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June 2007 Newsletter

June 2007

This Month on

The NEW Website is LIVE!


BETWEEN THE TIDES by Patti Callahan Henry

SHEER ABANDON by Penny Vincenzi

THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS by Anita Amirrezvani

BLACK & WHITE by Dani Shapiro

NINE MONTHS IN AUGUST by Adriana Bourgoin

HICK by Andrea Portes

For Christian Readers: THE PENNY by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

This Month's Offers For Registered Book Clubs

This Month's Poll and Tip

This Month's Book Club Interviews

Summer Beach Bag Contest on

This Month's Contest Book

New Guides Now Available

Find a Guide by Title
Find a Guide by Author
Advice and Ideas
Register Your Group

The NEW Website is LIVE!

Our newsletter is coming to you a tad later than usual this week, but with very good reason. We did a topdown redesign of the website. Take a look! Our goal was to make all of our features more readily accessible from dropdown navigation on the top of the site. We feel that there are a lot of features that you were not able to find easily in the past. Also, this will give us a chance to expand the site with even more content in the months to come.

As with any massive rebuild there is a chance that some things were lost when the move was made, thus we have a box on each page where you can shoot us a note to alert us to anything we might have missed that needs a fix. I look forward to hearing your feedback on the new site, which literally was two years in the planning. turned 7 last month, so this is a great way to celebrate!

Thanks to our Design Director, Joe Rivera, and our Production Team --- Sunil Kumar, Eric Rhodes and Vicky Kariolic --- for all their hard work on this massive project.

Last weekend the Second Annual Book Group Expo event was held in San Jose, California, where thousands of readers gathered to meet authors and chat about books and book club reading. My schedule did not permit me to make it out to that event, but I loved hearing stories from it. If you were there, drop me a note at [email protected] and share your thoughts about it. The plan is for this event to expand to other cities next year, and I hope that my schedule will allow for me to attend.

Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns, was the opening speaker on Friday evening, and from the report that I read on (more on this site in a second) he was fabulous. I had the chance to see him speak two weekends ago at Book Expo America in New York, and he also will be delivering a presentation next weekend at the American Library Association Conference in Washington, DC, which I am looking forward to. The feedback from readers about this book has been hands down great. So many of our contest winners last month wrote to tell us how much they enjoyed the book with a fervor that I have not heard in a long time. Many raves say it is even better than The Kite Runner, which is quite a feat. Hosseini was humble and appreciative, a lovely combination from a very successful author.

One debut author who got raves at Book Group Expo was Anita Amirrezvani, who has written a book that I just am crazy about, The Blood of Flowers. I had the chance to meet her at BEA, and she shared a wonderful story about her father buying her her first Persian carpet years ago and how it has found a place in her home no matter where she has lived. Stories behind the books are what make these author meetings so special.

For June we have two very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles are Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry (who is a book club favorite and a wonderful writer) and The Blood of Flowers by the aforementioned Anita Amirrezvani. Registered groups have the chance to win author chats and free books. Click here for more information. You have until Tuesday, June 19th to register your group, if you have not done so already, to be eligible to enter these contests.

Jennifer Hart, a friend of mine from HarperCollins Publishers, recently launched a blog that covers topics of interest to book clubs called She wrote about our "What to Do When No Guide is Available" feature on Thursday, and I wanted to be sure that HER site is on YOUR radar. She belongs to two books clubs and has a terrific knowledge of titles of interest to book clubs, so do check it out.

I moderated a panel last weekend about nonfiction book clubs and shared your feedback on reading these titles. Great fun! I heard two terrific --- and different --- ideas about clubs that I wanted to pass along. For one, readers do not formally talk about a book each month. Instead they each bring what they currently are reading and talk about it. What a nice idea for those of you who would like to try something different during the summer months! We also heard from a book club called the Zhenga Reading Circle, which is comprised of only women who once a year invite their spouses and significant others to join them! They select a book that they feel will appeal to both sexes.

We welcome your ideas about things your clubs do that are different. This month our book club interviews are with Natalie Shipman of As the Page Turns and Joy Penaskovic of The Berry Bookheads.

News reached us this month that The Memory Keeper's Daughter, a book that has been beloved by book clubs, has been on the New York Times bestseller list for a year now, and it also has more than 3,000,000 copies in print! Always nice to hear something like this.

Our Third Annual Summer Beach Bag of Books promotion is running on one of our other websites, Check out these WEEKLY contests on this page, or sign up for the newsletter here to be sure you don't miss these. On we have a Summer Beach Bag of Books Contest running where teens can win TEN books and fun summer treats. Have a teen in your house? Then get them to enter here.

Here's to some great reading this month....and enjoy the new site.

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected]) The Memory Keeper's Daughter Find your local independent bookseller here.


Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them --- in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul --- they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

-Click here to read an interview with Khaled Hosseini.

-Click here to see our One to Watch feature for Khaled Hosseini and A Thousand Splendid Suns on

Click here to read the guide for A Thousand Splendid Suns.


BETWEEN THE TIDES by Patti Callahan Henry

What if your father’s dying wish was for you to return to the one place you never wanted to see again?

Catherine Leary’s father told her that all of life is a story. Her story began with a childhood tragedy. Now her father’s last request is for her to confront her past, unravel a family secret, rediscover her heart and start a new chapter of her life.

“Known for her lyrical writing,” bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry has become one of the South’s most unforgettable voices. Now, in her emotionally engaging new novel, she portrays a woman burdened by the past --- and the choices she must face to break free.

Click here to read the guide for Between the Tides.

SHEER ABANDON by Penny Vincenzi

Martha, Clio, and Jocasta meet by chance at Heathrow airport in 1985 as they are starting off on separate backpacking adventures, and they decide to spend the first few days of their trips together in Thailand. When they go their separate ways, they vow to get together in London the following year. One of them, however, harbors a terrible secret: On her return from her pre-college excursion, she abandoned her just-born daughter at Heathrow.

The infant abandoned at Heathrow has grown up under the loving care of her adoptive family. Now a beautiful teenager named Kate, she sets out to find her birth mother --- a quest that unexpectedly brings the women together and exposes the secret buried so many years before.

Click here to read the guide for Sheer Abandon.


THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS by Anita Amirrezvani

In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great.

Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.

-Click here to read our One to Watch feature for Anita Amirrezvani and The Blood of Flowers on

Click here to read the guide for The Blood of Flowers.

BLACK & WHITE by Dani Shapiro

Clara Brodeur has spent her entire adult life pulling herself away from her famous mother, the renowned and controversial photographer Ruth Dunne, whose towering reputation rests on the unsettling nude portraits she took of her young daughter from the ages of three to fourteen. The Clara Series, which graced the walls of museums around the world as well as the pages of New York City tabloids that labeled the work pornographic, cast a long and inescapable shadow over its subject. At eighteen, when Clara might have entered university and begun to shape an identity beyond her sensationalized, unsought role in the New York art world, she fled to the quiet obscurity of small-town Maine, where she married and had a child, a daughter whom she has tried to shield from the central facts of her early life and her damaging role as her mother’s muse.

Click here to read the guide for Black & White.

NINE MONTHS IN AUGUST by Adriana Bourgoin

Gretchen Fox is a planner and list-maker by nature, perfectly suited to her job as a hotel catering manager. And in her cautious, look-before-you-leap way, Gretchen was waiting until the time was absolutely perfect before she had a baby.

Her body, however, had other ideas. Now Gretchen is discovering what a big difference a little blue line can make --- to her marriage, her career, and her state of mind. As Gretchen spends sleepless nights pondering all the reasons she’s not ready to become a mother, she starts to question every other area of her life too.

Marrying real warmth with laugh-out-loud wit, Adriana Bourgoin’s superbly insightful debut captures the crushing fears, exhilarating joys, and ceaseless surprises of one woman’s passage to motherhood. 

-Click here to see our One to Watch feature for Adriana Bourgoin and Nine Months in August on

Click here to read the guide for Nine Months in August.


HICK by Andrea Portes

Though its first-person narrating voice is fast-paced, powerful and unquestionably authentic, Hick is a debut novel. Beyond this voice, what makes the book so extraordinary is that, although all of the worst things imaginable do befall this 13-year-old girl, she is never defeated by them. Luli always fights back; she always resurfaces. Set as a coming-of-age novel, Hick tracks the real perils that modern teenagers so often face. And it does so with bright wit, energy and an indomitable spirit. This is a book that will grab the reader from the first page and not let go. 

-Click here to see our One to Watch feature for Andrea Portes and Hick on

Click here to read the guide for Hick.

For Christian Readers: THE PENNY by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

Jenny Blake has a theory about life: big decisions often don't amount to much, but little decisions sometimes transform everything. Her theory proves true the summer she's 14, when she makes the decision to pick up a penny embedded in asphalt and consequently ends up stopping a robbery, getting a job, and meeting someone who changes her life forever --- Miss Shaw. Together they form a friendship that dares both of them to confront secrets in their pasts --- secrets that threaten to destroy them.

This unexpected relationship transforms them both in ways neither could have anticipated, and the ripple effect that begins that summer goes on to bring new life to the people around them, revealing how God works in the smallest details --- even in something as small as The Penny.

Click here to read the guide for The Penny.
Read a guide for BETWEEN THE TIDES here. Read the guide for THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS here.

This Month's Offers For Registered Book Clubs

For June we have two very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles are Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry and The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. Registered groups have the chance to win author chats and free books. The following opportunities are available to groups that have registered their book clubs with us by June 19th. 

Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry --- Author Chat and Book Giveaway: A certain number of groups will have the opportunity to chat with Patti Callahan Henry and receive 12 copies of the book.

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani --- Author Chat and Book Giveaway: 15 groups will have the opportunity to chat with Anita Amirrezvani and receive 12 copies of the book.

Click here to register your group.

This Month's Poll and Tip

Does your group have a member(s) who dominate the conversation?

We used to have this problem, but this person is not in the group.
No, this is not a problem.
I am not sure.    

June 2007 Tip:

Talk about the books that you would want to share with a new graduate. 


Click here to answer the poll.

This Month's Book Club Interviews

Natalie Shipman is a member and co-founder of As the Page Turns from Buffalo, NY. This small group gives new meaning to the word "efficient" by meeting once a month at work during their 15-minute breaks. Read on to learn more about their reading tastes, how they use their brief gatherings to relieve stress from their hectic jobs and the cute way they celebrated their first anniversary.

Joy Penaskovic is a member of The Berry Bookheads from Phoenix, AZ. This small, closely-knit, Jodi Picoult-loving group of women meets quarterly and will discuss three or four books over lunch at each session. Read on to learn more about how they make their selections, the genres they enjoy reading and what they end up talking about when their discussions stray off topic.


Click here to read all our book group interviews.
Read more about the Beach Bag promotion here.

Summer Beach Bag Contest on

It wouldn't be summer without sun, surf and sizzling reading. You supply the beach chair and the sunblock, and we'll provide the fantastic fiction in our Third Annual Beach Bag of Books feature and contests.

Visit us every week through August 24th to see a different featured title and a new contest prize --- a beach bag stocked with that book, plus summertime essentials that tie in to its theme. With, your summer reading is in the bag!

Click here to see the Summer Beach Bag Contest.


This Month's Contest Book

Win a copy of Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack for your reading group!

To be a group to win 20 free copies of this book, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter by July 1, 2007. If you are receiving this newsletter in your mailbox, you already are signed up!

Click here to read contest details and rules.

New Guides Now Available

The following guides are now available on

Addled by JoeAnn Hart
Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
Bank by David Bledin
Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry

Black & White by Dani Shapiro
The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani

Duchess of Aquitaine by Margaret Ball
French by Heart by Rebecca S. Ramsey
The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan
Hick by Andrea Portes

Journey to Mythaca by Eve Baumohl Neuhaus
The Love Season
by Elin Hilderbrand
Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland
The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine
Nine Months in August by Adriana Bourgoin
The Overlook by Michael Connelly
Right Before Your Eyes by Ellen Shanman

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown
Saving the World by Julia Alvarez
The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner
Seven Loves by Valerie Trueblood
Sheer Abandon by Penny Vincenzi
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Tiare in Bloom by Celestine Vaite
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella
What to Eat by Marion Nestle
Woman in Red
by Eileen Goudge

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

The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde
Blood Mask by Joyce Carol Oates, writing as Lauren Kelly
The Faith Club by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner
Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston
Helen of Troy by Margaret George

We have the following new guide for Christian book groups:

The Penny by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford

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
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107