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October 2004 Newsletter October 2004
This Month on
Record Numbers
Special Feature and Contest: BEFORE YOU KNOW KINDNESS by Chris Bohjalian
THE FIRST DESIRE by Nancy Reisman
For Registered Book Groups: Special Advanced Reading Copy Offer
Book Club Interviews
This Month's Poll
Newest Guides
This Month's Contest: Win LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
Find a Guide by Title
Find a Guide by Author
Advice and Ideas
See Upcoming Guides
Record Numbers
Thanks to all of you, last month we had our biggest month EVER on with more than 111,000 readers coming to visit. Truly wonderful! Please continue to share this website with your friends who are in book clubs.

This week I had lunch with Jan Goldstein who wrote the book ALL THAT MATTERS, which was a special feature and contest book for us here last month. We had such an enjoyable conversation about this book, his inspiration for writing it and what he would love readers to take away from it. After we chatted I asked him to send us a Q&A that we can add to the guide as I think it will give readers great insight into his work. He is working on this and we will add it shortly. I also wanted to share that Hyperion, his publisher, was so impressed by the reader comments that they received that they will be sending a copy of the book to each reader who responded, as well as the copies for the three winning book clubs. Nice! Which just shows you never know how you can win when you enter a contest. I think book clubs will enjoy this book. Here's an idea. Since it's short book, I am going to recommend that those of you who are looking for a great quick read for the busy months of November and December, consider this. Once you finish it, I am betting you will find at least one person on your holiday list that would love to read a copy so you not only will have a great book club read, but also some early holiday shopping done

We hit a milestone this month as we now have more than 1,500 discussion guides available! Since we started the site just 4 years ago, this is just terrific news.

We have selected LIFE OF PI as our contest book this month. As it is one of the most popular guides on each month, we wanted to give groups that have not read it a chance to explore it with their group. Note: You are eligible to win if you are subscribed to our monthly newsletter and do not need to re-subscribe to enter.

I am writing this note from Toronto where I am attending the Bouchercon Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Conference so in the interest of time I am going to wrap now for this month.

Happy reading. We hope you find a book your book group can wrap themselves around this month.

---- Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])
Click here to read the guide for ALL THAT MATTERS.
Special Feature and Contest: BEFORE YOU KNOW KINDNESS by Chris Bohjalian
For ten summers, the Seton family --- all three generations --- met at their country home in New England to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family --- and the convictions that just may pull it apart.

As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters --- and absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity.

CONTEST: Visit, read an excerpt, and then enter to win an hour long call for your reading group with Chris Bohjalian. While you're there, listen to an audio exclusive about the importance of reading groups, and sign up to receive a free bookplate signed by the author.
Go here to read more about Chris Bohjalian and to enter the contest.
THE FIRST DESIRE by Nancy Reisman
1929. Buffalo, New York. A beautiful July day, the kind one waits for through the long, cold winters. Sadie Feldstein, née Cohen, looks out her window at the unexpected sight of her brother, Irving. His news is even more unexpected, and unsettling: their elder sister, Goldie, has vanished without a trace.

The First Desire is a book of great emotional power that brings to life the weave of love, grief, tradition, and desire that binds a family together, even through the tumultuous times that threaten to tear it apart.
Read more about THE FIRST DESIRE here.
For Registered Book Groups: Special Advanced Reading Copy Offer
Groups that are registered with as of Thurday, October 14th are eligible for our next Exclusive Registered Book Club mailing, which will go out on October 20th. Please note that if you have registered your group already, there is no need to do it again. If you have not, please click on the link below to get your group signed up. Please note that in order to stay registered for offers, the group member who is registered must alert us if she or he changes their email address. Here is more about the book we will be offering:

The Reading Group follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books. Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both with the books they read and in one another's lives. Inspired by a shared desire for conversation, a good book, and a glass of wine, Clare, Harriet, Nicole, Polly, and Susan undergo startling revelations and transformations despite their differences in background, age, and respective dilemmas. What starts as a reading group gradually evolves into a forum where the women many express their views through the books they read and grow to become increasingly more open as the bonds of friendship cement. In The Reading Group, Elizabeth Noble reveals the many complicated paths in life we all face as well as the power and importance of friendship.
Click here to register your group.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
Following the collapse of Communism and a series of weak governments, the Russian people have decided to re-instate the monarchy with a distant relative of Nicholas II, and it is Miles Lord's job to perform background checks on the Tsarist candidates. But after he is nearly killed by a gunman, Miles flees from his assassins and stumbles upon the mysterious writings of Rasputin. They reveal a cryptic message, implying that someone may have survived the bloody Romanov massacre, the effects of which could be life-altering for the future Tsar and mother Russia.
Click here to read the guide for THE ROMANOV PROPHECY.
Book Club Interviews
This month we bring you the following book club interviews:

Carol Hanthorne of "The Prose and Palate Book Club" from Spencer, IA

Dianne Kochenburg of "Rapunzels" from San Jose, CA

Christie Gause-Bemis of "Changing Chapters Book Club" from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Adrianne Watson of "S.T.A.R. (Simply Thrilled About Reading)" from Chicago, IL
Read our Book Club interviews here.
Read how to Register Your Group here. Click here to browse Library Journal's Most Borrowed Books list. Click here to browse our Book Awards feature.
This Month's Poll
Does your group read the book suggested by the media book clubs?
All of the time
Some of the time

Which of the media book club picks have you read? (Check as many as apply.)
Good Morning America
Today Show
USA Today
None of the above
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
Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-
Time by Mark Haddon
Early Leaving by Judy Goldman
The First Desire by Nancy Reisman
The Floating World by Cynthia Gralla
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Love Wife by Gish Jen
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson
The Only Good Thing Anyone Has Ever Done
by Sandra Newman
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rift Zone by Raelynn Hillhouse
The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry
The Secret Goldfish: Stories by David Means
She Is Me by Cathleen Schine
Shipwreck by Louis Begley
Someone, Not Really Her Mother by Harriet
Scott Chessman
An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg
Wartime by Louis Begley
You Remind Me of Me by Dan Chaon
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 LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
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 LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel for his or her entire reading group.

Here is a description of the book:

Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?

Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It's a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God.
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.

Don't forget to visit our other websites from,,,,, and

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])

The Book Report Network
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