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September 2015

ReadingGroupGuides.com Newsletter September 2015


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Back to the Books!

Last week was one of the three weeks of the year where we do not update our websites. It gives both me and Tom, our Editorial Director, a chance to slip away on vacation. I spent most of the week in the shade of a tree poolside, reading. That is when I was not in the pool floating and reading. The lovely part of a staycation like this is that there is no packing, and I can wander through my book piles and select titles on a whim, instead of pre-thinking what I would like to read. Lovely!

Among my reading were more than a dozen Young Adult (YA) fiction titles. Though I often love these books, my day-to-day reading skews more adult, so this is my idea of perfect vacation reading. I found myself thinking of how these books could make for wonderful book group discussions as they are issue-oriented, or could be a culled group of suggestions for those of you who want to explore the world of YA, but are unsure of what to read. I share more about many of them later in this opening letter.

I also like fiction that transports me to another place to think about an issue. The events in Europe --- with people seeking refuge from the Middle East --- had me thinking about WHEN THE MOON IS LOW by Nadia Hashimi, which was a recent Bookreporter.com Bets On selection. It follows a family as they flee their homeland and head toward freedom. While I have seen many interviewed on television sharing their stories, Nadia’s characters sprang to mind as I watched the news. Are there works of fiction that tackle issues and/or global themes that have informed you as you read them? Would love to hear what they are. Shoot me a note at Carol@bookreporter.com.

I have two events to get on your radar if you are in the New York area:

First, we want to share that once again ReadingGroupGuides.com is partnering with the Hachette Book Group to bring you Hachette’s Book Club Brunch: A Day for Readers on Saturday, October 17th from 10am to 2:30pm. Admission is $45 and includes all panels detailed below, brunch and a tote bag with selected free books! This year the event will be held at the publisher’s offices, a nice treat! Tickets are going fast, so act now!

Maria Semple, bestselling author of WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, will be a featured speaker. The Narrative Nonfiction panel will feature: Elizabeth Alexander (THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD), Kate Mulgrew (BORN WITH TEETH) and Stefany Shaheen (ELLE & COACH). The Literary Fiction panel will feature: Susan Jane Gilman (THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD STREET), N.K. Jemisin (THE FIFTH SEASON), Chigozie Obioma (THE FISHERMEN) and Jennifer E. Smith (HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN).

The day of events closes with a special book club discussion with Elizabeth Poliner, author of the forthcoming novel, AS CLOSE TO US AS BREATHING, which will be on sale on March 15, 2016. All attendees will receive an advance copy of the novel to read before the event. Signup is here. I read AS CLOSE TO US AS BREATHING last week and loved how the story unfolded. Looking forward to hearing what other readers think about it.

Second, the Morristown Book Festival will be held in Morristown, NJ the evening of Friday, October 2nd and all day Saturday, October 3rd. Last year was the inaugural event, and it was excellent. For those in New Jersey, it’s a nice way to attend a book event without tolls and lots of hours of commuting! I am happy to share that I will be interviewing Dana Goldstein about THE TEACHER WARS: A History of America's Most Embattled Profession on Saturday afternoon. Other authors who will be there include Jami Attenberg, Emily St. John Mandel, Christopher Scotton, Gail Sheehy and Kimberly McCreight. And they have panels for teens and kids, too! Click here for more info.

Next weekend (September 19th and 20th) is the Brooklyn Book Festival. Last weekend was the National Book Festival as well as the Decatur Book Festival. By the way, we have a list of Book Festivals around the country that you may want to explore, alone or with your book group. Note that the Miami Book Fair, which will be held in November, has some special opportunities for book groups that you can read about here.

We have three exciting contests for you this month! The first is for #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory’s THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN. Fans of historical fiction will need no convincing; Gregory is a master of her genre. I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon where Philippa talked about her love of the Tudors and how she dives into her research; royals left so few details about themselves, especially anything that could be used as evidence of wrongdoing against them, or interpreted as such, so she finds herself pouring over materials to find any clues of their lives and personalities. Her latest novel brings to life Kateryn Parr –-- King Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife --- a brilliant scholar and deeply religious woman who would outlive her husband and triumph over his domestic reign of terror. We’re giving five readers the chance to win a copy of the book. Click here to enter by Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET. Click here for the review on Bookreporter.com, and here to read a Q&A with the author.

Our next contest is for Jesse Kornbluth’s debut novel, MARRIED SEX: A Love Story. Jesse co-founded The Book Report Network with me 19 years ago, and he now runs his own site, HeadButler.com. MARRIED SEX is the story of David Greenfield, who --- as a divorce lawyer for Manhattan’s elite --- is privy to the intimate, dirty details of failed marriages. He knows he’s lucky to be married to Blair, who he loves more today than he did when they tied the knot. So when seductive photographer Jean Coin asks David to be her lover for six weeks, David reasons that “it’s not cheating if your wife’s there,” and invites Blair to join. What harm could come of fulfilling his longtime sexual fantasy? We’re giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies, PLUS an additional 25 readers will get single copies. Click here to enter by Monday, September 28th at noon ET. You can also read a review on Bookreporter.com here, and click here for a frank and rather hilarious Q&A with Jesse.

Our prize book in September’s “What’s Your Book Group Reading This Month?” contest is MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, the first book in acclaimed Italian author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. It’s the story of Elena and Lila, two girls growing up on the tough streets of Naples in the 1950s, who learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, and as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. The series has gained quite a following since MY BRILLIANT FRIEND pubbed in 2011, partly because of Ferrante’s masterful and honest depiction of female friendship, and partly because the mystery of the author’s identity persists! As usual, we’re giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies of the book; click here to enter and let us know what your group is reading this month for your chance to win. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET. You can also click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com. By the way, the fourth and final book in this series, THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, was just published, bringing what we are calling “Ferrante Fever” to an all-time high. The books have been quite a hit in our office. You can read our review here.

We are featuring FOUR guides this month. The first is for CIRCLING THE SUN, bestselling author Paula McLain’s follow-up to her smash hit THE PARIS WIFE. Set in colonial Kenya in the 1920s, it’s the fictionalized account of the very real Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator with a fierce and fearless heart, who finds herself in a passionate love triangle with Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of OUT OF AFRICA. I loved, loved this book when I read an early copy back in the dead of winter; it was a Bets On choice in August, and you can read my thoughts about it here. You can also click here for the review on Bookreporter.com, and here for a Q&A with the author. Click here for the featured guide. Like pairing books when you have a discussion? Consider WEST WITH THE NIGHT by Beryl Markham, which was part of Paula’s inspiration. Rebecca, our intrepid intern, spent an evening celebrating the launch of Paula’s book with a Red Door spa visit. You can read more about that here.

We’re also featuring the guide for THE REPUBLIC OF IMAGINATION, #1 New York Times bestselling author Azar Nafisi’s follow-up to her beloved READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN. In it, Nafisi takes her cue from a challenge thrown to her in Seattle, where a skeptical reader told her that Americans don’t care about books the way they did back in Iran. Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite American novels, Nafisi invites us to join her as citizens of her “Republic of Imagination,” a country where the villains are conformity and orthodoxy and the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream. Click here for the featured guide. Click here for the review on Bookreporter.com; we also have the guide for READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN, which you can find here. Wondering how many of you read that; I know I did!

Next, we’re featuring the guide for BETRAYED, the second book in bestselling author Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & DiNunzio series. When Judy Carrier begins an investigation into the murder of Iris, the housekeeper and best friend of Judy's beloved Aunt Barb, she discovers a shocking truth that confounds her expectations and leads her in a completely different direction. Before she knows it, she finds herself plunged into a shadowy world of people who are so desperate that they cannot go to the police. Judy finds strength within herself to try to get justice for Iris and her aunt --- but it comes at a terrible price. Click here for the featured guide and here for the review on Bookreporter.com. By the way, Lisa loves book groups. In early October, she is hosting her 10th Annual Big Book Club Party at her home to celebrate readers who entered a contest. Have any of our readers ever attended one of these events? If so, let me know. You can read more about her 2013 party here; they sound like they are such fun!

Our fourth and final featured guide this month is for Ellen Herrick’s mesmerizing debut, THE SPARROW SISTERS. Patience Sparrow is the town healer, and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point, he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when her herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear --- and its 300-year-old history resurfaces as a modern-day witch-hunt threatens. It’s getting comparisons to PRACTICAL MAGIC, SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT and THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK. Click here for the featured guide.

Over the summer, I asked Bookreporter.com readers for their thoughts about coloring books, and the emails I received back were wildly enthusiastic! It was such fun, so I compiled many of the comments, which you can read here. Inspired, Tom, along with our intern Isabel, created one of our signature bookshelves, "20 Coloring Books for Adults: Inky Adventures, Stress Relievers, Mandalas and More," which features 20 coloring books to delight you. But what to color with? Have no fear, Nicole from our staff compiled a list of colorful pens, crayons, pencils --- and even an eraser --- which you can use to color your pages.

I confess that I covet the 150-pencil collection...maybe they even have turquoise and periwinkle blue. I did buy the 72-pencil collection for our staff picnic last week, where we colored in between swimming and eating. People were very careful with the turquoise pencil. Hmmmm…I was so busy playing hostess that I did not even have a chance to look for periwinkle blue! Wonder if those in your book group want an ancillary Coloring Group!

Make sure to check out our newest feature on Bookreporter.com, “Sounding Off on Audio.” We like to think of it as “Word of Mouth” for audiobooks: Let us know what audiobooks you’ve listened to, along with comments about both the audio performance and the content of the story, and a rating of 1 to 5 stars. Three winners will be randomly chosen to win the digital version or a CD of both MAKE ME: A Jack Reacher Novel written by Lee Child and read by Dick Hill, and the aforementioned THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN written by Philippa Gregory and read by Bianca Amato. The deadline for the current contest period is next Friday, September 18th at noon ET. I am so impressed by the feedback from our audiobook listeners. They are articulate and astute. I am learning from them.

Although you couldn’t tell from the weather we’ve been having, we’re hot on the heels of fall, which means movies are getting serious as we move toward Oscar season. At the beginning of the summer, we rounded up the 20 books-to-film adaptations we’re most looking forward to; in our latest poll, we want to know which Books on Screen adaptations you’re excited about. Click here to let us know by Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET.

As promised, here are some YA standouts that I think would make for great discussion. First up, a few with topical themes: DREAM THINGS TRUE by Marie Marquardt (immigration), WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler (sexual assault) and HOW IT WENT DOWN by Kekla Magoon (racial shootings). ONE by Sarah Crossan looks at the lives of girls who are Siamese twins, DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy explores a young woman who is overweight with a mom who runs an annual beauty pageant, and FUTURE PERFECT by Jen Larsen looks at an overweight girl whose grandmother, a doctor, sets weight loss goals with rewards, including a scholarship to Harvard.

IF YOU'RE LUCKY by Yvonne Prinz is the story of a young girl whose brother Lucky died surfing in Australia. Georgia thinks there is something hazy about this story, but she suffers from mental illness and people are not taking her seriously. A star middle-grade title is YARD WAR by Taylor Kitchings, which is set in Mississippi in 1964 and looks at civil rights. Wonderful reading for you and a good crop of titles to share with the younger folks in your life. I highly recommend them.

Read on for lots more…

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

P.S. For those of you who are doing online shopping for books, if you use the store links below, ReadingGroupGuides.com gets a small affiliate fee on your purchases. We would appreciate your considering this!

 

Special Contest: Win a Copy of THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory

We are celebrating the release of THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN --- #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory's riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name --- by giving away five copies of the book. To enter, please fill out this form by Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET.

THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
By the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series “The White Queen,” a riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name.

Why would a woman marry a serial killer?

Because she cannot refuse…

Kateryn Parr, a 30-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives --- King Henry VIII --- commands her to marry him.

Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: The previous queen lasted 16 months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride, and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court and rules the kingdom as Regent.

But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy --- the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant….

From an author who has described all of Henry’s queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power and education at the court of a medieval killer.

-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
-Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

 

Click here to enter the contest.

 
Special Contest: Win Copies of MARRIED SEX by Jesse Kornbluth for Your Group

We are celebrating the release of debut author Jesse Kornbluth's MARRIED SEX --- a sharply observed erotic tale about the challenges of modern marriage --- by giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies of the book. We're also giving away 25 single copies. We ask that all winners be available to submit comments on the book by the selected deadline. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, September 28th at noon ET.

MARRIED SEX: A Love Story by Jesse Kornbluth (Fiction)
When a husband convinces his wife to join him in a tryst with another woman, there are unintended consequences in this sharply observed erotic tale about the challenges of modern marriage.

As a divorce lawyer for Manhattan’s elite, David Greenfield is privy to the intimate, dirty details of failed marriages. He knows he’s lucky to be married to Blair --- a Barnard dean and the mother of their college-age daughter, she is a woman he loves more today than he did when they tied the knot.

Then seductive photographer Jean Coin asks David to be her lover for six weeks, until she leaves for Timbuktu. Tempted, David reasons that “it’s not cheating if your wife’s there.” A one-night threesome would relieve the pressure of monogamy without wrecking their marriage. What harm could come of fulfilling his longtime sexual fantasy?

-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
-Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

 

Click here to enter the contest.

 
"What's Your Book Group Reading This Month?": Win 12 Copies of MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante

Each month, we ask book groups to share the titles they are reading that month and rate them. From all entries, three winners will be selected, and each will win 12 copies of that month’s prize book for their group. Note: To be eligible to win, let us know the title of the book that YOUR book group is CURRENTLY reading, NOT the title we are giving away.

This month's prize book is MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, the first book in Elena Ferrante's acclaimed Neapolitan series. It's the ravishing story of Elena and Lila, two girls who learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not-always perfect shelter from hardship. To enter, please fill out the form on this page by Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET.

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante (Fiction)
From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, comes this ravishing and generous-hearted novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship. Ferrante has created a memorable portrait of two women, but MY BRILLIANT FRIEND is also the story of a nation. Through the lives of Elena and Lila, Ferrante gives her readers the story of
 a neighborhood, a city, and a country undergoing momentous change.

With this stylishly plotted novel, the first in a series dubbed the “Neapolitan Novels,” Elena Ferrante proves herself to be one of Italy’s greatest storytellers. The four-book series wraps with the recent release of THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, so we are excited to give you a chance to step back and read the first one!

-Click here for the reading group guide.
-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.

 

Click here to enter the contest.

 
Featured Guide: CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain

CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain (Historical Fiction)
Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller THE PARIS WIFE, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. CIRCLING THE SUN brings to life a fearless and captivating woman --- Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of the classic memoir OUT OF AFRICA.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-20th-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
-Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

 

Click here for the featured guide.

 
Featured Guide: THE REPUBLIC OF IMAGINATION by Azar Nafisi
THE REPUBLIC OF IMAGINATION: America in Three Books by Azar Nafisi (Memoir/Literary Criticism)
The author of the beloved #1 New York Times bestseller READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN returns with the next chapter of her life in books --- a passionate and deeply moving hymn to America.

Ten years ago, Azar Nafisi electrified readers with her multimillion-copy bestseller READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN, which told the story of how, against the backdrop of morality squads and executions, she taught THE GREAT GATSBY and other classics of English and American literature to her eager students in Iran. In this electrifying follow-up, she argues that fiction is just as threatened --- and just as invaluable --- in America today.

Blending memoir and polemic with close readings of her favorite novels, she describes the unexpected journey that led her to become an American citizen after first dreaming of America as a young girl in Tehran and coming to know the country through its fiction. She urges us to rediscover the America of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ and THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and challenges us to be truer to the words and spirit of the Founding Fathers, who understood that their democratic experiment would never thrive or survive unless they could foster a democratic imagination. Nafisi invites committed readers everywhere to join her as citizens of what she calls the “Republic of Imagination,” a country with no borders and few restrictions, where the only passport to entry is a free mind and a willingness to dream.

-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.

 
Click here for the featured guide.

 
Featured Guide: BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline

BETRAYED: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel by Lisa Scottoline (Mystery)
Blockbuster author Lisa Scottoline returns to the Rosato & Associates law firm with BETRAYED, and maverick lawyer Judy Carrier takes the lead in a case that's more personal than ever. Judy has always championed the underdog, so when Iris, the housekeeper and best friend of Judy's beloved Aunt Barb, is found dead of an apparent heart attack, Judy begins to suspect foul play. The circumstances of the death leave Judy with more questions than answers, and never before has murder struck so close to home.

In the meantime, Judy's own life roils with emotional and professional upheaval. She doesn't play well with her boss, Bennie Rosato, which jeopardizes her making partner at the firm. Not only that, her best friend Mary DiNunzio is planning a wedding, leaving Judy feeling left behind, as well as newly unhappy in her relationship with her live-in boyfriend Frank.

Judy sets her own drama aside and begins an investigation of Iris's murder, then discovers a shocking truth that confounds her expectations and leads her in a completely different direction. She finds herself plunged into a shadowy world of people who are so desperate that they cannot go to the police, and where others are so ruthless that they prey on vulnerability. Judy finds strength within herself to try to get justice for Iris and her aunt --- but it comes at a terrible price.

-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
 

Click here for the featured guide.

 
Featured Guide: THE SPARROW SISTERS by Ellen Herrick

THE SPARROW SISTERS by Ellen Herrick (Magical Realism/Fantasy)
The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear --- and its 300-year-old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

THE SPARROW SISTERS is a beautiful, haunting and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

 

Click here for the featured guide.

 
Featured Bookshelf: 20 Coloring Books for Adults

Coloring books have been growing in popularity lately, and they’re not just for kids. Many of them, such as SECRET GARDEN and THE MINDFULNESS COLORING BOOK, have been designed especially for busy, stressed-out grown-ups who find the calming routine of working on sophisticated, beautifully crafted coloring books to be a welcome break from their hectic, everyday lives. Partially due to adult coloring book pages being featured on sites like Pinterest and partially due to the ease with which people can purchase them online, coloring books are increasingly in vogue with adults who feel the need to unplug and treat themselves to a form of art therapy that can be as simple and pleasing as choosing the perfect shade of blue.

Take a look at our bookshelf for a selection of gorgeous adult coloring books, some of which came from suggestions from our readers. Whether you’re after a break from your everyday routine, an opportunity for meditation Tibetan monk-style, or simply to have fun and feel like a kid again, we bet there’s something here for you. Also, as an added bonus, check out COLOR YOUR YEAR WALL CALENDAR 2016: Mindful Coloring Through the Seasons (releasing September 1st) for something beautiful to hang on your wall all year long.

And if you need some art supply suggestions, you've come to the right place! Click here to see a roundup of colored pencils, fine-tip markers, gel pens and more, all of which will get you started on your new hobby in no time.

 

Click here to see our "20 Coloring Books for Adults" bookshelf.

 
Fall Preview: Great Book Club Picks for Fall/Winter 2015

It seems like forever ago that we met readers at our BEA Speed Dating session. Back in May, we --- with the help of our publishing friends --- presented a multitude of amazing titles that would be pubbing in fall/winter. That time has come, and we'd like to direct you again to our list of Great Book Club Picks for Fall/Winter 2015. To give you an easy way to mark what you want to suggest at your future meetings, we are providing a spreadsheet with all the featured titles, which you can find on this page.

We have also made a PDF of all the titles available. Due to the large size of the file, we've divided it up alphabetically by publisher:

Part 1: Algonquin; Berkley, New American Library; Bloomsbury; Consortium; Crown
Part 2: Ecco; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Grove/Atlantic; Hachette; HarperCollins
Part 3: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Ingram; Liveright; Mira; Other Press; Penguin Press, Picador
Part 4: Random House; Riverhead; Simon & Schuster; Soho
Part 5: Sourcebooks; St. Martin's Press; Viking; W. W. Norton; William Morrow

 

Click here for our complete BEA Fall Preview.

 
Bookreporter.com's Sounding Off on Audio Contest: Tell Us What You're Listening to --- and You Can Win Two Audiobooks!

Tell us about the audiobooks you’ve finished listening to with your comments and a rating of 1 to 5 stars for both the performance and the content. During the contest period from August 21st to September 18th, THREE lucky readers each will be randomly chosen to win the audio versions of both MAKE ME: A Jack Reacher Novel written by Lee Child and read by Dick Hill, and THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN written by Philippa Gregory and read by Bianca Amato.

To make sure other readers will be able to find the audiobook, please include the full title and correct author names (your entry must include these to be eligible to win). For complete rules and guidelines, click here.

-To see reader comments from previous contest periods, click here.

 

Click here to enter the contest.

 
Recent "Bookreporter.com Bets On" Selections

ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade (Fiction)
Last year, I read THE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters and enjoyed it. When I saw that ORPHAN #8 by Kim van Alkemade was being compared to it, as a historical fiction title, it immediately caught my attention. The book opens in the early 1900s with Rachel Rabinowitz becoming orphaned at the age of four, separated from her brother and placed in the Hebrew Infant Home in Manhattan. While her family home was a crowded tenement, the orphanage she moves to lacks much beyond the basics, the victim of poor funding and overcrowding. There are moments of hope for adoption and a better life that are quickly dashed, and Rachel realizes that life for her will be within the orphanage walls.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
-Click here for the reading group guide.


IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware (Psychological Thriller)
I love dark psychological thrillers; I’m not sure what that says about me. Thus, when IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware came across my desk, I looked at the cover and thought this was my kind of book.

Bachelorette parties were not in vogue when I was married, but I know enough about them from our staffers to recognize that they have enough components to set up a good story. Plunk together women who know each other from various points of their lives, and, well, the opportunity for tension is there. But what if you are asked to join this weekend soiree by someone you had fallen out of touch with? Why are you there? What does this gathering mean for you?

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
-Click here to read a Q&A with the author.


PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica (Thriller)
I discovered Mary Kubica last year with her debut novel, THE GOOD GIRL, so when PRETTY BABY came my way, I was one eager reader. Now I am known as the kind of person who is not fun to watch television or go to the movies with. I am prone to saying, “I figured it out,” which makes my husband and sons crazy. Well, Kubica completely “got me” as I did not see where this story was heading.

Let me back up here. For the last few weeks on the corner by our office, there have been a number of homeless men who sit with a sign asking for money. What is interesting is that there are different men there each day, and they each have the same sign. I walk by and think that somewhere there is a camera here, and this is a social experiment to see how we are reacting. Keep this in mind as I tell you the opener of PRETTY BABY.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
-Click here to read more about the book.
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-Click here to read a Q&A with the author.


THE RACE FOR PARIS by Meg Waite Clayton (Historical Fiction)
A couple of years ago, I watched Hemingway & Gellhorn on HBO and enjoyed the energy and drive that the well-known couple put into the chase to “get the story” during World War II. There was action, adventure, danger and commitment. Hearing that Meg Waite Clayton’s THE RACE FOR PARIS was set in Paris during the war and featured two female correspondents, I was eager to read it. And I am so glad I did. It is a look at the war from the perspective of those who were committed to sharing the action with the folks back home. And it is set in a time when journalism was a reporting art form, not the opinionated blasts that seem to permeate today’s news.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
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A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan (Fiction)
Confession: I know Elisabeth Egan, the author of A WINDOW OPENS, well enough to call her Liz. She is open, honest, fun, funny and wickedly smart. Whenever I meet with her, I crave more time and walk away smiling. She had mentioned through the years that she was writing a novel, and as soon as I saw there were advance copies, I had to read it. If you have not met Liz, you will know what she is like once you read this book. It’s open, honest, fun, funny and wickedly smart just like her!

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
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EVERYBODY RISE by Stephanie Clifford (Fiction)
I read EVERYBODY RISE by Stephanie Clifford back in December in an early manuscript. I was on the Outer Banks, the wind was blowing and I craved a big, juicy book. And that is exactly what I got. At the time the book did not have a cover, but when I saw it, I thought it was perfect. The gilded chandelier screams Lilly Pulitzer, the patron saint of the old moneyed set. Set in 2006, before the big money crash, it has all the go-go-go juices that fueled those days.

-Click here to read more of Carol's thoughts on the book.
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-Click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com.
-Click here to read a Q&A with the author.

 

Click here for more books we're betting you'll love.

 
September's New in Paperback Roundups

September’s roundup of New in Paperback fiction titles includes THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER, a collection of contemporary stories from Hilary Mantel that revolve around dislocation and family fracture, whimsical infidelities and sudden deaths with sinister causes; EDGE OF ETERNITY, the final volume in Ken Follett's Century Trilogy, which follows the fortunes of five intertwined families as they make their way through the 20th century; DIE AGAIN, the heart-pounding 11th installment in Tess Gerritsen’s series featuring Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, the inspiration behind TNT’s hit show "Rizzoli & Isles"; and 'TIL THE WELL RUNS DRY by Lauren Francis-Sharma, a multigenerational, multicultural saga that sweeps from the 1940s through the 1960s in Trinidad and the United States.

Among this month’s nonfiction offerings are YES PLEASE, a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice courtesy of "SNL" and "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler; ON IMMUNITY, a provocative examination by Eula Biss, who addresses our fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in our children's air, food, mattresses, medicines and vaccines; and DR. MUTTER'S MARVELS by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, a mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities.

-Find out what's New in Paperback for the weeks of August 31st, September 7th, September 14th, September 21st and September 28th.


 

New Guides Now Available

The following guides are now available on ReadingGroupGuides.com:

BETRAYED: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel by Lisa Scottoline (Mystery)
Judy Carrier of the Rosato & Associates law firm investigates the murder of an undocumented immigrant in this epic legal thriller.

BRIGHT LINES by Tanwi Nandini Islam (Fiction)
A vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past.

BULLS ISLAND: A Lowcountry Tale by Dorothea Benton Frank (Fiction)
It has been years since Elizabeth “Betts” McGee has returned to her once-adored Bulls Island in the Carolina lowcountry...will her estranged family welcome her with open arms?

THE CHRISTMAS PEARL by Dorothea Benton Frank (Fiction)
Dissatisfied with her insufferable family, 93-year-old matriarch Theodora pines wistfully for those extravagant, homey Christmases of her childhood --- and this year, someone very special will arrive at her door with pockets full of Gullah magic and enough common sense to transform this Christmas into the miracle it's truly meant to be.

CIRCLING THE SUN by Paula McLain (Historical Fiction)
The bestselling author of THE PARIS WIFE is back with the story of the fearless and captivating Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator living in the heart of Kenya in the 1920s.


FULL OF GRACE by Dorothea Benton Frank (Romance)
The rich atmosphere of South Carolina, Hilton Head and Charleston, is brought vividly to life by Dorothea Benton Frank, a South Carolina native who, with her exquisitely evocative prose, makes you smell the sea air, see the palmettos and savor the sweet tea --- but this time it comes with a side of antipasti.

THE HUMMINGBIRD by Stephen P. Kiernan (Fiction)
Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, THE HUMMINGBIRD is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness.

THE LAND OF MANGO SUNSETS by Dorothea Benton Frank (Fiction)
A despicable ex-husband, a troublesome new tenant and an overwhelming new love interest are almost too much for one Manhattan quasi-socialite to handle --- so Miriam's escaping to the enchanted and mysterious land of Sullivans Island, deep in the low country of South Carolina, a place where she can finally get her head on straight.

MARRIED SEX: A Love Story by Jesse Kornbluth (Fiction)
When a husband convinces his wife to join him in a tryst with another woman, there are unintended consequences in this sharply observed erotic tale about the challenges of modern marriage.

MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by Elena Ferrante (Fiction)
From one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, comes this ravishing and generous-hearted novel about Elena and Lila, two girls who learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship.

ONLY THE ANIMALS by Ceridwen Dovey (Fiction)
The stories in this animal's-eye-view of humans is a remarkable literary achievement --- the souls of 10 animals caught up in human conflicts over the last century and connected to both famous and little-known writers in surprising ways tell their astonishing stories of life and death.

A PATTERN OF LIES: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd (Historical Mystery)
A horrific explosion at a gunpowder mill sends Bess Crawford to war-torn France to keep a deadly pattern of lies from leading to more deaths, in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A QUESTION OF HONOR and AN UNWILLING ACCOMPLICE.

PURITY by Jonathan Franzen (Fiction)
The new novel from Jonathan Franzen, author of FREEDOM and THE CORRECTIONS.

A REMARKABLE KINDNESS by Diana Bletter (Fiction)
Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A REMARKABLE KINDNESS is a moving testament to women’s friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.

THE REPUBLIC OF IMAGINATION: America in Three Books by Azar Nafisi (Nonfiction)
The author of the beloved #1 New York Times bestseller READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN returns with the next chapter of her life in books --- a passionate and deeply moving hymn to America.

SECONDHAND SOULS by Christopher Moore (Mystery/Humor)
In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing, and to get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore’s delightfully funny sequel to A DIRTY JOB.

THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French (Psychological Thriller/Mystery)
When 16-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of a popular boy whose body was found at a girls’ boarding school a year earlier, Detective Stephen Moran joins with Detective Antoinette Conway to investigate --- and learns that the private underworld of teenage girls is more mysterious and more dangerous than the detectives imagined.

SIT! STAY! SPEAK! by Annie England Noblin (Fiction)
Echoing the novels of Mary Alice Monroe, Allie Larkin and Holly Robinson, this charming debut novel tells the unforgettable story of a rescue dog that helps a struggling young outsider make peace with the past.

THE SPARROW SISTERS by Ellen Herrick (Magical Realism/Fantasy)
With echoes of the alchemy of PRACTICAL MAGIC, the lushness of SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT and the darkly joyful wickedness of THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN by Philippa Gregory (Historical Fiction)
Philippa Gregory delivers a riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name.

THE UNINVITED by Cat Winters (Historical Fiction)
Set during the fear and panic of the Great Influenza of 1918, THE UNINVITED is a masterfully crafted story of love, loss and second chances --- part gothic ghost-story, part psychological thriller --- and perfect for those who loved THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield or THE VANISHING by Wendy Webb.

WELCOME TO BRAGGSVILLE by T. Geronimo Johnson (Fiction)
From the PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of HOLD IT ‘TIL IT HURTS comes a dark and socially provocative southern-fried comedy about four liberal UC Berkeley students who stage a mock lynching during a Civil War reenactment --- a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.

WILBERFORCE by H. S. Cross (Fiction)
Stylishly inventive, WILBERFORCE is an indelible portrait of a young man caught between lust and cruelty, grief and God, frustrated love and abject longing.


Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

DEEP DOWN DARK: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Héctor Tobar (Biography)
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Héctor Tobar tells the story of the 33 miners who were trapped in the San José mine for 69 days, and crafts a haunting masterwork from their surreal experiences and from his intensive research on the extraordinary rescue mission.

DR. MUTTER'S MARVELS: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (Biography)
A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities.

GUTENBERG'S APPRENTICE by Alix Christie (Historical Fiction)
A rich, authoritative and enthralling debut novel that offers a radically new view of the birth of printing in medieval Germany, told through the lives of the three men who made it possible: the visionary genius Johann Gutenberg; his financial backer Johann Fust; and the reluctant apprentice Peter Schoeffer.

 

This Month's Poll

Which Fall/Winter 2015 Books on Screen titles are you most anticipating? (Please check as many as apply.)

AFTER THE WIND by Lou Kasischke / INTO THIN AIR by Jon Krakauer (Everest)
BROOKLYN by Colm Toibin
THE DANISH GIRL by David Ebershoff
THE HEART OF THE SEA by Nathaniel Philbrick
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M. L. Stedman
MACBETH by William Shakespeare
MAN ON WIRE by Philippe Petit
THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir
MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie (Pan)
THE REVENANT by Michael Punke
ROOM by Emma Donoghue
THE SCORCH TRIALS by James Dashner
STEVE JOBS by Walter Isaacson
THUNDERBALL by Ian Fleming (Spectre)
None of the above

 

Click here to answer the poll by Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET.

 

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Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

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