Friday, May 8, 2009

May 2009

Special Features and Contests

Win a Copy of THE HOUSEHOLD GUIDE TO DYING by Debra Adelaide for Your Group

We are celebrating the release of The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide --- a gorgeously crafted, witty and uplifting novel that captures the reader and expands one's understanding of a meaningful life --- with a special contest. Eighty-five readers will have the opportunity to each win one advance copy of The Household Guide to Dying, which is now available in stores, for their group.

More About The Household Guide to Dying:
The Household Guide to Dying is a freshly insightful, hopeful and dramatic novel full of heart and life --- told from the perspective of a household advice columnist, wife and mother who is determined to finish a lifetime's worth of tasks even though she doesn't have a lifetime left to live.

"I think you'll love this life-affirming novel. I did."
--- Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed

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



New and Recommended Fiction


The Secret Scripture
by Sebastian Barry


Now Available in Paperback:
In The Secret Scripture, Sebastian Barry revisits County Sligo, Ireland, the setting for his previous three books, to tell the unforgettable story of Roseanne McNulty. Once one of the most beguiling women in Sligo, she is now a resident of Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital and nearing her hundredth year. Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is an engrossing tale of one woman's life, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic Church had on individuals throughout much of the 20th century.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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The Winter Vault
by Anne Michaels


From the author of Fugitive Pieces, an exquisite second novel about enduring love; about memory keeping faith with the past; and about human desire. It is 1964, and Avery is one of the engineers responsible for dismantling and reconstructing Abu Simbel before the Aswan Dam submerges the Egyptian flood site. Jean is his newlywed wife, a botanist who enters the life of Lucjan, a Polish émigré who draws her away from her husband --- but closer to a more essential life.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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A Reliable Wife
by Robert Goolrick


Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for "a reliable wife." But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she's not the "simple, honest woman" that Ralph is expecting. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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Atlas of Unknowns
by Tania James


In the wake of their mother's mysterious death, Linno and Anju Vallara are raised in Kerala by their father and grandmother. As a teenager, Anju wins a scholarship to a Manhattan prep school with an act of betrayal that severs her relationship with Linno. But when Anju finds herself ensnared with her own lies, she runs away. Desperate to find Anju, Linno embarks on a journey of her own, toward her sister, toward America and toward forgiveness.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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The Divorce Party
by Laura Dave


Now Available in Paperback:
Laura Dave is widely recognized as an up-and-coming talent in women's fiction. Now, with her characteristic wit and warmth, she captures a much-discussed cultural phenomenon that has never been profiled in fiction before --- divorce celebrations. Set in Hamptons high society, The Divorce Party features two women --- one newly engaged and one at the end of her marriage --- trying to answer the same question: when should you fight to save a relationship, and when should you let go?

Click Here for the reading group guide.

A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy
by Charlotte Greig


Philosophy student Susannah Jones stumbles through 1970s university life the only way she knows how: with the help of some of the most important philosophers of modern times. She falls in love, breaks up, and dabbles in feminism and sexual freedom. But circumstances become more complicated than Susannah would like when she finds herself in a particularly impossible dilemma: she becomes pregnant.

Click Here for the reading group guide.
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Appassionata
by Eva Hoffman


A renowned concert pianist at the height of her career, Isabel Merton feels increasingly dissatisfied with her itinerant artist's life. On a European tour, she meets a political exile from war-torn Chechnya. As their paths cross in several cities, they are drawn to each other both by their differences, and their seemingly parallel passions until a menacing incident throws her into a creative crisis, and forces her to re-evaluate his actions, and her own motives.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal
by Sean Dixon


The Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women's Book Club loves to bring to life the books they read. But when they begin to enact the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the early days of the Iraq War, the book begins to enact them instead, sending the Cabalists across the globe in search of a wise man who will hopefully have all the answers.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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Valeria's Last Stand
by Marc Fitten


There are big fish in small ponds, and then there is Valeria --- a whale in a puddle. She harrumphs her daily way through her backwater Hungarian village, finding equal fault with the new, the old, the foreign, and the familiar. Her decades of universal contempt have turned her into a touchstone of her little community --- whatever she scorns the least must truly be the best. But one day, on a day like any other, her spinster's heart is struck by an unlikely arrow: the village potter, long known and little noticed, captures her fancy, and Valeria finds herself playing an uncomfortable new role.

With humor and sensitivity, author Marc Fitten delivers an unexpected and entirely inspiring debut novel --- a celebration of late-flowering love that's sure to warm the hearts of even the most committed curmudgeons.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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We Are Rich
by Dori Carter


With the same unerring eye that made her a Los Angeles Times bestseller with Beautiful Wasps Having Sex, Dori Carter trains her incautious wit on the burdens of wealth, class and the unwitting arsonists of the American Dream in this collection of short stories. As if foreshadowing our current economic graveyard, We Are Rich shows us where the bodies are buried as we watch the hillsides of paradise quite literally go up in smoke.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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An Accidental Light
by Elizabeth Diamond


On a quiet road just outside London, a fatal car accident takes the life of 13-year-old Laura Jenkins, and her death changes the lives of two families forever. In this poignant and heart-warming debut novel, Elizabeth Diamond explores the ripple effects of a single moment of tragedy --- the journey from guilt to peace, from vengeance to forgiveness, from sorrow to hope --- and even, ultimately, to joy. An Accidental Light is a tender and deeply affecting story that is not easily forgotten.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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Killer Cruise: A Jaine Austen Mystery
by Laura Levine


Jaine Austen's ship has finally come in! Her new teaching gig is on a fancy cruise line where she nabs a free vacation --- and access to a 24-hour buffet! But her all-expenses-paid trip to the Mexican Riviera seems destined to be a wreck…

Click Here for the reading group guide.


New and Recommended Nonfiction

High: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler
by Brian O'Dea


In the early 1980s, Brian O'Dea was operating a $100 million a year, 120-man drug smuggling business, and had developed a terrifying cocaine addiction. Under increasing threat from the DEA for importing 75 tons of marijuana into the United States, he quit the trade --- and the drugs --- and began working with recovering addicts. Despite his life change, the authorities caught up with him years later and O'Dea was sentenced to 10 years in prison. High weaves together extracts from his prison diary with the vivid recounting of his outlaw years and the daunting recognition of those things in life worth living for.

Click Here for the reading group guide.



For Christian Readers

The Moment Between
by Nicole Baart

Abigail Bennett was completely in control of her life until tragedy suddenly pushed her to the brink of something she's never experienced: obsession. Now, she's given up everything to chase down the object of that obsession. His name is Tyler Kamp.

The Moment Between is a complex novel about the emotional risks of relationships between a 30-year-old unmarried accountant looking to reinvent herself, her troubled sister, and the man who becomes, for very different reasons, their shared obsession.


Click Here for the reading group guide.

Entertaining Angels
by Judy Duarte


As a teen, Kristy Smith spent her nights dreaming of a college scholarship --- dreams that ended abruptly when she became pregnant. When Craig Houston became a pastor, he envisioned making a difference in some distant, poverty-stricken country, not dealing with youth groups and shut-ins in a tidy suburb like Fairbrook. But things aren't always what they seem. One by one, the residents of Fairbrook are about to learn that the future can surprise and redeem us, especially when there is courage and true friendship in abundance, and a little help from an unexpected source.

Click Here for the reading group guide.

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Parenting Your Teen and Loving It: Being the Mom Your Kid Needs
by Susie Davis


Cell phones and Facebook. Slammed doors and mood swings. Somehow, your sweet child changed into a baffling bunch of hormones you barely recognize. You love your teen but worry about being the mom you need to be.

Susie Davis can help. She gives you the information you need to understand where your teen is emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually. With humor and transparency, this seasoned mother of teens answers your big questions.

Click Here for the reading group guide.


New Christian Guides


Registered Book Club Promotion


For May we have three very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are The No 1. Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain and The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener. Groups who have registered with us by Wednesday, May 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.
  • An Accidental Light by Elizabeth Diamond: A car accident takes the life of a 13-year-old girl, and the ripple effects of a single moment of tragedy become a journey from sorrow to hope, and even, ultimately to joy.
  • The Air Between Us by Deborah Johnson: A novel with the appeal of The Secret Life of Bees that explores the interactions of a small town in 1960s Missouri as it struggles with integration.
  • All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown: A smart, comic page-turner about a Silicon Valley family in free fall over the course of one eventful summer.
  • Appassionata by Eva Hoffman: On tour in Europe, Isabel Merton, a renowned concert pianist, becomes ensnared in a passionate love affair with a Chechen political exile.
  • Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James: A funny and blazingly original novel about sisterhood, the tantalizing dream of America and the secret histories of families everywhere.
  • 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.
  • The Divorce Party by Laura Dave: An insightful and funny multi-generational story, this deeply moving novel is sure to touch anyone whose heart has weathered an unexpected storm.
  • Enduring Love: Sydney Cove Series, Book 3 by Bonnie Leon: The suspenseful conclusion to the Sydney Cove series, Enduring Love is a gripping story laced with the tender romance and hope that readers have come to expect from Bonnie Leon.
  • Entertaining Angels by Judy Duarte: From the author of the heartwarming Mulberry Park comes an uplifting, unforgettable new novel.
  • 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.
  • Finding Sara by Linda Hope Lee: A young woman's cross country journey to avoid marrying a man she does not love takes an unexpected turn when she finds herself stranded and alone.
  • 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.
  • Foreign Tongue: A Novel of Life and Love in Paris by Vanina Marsot: A young woman is forced to confront her notions of love, language and culture when, in the wake of a breakup, she moves to Paris and begins work translating a mysterious erotic novel.
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: From the internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, an unforgettable new novel that transports the reader from the back alleys of poverty of pre-World War I London to the shores of colonial Australia.
  • The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow: From the co-author of the million-copy bestseller The Last Lecture comes a moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring story of 11 girls and the 10 women they became.
  • A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy by Charlotte Greig: Philosophy student Susannah Jones stumbles through 1970s university life the only way she knows how: with the help of some of the most important philosophers of modern times.
  • God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens: In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion.
  • High: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler by Brian O'Dea: High weaves together extracts from Brian O'Dea prison diary with the vivid recounting of his outlaw years as one of the world's most efficient marijuana traffickers.
  • Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg: The bestselling author of The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and The Year of Pleasures returns with a wonderful novel about a woman, a daughter, and a surprising change in life.
  • The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey: Two unlikely college friends form a lifelong bond, bringing them mutual good luck for years; but now that they've both found "true love," tragedy threatens to strike.
  • The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide: A gorgeously crafted, witty and uplifting novel that captures the reader --- heart and mind --- and expands our understanding of a meaningful life.
  • 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.
  • How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson: A playful, witty and remarkably accomplished debut novel about --- of all things --- how reading can save your life.
  • 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.
  • Jillian Dare by Melanie Jeschke: This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture your heart with its timeless romance and the mystery of love.
  • Killer Cruise: A Jaine Austen Mystery by Laura Levine: Laura Levine's latest mystery featuring wordsmith-turned-sleuth, Jaine Austen --- who's about to dive into her most dangerous case yet --- she's far beyond any ordinary Bon Voyage.
  • The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener: A powerful and surprising first novel that is commercial and suspenseful in tone while deep and lyrical in its prose, The Killing Tree will wrap you deeply in the folds of contemporary Appalachian culture.
  • The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal by Sean Dixon: An offbeat rites-of-passage novel that follows the members of a shallow, squabbling, time-wasting, protracted-adolescent book club as they find themselves transformed through the alchemy of the storyteller's art.
  • Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories by Simon Van Booy: A new collection of intimate, redemptive short stories from award-winning writer Simon Van Booy, exposing beauty in sadness, and pain in love.
  • 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 Moment Between by Nicole Baart: A breathtaking story about the emotional risks of relationships, The Moment Between explores the cost of regret, the desire for revenge, and the redemptive power of forgiveness.
  • 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?
  • Nothing But Trouble: PJ Sugar Series, Book 1 by Susan May Warren: Award-winning author Susan May Warren returns with Nothing But Trouble, the first novel in a new series for Christian fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.
  • 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.
  • Parenting Your Teen and Loving It: Being the Mom Your Kid Needs by Susie Davis: Davis's unfailing advice and encouragement will help you be the best mom you can be by empowering you to parent your teenagers with wisdom.
  • A Passion Denied: The Daughters of Boston, Book 3 by Julie Lessman: Brimming with romance, longing and redemption, A Passion Denied, will quicken your pulse and gladden your heart with a riveting story of the true power of love.
  • 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.
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick: With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick's intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.
  • Right of Thirst by Frank Huyler: In this haunting, resonant tour de force, an American doctor's search for redemption lands him halfway across the world on a relief mission that goes horribly awry.
  • 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.
  • The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly: Jack McEvoy decides to use his final days at the Los Angeles Times to write the definitive murder story of his career.
  • 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.
  • The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry: An epic story of family, love and unavoidable tragedy from the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist.
  • Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain: One afternoon, single mother Sara Weston says that she's going to the store --- and never returns. In her absence, she leaves her teenaged son alone with his damaged past and a legacy of secrets.
  • 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.
  • Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber: It swept to the top of the bestseller lists and riveted the consciousness of the world. Sybil is the story of a survivor of terrifying childhood abuse, victim of sudden and mystifying blackouts, and the first case of multiple personality ever to be psychoanalyzed.
  • The Turnaround by George Pelecanos: A novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and violent redemption, The Turnaround is another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, "the best crime novelist in America." --Oregonian
  • 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.
  • Up at the College by Michele Andrea Bowen: After her marriage of 15 years ends, Yvonne Fountain Copeland returns to her hometown of Durham, North Carolina in search of peace and joy.
  • Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten: A wry folktale about life, love and capitalism in a tiny village off the map of Hungary.
  • We Are Our Mothers' Daughters: Revised and Expanded Edition by Cokie Roberts: In this 10th-anniversary edition of We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, renowned political commentator Cokie Roberts once again examines the nature of women's roles through the revealing lens of her personal experience.
  • We Are Rich: Stories by Dori Carter: A novel in stories, We Are Rich presents a fresh look on the burdens of wealth, class and the unwitting arsonists of the American Dream.
  • 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.
  • The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels: Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces, writes a love story of extraordinary depth that juxtaposes an intriguing bit of history with the intimate moments of individual lives.
  • 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:
Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg


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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