Book Groups

Return to Oz for a Fantastic Book-Group Theme
By October 28, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Return to Oz for a Fantastic Book-Group Theme

My fantasy and science fiction group discussed the theme of “Fantasy before Tolkien” last week, and I decided to use the opportunity to go somewhere I hadn’t been in over thirty years: Frank Baum’s Oz. More than any other series of books, these titles are connected to my development as a reader. I remember loving them, […]

Growing Up Too Fast: A Rock-and-Roll Coming-of-Age
By October 22, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Growing Up Too Fast: A Rock-and-Roll Coming-of-Age

Caitlin Moran’s debut coming-of-age novel, How to Build a Girl, tackles two topics that not enough literary or even coming-of-age fiction does: the sex-obsessed teenage girl and a family living in poverty. I found both topics refreshing, even eye-opening at times, and believe that both will give book groups a lot to discuss. What she […]

For Bold Book Groups: A Gritty, Historical Country Noir
By October 20, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

For Bold Book Groups: A Gritty, Historical Country Noir

When a novel begins with a grandmotherly type passing the family tradition of drowning puppies in the river on to her beloved adopted son, you know it’s going to be dark. That’s the start of Tom Franklin’s 2003 masterpiece, Hell at the Breech. It’s a gritty historical work of country noir, a fictionalization of turn-of-the-nineteenth-century […]

How Swede It Is: The Origins of Scandinavian Noir
By October 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

How Swede It Is: The Origins of Scandinavian Noir

If you’re like me, your awareness of the Scandinavian Noir phenomenon probably began with Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy that started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2008). But that flood of great Scandinavian crime writers that have found their way onto American bookshelves didn’t really begin with Larsson, or even Henning Mankell. It began with […]

Look Here! Look Here! A Southern Family Drama with Comic Restraint

Look Here! Look Here! A Southern Family Drama with Comic Restraint

I read a fair amount of books: good, bad, and occasionally ugly. I read some worth passing on and some worth passing over. But I seldom read a book I consider Great. To be Great, the author must stun me with his or her command of language, so much so that I wonder if they made a deal with […]

The Book to Read in 2015? The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, by Sharma Shields
By October 7, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

The Book to Read in 2015? The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, by Sharma Shields

I usually wait to write about a book until we’re closer to its publication date, but in this case I just can’t wait. The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, by Sharma Shields, is a debut novel by a Spokane, Washington author coming out in January 2015 from Henry Holt. Full disclosure: I worked with Sharma in a bookstore many […]

National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads
By September 24, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads

The Booklist Reader is proud to once again partner with the Women’s National Book Association for National Reading Group Month. Every October, the WNBA supplies a list of Great Group Reads—and this list could not come at a better time of year for many book-group leaders. This is the month when many of us are […]

Choosing Race: Your Face in Mine, by Jess Row
By September 16, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Choosing Race: Your Face in Mine, by Jess Row

What if you could choose to become another race? What if you could change your skin color, your eye appearance, voice and body? Jess Row’s novel Your Face in Mine explores these questions and more. Kelly Thorndike has returned to Baltimore after the sudden, devastating loss of his wife and daughter when he runs into […]

Ferrante Fever: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels
By September 12, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Ferrante Fever: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels

A curious thing has happened: all of a sudden, an elusive Italian novelist is garnering adoration and speculation in American popular culture. From The New York Times’ “Who is Elena Ferrante?” article to Entertainment Weekly’s interview with the author, interest abounds. No one knows who Elena Ferrante really is so critics and fans alike question […]

Raising Your Spirited Badger

Raising Your Spirited Badger

I revisited a bit of family lore the other day, regarding my oldest daughter’s first encounter with Russell Hoban’s Frances series.  I was reading Bread and Jam for Frances aloud, when her violet eyes grew wide with forbidden pleasure as she said in a scandalized voice, “Frances is naughty!” Yes, she absolutely is. Frances may be a badger, but she is us.  When I was recalling all this to […]