[Closed] Survey: New Book Club Kits

It’s the beginning of the fiscal year and we’re getting ready to add new titles to our book club kits. Of course, we want to know what your clubs want to read! Read the descriptions below, check out the reviews, then click the link below to access the survey.

Book Club Selections Survey

Be sure to share the link with your book club members!

Thirteen Reasons Why (2007) by Jay Asher (PB)
Reviews: The Guardian, Goodreads
When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

People of the Book (2008) by Geraldine Brooks (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Goodreads
In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the centuries’ old binding, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up.

World War Z (2007) by Max Brooks (PB)
Reviews: Entertainment Weekly, Goodreads
An account of the decade-long conflict between humankind and hordes of the predatory undead is told from the perspective of dozens of survivors who describe in their own words the epic human battle for survival.

Room (2010) by Emma Donoghue (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, The Guardian, Goodreads
To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (2010) by Heidi W Durrow (PB)
Reviews: The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Goodreads
Rachael, whose mother is Danish and father is African-American, loses both her parents and is forced to move to a new city to live with her strict African-American grandmother, but when she is immersed into an African-American community, her physical appearance draws attention and Rachel struggles with her own uncertainties about her identity.

A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) by Jennifer Egan (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Goodreads
Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs confront their pasts in this powerful story about how rebellion ages, influence corrupts, habits turn to addictions, lifelong friendships fluctuate and turn, and how art and music have the power to redeem.

The Marriage Plot (October 2011) by Jeffrey Eugenides (HC)
Reviews: Bite the Book, Goodreads
It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to the Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine tries to understand why “it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth century France,” real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead––charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy––suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and her old “friend” Mitchell Grammaticus––who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange––resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (2010) by Tom Franklin (PB)
Reviews: The Washington Post, Goodreads
For a few months in the late 1970s, Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother, stepped outside their circumstances to become pals. Then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date, and she was never heard from again. Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him. The incident broke their friendship, and then Silas left town. Twenty years later Larry, a solitary mechanic, and Silas, who has returned as a constable, cross paths again, after another girl disappears.

The Lost City of Z (2009) by David Grann (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Entertainment WeeklyGoodreads
After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century”: what happened to British explorer Percy Fawcett. In 1925 Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humankind. But Fawcett had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions, he embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilization–which he dubbed “Z”–existed. Then he and his expedition vanished. Fawcett’s fate–and the clues he left behind–became an obsession for hundreds who followed him. As Grann delved deeper into Fawcett’s mystery, and the greater mystery of the Amazon, he found himself irresistibly drawn into the “green hell.”

A Reliable Wife (2009) by Robert Goolrick (PB)
Reviews: The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Goodreads
Rural Wisconsin, 1907. In the bitter cold, wealthy businessman Ralph Truitt stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who has answered his advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, but her plan is simple: she will win this man’s devotion, then slowly poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on is that Truitt has a plan of his own for his new wife.

These Things Hidden (2011) by Heather Gudenkauf (PB)
Reviews: Blog Critics, Goodreads
Allison, convicted of a heinous crime, is released from prison and is desperate to speak with her sister. Brynn, unable to forget the past that haunts her, wants to keep the truth from being revealed– a truth that focuses on one little boy.   

Faith (2011) by Jennifer Haigh (HC)
Reviews: The Washington Post, Goodreads
When her older brother Art–a Catholic priest and the popular pastor of a large suburban parish–finds himself at the center of a scandal, Sheila McGann, estranged from her family for years, returns to Boston, ready to fight for him and his reputation.

Loving Frank (2007) by Nancy Horan (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Goodreads
Fact and fiction blend in a historical novel that chronicles the relationship between seminal architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, from their meeting, when they were each married to another, to the clandestine affair that shocked Chicago society.

Silver Sparrow (2011) by Tayari Jones (HC)
Reviews: The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Goodreads
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.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (2007) by Barbara Kingsolver (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Goodreads
Barbara Kingsolver and her family sweep readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Their good-humored search yields surprising discoveries about turkey sex life and overly zealous zucchini plants, en route to a food culture that’s better for the neighborhood and also better on the table.

The Night Circus (September 2011) by Erin Morgenstern (HC)
Reviews: Publishers Weekly, Goodreads
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

One Day (2009) by David Nicholls (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, Goodreads 
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.

The Tiger’s Wife (2011) by Téa Obreht (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Goodreads 
Remembering childhood stories her grandfather once told her, young physician Natalia becomes convinced that he spent his last days searching for “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal. As Natalia struggles to understand why her grandfather, a deeply rational man would go on such a farfetched journey, she stumbles across a clue that leads her to the extraordinary story of the tiger’s wife.

The Leftovers (August 2011) by Tom Perrotta (HC)
Reviews: Publishers Weekly, Goodreads
What if–whoosh, right now, with no explanation–a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down? That’s what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened–not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

We Need to Talk about Kevin (2003) by Lionel Shriver (PB)
Reviews: The Guardian, Goodreads
Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (2010) by Helen Simonson (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Goodreads
Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) by Rebecca Skloot (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Goodreads
Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping.

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away (2011) by Christie Watson (PB)
Reviews: Kirkus Review, Publishers WeeklyGoodreads
When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother’s family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children’s school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.But Blessing’s grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world.

The Warmth of Other Suns (2010) by Isabel Wilkerson (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Los Angeles TimesGoodreads
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.

The Book Thief (2006) by Markus Zusak (PB)
Reviews: The New York Times, Goodreads
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s