Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April 2009

ReadingGroupGuides.com's 2009 Book Group Survey -- Give Us Your Input and Receive a Complementary Book!

ReadingGroupGuides.com is conducting a survey of book groups. Our goal is to identify trends and topics that are of interest to book groups that we can share with publishers and authors, so they can provide the information and resources to enhance your meetings and discussions. We have not done a survey since 2001, and we know that a lot has changed in the last eight years! Thus, we would love to hear from you.

We estimate it will take 12-15 minutes to complete the survey. As your time is valuable to us, as a token of our appreciation for completing the survey, EACH survey participant will receive ONE of 28 books that appear at the bottom of this page.

We thank our publishing colleagues who graciously provided these incentives for you to share your thoughts with us. Please note that each of these titles would be worthy of a book club discussion! Prize titles will be selected at random and sent to you from the participating publisher. Your name will not be used for any other mailing. If you know people in other book clubs, may we suggest that you forward this link to them? The more voices that are heard for this, the more we will be able to have your comments shared with publishers and authors.

The survey will close on April 30th, or as soon as we have 2,500 prizes awarded, so click here to answer the survey NOW.

One quick note: Given customs and mailing restrictions, the prize offerings are only available to residents of the United States and Canada. To our international readers, we welcome your participation and regret we cannot send prizes overseas.

-Click here for more information about the survey and the 28 prize books.


Special Features and Contests

Win a Copy of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN and the Chance to Have an IN-PERSON Chat with Garth Stein!

We are celebrating the upcoming paperback release of The Art of Racing in the Rain --- Garth Stein's New York Times bestselling novel about family, love, loyalty and hope --- with a very special two-part contest. 100 readers will receive a copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain for their book club as well as an Art of Racing in the Rain buzz kit. We will then contact our 100 winning groups and ask them to tell us how they would creatively use some or all of the items included in this kit in their book discussion. One Grand Prize Winner will have an IN-PERSON chat with Garth Stein. Two runners-up will receive the opportunity to chat with Garth Stein by phone. The Art of Racing in the Rain will be available in paperback on June 9th.

More About The Art of Racing in the Rain:
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, he has educated himself by watching television and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

Click here to read all the contest details.
Click here for the reading group guide.


Win a Copy of ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN by Mahbod Seraji for Your Group

We are celebrating the upcoming release of Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji --- a coming-of-age story set in Iran in the 1970s that is funny, insightful, tragic and ultimately uplifting --- with a special contest. 50 readers will have the opportunity to each win one finished copy of Rooftops of Tehran, which will be in stores on May 5th, for their group.

More About Rooftops of Tehran:
In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice...

Click here to read all the contest details.
Click here for the reading group guide.


New and Recommended Fiction


City of Thieves
by David Benioff


Now Available in Paperback:
"This spellbinding story perfectly blends tragedy and comedy." --USA Today

During the Nazis' brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter's wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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River of Heaven
by Lee Martin


Now Available in Paperback:
On an April evening in 1955, Dewey Finn died on the railroad tracks outside Mt. Gilead, Illinois, and the mystery of his death still confounds the people of this small town.

River of Heaven begins some fifty years later and centers on the story of Dewey's boyhood friend Sam Brady, whose solitary adult life is much formed by what really went on in the days leading up to that evening at the tracks. It's a story he'd do anything to keep from telling, but when his brother, Cal, returns to Mt. Gilead after decades of self-exile, it threatens to come to the surface.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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The Diary
by Eileen Goudge


When sisters Sarah and Emily stumble across an old diary while cleaning out their mother's attic, they are stunned to learn she was in love with another man before their dad. As they read on, they are left with more questions than answers. What made the youthful Elizabeth chose their dad in the end? What became of the mysterious AJ? The answers may surprise you --- and have you asking, "How well do I know my parents?"

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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Somebody Else's Daughter
by Elizabeth Brundage


Now Available in Paperback:
"[A] deft balancing act of taut plot and richly drawn characters... Brundage is a storyteller supreme" --Wally Lamb

Two young drifters, Nate and Cat, are forced by stress and circumstance to give up their infant daughter Willa for adoption. For 17 years, Willa has lived in elegant prosperity with Joe and Candace Golding, her adoptive parents, in the Massachusetts Berkshires, where she attends the elite, private Pioneer School. But the Goldings have fled a mysterious past, and when a cleaned-up Nate arrives at Pioneer to teach English, the well-varnished fa├žade of an idyllic small town begins to crack.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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Love in Bloom
by Sheila Roberts


"Sheila Roberts makes me laugh. I read her books and come away inspired, hopeful, and happy." --Debbie Macomber, New York Times bestselling author

When Hope Walker stakes out a plot of ground at Heart Lake's community garden, she finds that a woman can grow all sorts of things there: flowers, vegetables, and even friendship. As she gets to know the two women who share neighboring plots, they discover that they can learn a lot from one another --- not just about gardening but about life.

To learn more about Sheila Roberts and Love in Bloom visit her website, www.sheilasplace.com. There you'll also find great contests, recipes and more.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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The Ocean Inside
by Janna McMahan


Life changes in an instant. One day, Emmett and Lauren's biggest worries are of escalating taxes on their gorgeous Victorian beach house on Pawley's Island, SC. The next, they're facing a devastating crisis. From the acclaimed author of Calling Home comes the compelling new novel about the bonds between husband and wife, parents and children, and the strength that lies within. The Ocean Inside explores what it means to fight for what matters most...even in the face of overwhelming odds.

Click Here for the reading group guide.



For Christian Readers

New Christian Guides


Registered Book Club Promotion


For April we have FIVE very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas, Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos, A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick, A Widow's Hope by Mary Ellis and The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard. Groups who have registered with us by Monday, April 13th have the chance to win author chats and/or free books. If your group is not registered, click here to register.

Click here for details.



New Guides

  • 7th Heaven: A Women's Murder Club Novel by James Patterson: Frightened for her life and torn between two men, Lindsay Boxer must find a way to solve the most daunting dilemmas she's ever faced --- at work and at home.
  • All the Living by C. E. Morgan: An unforgettable novel from a mesmerizing new voice in fiction, All the Living defies the traditional notions of a love story.
  • B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras: Everyone in the world, it seems, is either prettier or thinner (or both) than Beauty Marie Zavala.
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff: A gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with a contemporary feel for how boys become men.
  • The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles: In 1863, the War Between the States creeps slowly yet inevitably toward its bloody conclusion --- and eastern thoughts are already turning to different wars and enemies.
  • The Diary by Eileen Goudge: The Diary is a love story. It's also the story of the unshakable bond between a mother and her daughters.
  • Figures in Silk by Vanora Bennett: Two sisters discover passion during the War of the Roses --- one in the arms of the king, the other in the world of silk.
  • A Flickering Light: Portraits of the Heart, Book 1 by Jane Kirkpatrick: Aspiring photographer Jessie Gaebele fights a growing attraction to her employer by fleeing toward the rugged frontier, but the shadows of temptation aren't easily left behind.
  • The House in Grosvenor Square: A Regency Inspirational Romance by Linore Rose Burkard: Jane Austen readers and fans of Regency romances everywhere will love The House in Grosvenor Square.
  • The Inn at Eagle Point by Sherryl Woods: The Inn at Eagle Point launches New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods's new Chesapeake Shores series featuring another complex family, another charming town.
  • Love in Bloom by Sheila Roberts: A woman can grow a lot at a community garden, even friendship. Hope Walker's new friends help her learn to live life to the fullest.
  • The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton: A re-discovered classic and timeless bestseller, this beloved family saga of the American heartland was recommended by Jane Smiley as one of the hundred classic novels everyone should read.
  • My Son, John by Kathi Macias: After a brutal murder, a family searches for answers. Can God bring healing to a family torn apart by a brutal crime?
  • The Ocean Inside by Janna McMahan: The Ocean Inside explores what it means to hope, love and fight for what matters most...even in the face of overwhelming odds.
  • Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas: Sandra Dallas, author of the critically acclaimed Tallgrass, has created an unforgettable tale of a friendship between two women --- one that is ultimately a revelation of the finest parts of the human spirit.
  • River of Heaven by Lee Martin: River of Heaven is a story of love and loss, loneliness and connection as one man tries to find a way to reconcile his past.
  • Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji: An emotionally engaging debut novel from a talented new writer --- a coming-of-age story set in Iran in the 1970s that is funny, insightful, tragic and ultimately uplifting.
  • The Sacred Well by Antoinette May: Two women, both writers, living 80 years apart, stumble into uncertain territory in love --- and perhaps an ancient Mayan curse --- when their careers bring them to the Yucatan and the ruins of Chichen Itza.
  • Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn: A big-hearted, knife-sharp and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal --- and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy.
  • Serendipity by Louise Shaffer: Louise Shaffer brings to life three generations of Italian American women in this stunning novel of surprises, secrets and serendipity.
  • Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage: Elizabeth Brundage, the author of The Doctor's Wife, has given us another electric, suspenseful tale of conflicted characters and the fractured landscape of the American psyche.
  • The Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt: When Erik Davidsen and his sister, Inga, find a disturbing note among their late father's papers, they believe he may be implicated in a mysterious death.
  • The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block: Now available in paperback, Stefan Merrill Block's extraordinary first novel illuminates the hard-learned truth that only through the loss of what we consider precious can we understand the value of what remains.
  • Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman: A hilarious and harrowing post-college journey to China, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers and pancakes.
  • A Widow's Hope: The Miller Family Series by Mary Ellis: A bright new voice shares a tender love story set in the rolling green fields of Ohio Amish country.
  • A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs: Augusten Burroughs's memoir re-creates the unspeakably terrifying relationship between a sociopathic father and a son yearning for unconditional love.
  • Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong: The winner of the inaugural Man Asian Literary prize, Wolf Totem is the fictionalized memoir of author Jiang Rong.

Now Available in Paperback

Oprah's Book Club Selection
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski


This month's prize:
Serendipity by Louise Shaffer


Get a Book Club Makeover
Whether your book club is just a few months old or has been around for a while, you might be in need of a Book Club Makeover from ReadingGroupGuides.com. After reading your emails --- and talking to book clubs across the country --- we see that book groups often can fall into a routine and need a bit of livening up. It's ReadingGroupGuides.com to the rescue! We'll select groups each month for makeovers, review the problems, and make suggestions. Interested in a Book Club Makeover for your group? Click here for details.

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