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Ever since I saw Tallulah Bankhead looking like her glamorous self while lost at sea in the 1944 film Lifeboat, I've been a sucker for survival stories.
In this novel, Louise Erdrich returns to familiar territory: North Dakota's Ojibwe reservation. In Arcadia, Lauren Groff imagines life in a '60s commune in upstate New York through the eyes of a young boy named Bit, the first child born into the commune.
The ethnically diverse neighborhood of North West London ("NW"), where Zadie Smith grew up, is the setting for her latest novel. Contact us with a description of the clipart you are searching for and we'll help you find it. Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop is home to three monthly book clubs, which are always open to new members. Don’t forget we offer a 10% discount on book club orders, and have a whole area of the shop dedicated to book club ideas and recommendations! Will you choose a different theme each month, such as Irish literature, travel books, or classics? Now that you have a clear vision of what you want for your book club, it will be easier to find others who want the same experience. Who will lead the book club meetings?Will it be the same person every time, or will it change, depending upon the person who suggested the book? Who will keep a record of all the books read, when they were discussed, and who suggested them?
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When putting together last year’s best book club picks, I mentioned looking for titles that could spark discussion around interesting topics or debatable characters and the same holds true for 2014. I feel like I’m constantly pushing for book clubs to give nonfiction a try because it can lead to some of the best group discussions.
Short story collections can work well for book clubs, as they allow for discussion around common themes as well as individual stories.
An Untamed State can be a difficult book to get through on your own, which makes it perfect to read with a supportive group. But the novel also begs to be talked about upon finishing, as it touches on numerous challenging and important topics.
Another great piece of nonfiction, Dataclysm focuses on breaking down and finding patterns in the data gathered by different social media networks. Just before How to Build a Girl was published earlier this year, I took part in a readalong with several other bloggers. One thing guaranteed to bring a group of people together is looking back to the whirlwind of adolescence. After a crisis wipes away the world Cal and Frida once knew, the pair seeks shelter in the California wilderness.
I wasn’t in love with it either (there are actually a few on this list that I was so-so on), but I really wanted to talk about it!
I really wish I had grabbed it at BEA, too (among several others!), but I just ended up with a library copy because I wanted it so bad! I could see Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride, The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt, J by Howard Jacobson, Orfeo by Richard Powers, and The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber all making good book club picks. I think Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern reach trilogy would be good for a bookclub, only because you need other people to hep you unpick what the hell is going on!
You’re the second person to mention Life Drawing, so it sounds like I need to take a peek at that one! Home of the Alpha Showdown, and one-stop shop for urban fantasy, paranormal romance and fantasy news and reviews. We had two excellent Downside Ghosts books release this year (the second being the fantastic Chasing Magic). We had two new Dark Mission novels in 2012, and while both were good All Things Wicked managed to do the unthinkable and make me fall head-over-heels for Caleb. Stacey Jay’s precise execution of Annabelle’s trust issues makes Blood on the Bayou a brilliant read. This is the first historical paranormal romance I’d ever picked up and it blew my socks off.
I’m a total sucker for authors that take risks in their series, and this one was a jaw dropper.
Paranormal dystopian YA that’s crammed full of all the things that make Kresley Cole books awesome! We get a shower scene (Frost has a flair for those), a cross continental vampire-style flight to save the heroine and trademark humor from Bones.
Chase fell apart at the seams, threw himself to the wolves to protect his friends and came dangerously close to giving into a dangerous vampire addiction, until Tavia came into the picture.
Otherworldly sexiness with a smoldering presence, Khalil was the very thing that Grace needed to bring calm to her newly chaotic world.
Larissa Ione gave us Lethal Rider in May, which was outstanding in its own right, but Reseph was patient. It was a close race, but VBC readers said they loved Andrea’s story set in the Kate Daniels world the most this year.
I’d only would have added Diana Rowland (either demons or zombies series) if it was my top list for 2012.
If it helps in deciding between Karina Cooper and Stacey Jay, Karina is romance primarily and Stacey is urban fantasy primarily.
Though founded on utopian ideals, Arcadia is headed by a charming but egotistical leader who often clashes with his more pragmatic followers.


Smith first introduced readers to this corner of world in her novel White Teeth; NW is a more complex look at where the inhabitants of that world have landed. For most of 40 years he has lived alone, tending the orchard where he grew up with his mother and sister. Before you start recruiting members, sit down for a few minutes and ask yourself a few questions. Are you hoping that all of you will have something in common (beside your love of books), or are you looking to form a diverse group? So it’s time to let people know that you are setting up a book club – you can simply invite friends (perhaps by inviting a small number of people, and asking each to bring another friend along) or you could put up a notice in your local bookshop or library – or ask the staff of a local bookshop like Charlie Byrne’s to send interested readers your way!
In the same location, at the home of that meeting’s leader, or in a community room somewhere else, like a library or bookstore?
You can ask everyone to bring along two suggestions, and then open it to group discussion; you could take a “formal” vote, or leave it to fate: pop each title into a bag, and select one at random!
Each book has an element that will get readers standing up for their opinions, questioning conventions or searching for answers. In On Immunity, new mother Eula Biss examines the fears, truths and myths around modern immunization and how those ideas impact society as a whole. Stone Mattress is perfect for this, as the collection’s stories are incredibly strong on their own but are also bound together by several different themes. Though it sounds technical and dry, Christian Rudder presents the information in a way that will have you itching to discuss his findings with someone else. Based on our weekly talks alone, I can attest to the fact that Caitlin Moran’s sharp, funny novel on growing up is perfect for reading with a group. Brutal Youth follows several teenagers as they navigate the bully-infested waters of their early-90’s high school. When Frida discovers she is pregnant, they are forced to make decisions about their future that will have groups asking questions, making predictions and puzzling out answers.
The only one of these I’ve read is California and I think that would lend itself well to book club discussion.
I haven’t read it, but my husband actually has, and I could tell he would have liked someone else to talk about a few things. I’ll vouch for any book on my top 10 list as bringing the things I really love: deep characterization, clever plot and spry writing.
What pushed Sacrificial Magic onto the list wasn’t the character named after me (though, let’s be clear, I’m not actually like that Chelsea), but the brilliant character transition.
It’s a fresh story and brings in the kind of conflicts that make a reader emotionally invest in a novel. Now, if you haven’t read the previous Dark Mission novels (you should, starting with Blood of the Wicked), Caleb is made out to be a very bad guy.
In addition to murderous faeries and big-time relationship complications, her trust issues are out of control. Plus, there are sexy Southern men without their shirts on and high-speed chases, possible drug-running and faerie craziness. Amanda Carlson does it so well that I found myself looking forward to the scenes with Jessica’s wolf. Supernatural mystery mixed with swoon worthy romance set in a fog filled, gothic Victorian London, simply brilliant. Kick-ass tale of just how complicated life can get when you’re the only female werewolf. Brutal at times but always lightened by Rhiannon’s snarky one liners, it’s an emotional roller coaster!
Tricked is the best one yet, laugh-out-loud dialogue, geeky references that make my soul sing and more then one perilous situation for our favorite Druid.
As Candace said in her review: “Gunmetal Magic is about Andrea learning to accept her place in the Pack. Once burned, sacrificial magic, gunmetal magic, the ripple effect, and shadow bound were all books I read this year too. Most of the action takes place aboard a lifeboat after a luxury ship quite like the Titanic goes down at sea.
A once vibrant woman, she descends into a deep depression, barely speaking to her family and revealing nothing about the attack to the police.
The adults in the commune are too preoccupied to give their children the attention they need, so Bit and his friends grow up with few rules and lots of freedom. The two male characters in the story don't even know each other, but their paths intersect briefly and violently. His mother died when he was still very young, and his sister disappeared as a young woman a€” a loss Talmadge has never quite recovered from.
NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. Our book clubs are always lively and informal, and we are often asked for ideas and tips for new book clubs.
Book clubs are also great ways to meet new people, or to discover books you may not usually read. Both the characters and the challenges they face create ideal opportunities for discussion and flashback.
Watching Chess learn how to exist in a relationship was uncomfortable at times, because she was uncomfortable. Not only am I transported to the world he’s built, but each new character is brought to vibrant life.
Grace Winter, a young woman who is on trial for an unspecified crime that occurred aboard the lifeboat, is writing down her version of the story for her lawyer.


Geraldine's 13-year-old son, Joe, begins working with his father, Bazil, a tribal judge, to investigate the crime.
And it may be that secret pain that prompts him to take care of two pregnant teenagers who wander onto his property looking for food. We’re always happy to encourage reading and discussion of books, so we’ve created this handy guide for getting your own book club up and running! It’s definitely discussion-provoking, but I liked how it felt like a lighter read at the same time. So, you’ll find my 10 picks for the absolute best books of 2012 and below that a top 5 list from Jo and Candace, respectively.
There are moments when you’ll grip your book and pretend to be shaking some sense into Darian.
In her narrative, one of the ship's sailors takes control of the small vessel and enforces his own brand of brutal but effective leadership. But Joe quickly becomes disillusioned with the limitations of justice on the reservation and recruits his closest friends to help him track down his mother's attacker.The Round House, which won this year's National Book Award for fiction, combines a crime novel with a coming-of-age saga that is both touching and heartbreaking.
Natalie seems to have it all a€” a husband and two children, a successful career and big house, plenty of money. They're running away from a brothel run by a brutal drug addict who traffics in young girls. I didn’t expect to fall head-over-heels for the vampire, but his chemistry with heroine Leila was overwhelming and consuming and real. She knows how to make you cry, to make you consider throwing the book then hug it moments later.
However, the emotional journey in All Things Wicked gives us insight and allows us to fall for him as Juliet does. Don’t expect easy answers in this novel, but I can promise one hell of a journey with lush descriptions.
It doesn’t hurt that our Jessica might have a thing for a guy that should be sooooooo off limits. These are the bare actions underpinning the novels that I'm suggesting for book clubs this year.
Factions for and against him quickly develop.Gradually we come to understand that Grace is quite beautiful and more than a little manipulative. Joe and his friends roam the reservation in a pack, pursuing the usual exploits of adolescence a€” hanging out, sneaking beers, falling in love. The story takes Bit well into adulthood, when he reaches an understanding of what was lost, and gained, in Arcadia.Groff based the commune in Arcadia on two real utopian communities.
Talmadge's decision to shelter the girls changes his life forever, exposing him to both the pain and quiet joy of love.Amanda Coplin must be a very old soul. As a matter of fact, you’ll be near the end of the book and think, “There is no way these two can end up together.” But it is a romance and there is a happily-ever-after. While the independent spirit in The City’s Son will resonate with a young adult audience, I’ll call this a must-read for those who appreciate seeing the city as a character. And since the story is told completely from her point of view, it's never quite clear whether she is telling the whole truth. Their investigation into the rape sometimes leads them down the wrong path, but as Joe gets closer to the truth, he decides that the only way to get justice is to take things into his own hands. Through fiction she wanted to explore the forces that bring people together in these idealistic ventures, and also tear the communities apart. Smith uses these intertwining lives to explore how four people who come from similar circumstances can end up in such different places.Smith is a risk taker, and in NW she seems to be experimenting with the very idea of the novel. How else to explain a 31-year-old woman of the 21st century who can so fully capture in words the look and feel of the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th century? Villains and heroes, good and bad get twisted out of shape as the survivors fight with each other and against the looming threat of death. Erdrich is that rare writer who can shed light on a complex social issue and, at the same time, weave a story peopled with characters you care about, and powered by a plot that keeps you reading expectantly until the bitter end.
The book is broken into four sections, each focusing on a different character, each written in a completely different style.
Coplin immerses her readers in a world so different from our own that it almost seems like you've traveled back in time when you enter it.
Rogan cleverly sets up a plot that questions whether right and wrong are values that can be tossed overboard like so much ballast when one's life is at stake. She lets you feel the stillness of the orchard that both isolates Talmadge and nourishes him. In the end she leaves much to the reader's imagination, allowing us to make the final judgment on what really happened. By the end of the book, which is set in the near future, Bit is able to see the commune for what it was: a tragically flawed experiment that made him who he is. The longest and most successful, which focuses on Natalie, is told in 185 segments, some as brief as a sentence, some the length of a very short story. And when that stillness is broken by the messiness of lives that have been ruined by violence, she makes you understand why Talmadge would go to great and ultimately disastrous lengths to try to save one of those ravaged lives.



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