September 2013 Book Group Mixer Handout

I started reading this book because of a fascination I’ve recently developed with the Irish Troubles. Broderick grew up Catholic in Northern Ireland, and it seemed that everyone around him was somehow involved in the fighting. His boyhood was shaped by car bombs, paramilitaries, and riots, and his description of his narrow escape from that world is breathtaking and nuanced. A fascinating and highly educational read.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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That's That Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307716330
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - May 7th, 2013

If I were in a book group, I would insist that we read this book. I would also insist that everyone pick a recipe and bring enough to share. Luisa Weiss grew up on two continents--her father lived in Boston, and her Italian mother in Berlin--and so by the time she reached adulthood she was more than used to wandering. Food and cooking became her comfort and her home. Think Eat Pray Love with a foodie twist.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780147509741
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 27th, 2013

After publishing two acclaimed novels about the Mexican immigrant experience, Reyna Grande chose to reveal her own troubled and triumphant story as an illegal immigrant in this beautifully written and heartfelt memoir. Born in Mexico and raised by her grandparents after her parents left to find work in the U.S., at nine years old, Reyna enters the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. Filled with hope, she quickly realizes that life in America is far from perfect. While her father has big dreams for his children, his alcoholism and rage undermine all his hard work and good intentions. Finding solace from the violence, Reyna turned toward books and reading, and ultimately became the first person in her family to obtain a higher education. At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Reyna Grande offers an intimate glimpse into the Mexican-American experience, and we are left gifted not only by her honesty, but by her startling and stoic prose that opens up to the wider questions about the lines between loyalty, love, and accepting one’s true self.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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The Distance Between Us Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781451661781
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Washington Square Press - March 12th, 2013

New is paperback; this is the perfect Book Group read—I quickly fell under the spell of this memoir. Working in publishing for years, Schwalbe was always a devoted reader, but when his mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, reading takes on a whole new meaning. While waiting together through numerous doctor visits and hospital stays, Will and his mother discussed books they had each been reading and began to exchange titles—thus creating the "End of Your Life Book Club”. There is a candid honesty in this memoir that makes one feel like an interloper on two wonderful conversationalists. And while this memoir certainly serves as a eulogy to Will’s mother, as she is so deftly captured, it is also a book about love—the love between family, the love of faith and dialog, of authors and story, and ultimately the love of reading and the way it transcends so much. This is one of those reads that sticks with you because of its layered gifts—any Book Group will take this book and feel grateful, as Schwalbe speaks at both personal and prose level.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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The End of Your Life Book Club Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307739780
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 4th, 2013

Lea Carpenter’s beautiful and somber debut tells the story of a mother awaiting the fate of her son, a Navy SEAL deployed to Afghanistan. This literary war novel doesn’t linger on the front lines, but instead focuses on quiet emotional depths, and shows us a warrior who is more classical than brutish. Perfect for fans of The Yellow Birds and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Eleven Days Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307960702
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 18th, 2013

Burial Rites is the kind of vividly atmospheric historical novel that makes you grateful for winter. Set in Iceland in 1829, the story centers around Agnes, a housemaid who has been charged with murder and condemned to die. She’s sent to live on a farm until her execution day, with a family who is terrified of her, and slowly, painstakingly, the real story comes out. I predict that book groups won’t be able to stop talking about Burial Rites, so prepare yourself for a long night. Gripping ‘til the last page and based on a true story (but don’t look it up! You’ll spoil the ending!).
Reviewed by: Kat & S.M.C.

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Burial Rites Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316243919
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Little Brown and Company - September 10th, 2013

From the publication years ago of Danticat’s novel, Dew Breaker, I have long been a fan of Danticat’s writing. And oh, how this new novel surpassed my expectations and rekindled my awe of this talented author. Told in interweaving chapters that go back and forth with time, the tale centers around a father’s love for his daughter, a heartbreaking decision, and a child, suddenly vanished. Mesmerizing from the first page, this book creates a magical tale of the calamity and daily life of in a small Haitian town—not wanting to give too much away, Danticat has offered up a story about the complexity of life when heartbreak and love are mixed together into one.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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Claire of the Sea Light Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307271792
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 27th, 2013

This is one of the only books that I re-read, usually on rainy nights with a mug of tea. It’s a completely fascinating take on the murder mystery, in that you find out who the murderer is on the first page, but the book never loses an ounce of suspense. I still have no idea how Donna Tartt pulled that off, but I’m happy to read it again and again in search of clues.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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The Secret History (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781400031702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 13th, 2004

Sweet Tooth is a brilliant play on the spy novel. Beautiful and booksmart, Serena Frome is tapped to work for the MI5 right out of college. Her job is disappointingly humdrum until she’s assigned to work on operation Sweet Tooth, and it is here that the literary espionage begins. This book is lighter than previous books by McEwan, but the coyly subversive surface hides deeper thoughts about where fiction comes from. Brilliant, funny and engrossing.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Sweet Tooth Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780345803450
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - July 2nd, 2013

The beginning of this story collection starts with a quote by Penelope Fitzgerald: "If a story begins with finding, it must end with searching," and so we discover each story here to follow the arc of a search, just as each also contains a rescue. These stories surprise and stun though as it is not always clear who is the lost. Whether it be the story of a police officer who has been fired and suddenly finds himself in a position to confront a violent student, to that of a teenage nurse-aide who has just entered the folds of the adult world and is challenged by the ways heartlessness seems to be the accepted norm, Trueblood’s talent is conveyed in the demands she places on the reader—it is often up to us to discover the empathy and the understanding—to find the resolve and sympathy for those that are lost and just outside of reach.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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Search Party: Stories of Rescue Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781619021495
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Counterpoint LLC - July 16th, 2013

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