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Great Group Reads

National Reading Group Month Selects
Great Group Reads

2012 Selections

The Absolutist by John Boyne
An Age of Madness by David Maine
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan‐Philipp Sendker
Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
Boleto by Alyson Hagy
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani
Faith by Jennifer Haigh
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
The O'Briens by Peter Behrens
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman
Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson


The Absolutist by John Boyne
(Other Press, 978-1590515525)
The conflict between duty and conscience is beautifully explored in this World War I novel about two English soldiers, one of whom becomes a conscience objector — an "absolutist" — and the effect of his decision on his friend’s life.

More about: Other Press, The Absolutist, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


An Age of Madness by David Maine
(Red Hen Press, 978-1597092340)
Regina Moss, a tough-minded psychiatrist who works in a public hospital, tries to keep grief at bay after a devastating family tragedy. Her college-age daughter is angry and silent; her elderly father’s life has reached a crisis point, and Regina is forced to come to terms with the horrific night that she lost her husband and son.

More about: Red Hen Press, An Age of Madness, Booklist Reviews, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
(Little, Brown, hc 978-0316126694; Back Bay Books, tp 978-0316126670)
An old-fashioned, larger-than-life story about a boy with a major talent as a shortstop. Recruited by Westish College on the shores of Lake Michigan, Henry Skrimshander works hard until a crisis of confidence throws his career into doubt. Echoes of Herman Melville and John Irving fill this novel about love and commitment.

More about: Little, Brown and Co., The Art of Fielding, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
(Other Press, 978-1590514634)
When Julia Win’s father leaves his American family and returns to his native Burma, Julia feels abandoned and follows him to learn the truth. Villagers tell her the story of his unusual childhood and teenage love affair with the girl Mi Mi, revealing a father she never knew.

More about: Other Press, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall
(HMH, hc 978-0547712079; Mariner Books, tp 978-0544002227)
At the end of the Civil War, Iris Dunleavy is convicted of madness for disobeying her husband and sent to an asylum on Sanibel Island where she finds love and compassion among others who have defied society’s expectations.

More about: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Blue Asylum, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Boleto by Alyson Hagy
(Graywolf Press, 978-1555976125)
Will Testerman, youngest son of a Wyoming rancher, is determined to make his way as a horse trainer despite family opposition. Hagy’s beautiful prose gives us a tale of a young man whose honesty and idealism make him an outsider in a world of flash and greed.

More about: Graywolf Press, Boleto, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
(Scribner, hc 978-1451617474; tp 978-1451617481)
Four women, each with her own secrets, find their way to the ancient Israeli fortress of Masada where they become dovekeepers during the days of the Roman siege of 70 C.E. Hoffman’s signature blend of realism and fantasy take flight in this retelling of a story of extreme courage and heartbreak.

More about: Scribner, The Dovekeepers, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani
(Scribner, hc 978-1451660463; tp 978-1451660470)
Iran in the 1500s is the setting for this lush, fictional version of the life of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom, told by her vizier and confidant, the eunuch Javaher. Amirrezvani brings to life this treacherous world of intrigue and passion where a brilliant woman needed to work in secret to influence the court.

More about: Scribner, Equal of the Sun, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Faith by Jennifer Haigh
(Harper, hc 978-0060755805; Harper Perennial, tp 978-0060755812)
Set in 2002, when the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was making headlines, Faith explores the repercussions for one Irish family. Sheila McGann’s brother Arthur, a priest, has been accused, and Sheila’s conviction that he’s innocent brings long-dormant family secrets to the surface.

More about: HarperCollins Publishers, Faith, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck
(Atlantic Monthly Press, hc 978-0802119919; Grove Press, tp 978-0802145918)
After Philip, her mathematician husband of 42 years, dies suddenly, Nina, a painter, reflects on the complexity of their life together as she sits beside his body.

More about: Grove/Atlantic, I Married You for Happiness, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
(Simon & Schuster, 978-1451657708)
Raami is seven when the Khmer Rouge take over Cambodia, sending her family to forced labor camps where they endure violence and starvation. More than a story of survival, this autobiographical novel is filled with the riches of poetry and language that Raami’s beloved father, a poet and relative of the royal family, passes on to her as his legacy.

More about: Simon & Schuster, In the Shadow of the Banyan, Booklist Reviews, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
(William Morrow, hc 978-0062088147; tp 978-0062088239)
Three people tell the story of a charismatic backwoods preacher, Carson Chambliss, and his snake-handling church, but the reader is focused on Jess and his mute brother Ben, who hear and see things that put them in danger. A Southern gothic coming of age story.

More about: HarperCollins Publishers, A Land More Kind Than Home, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The O’Briens by Peter Behrens
(Pantheon Books, 978-0307379931)
A three-generation family saga that tells the story of Joe O’Brien, son of Irish immigrants, whose ambition takes him from childhood in a backwoods Canadian logging town to railroad magnate. The changes in society in the early twentieth century are brought vividly to life as the O’Brien family grows, changes, and grapples with the legacy of the past.

More about: Pantheon Books, The O’Briens, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
(Harper, 978-0062188502)
William Talmadge lives a solitary life tending his orchards in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains until the arrival of two frightened young girls, one of them pregnant. His efforts to heal and protect them bring him into contact with a violent world, upending his orderly existence.

More about: HarperCollins Publishers, The Orchardist, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 978-0374203481)
Just-married Edward Mason comes to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, eager to take ownership of the vast plantation that’s been in his family from slaveholding days but unaware of the legacy of tragedy, selfishness, and doomed love that pervades the property. This is a prequel to Tilghman’s previous novel, Mason’s Retreat.

More about: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Right-Hand Shore, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
(Algonquin Books, hc 978-1616200428; tp 978-1616201944)
Jean Patrick Nkuba’s gift is for running, but as Rwanda is increasingly fractured by Hutu-Tutsi violence, his talent makes him a pawn in a dangerous political game. In this coming of age story, the line between friends and enemies is blurred and running may be the talent that saves Jean Patrick’s life. Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

More about: Algonquin Books, Running the Rift, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
(Bloomsbury USA, hc 978-1608195220; tp 978-1608196265)
In the twelve days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, Esch Batiste, a 14-year old pregnant black girl, and her family, prepare their home for the storm while fighting their inner demons. Told by Esch, this heartbreaking story of love and longing is miraculous for the poetry of Esch’s inner thoughts. Winner of the 2011 National Book Award.

More about: Bloomsbury USA, Salvage the Bones, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
(Reagan Arthur Books, hc 978-0316175678; Back Bay Books, tp 978-0316175661)
Jack and Mabel have come to Alaska in the 1920s to build a homestead and forget the child they lost, but one night, after they make a snow child, they glimpse a trail of tiny footprints and a small girl in the snow.

More about: Reagan Arthur Books, The Snow Child, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, hc 978-0399157189; Berkley Books, tp 978-0425247440)
Thirty-nine year old Alice falls off her bicycle in a spinning class and loses the memory of the previous ten years. In the decade she can’t remember, her life changed dramatically and Alice must come to terms with those changes in her marriage and herself.

More about: Berkley Books, What Alice Forgot, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
(Grove Press, 978-0802120106)
Winterson’s riveting, unconventional memoir tells of her childhood as the adopted daughter in a Pentecostal family with a mother incapable of loving. By turns funny and heartbreaking, this is an episodic narrative of a journey beyond abuse to a search for love and belonging.

More about: Grove/Atlantic, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Booklist Review, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads

Bonus resources: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, IndieBound, SONY ReaderTM Store

Webinar: Booklist (to be announced)


National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit

Archive:
Great Group Reads Selections — 2009
Great Group Reads Selections — 2010
Great Group Reads Selections — 2011

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