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September 17, 2020

Thanks to all of you who answered our recent ReadingGroupGuides.com survey where we looked at what your book groups have been doing during the pandemic. 59% of you are now meeting on Zoom (a platform that I am sure 99% of you had never heard of before March), while another 4% are using other online platforms. 24% are meeting in person, practicing social distancing. Only 13% noted that they had suspended all group activities for the moment.

For those 13% not meeting, 57% said that they only want to meet in person when the pandemic is “under control” to do this, but they do not require there to be a vaccine. 12% want to meet in person only after a vaccine is available. 17% need to get more comfortable with technology.

Interview: Ayad Akhtar, author of Homeland Elegies

Sep 16, 2020

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play “Disgraced” and whose debut novel, AMERICAN DERVISH, was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012. His highly anticipated second work of fiction, HOMELAND ELEGIES, is about an immigrant father and his son who search for belonging --- in post-Trump America, and with each other. In this interview, conducted by Bookreporter.com reviewer Harvey Freedenberg, Akhtar talks about one of the book’s most powerful scenes --- Ayad’s description of his experience in Manhattan on 9/11 --- and how he went about recreating the terrible sights and overwhelming emotions of that day; what he thinks it will take for those who harbor suspicions about Muslims to view them with less hostility; and the pivotal role that dreams play in the novel.

Author Talk: Rita Dragonette, author of The Fourteenth of September

Sep 14, 2020

Perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Heather Morris, Rita Dragonette’s debut novel, THE FOURTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, is based upon her personal experience on campus during the Vietnam War and is told through the rare perspective of a young woman who traces her path to self-discovery. In this interview, Dragonette talks about how what she lived through in 1969-1970 parallels the activism that is occurring right now in the United States; why she calls her book a coming-of-conscience novel; what she hopes readers will take away from the story; and her future writing projects.

Rita Dragonette, author of The Fourteenth of September

Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her 19th birthday by secretly joining the antiwar movement on her college campus. As the recipient of an army scholarship and the daughter of a military family, Judy has a lot to lose. But her doubts about the ethics of war have escalated, especially after her birthdate is pulled as the first in the new draft lottery. If she were a man, she would have been among the first off to Vietnam with an under-fire life expectancy measured in seconds. The stakes become clear for Judy as she is propelled towards a life-altering choice as fateful as that of any lottery draftee, yet also finds herself down a path of self-discovery and, ultimately, a “coming of conscience."

Wendy Walker, author of Don't Look for Me

They called it a “walk away.” The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family. It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to start over. But what really happened to Molly Clarke? When a new lead comes in two weeks after the search has ended, Molly’s daughter, Nicole, begins to wonder. Against her father’s wishes, she returns to the small, desolate town where her mother was last seen, determined to find the truth. The locals are sympathetic and eager to help. Until secrets begin to reveal themselves. When Nicole learns about another woman who vanished from town, then discovers a small hole cut into a fence guarding a mysterious, secluded property, she comes closer to the truth about that night --- and the danger surrounding her.

Yaa Gyasi, author of Transcendent Kingdom

Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive.

Fredrik Backman, author of Anxious People

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them --- the bank robber included --- desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Ruth Ware, author of One by One

When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. However, the storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit. As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.

Editorial Content for Anxious People

Teaser

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE comes a poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Promo

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE comes a poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

About the Book

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE and “writer of astonishing depth” (The Washington Times) comes a poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunt down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an 87-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you have the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them --- the bank robber included --- desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Rich with Fredrik Backman’s “pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness), ANXIOUS PEOPLE is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness and hope --- the things that save us, even in the most anxious times.

Editorial Content for Don't Look for Me

Teaser

In Wendy Walker's new psychological thriller, DON'T LOOK FOR ME, the greatest risk isn’t running away. It’s running out of time.

Promo

In Wendy Walker's new psychological thriller, DON'T LOOK FOR ME, the greatest risk isn’t running away. It’s running out of time.

About the Book

The greatest risk isn’t running away. It’s running out of time.

They called it a “walk away.” The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family. It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to start over. But what really happened to Molly Clarke?

When a new lead comes in two weeks after the search has ended, Molly’s daughter, Nicole, begins to wonder. In spite of their strained relationship and the tragedy that rocked their world, nothing about her mother’s disappearance makes sense.

Against her father’s wishes, Nicole returns to the small, desolate town where her mother was last seen, determined to find the truth. The locals are sympathetic and eager to help. The innkeeper. The bartender. Even the police. Until secrets begin to reveal themselves. When Nicole learns about another woman who vanished from town, then discovers a small hole cut into a fence guarding a mysterious, secluded property, she comes closer to the truth about that night --- and the danger surrounding her.

The night Molly disappeared began with a storm, running out of gas, and a man in a truck offering her a ride to town. With him is a little girl who reminds her of the daughter she lost years ago. It feels like a sign. It feels safe. And Molly is overcome with the desire to be home, with her family --- no matter how broken it is. She accepts the ride. But when the doors lock shut, Molly begins to suspect she has made a terrible mistake.