club to see Gone Girl, Unbroken, The Book Thief and Wild as they are all on the big screen this year!

See the full list of Favorite Discussible Books.

 

Fresh Ideas for Discussion

 

Want Not by Jonathan Miles   


A highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, Want Not exposes three different worlds in various states of disrepair--a young freegan couple living off the grid in New York City; a once-prominent linguist, sacked at midlife by the dissolution of his marriage and his father's losing battle with Alzheimer's; and a self-made debt-collecting magnate, whose brute talent for squeezing money out of unlikely places has yielded him a royal existence, trophy wife included. Want and desire propel these characters forward toward something, anything, more, until their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, in a shattering ending that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.   



Apart at the Seams by Marie Bostwick

Gayla's twenty-six year marriage seems to being going well until she finds a discarded memo in which Brian admits to a past affair and suggests an amicable divorce.

 

Devastated, Gayla flees to New Bern. She strikes up new friendships with the women of the Cobbled Court circle--particularly Ivy, a single mother confronting fresh starts and past hurts of her own. With all of their support, Gayla just might find the courage to look ahead, decide which fragments of her old life she wants to keep, which are beyond repair--and how to knot the fraying ends until a bold new design reveals itself. . .

 

Enter for a Chance to Win a Free Copy!

 

 

Under a Summer Sky by Nan Parson Rossiter

 

The old Cape Cod house that Laney Coleman shares with her minister husband Noah and their five boys is usually brimming with cheerful chaos. And this summer, life promises to be even busier than usual, because Noah's younger brother, Micah, wants to hold his upcoming wedding on their property. Though thrilled that Micah has found happiness after past heartache, Laney is apprehensive about having her home turned upside down. As the bride and groom's large, close-knit families gather, there will be joyful celebration but also unexpected sorrows and revelations, and a chance to store up a lifetime of memories during the fleeting, precious days of summer...

 

 

 

Secrecy by Rupert Thomson     

 

Zummo, a Sicilian sculptor, is summoned by Cosimo III to join the Medici court. Late seventeenth-century Florence is a hotbed of repression and hypocrisy. The Grand Duke asks Zummo to produce a life-size woman out of wax, an antidote to the French wife who made him suffer so. As Zummo wrestles with this unique commission, he falls under the spell of a woman whose elusiveness mirrors his own, but whose secrets are far more explosive. Lurking in the wings is the poisonous Dominican priest, Stufa, who has it within his power to destroy Zummo's livelihood, if not his life. 

 

Enter for a Chance to Win a Free Copy!

 

 

Clara's Heart by Joseph Olshan

 

Originally published to international acclaim and the basis for the beloved film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Joseph Olshan's prize-winning novel charts the profound, rare friendship between a wise Jamaican woman named Clara Mayfield and David, a twelve-year-old boy adrift in the wake of his parents' broken marriage. As the two grow closer, she brings him into her special world of patois and Jamaican beauty parlors and shadowy alliances, and he comes to realize that in her native country Clara has left behind a mystery, which he grows determined to unveil.

 

 

 

For Your Teen, Tween, or Group

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares 

 

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn't come from a different country. She came from a different time--a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.  Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they're from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she's told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves...

 

2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners

For Fiction: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.


For Biography: Margaret Fuller by Megan Marshall

Whether detailing her front-page New-York Tribune editorials against poor conditions in the city's prisons and mental hospitals, or illuminating her late-in-life hunger for passionate experience--including a secret affair with a young officer in the Roman Guard--Marshall's biography gives the most thorough and compassionate view of an extraordinary woman. No biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.


For NonFiction: Toms River by Dan Fagin

The riveting true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River melds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a fascinating scientific detective story, and an unforgettable cast of characters into a sweeping narrative in the tradition of A Civil Action, The Emperor of All Maladies, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. A gripping human drama rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, Toms River is a tale of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.


Gillian Flynn Hosts WSJ Book Club

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn came in as #2 on the 2013 list of Favorite Reading Group Books... "So maybe it's not so surprising that when Ms. Flynn was invited to host The Wall Street Journal's book club, which brings in prominent authors to analyze their favorite books, she chose Ms. Highsmith's 1957 novel, 'Deep Water,' a thriller about a suburban couple bent on mutual destruction."

Read the full article here.


NEW "Spotlight" Book Club

Our current "Spotlight" Book Club is Red Pages Book Club. Read about their group here.



Become one of our Spotlight Book Clubs!

Spotlight Book Club Email us at info@readinggroupchoices.com with a picture of your book group and description of what makes your reading group unique.

If your book club is chosen, we will send you and your group a box of books to share!

Quail Ridge Book Club Bash Selections

Twice a year, Quail Ridge Books & Music hosts a "Book Club Bash" where several staff members make recommendations of great book club books. There is also an exciting exchange of ideas among the audience members as well as tasty wine and cheese for the evening sessions or coffee and baked goods at the morning ones. Last month's was the biggest ever!



Check the full list of selections from this year's Book Club Bash!

Library Trips Are As Good As A Pay Raise

According to a recent NPR article, "Going to the library gives people the same kick as getting a raise does--a 1,359 ($ 2,282) raise, to be exact--according to a study commissioned by the U.K.'s Department for Culture, Media & Sport. The study, which looks at the ways "cultural engagement" affects overall wellbeing, concluded that a significant association was found between frequent library use and reported wellbeing. The same was true of dancing, swimming and going to plays. The study notes that "causal direction needs to be considered further"--that is, it's hard to tell whether happy people go to the library, or going to the library makes people happy. But either way, the immortal words of Arthur the Aardvark ring true: 'Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!'"

Reading Group Choices 2014 Printed Guide

Print copies of Reading Group Choices 2014 are still available. Here you will find over fifty of the year's best titles, their summaries, critical praise, as well as thoughtful discussion questions for each--titles including Mrs. Poe, The Weight of Small Things and Visit Sunny Chernobyl.  Make your next group get together seamless and relaxing by letting us do the work for you!

Buy a copy for yourself for $6.95, or for book club members for $3.95 each when you order 5 or more!
 
 
Thanks for keeping the joy of reading alive,
 
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Award & Survey Winning Titles  
 
   
Fan favorite The Goldfinch wins the 2014 Pulitzer Prize!  And our readers have chimed in as well, choosing The Light Between Oceans as their number one book club favorite of the past year.  

Don't miss these great titles as well as some of the season's other stars: Pulitzer Prize biography winner Margaret Fuller by Megan Marshall and general nonfiction winner Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin. Likewise, check out our Top 10 Book Group Favorites newsletter feature for inspiring book club suggestions.

Thank you for keeping the joy of reading alive!

  
     

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