[Closed] Survey: New Book Club Kits

Hey Book Clubs, it’s time to tell us what titles you want added to our book club kits. Read the descriptions below, take a look at the reviews, then click the link below to access the survey.

Book Club Selections Survey

Descriptions:

The Great Night (2011) by Chris Adrian (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | The New York Times | The Guardian
On Midsummer’s Eve 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, become trapped in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania, Oberon, and their court. Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues threatens the lives of immortals and mortals alike.    

The Sense of an Ending (2011) by Julian Barnes (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Washington Post
This intense novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005) by Jonathan Safran Foer (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The New York Times | The Guardian
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

River of Smoke (2011) by Amitav Ghosh (HC)
ReviewsGoodreads | The New York Times | The Guardian
The Ibis, loaded to its gunwales with a cargo of indentured servants, is in the grip of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal; among the dozens flailing for survival are Neel, the pampered raja who has been convicted of embezzlement; Paulette, the French orphan masquerading as a deck-hand; and Deeti, the widowed poppy grower fleeing her homeland with her lover, Kalua. The storm also threatens the clipper ship Anahita, groaning with the largest consignment of opium ever to leave India for Canton. And the Redruth, a nursery ship, carries “Fitcher” Penrose, a horticulturist determined to track down the priceless treasures of China that are hidden in plain sight: plants that have the power to heal, or beautify, or intoxicate. All will converge in Canton’s Fanqui-Town, or For­eign Enclave: a tumultuous world unto it­self where civilizations clash and sometimes fuse. It is a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.

Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (2011) by Gabrielle Giffords & Mark Kelley with Jeffrey Zaslow (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | Tampa Bay Times | TIME Entertainment
The lives of Arizona Senator Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, United States Naval Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly, were forever changed when she was attacked and shot in the head. Follow their amazing journey of recovery and redemption as they fight to overcome adversity with the power of their love and their unending commitment to each other.

Death Clouds on Mt. Baldy: Tucson’s Lost Tragedy (2010) by Cathy Hufault (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Virtual SCRIBE
Nov. 15, 1958. An arctic-like blizzard roars out of nowhere across the mild desert terrain of southern Arizona. Boy scouts are feared caught out in the open, perhaps buried under the three to seven feet of snowfall in the mountains. Cowboys urge their horses through the chest high snow, hikers push through monster snowdrifts, and helicopters hover at dangerous altitudes in their struggle to find the boys before they die.

Silver Sparrow (2011) by Tayari Jones (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Washington Post | Los Angeles Times 
Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters—the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle—she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.

The Paris Wife (2011) by Paula McLain (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | The New York Times | Entertainment Weekly
In Chicago in 1920, 28-year-old Hadley Richardson meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris and become the golden couple in a lively group of expatriates, including Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald & Sara Murphy. But as Hadley struggles with self-doubt and jealousy, Ernest wrestles with his burgeoning writing career and both must confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the greatest romances in history.     

To Be Sung Underwater (2011) by Tom McNeal (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Washington Post |  Los Angeles Times
Judith Whitman always believed in the kind of love that “picks you up in Akron and sets you down in Rio.” Long ago, she once experienced that love. Willy Blunt was a carpenter with a dry wit and a steadfast sense of honor. Marrying him seemed like a natural thing to promise. But Willy Blunt was not a person you could pick up in Nebraska and transport to Stanford. When Judith left home, she didn’t look back. Twenty years later, Judith’s marriage is hazy with secrets. In her hand is what may be the phone number for the man who believed she meant it when she said she loved him. If she called, what would he say?

The City & the City (2009) by China Miéville (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | Los Angeles Times | The Guardian
When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010) by David Mitchell (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | NPR | The Guardian
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, and costly courtesans comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland. But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken—the consequences of which will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (2010) by Walter Mosley (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | NPR | Los Angeles Times
Marooned in an apartment that overflows with mementos from the past, 91-year-old Ptolemy Grey is all but forgotten by his family and the world. But when an unexpected opportunity arrives, everything changes for Ptolemy in ways as shocking and unanticipated as they are poignant and profound.

One Day (2009) by David Nicholls (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The New York Times | Entertainment Weekly
Over twenty years, snapshots of an unlikely relationship are revealed on the same day–July 15th–of each year. Dex Mayhew and Em Morley face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever (2011) by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | Kirkus
In the spring of 1865, America’s Civil War finally comes to an end, In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth – charismatic ladies’ man and impenitent racist – murders Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues, ending in a fiery shootout and several court-ordered executions. With an unforgettable cast of characters, vivid historical detail, and page-turning action, this is history that reads like a thriller.

The Year of the Hare (1995) by Arto Paasilinna (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Wall Street Journal | The New Zealand Herald
While out on an assignment, Finnish journalist Vatanen and his photographer accidentally hit a hare with their car. Sympathetic and guilty, Vatanen sets off to find the wounded animal. After nursing the hare back to health, the journalist’s view of the world changes, giving him a renewed sense of purpose in life.  

Bel Canto (2001) by Ann Patchett (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | Entertainment Weekly | The Guardian
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxane Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds, and people from different continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped

The Well and the Mine (2008) by Gin Phillips (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Observer  
Witnessing what she believes to be the murder of an infant in a Depression-era Alabama mining town, a nine-year-old girl and her civic-minded family subsequently struggle with the darker side of their racially torn community.    

Her Mother’s Hope (2010) by Francine Rivers (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Denver Post
The first in an epic two-book saga by beloved author Francine Rivers, this sweeping story explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters over several generations. Near the turn of the 20th century, fiery Marta leaves Switzerland determined to find life on her own terms. Her journey takes her through Europe and finally lands her with children and husband in tow in the central valley of California. Marta’s experiences convince her that only the strong survive. Hildie, Marta’s oldest daughter, has a heart to serve others, and her calling as a nurse gives her independence, if not the respect of her mother. Amid the drama of WWII, Hildie marries and begins a family of her own. She wants her daughter never to doubt her love-but the challenges of life conspire against her vow. Each woman is forced to confront her faulty but well-meaning desire to help her daughter find her God-given place in the world.

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (2011) by Monique Roffey (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | Publishers Weekly | Nancy Pearl
When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England, George is immediately seduced by the beguiling island, while Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill-at-ease. As they adapt to new circumstances, their marriage endures for better or worse, despite growing political unrest and racial tensions that affect their daily lives. But when George finds a cache of letters that Sabine has hidden from him, the discovery sets off a devastating series of consequences as other secrets begin to emerge.

Sarah’s Key (2007) by Tatiana de Rosnay (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | BlogCritics
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Swamplandia! (2011) by Karen Russell (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | NPR | The New York Times | The Washington Times
The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, formerly #1 in the region, is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, has just died; her sister, Ossie, has fallen in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, who may or may not be an actual ghost; and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, who dreams of becoming a scholar, has just defected to the World of Darkness in a last-ditch effort to keep their family business from going under. Ava’s father, affectionately known as Chief Bigtree, is AWOL; and that leaves Ava, a resourceful but terrified thirteen, to manage ninety-eight gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief.

Doc (2011) by Mary Doria Russell (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Washington Post | The Oregonian
Beautifully educated, born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday is given an awful choice at the age of twenty-two: die within months in Atlanta or leave everyone and everything he loves in the hope that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Young, scared, lonely, and sick, he arrives on the rawest edge of the Texas frontier just as an economic crash wrecks the dreams of a nation. Soon, with few alternatives open to him, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally; he is also living with Mária Katarina Harony, a high-strung Hungarian whore with dazzling turquoise eyes, who can quote Latin classics right back at him. Kate makes it her business to find Doc the high-stakes poker games that will support them both in high style. It is Kate who insists that the couple travel to Dodge City, because “that’s where the money is.” And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp really begins—before Wyatt Earp is the prototype of the square-jawed, fearless lawman; before Doc Holliday is the quintessential frontier gambler; before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral links their names forever in American frontier mythology—when neither man wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

Between Shades of Gray (2011) by Ruta Sepetys (HC)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Guardian | Entertainment Weekly
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note. 

The Lonely Polygamist (2010) by Brady Udall (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | NPR | The New York Times
Golden Richards, husband to four wives, father to twenty-eight children, is having the mother of all midlife crises. His construction business is failing, his family has grown into an overpopulated mini-dukedom beset with insurrection and rivalry, and he is done in with grief: due to the accidental death of a daughter and the stillbirth of a son, he has come to doubt the capacity of his own heart. Brady Udall, one of our finest American fiction writers, tells a tragicomic story of a deeply faithful man who, crippled by grief and the demands of work and family, becomes entangled in an affair that threatens to destroy his family’s future. Like John Irving and Richard Yates, Udall creates characters that engage us to the fullest as they grapple with the nature of need, love, and belonging.

Into the Beautiful North (2009) by Luis Urrea (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | San Francisco Chronicle
Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn’t the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village–they’ve all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men–her own “Siete Magníficos”–to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

The Submission (2011) by Amy Waldman (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The Washington Post | Entertainment Weekly
A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner’s name—and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country’s. The memorial’s designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself—as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (2010) by Isabel Wilkerson (PB)
Reviews: Goodreads | The New York Times | AARP The magazine
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America.

6 comments on “[Closed] Survey: New Book Club Kits

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