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August 2008

ReadingGroupGuides.com Newsletter

August 2008

This Month on ReadingGroupGuides.com

Home Again....and Ready to Read!

Special Contest: Win THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards for Your Group

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson

INSIDE OUT GIRL by Tish Cohen

APPLES & ORANGES: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found, by Marie Brenner

WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn
EVERYTHING NICE by Ellen Shanman

HOUSE OF DAUGHTERS by Sarah-Kate Lynch

THE QUEEN'S LADY by Barbara Kyle

HarperCollins's Free Books for a Year Sweepstakes

Registered Book Club Offers

What's New on the ReadingGroupGuides.com Blog

New Guides Now Available

This Month's Contest Book: INSIDE OUT GIRL by Tish Cohen

On ReadingGroupGuides.com
 
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Home Again....and Ready to Read!

I have zipped across the country so much this summer that I am glad that this weekend I am confining my adventures to the pool chair and hammock here at the house. Seriously I zipped back and forth over the midsection of the country and up and down the East Coast so much that I am ready to send a holiday card to Larry Kellner, the CEO of Continental, as I have seen him on the opening video more than I have seen most of my friends.

This is when you know you are flying a lot. Two weeks ago I was in Newark Airport heading for my gate when I saw a flight attendant who recognized me from a flight the previous week by the knitted poncho that I was wearing. She too was a knitter and asked me what I was working on. We caught up quickly and then Genevieve headed towards her flight to Miami while I headed to San Diego. I walked away laughing and thought, I have bonded more with my new pal, the flight attendant, than with my friends these last weeks.

I have learned that long cross-country flights are much better than the short ones since then I actually can get some reading, knitting or work done. Five hours of no email and no phone calls can make me very productive. I confess that I do respond like Pavlov to the sound of email coming in, which is counterproductive to getting things DONE! This last trip included a driving adventure between two conferences up the coast of California with my teenage boys. Note to self: Conferences are exhausting. Travel with teenage boys is exhausting. The two together: Exponentially exhausting.

Also, Hertz has a rule about no one under the age of 21 driving, so my 18-year-old son could not drive. Thus every one of the 1,002 (they correct me if I say 1,000) miles that "we" drove that week was one "I" drove. As a result, there was no time for reading, and now I am chomping at the bit to turn some pages this weekend.

One thing I love when I travel is ducking into bookstores that I have heard about, and this trip was no exception for that. In Corte Madera, a quick trip from San Francisco, I stopped in at Book Passage, a store where many of my author friends have done readings and signings. There I had a wonderful conversation with Janel Feierabend. She told me that they send many of their book club customers to ReadingGroupGuides.com, which was wonderful to hear. We walked from table to table talking books --- and what good selections for book clubs are.

We both are crazy about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows that we have added a guide for this month. People love love love this book, and in a hint of how much they love it, I will share that it debuts on the New York Times bestseller list at number 5 next week, which is quite an accomplishment! We have a guide for you this month.

We have two exciting contests to share with you this month. Our first is a giveaway for the international bestseller The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. Fifty readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of this title for their book club. The second contest we are sharing with you is HarperCollins's Free Books for a Year Sweepstakes. One reader will have the opportunity to receive 12 copies of a specially selected title for every month of the year. That is a year’s worth of books for you and your book club. Read on for more details about both of these contests.

We have lots of great guides this month, including The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, a book that is getting lots of attention for its unusual plot. I found myself unable to tear away from it, and we have a One to Watch feature about it on Bookreporter.com. Last month I shared how much I loved Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen, and it's also our contest book this month.

We have two Registered Book Club offers this month. Our featured titles are The View from Garden City by Carolyn Baugh and December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop. Groups who have registered with us by Tuesday, August 12th have the chance to win author chats and free books. If your group is not registered, click here to register.

I currently am reading American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld, which will be out on September 2nd. It's getting lots and lots of advance attention, much of it centering on certain parallels between the main character Alice and Laura Bush. Here's a short line to describe it: "On what might have been one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House --- and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, 'almost in opposition to itself.'" It's a big sweeping story, and I admire Sittenfeld's attention to detail about many of the descriptions of both setting, apparel and other details that give readers a real sense of time as the book takes place over several decades.

Our poll delves into whether or not your bookbuying habits have changed since the price of gas has gone up. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

For our monthly tip, we know that many book club titles are popularized by independent booksellers. For hints on books that your group may want to read, take a look at the IndieBound.org website for both the IndieBound Bestseller List, which charts books that currently are bestsellers at the independent bookstores, as well as their list of upcoming books to watch on their Indie Next list.


Many of you have written to tell me how you enjoy this monthly newsletter. If you are not aware, I also do a weekly newsletter at Bookreporter.com, where each week we bring you reviews, interviews and my bookish adventures. If you find yourself with a yearning for a weekly book fix, may I suggest you take a look at it here? If you like what you see, sign up for it here. Reading through some of the back issues will get you caught up on more reading that has been inspiring me these past few months.

Next Friday night I am planning to go out to the Clinton Book Shop in Clinton here in New Jersey to catch Garth Stein's reading. He wrote The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I love love love. If you live in the area and plan to be there, drop me a note. People who have read this book on my recommendation repeatedly tell me that they always buy a half dozen for friends who they know will love it. Book addiction being passed along. Perfecto. Here's to reading while swinging in hammocks and floating on pool chairs! I already am making a stack for our annual Outer Banks vacation the end of the month!

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

 

Special Contest: Win THE MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards for Your Group

Summer is the perfect time to dive into those books you’ve always been meaning to read. This month we are featuring a special contest for the bestselling The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards, a brilliantly crafted family drama that explores every mother's silent fear: What would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? Fifty readers will have the opportunity to each win one finished copy of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter for their group. Enter between now and Wednesday, August 27th by filling out the form found here.

More About The Memory Keeper's Daughter:
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. A rich and deeply moving page-turner, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is an astonishing tale of redemptive love.


-Click here to read the guide for The Memory Keeper's Daughter.
 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb?

A unique collaboration between the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, Annie Barrows, results in a captivating historical epistolary novel that illustrates the power of resilience, romance --- and reading.

 
Click here to read the guide for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

 

THE GARGOYLE by Andrew Davidson

Marianne Engel is a beautiful sculptress of gargoyles who appears in the burn unit one day and tells the narrator of this mesmerizing tale that they were lovers in medieval times, when she was a scribe and he was a mercenary. Is she simply mad? Or is she truly the angel of mercy who will save him from his suicidal despair?

Already an international literary sensation, The Gargoyle is an Inferno for our time. It will have you believing in the impossible.

-Click here to see our One to Watch feature for Andrew Davidson and The Gargoyle on Bookreporter.com.

 

Click here to read the guide for The Gargoyle.


 

INSIDE OUT GIRL by Tish Cohen

Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner --- which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled 10-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of Rachel's children, who are about to be linked to the most-mocked girl in school, Rachel and Len begin dating. And when Len receives terrible news, little Olivia needs a hero more than ever.
 
Click here to read the guide for Inside Out Girl.

 

APPLES & ORANGES: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found, by Marie Brenner

Some brothers and sisters have relationships that are easy. But oh, some relationships can be fraught. Confusing, too: How can two people share the same parents and turn out to be entirely different? Marie Brenner has written an extraordinary memoir --- one that is heartbreakingly honest, funny and true. It’s a book that even her brother could love. Lesley Stahl called it “genius.” In The New York Times Book Review, James Panero said, “Brenner has delivered a majestic little book. She deepens a tragicomic story into a meditation on family and fate.”

-Click here to read more about Apples & Oranges.

 

Click here to read the guide for Apples & Oranges.


 
WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O'Flynn
What Was Lost is a tender and sharply observant debut novel about a missing young girl --- winner of the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize and The Guardian First Book Award. Written with warmth and wit, this is a haunting debut from an incredible new talent.

“A delight to read --- suspenseful, funny and smart.”
     --- Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Captivating.”
     --- Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

 

Click here to read the guide for What Was Lost.


 
EVERYTHING NICE by Ellen Shanman
Fiercely independent and seriously lacking in social graces, Michaela "Mike" Edwards doesn’t do sugar and spice. Instead she writes great copy and stays above the fray --- until mishandled office politics get her unexpectedly fired. Suddenly the young ad hotshot finds herself rethinking her entire career.
 
But for Mike, a few wrenching twists of fate are leading to a job she never expected: teaching “life skills” to seventh-grade girls. But sometimes the best makeovers are the ones you never see coming.

Click here to read the guide for Everything Nice.


 

HOUSE OF DAUGHTERS by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Lonely Clementine is the rightful heir to the House of Peine, the vineyard that has been in the family for generations. She has spent her whole life caring for the vines, not to mention her sour brute of a father. But now the Peine patriarch is dead, and to Clementine’s distress his will stipulates that she must share the vineyard with a half-sister she hasn’t seen in 20 years and another she didn’t even know existed. Secrets tumble out as the three sisters struggle to rescue the family heritage while overcoming their own differences.
 
Click here to read the guide for House of Daughters.

 

THE QUEEN'S LADY by Barbara Kyle

It was an age of ambition, greed and excess, when King Henry VIII of England let no law of God or man stand in the path of his desires. Honor Larke was lady-in-waiting to the queen and had to take sides in a game of power, passion and perfidy. This spellbinding romantic adventure will transport you to a time when a woman’s fate depended upon her sharp wits --- and courage in a world gone mad...
 

Click here to read the guide for The Queen's Lady.


 

HarperCollins's Free Books for a Year Sweepstakes

Win a Year's Worth of Books for Your Book Club!

Don't miss this opportunity to win 12 copies of a specially selected title for every month of the year! The winner will receive books by celebrated authors including Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, Gregory Maguire, Paulo Coelho, Debra Dean, Thrity Umrigar, Zora Neale Hurston, Lionel Shriver, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Chabon and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Encourage all your book club members to enter!

 
Click here to enter the contest.

 

Registered Book Club Offers

For August we have TWO very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop and The View from Garden City by Carolyn Baugh. Groups who have registered with us by Tuesday, August 12th have the chance to win author chats and free books. If your group is not registered, click here to register.

December by Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop --- Author Chat and Book Giveaway: Three groups will have the opportunity to chat with Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop and receive 12 copies of the book.

More About December:
Eleven-year-old Isabelle hasn’t spoken a word in nearly a year. The doctors declare her silence impenetrable, and her parents are mystified and terrified by their daughter’s withdrawal. Compulsively readable and deeply affecting, December paints an unforgettable picture of a family reckoning with a bewildering crisis, and of a critical month in the life of a bright, fascinating girl, locked into an isolation of her own making and from which only she can decide to break free.

The View from Garden City by Carolyn Baugh --- Author Chat and Book Giveaway: 10 groups will have the opportunity to chat with Carolyn Baugh and receive 12 copies of the book.

More About The View from Garden City:
Author Carolyn Baugh tells the moving story of a young American student living in the Garden City district of Cairo. Having come to study Arabic, she learns far more from the Egyptian women, young and old, she meets within the swirl and tumult of Garden City. Living, loving and flourishing amid the fierce inflexibility of tradition, these women reveal a fascinating world of arranged marriages, secret romances and the often turbulent bonds between four generations of Arab mothers and daughters.

 
Click here to register your group.

 

What's New on the ReadingGroupGuides.com Blog

Our exciting NEW ReadingGroupGuides.com Blog is giving us a chance to talk to you on a regular basis. Throughout the month we are sharing postings from regular contributors --- including authors, librarians, book club facilitators, booksellers and experts in the publishing industry --- as well as special guests. The latest blog can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-Mindy Schneider: Lunch at Camp was Never this Good...
-Jennie Shortridge: Book Group Biology
-Patricia Wood: Getting the Book Club Ball Rolling
-D. L. Wilson: An Author's First Experience with a Reading Group
-When an Author Joins a Discussion
-Jennifer McMahon: You Tell Me
-Victoria Lustbader: Inspired by Reading Groups
-Jessica Anya Blau: The Questions I Am Most Often Asked by Reading Groups
-Air Traffic Control
-Reads for Summer...and Other Times of the Year
-Books and Book Friends


For those of you who use RSS feeds to keep track of your favorite blogs, you can now add the ReadingGroupGuides.com blog to your list by clicking the link on the blog page.

 
Click here to read the ReadingGroupGuides.com Blog.

 

New Guides Now Available

The following guides are now available on ReadingGroupGuides.com:

The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton
by George by Wesley Stace
Everything Nice by Ellen Shanman
Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky
Forgiven by P M Kulseth
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch
Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen
Jack with a Twist by Brenda Janowitz
The Last Kiss by Luanne Rice
Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
The Organ Grinder and the Monkey by Sam Moffie
The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller
The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle
Resonance by A. J. Scudiere
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
Riven by Jerry B. Jenkins
Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul by Karen Abbott
The View from Garden City by Carolyn Baugh
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs

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


Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
Consumption: A Novel of the Arctic by Kevin Patterson
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician by Daniel Wallace
Songs Without Words by Ann Packer


We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

Dogwood by Chris Fabry
The Outsider by Ann H. Gabhart
UnChristian America: Living with Faith in a Nation That Was Never Under God by Michael Babcock


 

This Month's Contest Book: INSIDE OUT GIRL by Tish Cohen

Win a copy of Inside Out Girl by Tish Cohen 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 ReadingGroupGuides.com newsletter by September 1, 2008. If you are receiving this newsletter in your mailbox, you already are signed up!

More about
Inside Out Girl:
Rachel Berman wants everything to be perfect. An overprotective single mother of two, she is acutely aware of the statistical dangers lurking around every corner --- which makes her snap decision to aid a stranded motorist wholly uncharacteristic. Len Bean is stuck on the shoulder with Olivia, his relentlessly curious, learning disabled 10-year-old daughter. To the chagrin of Rachel's children, who are about to be linked to the most-mocked girl in school, Rachel and Len begin dating. And when Len receives terrible news, little Olivia needs a hero more than ever.

 
Click here to read contest details and rules.

 

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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New York, New York 10107