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December 2003 Newsletter December 2003
This Month on
Happy Holidays!
MAX AND THE CATS by Moacyr Scliar
Most Requested Guides
Book Club Interviews
This Month's Poll
Newest Guides
This Month's Contest: Win EARLY FROM THE DANCE by David Payne
Find a Guide by Title
Find a Guide by Author
Advice and Ideas
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Click here for information about how to have your book club featured. Read about this fall's books that have been made into movies. See lists of book award winners here.
Happy Holidays!
Happy holidays from all of us at We hope you enjoy celebrating the season with your own special traditions.

We get many of our ideas from our readers. This month as we read the book club interviews we were interested in how some of these clubs share more than one book during a meeting. This inspires our poll question --- "Has your group ever discussed more than one book during a meeting either relating them together or covering a theme?"

We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

If you would like your group to be featured in an upcoming issue of our newsletter, please see the home page of for details.

Tip for December: Think about having members bring a book to donate to a children's charity this month, or making a group donation to an organization like First Book or Reach Out and Read. Also, this time of year everyone is stumped on gift giving ideas for at least one person on their gift list. Suggest ideas for books to give as presents. Whether it's an extra stocking stuffer or something that will be perfect for your recipient's interest, why not have some input from real booklovers?

Tip for January: Resolve to read a new genre or an author that you have overlooked in the past.

Quick reminder as you start your holiday shopping. You can support by making your holiday purchases via the links on our website. We receive a percentage of those sales, which allows us to continue to deliver the quality editorial we do each month. The link right below this letter is another way to access Amazon and support us!

Have a great holiday season...and Happy 2004.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])
Visit by clicking here.
Best boyhood friends from opposite sides of the Killdeer, NC tracks, Cary and Adam are inseparable. Nothing can threaten their friendship. That is until Jane McCrae comes into their lives like a hurricane. When Cary falls in love with her, the boys' twosome becomes a tightly knit group of three. They eagerly make plans for the summer after high school graduation. When Cary must remain in Killdeer because of family problems, Adam and Jane head off to the Outer Banks alone. Adam promises Cary he will keep an eye on Jane, but instead falls in love with her under the spell of the Lost Colony hotel and its mysterious and charming proprietor. In a summer full of bright promise and heartache, Adam's feelings for Jane force him to make a difficult choice that will haunt him for years to come.

Thirteen years later, Adam a successful artist living in New York City, returns home to Killdeer and catches a glimpse of Jane in a gilded mirror at a party. Together they set out on a daring present-day journey to recover the past they've both tried to escape.

A novel of innocence lost and the redemptive power of memory and forgiveness, Early From the Dance is a rich, entrancing, and unforgettable story from a writer of extraordinary gifts.
Read the guide for EARLY FROM THE DANCE here.
A lonely schoolteacher reveals more than she intends when she records the story of her best friend's affair with a pupil in this sly, insightful novel

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary existence; aside from her cat, Portia, she has few friends and no intimates. When Sheba Hart joins St. George's as the new art teacher, Barbara senses the possibility of a new friendship. It begins with lunches and continues with regular invitations to meals with Sheba's seemingly close-knit family. But as Barbara and Sheba's relationship develops, another does as well: Sheba has begun a passionate affair with an underage male student. When it comes to light and Sheba falls prey to the inevitable media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend's defense - an account that reveals not only Sheba's secrets but her own.

Read a guide for WHAT WAS SHE THINKING? by Zoe Heller here.
This intoxicating tale of marriage, desire, and betrayal introduces one of the most irresistible heroines of recent fiction. She is Hannie Bennet, a battle-scarred divorcée and widow who embarks upon her fifth marriage with a clear objective: to put a roof over her head and food in her stomach. But Hannie's relationship with aging Ned appears doomed from the start. In the unnervingly tranquil Irish countryside where the couple settles, an unwelcome visitor - the embodiment of a secret past - not only threatens their chance at a life of quiet accommodation but menaces the entire community. Ultimately, it is up to Hannie, facing the most difficult choice a mother could ever confront, to prevent a deadly finale.
Read a guide for A WINTER MARRIAGE here.
Search here. See the Media Book Club Picks here. Search here.
MAX AND THE CATS by Moacyr Scliar
In September 2002, Moacyr Scliar's Max and the Cats became the focus of a controversy in the literary world. At that time, Yann Martel had just won the Man Booker Prize, Britain's top literary award, for his book Life of Pi-the premise of which was taken (admittedly by Mr. Martel) from Max and the Cats.

Max and the Cats is the story of Max Schmidt. Born in Berlin in 1912, he is brought into the world just in time to experience some of the most ominous and terrifying events of the 20th century. Max's father, a furrier, is an overbearing, forceful man, who taunts his son to show strength and be less of a coward. Shy and pensive, Max takes refuge in the storage room of his father's store; there he reads travel narratives and "at his mother's insistence, Goethe and Schiller." Whether from his travel readings or his surroundings, it's here that Max develops an intense, strange fascination with felines. This forms the backbone of the story, as cats of various types (whether real or imagined) come to symbolize the traumatic events of Max's life.

As a young man still working in his father's store, Max is seduced by an older female co-worker. When their liaison is exposed by the woman's husband-a Nazi-Max is forced to flee Germany for Brazil. Thus begins an odyssey which catapults him quickly into manhood, and where he is at every turn forced to confront the demon of the Nazis (many of whom have themselves moved on to new lives in Brazil).

In the end, this is an immensely enjoyable and engaging story; a parable that provokes thought and engages the reader from start to finish.
Read the guide for MAX AND THE CATS here.
Most Requested Guides
Click here to see a list of the most requested guides for November 2003.

What do you think was the number one request?
See the most requested guides for November 2003 here.
Book Club Interviews
This month we bring you three book club interviews:

Sistahs of Color Reading Group from Little Rock, Arkansas

Cantdecide from Excelsior, Minnesota

Epsilon Sigma Omicron, Upsilon Chapter from Roseville, CA
Read our Book Club interview here.
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This Month's Poll
Has your group ever discussed more than one book during a meeting either relating them together or covering a theme?

No, but that sounds like a great idea.
Answer our poll questions here.
Check out our Author Bibliographies here. Read about the titles that readers are talking about. Publishers and Authors add your guides to Details here.
Newest Guides
Alice in Exile by Piers Paul Read
Early From the Dance by David Payne
Eight Million Gods and Demons by Hiroko Sherwin
Eva's Cousin by Sibylle Knauss
The Flamboyant by Lori Marie Carlson
Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
Good Girls Gone Bad by Jillian Medoff
Jumping in Sunset by Dawn Ringley
Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar
Night Crossing by Don J. Snyder
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
The River Road by Karen Osborn
Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel
Trouble Don't Last Always by Francis Ray
The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
The Wapshot Scandal by John Cheever
What Was She Thinking? by Zoë Heller
What's a Woman To Do? by Victor McGlothin
Whitegirl by Kate Manning
A Winter Marriage by Kerry Hardie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
See the Newest Guides here.
What To Do When No Guide is Available Search for thousands of book reviews and author interviews. Search lists of books coming out in the next few months.
This Month's Contest: Win EARLY FROM THE DANCE by David Payne
A subscription to our newsletter is all you need to be entered in our monthly contest. This month, one lucky reader will win enough copies of EARLY FROM THE DANCE by David Payne for his or her entire reading group.
Read contest details here.

Do you like what you see here, and want to forward it to a friend? Then click our link on the bottom of the page to do just that!

Happy reading. We'll see you next month.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])