You’re making your lists. You’re checking them twice. You’re gonna … pick the Twelve Books of Book Club. We know that many of our dear book club friends are choosing their groups’ 2014 selections right now. So, here are some book-club-friendly Lucky Stars, perennial favorites for reading groups, choices to get the whole club reading and talking — and they’re all at prices worth discussing! Check out each of these e-books and their discussion guides and other materials for $3.99 or less throughout January…
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate: Award-winning novelist Martha Southgate (who, in the words of Julia Glass, “can write fat and hot, then lush and tender, then just plain truthful and burning with heart”) now tells the story of a family pushed to its limits by addiction over the course of two generations.
Josie Henderson loves the water and is fulfilled by her position as the only senior-level black scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In building this impressive life for herself, she has tried to shed the one thing she cannot: her family back in landlocked Cleveland. Her adored brother, Tick, was her childhood ally as they watched their drinking father push away all the love that his wife and children were trying to give him. Now Tick himself has been coming apart and demands to be heard.
Weaving four voices into a beautiful tapestry, Southgate charts the lives of the Hendersons from the parents’ first charmed meeting to Josie’s realization that the ways of the human heart are more complex than anything seen under a microscope.
Rose’s Garden by Carrie Brown: Conrad and Rose met as children, fell in love as teenagers, and married young. Conrad earned a living as a gilder, raised homing pigeons, and worshipped Rose. Rose gardened. They lived together for more than fifty years, and then Rose died. At seventy-five, Conrad found himself alone, staring at the walls of his house and neglecting Rose’s garden. Then an angel came to the garden, the last person he ever thought to see wearing wings. Startled, he felt compelled to spread the news throughout his town, and to his surprise, people he’d known all his life began to reveal their deepest selves to him. Rose’s Garden tells an unforgettable story of a woman whose garden extended far beyond the boundaries of property and time, and the man who came into full blossom in its bower.
Every Last Cuckoo by Kate Maloy: Sarah Lucas imagined the rest of her days would be spent living peacefully in her rural Vermont home in the steadfast company of her husband. But now, with Charles’s sudden passing, seventy-five-year-old Sarah is left inconsolably alone.
As grief settles in, Sarah’s mind lingers on her past: her imperfect but devoted fifty-year marriage to Charles; the years they spent raising their three very different children; and her childhood during the Great Depression, when her parents opened their home to countless relatives and neighbors. So, when a variety of wayward souls come seeking shelter in Sarah’s own big, empty home, her past comes full circle. As this unruly flock forms a family of sorts, they—with Sarah—nurture and protect one another, all the while discovering their unsuspected strengths and courage.
In the tradition of Jane Smiley and Sue Miller, Kate Maloy has crafted a wise and gratifying novel about a woman who gracefully accepts a surprising new role just when she though her best years were behind her.
Secret Son by Laila Lalami: Raised by his mother in a one-room house in the slums of Casablanca, Youssef El Mekki has always had big dreams of living another life in another world. Suddenly his dreams are within reach when he discovers that his father—whom he’d been led to believe was dead—is very much alive. A wealthy businessman, he seems eager to give his son a new start. Youssef leaves his mother behind to live a life of luxury, until a reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets and his childhood friends. Trapped once again by his class and painfully aware of the limitations of his prospects, he becomes easy prey for a fringe Islamic group.In the spirit of The Inheritance of Loss and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Laila Lalami’s debut novel looks at the struggle for identity, the need for love and family, and the desperation that grips ordinary lives in a world divided by class, politics, and religion.
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones: With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle.Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode. This is the third stunning novel from an author deemed “one of the most important writers of her generation” (the Atlanta Journal Constitution).
A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne: Set in the Washington, D.C., suburbs during the summer of the Watergate break-ins, Berne’s assured, skillful first novel is about what can happen when a child’s accusation is the only lead in a case of sexual assault and murder.
A Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club selection. A New York Times Notable Book.