many of you know, last week I was in New York to attend Book Expo
America, the major annual publishing industry conference. Every year I
remind you that my favorite panel is the one geared to book clubs: Book
Group Speed Dating, presented by Reading Group Guides.
During the session, representatives from the major publishing companies and imprints present their top recommendations for readers looking for the perfect book club selection. Here are just some of the books I learned about (with my summary) and my top pick from each presentation (with the publisher's summary). Stop back tomorrow for book club suggestions from four more publishers.
- The Blue between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa: four generations of Palestinian woman who were separated in exodus and then reunited; political, women's issues, Mideast
Born into Edwardian England, Amory's first memory is of her father standing on his head. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers. It is her photographer uncle Greville who supplies the emotional bond she needs, who, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, photographing socialites for the magazine "Beau Monde." But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love, and artistic expression will take her to the "demi monde" of Berlin of the late '20s, to New York of the '30s, to the blackshirt riots in London, and to France in the Second World War where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands, and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons.Grove / Atlantic
In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, illustrated with "found" period photographs, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. It is his greatest achievement to date.
- The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly: British domestic thriller, murder; would you really do anything to get out debt and provide for your children?
- Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer: gritty, thriller; medical student with Asperger's taking gross anatomy thinks he's uncovered a murder
Alice LaPlante's acclaimed psychological thrillers are distinguished by their stunning synthesis of family drama and engrossing suspense. Her new novel is an affecting foray deeper into the creases of family life and the light-and-dark battle of faith as LaPlante delves into the barbed psyche of a teenager whose misguided convictions bear irrevocable consequences.Ingram Publisher Services
Never one to conform, Anna always had trouble fitting in. Earnest and willful, as a young girl she quickly learned how to hide her quirks from her parents and friends. But when, at sixteen, a sudden melancholia takes hold of her life, she loses her sense of self and purpose. Then the Goldschmidts move in next door. They're active members of a religious cult, and Anna is awestruck by both their son, Lars, and their fervent violent prophecies for the Tribulation at the End of Days. Within months, Anna's life her family, her home, her very identity will undergo profound changes. But when her newfound beliefs threaten to push her over the edge, she must find her way back to center with the help of unlikely friends. An intimate story of destruction and renewal, New York Times bestselling author LaPlante delivers a haunting exploration of family legacies, devotion, and tangled relationships.
- Married Sex by Jessie Kornbluth: a divorce lawyer, who has seen marriage at its worst, makes a decision to change up his own marriage, with broad-reaching consequences
- Red Eggs and Good Luck by Angela Lam: memoir that explores the author's dual identity as half German and half Chinese; poetic prose
Wendy Darling takes readers far beyond the second star to the right and straight on till morning. It is the story of a girl loved by two men the steady and handsome bookseller's son from London and Peter Pan, dashing, charming, and dangerous. From the cobblestone streets of London to the fantastical world of Neverland's many secrets, readers will love watching Wendy's journey as she grows from a girl into a woman, and realizes that Neverland, like her heart, is a wild place, teaming with dark secrets and dangerous obsessions.Harlequin Mira
- Come Away with Me by Karma Brown: debut novel about a woman who loses her baby in a car accident and must find a way to once again embrace life
- The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst: contemporary story with a Gatsby-like feel; Hollywood, forbidden love
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains, and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn and in their ashes, empires rise.
Alexander, Macedon's sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world, but finds himself drawn to a newcomer. Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life, while keeping hidden her own mission: kill the queen. But she doesn't account for her first love. Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means competing with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander's unmet fiancee, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.