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March 2007

ReadingGroupGuides.com Newsletter

March 2007

This Month on ReadingGroupGuides.com

How Old is Your Group?

Author Chat Opportunity and Book Giveaway: David Baldacci, Author of WISH YOU WELL

ReadingGroupGuides.com First Ever Interactive Guide --- I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK by Nora Ephron

ASTRID & VERONIKA by Linda Olsson

RED WEATHER by Pauls Toutonghi

Featured Viking Flights of Fiction Title: THE TESTAMENT OF GIDEON MACK by James Robertson

A YEAR IN THE WORLD by Frances Mayes

ALL SAINTS by Liam Callanan

THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham

THE PERFECT ROYAL MISTRESS by Diane Haeger

THE SECRET OF LOST THINGS by Sheridan Hay

THE MERCY SELLER by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS by Jane Isay

WOMEN & MONEY by Suze Orman

New Guides Now Available

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How Old is Your Group?

A reporter from the Sacramento Bee called me late last month to ask about what I knew about the tenure of most book clubs. She was doing a piece about the Elk Grove Book Club that was celebrating its 70th anniversary. We marveled as we realized the cultural and political times this group had shared together --- World War II, the fabulous '50s, the swinging '60s, and on and on. I told her that among our 5,200 registered book clubs, only 265 have existed more than 10 years. We then talked age for a bit as the oldest member of the Elk Grove is 88; the group's last charter member just died earlier this month. With our registered groups we see that we have 3,900 groups with no members over age 65. You can read the article here (please note that free registration is required).

This inspires our poll question this month, which asks how old the oldest member of your book group is. Weigh in here. And coincidentally, keeping with this age theme, our newsletter contest book is the extremely fun novel, No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironside, which is based on the British author's own adventures in her 60th year.  It will be in stores on April 5th, but one winner will get 20 copies for her club. How to enter? If you are getting this newsletter in your mailbox, you already are entered. If not, sign up here.

We have a full lineup this week, including our first-ever Interactive Book Discussion Guide where YOU will be suggesting discussion questions. We have wanted to do a project like this for a while now and were looking for the perfect book. Many of you have been writing looking for a guide for Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck. Soooo...we got 3 suggested questions from the publisher and now it's up to YOU to write the rest. Don't let us down. See below on how to send in your thoughts on what to discuss, especially if your group has read the book. One of our groups was quoted in a New York Times piece earlier this month talking about her group's discussion of the book.

Another special offer this month, with a limited time on it: groups are invited to enter to win one of 7 chats with David Baldacci, the bestselling author of Wish You Well, which will be out in trade paperback in early April. I have met David at many events and he is a charming, fun and engaging speaker. He is available for some chats about Wish You Well the first two weeks of April, which is a great opportunity for groups meeting at that time.

For March we have two very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles are A Most Uncommon Degree of Popularity by Kathleen Gilles Siedel and Count to Ten by Karen Rose. 10 groups will win the chance to chat with Kathleen Gilles Siedel and receive 12 copies of the book for their group. 25 groups will win the chance to chat with Karen Rose and receive 12 copies of the book for their group. Click here for all the details and to read more about both books. These two opportunities are available to groups that have registered their book clubs with us by March 12th. If your group is not registered, click here to register. If you have already registered with us, you do not need to re-register to be eligible.

I have read through this month's recommended titles, and I have made a list of titles I have to have NOW. I hope you feel the same way when you peruse our selections.

Here's to a wonderful March. Spring is coming, so don't forget to spring your clocks ahead this weekend to capture the new earlier Daylight Savings time change.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

Click here for details about our Newsletter Contest.


 

Author Chat Opportunity and Book Giveaway: David Baldacci, Author of WISH YOU WELL

Wish You Well is the story of Louisa Mae Cardinal, known as Lou, a precocious twelve-year-old girl living in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her acclaimed but sadly underpaid writer father, her compassionate mother, and her timid younger brother, Oz. In a single, terrifying moment, Lou's life is changed forever, and she and Oz are on a train rolling away from New York and down into the mountains of Virginia. There, Lou's mother will begin a long, slow struggle between life and death. And there, Lou and Oz will be raised by their remarkable great-grandmother, Louisa, Lou's namesake.

In Wish You Well David Baldacci has written a tale laced with touching passages evoking the charms of rural Virginia, imbued with graceful humor, and enriched by with unforgettable characters. The novel is a heart-wrenching yet triumphant story about family and adversity from times past that resounds forcefully today. Wish You Well is a breathtakingly beautiful achievement from an author who has the power to make us feel, to make us care, and to make us believe in the great and little miracles that can change lives --- or save them.

Interested in chatting with David Baldacci? Seven lucky groups will win 12 copies of the trade paperback of Wish You Well prior to its release date on April 3rd and the opportunity to chat via speakerphone with David Baldacci. To enter to win, send your name, mailing address and a brief description of your group to Contest@ReadingGroupGuides.com by Wednesday, March 21st. 

Please note that David is available to chat during the first two weeks of April, so please consider your group’s schedule and whether these dates would work for you when you enter.

Click here for contest details.


 

ReadingGroupGuides.com First Ever Interactive Guide --- I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK by Nora Ephron

All of us at ReadingGroupGuides.com have wanted to do an Interactive Discussion Guide (where you add your questions) with our readers and have been looking for the right book for this project. We knew we had the perfect title as soon as we read Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck. From your emails and requests for a discussion guide, we know you feel as passionate about this book as we do. You can see three questions to get you started here. The rest of the discussion guide will be developed by our readers. Submit your group's ideas for discussion questions, along with the name of your group, to Drawing@ReadingGroupGuides.com by Friday, March 30th. The finished guide will be featured with our April ReadingGroupGuides.com update, and groups whose questions are chosen to be included in the guide will be notified and credited.

More about I Feel Bad About My Neck:
With her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron shares with us her ups and downs in I Feel Bad About My Neck, a candid, hilarious look at women who are getting older and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.
Click here to read the first three discussion questions and more about I Feel Bad About My Neck.
 

ASTRID & VERONIKA by Linda Olsson

With extraordinary emotional power, Linda Olsson’s stunningly well-crafted debut novel recounts the unusual and unexpected friendship that develops between two women. Veronika, a young writer from New Zealand, rents a house in a small Swedish village as she tries to come to terms with a recent tragedy while also finishing a novel. Her arrival is silently observed by Astrid, an older, reclusive neighbor who slowly becomes a presence in Veronika’s life, offering comfort in the form of companionship and lovingly prepared home-cooked meals. Set against a haunting Swedish landscape, Astrid & Veronika is a lyrical and meditative novel of love and loss, and a story that will remain with readers long after the characters’ secrets are revealed.

 

 

Click here to read the guide for Astrid & Veronika.


 

RED WEATHER by Pauls Toutonghi

The setting is Milwaukee, Wisconsin --- if not America’s heart, then at least its liver --- home to an array of breweries and abandoned factories and down-on-their-luck Eastern European immigrants. The year is 1989.

Red Weather is by turns funny and bittersweet, tinged with a rueful comic sense that will instantly remind you of the absurd complications of love. Pauls Toutonghi’s stunning debut novel is at once reminiscent of Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.

 

Click here to read the guide for Red Weather.
 

Featured Viking Flights of Fiction Title: THE TESTAMENT OF GIDEON MACK by James Robertson

A Scottish minister who doesn’t believe in God meets the devil in this beguiling American debut

A good man --- and a good minister despite his atheism --- Gideon Mack leads a respectable life that is shattered when he falls down a ravine and into the raging river below. Presumed dead, he emerges three days later, alive and claiming he had been rescued by the devil. After being suspended from the Church, mocked by the tabloids, and shunned as a madman, Gideon disappears. The case is considered closed until a publisher receives what appears to be Gideon’s posthumous memoir of his experience and the unusual life that preceded it.

-Click here to read more about Viking's Flights of Fiction series.

Click here to read the guide for The Testament of Gideon Mack.
 

A YEAR IN THE WORLD by Frances Mayes

A Year in the World is vintage Frances Mayes --- a celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely places, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest. You’ll love going along for the ride as Mayes travels from her home base of Tuscany to Spain and Portugal, Frances, the British Isles, and the Mediterranean world of Turkey, Greece, the south of Italy, and North Africa.

 

Click here to read the guide for A Year in the World.


 

ALL SAINTS by Liam Callanan

The acclaimed author of The Cloud Atlas returns with a wondrous second novel. Set in a small beachfront Catholic high school, narrated by a beautifully complex heroine --- theology teacher Emily Hamilton --- All Saints is at once a mystery, a love story, and a powerful rumination on secrets, temptation, and faith.

Click here to read the guide for All Saints.
 

THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham

John Grisham tackles nonfiction for the first time with The Innocent Man, a true tale about murder and injustice in a small town (that reads like one of his own bestselling novels). The Innocent Man chronicles the story of Ron Williamson, how he was arrested and charged with a crime he did not commit, how his case was (mis)handled and how an innocent man was sent to death row. Grisham's first work of nonfiction is shocking, disturbing, and enthralling --- a must read for fiction and nonfiction fans.

Click here to read the guide for The Innocent Man.
 

THE PERFECT ROYAL MISTRESS by Diane Haeger

Born into poverty and raised in a brothel, Nell Gwynne sells oranges in the pit at London's King's Theater, newly reopened after the plague and the Great Fire devastated the city. Soon, her quick sense of humor and natural charm get her noticed by those who have the means to make her life easier. But the street-smart Nell knows a woman doesn't get ahead by selling her body. Through talent, charm, intelligence, and sheer determination --- as well as a keen understanding of how the world operates --- Nell works her way out of the pit and onto the stage to become the leading comedic actress of the day. Her skills and beauty quickly win the attention of all of London --- eventually even catching the eye of King Charles II.

From the gritty streets of seventeenth-century London, to the backstage glamour of its theaters, to the glittering court of Charles II, The Perfect Royal Mistress is a love story for the ages, the rags-to-riches tale of a truly remarkable heroine.

Click here to read the guide for The Perfect Royal Mistress.
 

THE SECRET OF LOST THINGS by Sheridan Hay

A missing manuscript
A young woman's voyage of discovery
And the curious bookshop where it all begins...


In this charming novel about the eccentricities and passions of booksellers and collectors, a captivating young Australian woman takes a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books in New York City and finds herself caught up in the search for a lost Melville manuscript.

Click here to read the guide for The Secret of Lost Things.
 

THE MERCY SELLER by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

In the fifteenth century, with religious intolerance spreading like wildfire across Europe, English-born Anna Bookman and her grandfather, Finn, earn a living in Prague by illuminating precious books, including forbidden translations of the Bible. Finn subscribes to the heresy that people ought to be able to read the Word of God for themselves, without having to pay a priest for the privilege, but holding that belief is becoming more and more hazardous. When the authorities start burning books and slaughtering heretics --- including the man Anna was to marry --- Finn urges her to seek sanctuary in England, but her passage abroad will be anything but easy.

Click here to read the guide for The Mercy Seller.
 

WALKING ON EGGSHELLS by Jane Isay

We raise our children to be independent and lead fulfilling lives, but when they finally do, staying close becomes more complicated than ever. And for every bewildered mother who wonders why her children don’t call, there is a frustrated son or daughter who just wants to be treated like a grownup. Now, renowned editor Jane Isay delivers the perfect gift to both parents and their adult children --- real-life wisdom and advice on how to stay together without falling apart.

 

Click here to read the guide for Walking on Eggshells.


 

WOMEN & MONEY by Suze Orman

Why is it that women, who are so competent in all other areas of their lives, cannot find the same competence when it comes to matters of money?

Suze Orman investigates the complicated, dysfunctional relationship women have with money in this groundbreaking new book. With her signature mix of insight, compassion, and soul-deep recognition, she equips women with the financial knowledge and emotional awareness to overcome the blocks that have kept them from making more out of the money they make. At the center of the book is The Save Yourself Plan --- a streamlined, five-month program that delivers genuine long-term financial security. But what’s at stake is far bigger than money itself: It’s about every woman’s sense of who she is and what she deserves, and why it all begins with the decision to save yourself.

Click here to read the guide for Women & Money.
 

New Guides Now Available

The following guides are now available on ReadingGroupGuides.com:

All Saints by Liam Callanan
Astrid & Veronika by Linda Olsson
Autumn Blue by Karen Harter
Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier
The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan
Count to Ten by Karen Rose
The Diagnosis of Love by Maggie Leffler
Dry Ice by Stephen White
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham
London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave
A Long Way Gone by Ismael Beah
The Mercy Seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
A Most Uncommon Degree of Popularity by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers
The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
Philosophy Made Simple Robert Hellenga
Red Weather by Pauls Toutonghi
The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
A Year in the World by Frances Mayes
Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents by Jane Isay
Wish You Well by David Baldacci
Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman

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

Intuition by Allegra Goodman
Kill Me by Stephen White

We have the following new guide for Christian Book Groups:

Suncatchers by Jamie Langston Turner

 


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 TheBookReportNetwork.com: Bookreporter.com, AuthorsOnTheWeb.com, FaithfulReader.com, AuthorYellowPages.com, Teenreads.com, and Kidsreads.com.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

The Book Report Network
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