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October 2008 Newsletter

October 2008

This Month on

Meeting Readers and Writers Across the Country

Special Contest: Win THE SECRET BETWEEN US by Barbara Delinsky for Your Group 

OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout

GOLDENGROVE by Francine Prose



THE COMMON BOND by Donigan Merritt

A WEEK IN OCTOBER by Elizabeth Subercaseaux

JOHN 3:16 by Nancy Moser

OUT OF HER HANDS by Megan DiMaria

MY SISTER DILLY by Maureen Lang
Book Group Expo 2008 -- October 25th and 26th in San Jose
Random House Reader’s Circle Book Club Fest

New Guides Now Available

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

Meeting Readers and Writers Across the Country

Greetings from Baltimore, where I am in town for the Bouchercon (pronounced bowshercon) Mystery Convention. It's an annual event where I get to see many of my favorite mystery and thriller authors, as well as publishing friends. Last year it was in Anchorage and I was not able to make the trip, thus it's going to be an even more special catch-up time!

One of the fun things about traveling is that I get to meet readers/contributors on the way. On this trip I am having dinner with Heather Johnson, one of our bloggers. Heather and I have not met, though I feel like I know her from her writing. I really am looking forward to this. In San Jose at Book Group Expo later this month I will be seeing Esther Bushell, another of our bloggers. Esther lives in the New York area so we see each other at various events. Once you know people by their writing, it's fun to meet them in person.

Are you going to be at Book Group Expo? If so, drop me a note so we can plan to meet up there. I am going to be interviewing Garth Stein, author of The Art Of Racing in the Rain while I am there for Book Club Girl's Blogspot radio show. I have questions racing in my head. If you have one for Garth, let me know!

We selected our first three groups for Book Club Makeovers. They are "Stages and Pages" from Portland, ME, "The Bookies" from Fort Morgan, CO and "Changing Chapters" from Wisconsin Rapids, WI. You can read more about them --- and their issues for us to solve --- here. We will report back to them with our ideas later this month, and we will share our thoughts with you next month. Interested in having your group get a makeover? Then click here to learn more.

We are happy to report that our Blog won "Best Book Group Blog" in the Book Blogger Appreciation Awards last month. The awards were in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, launched by My Friend Amy. VERY special thanks to Shannon McKenna Schmidt, who has been writing/editing/producing/cheerleading posts for this blog from the beginning. Thank you to all of you who voted!

Our latest blog post can be found here, and here are quick links to some recent posts:

-Looking Ahead...
-National Reading Group Month
-Elizabeth Strout: All About OLIVE KITTERIDGE
-Book Club Makeover: Our First Group of Winners
-Nancy Pearl On Book Clubs
-Great Group Reads for Fall
-Book Club Girl Loves Banned Books
-Annie Barrows: Going to Guernsey
-Books Into Movies
-Book Club Makeovers
-Book Profiling

For those of you who use RSS feeds to keep track of your favorite blogs, you can now add the blog to your list by clicking the link on the blog page. You also can post the link to it on your favorite social networking sites.

Are you looking for fun, literary gifts for you or your fellow book club members? We're celebrating National Reading Group Month with a special contest giving away five witty Book Club T-Shirts from Unshelved designed for the book club enthusiast. In pink print on black cotton, the front of the t-shirt says "Book Club" while the back lists "The Rules of Book Club," which is a humorous take on Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk's novel that was later adapted into a major motion picture. Please click here for your chance to win one of these fun t-shirts and here to see a full description of the prize. And if you don't want to wait to see if you win, click here for the Unshelved store. There are lots of apparel bookish goodies for sale.

For October we have THREE very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are Testimony by Anita Shreve (I read an advance copy of this book last June...skipped a dinner to finish it...completely riveting story!), A Silent Ocean Away by DeVa Gantt and Home Another Way by Christa Parrish. Groups who have registered with us by Wednesday, October 15th have the chance to win author chats and/or free books. If your group is not registered, and you are interested in future monthly contests, click here to register. To read more about the contest details and these titles, click here.

Our contest book this month is The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik. For your group to win 20 free copies of this book, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter by November 1, 2008. If you are receiving this newsletter in your mailbox, you already are signed up! You can find more information about this contest here. Click here to read more about The View from Mount Joy.

We invite you to weigh in on this month's poll, in which we ask if you and your group would be interested in attending a book club-focused event where you could learn about a number of books and meet authors. Our tip for October suggests that your group celebrate National Reading Group Month by looking for local events that may be scheduled at your local bookseller or library.

If you are in a book club that is reading graphic novels, can you drop me a note? I am working on a new project and would love readers who have discused these to give me some feedback on it.

Here's to another great month of reading. I am off to the conference...scrambling not to be middle name is LATE. Read on...

Carol Fitzgerald ([email protected])


Interested in having your book group get a makeover? Click here for all the details.


Special Contest: Win THE SECRET BETWEEN US by Barbara Delinsky for Your Group 

We are celebrating the paperback release of The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky --- an unforgettable story about making bad choices for the right reasons and the bond between a mother and daughter --- with a special contest. 200 readers will have the opportunity to each win one finished copy of The Secret Between Us, which will be in stores on November 4th, for their group. Enter between now and Wednesday, October 29th by filling out the form found here.

More About The Secret Between Us:
Deborah Monroe and her daughter, Grace, are driving home from a party when their car hits a man running in the dark. Grace was at the wheel, but Deborah sends her home before the police arrive, determined to shoulder the blame for the accident. Her decision then turns into a deception that takes on a life of its own and threatens the special bond between mother and daughter.

-Click here to read the guide for The Secret Between Us.


Click here to read all the contest details.


OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout binds together 13 rich, luminous narratives into a book with the heft of a novel, through the presence of one larger-than-life, unforgettable character: Olive Kitteridge. These are penetrating tales of the human soul in trouble --- sometimes despairing, sometimes redeemed. Elizabeth Strout, in her lambent prose and amazing humanity, offers us one of modern literature's richest characters and profound insights into the human condition.
Click here to read the guide for Olive Kitteridge.


GOLDENGROVE by Francine Prose

At the center of Francine Prose's profoundly moving new novel is a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister. As her parents drift toward their own risky consolations, 13-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend.

Over one haunted summer, Nico must face that life-changing moment when children realize their parents can no longer help them.


Click here to read the guide for Goldengrove.



At 12, Lucy Marie McGowan already knows she’ll be a psychologist when she grows up. And her quirky and conflicted family provides plenty of opportunity for her to practice her calling. Now Lucy, her “profoundly gifted” twin brother, Milo, her commitment-phobic mother, and her New Age grandmother are leaving Chicago for Timber Falls, Wisconsin, to care for her dying grandfather --- a complex and difficult man whose failure as a husband and father still painfully echoes down through the years.
Click here to read the guide for Thank You for All Things.



Thomas had always dreamed of living by a wild river, and when he marries Helen and convinces her to move to Idaho with him --- and to buy a broken-down farm, sight unseen --- it would seem his dream had come true. The year is 1960, and the young couple is fleeing the East Coast and the stifling influence of Helen’s wealthy parents. But once they arrive in Idaho things begin quickly to go wrong.

Click here to read the guide for A Country Called Home.

Ella Dubose is a Southern lady of a certain age --- an age at which memories of youth can rush in at every turn and overwhelm the present. But while Ella’s two younger children are concerned for her health and want to limit her independence, Ella --- elegant, unconventional and unrepentantly willful --- has very different ideas. And she’s not about to be controlled by anyone, not when there are tasks she needs to complete and loose ends that must be tied.

-Click here to see our Southern Writers feature for James Villas and Dancing in the Lowcountry on


Click here to read the guide for Dancing in the Lowcountry.

THE COMMON BOND by Donigan Merritt
When Morgan Cary flies home to Hawaii after a decade spent in California, he arrives with a broken heart and an overwhelming sense of guilt surrounding the death of his wife. As he spirals further into his grief, the hope of a deliverance into the future appears through an unexpected friendship with a native Hawaiian family, and forces Morgan to sift through the worst of his memories as he searches for his life in the solace of the sea.

Click here to read the guide for The Common Bond.


A WEEK IN OCTOBER by Elizabeth Subercaseaux

Clara Griffin courageously confronts breast cancer while recording her thoughts and experiences in her journal under the guise of a novel. What develops is a thinly veiled version of Clara’s own life, her disappointment with her marriage, her reminiscences of childhood, and the death that seems to surround her. When her husband discovers the notebook, he is stunned. Is this just a fictional story --- he asks himself, turning the pages --- or his wife’s very personal diary?

A bestselling Latin American author, A Week in October is Elizabeth Subercaseaux’s first novel to be translated into English.

Click here to read the guide for A Week in October.


JOHN 3:16 by Nancy Moser

In Nancy Moser’s latest release, unexpected tragedy hits a college town. And in its wake, the resulting string of events brings together a group of desperate people, each looking for a reason to keep living.

As these lives intersect on a sunny, fall day, one of them will hold up a sign at a football game: John 3:16. This simple act of faith has the power to change lives forever.


Click here to read the guide for John 3:16.


OUT OF HER HANDS by Megan DiMaria

Linda Revere’s grown children are poised to launch into life, and, like all parents, she only wants the best for them. She’s been praying for her children’s future spouses since they were small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda isn’t prepared for the young woman her son brings home. Will Linda be able to trust that God is in control when the situation is out of her hands?
Click here to read the guide for Out of Her Hands.

MY SISTER DILLY by Maureen Lang
When Hannah Williams decides to step in as her sister’s keeper and makes the move back to her rural hometown from a fast-paced life in California, she ends up finding more than she bargained for. As she sees her sister experiencing freedom far beyond what her release from prison offers, Hannah begins to wonder if the God she’s ignored for so long could, and would, give her the same redemption.
Click here to read the guide for My Sister Dilly.

Book Group Expo 2008 -- October 25th and 26th in San Jose

Looking for a way to meet up with other book groups and to have the opportunity to meet authors whose books are perfect for great book club discussions? Then you want to attend the third annual Book Group Expo in San Jose, California on October 25th and 26th. 

More than 75 authors will be there, including Annie Barrows, author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; Andre Dubus III, author of The Garden of Last Days; Kate Jacobs, author of The Friday Night Knitting Club; Ann Packer, author of Songs Without Words; and Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain. For a complete list of authors, click here.

In addition to the Literary Salons that include authors and various panel conversations, this two-day event includes a Marketplace featuring onsite vendors ready to introduce you to products available to enhance your book group and reading experience, including tastings of wine, tea, chocolate and other savory and sweet delights.

Coming in from out of town? Be sure to check out the discounted hotel rates at the official Book Group Expo hotels.
Click here to find out more about Book Group Expo and to get your tickets.

Random House Reader’s Circle Book Club Fest
It's National Reading Group Month, and in honor of this page-turning tradition, Random House Reader’s Circle is hosting a special month-long event: Book Club Fest! Visit to check out exclusive podcasts, sweepstakes and more. There is also an interactive calendar highlighting author events and updates to the site, which you can post to your blog, Facebook, or share with your fellow readers.
Click here to find out more about Random House Reader’s Circle Book Club Fest.


New Guides Now Available

The following guides are now available on

The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson
Carry Me Home by Sandra Kring
The Common Bond by Donigan Merritt
A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes
Dancing in the Lowcountry by James Villas
Dead Boys: Stories by Richard Lange
The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal
The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters by Lorraine López
Goldengrove by Francine Prose
The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger
Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Seal Woman by Solveig Eggerz
A Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion by DeVa Gantt
Sinful Too by Victor McGlothin
Testimony by Anita Shreve
Thank You for All Things by Sandra Kring
A Week in October by Elizabeth Subercaseaux

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

The Rabbi's Daughter by Reva Mann
Trespass by Valerie Martin
The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik
World Without End by Ken Follett

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

A Cut Above: Shop-Til-U-Drop, Book 3 by Ginny Aiken
Home Another Way by Christa Parrish
John 3:16 by Nancy Moser
Longings of the Heart: Sydney Cove Series, Book 2 by Bonnie Leon
My Sister Dilly by Maureen Lang
Out Of Her Hands by Megan DiMaria
Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas
Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin


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