Book Club Bag Titles
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The earth’s rotation has inexplicably slowed, and life on earth — human, animal, and plant — has changed dramatically. For the 11-year old narrator, coming of age during this unstable era has its challenges — some unique, and some timeless. The Cleveland Plain Dealer called it “stunning.”
And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini's third novel, set in Afghanistan and diverse locations around the world, focuses on family bonds and the struggle to overcome tyranny, separation, crime, and illness. Booklist called it "captivating and affecting."
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
When Westish College shortstop Henry Skrimshander commits his first-ever error on the field, his life, and the lives of 5 Westish residents, takes a turn for the worse. After Henry, Owen, Mike, Pella, and Guert all experience their own heartbreak, baseball provides both a framework for life and the optimism with which they can each move forward. An Amazon.com Best Book of the Month that is peopled with characters the reader will not want to leave behind.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies continues the story of Henry VIII’s battles with the most powerful family in England, with the Church, and with Oliver Cromwell after he becomes disillusioned with his Queen, Anne Boleyn. “Even if you know the history, you’ll find yourself racing through these pages to find out what happens next.” (People Magazine)
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
When their nephew is accused of a hate crime, two brothers, both lawyers, return to their rural hometown in Maine to take on his case and help their sister. Secrets and long-simmering tensions come to the surface as the three siblings face crisis and revisit the past. "Strout excels in constructing an intricate but believable web of family drama…a deeply powerful story." (BookPage)
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Author Wiley Cash wrote, "If Calling Me Home were a young woman, her grandmother would be To Kill a Mockingbird, her sister would be The Help, and her cousin would be The Notebook." A heartfelt exploration of love and prejudice, this novel uses a road trip from Texas to Ohio to reveal a 60-year-old secret, held close to the heart of a woman nearing the end of her life.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
A District Attorney’s comfortable suburban life is shattered when his 14-year old son is accused of murder. This is an emotional page-turner fraught with perilous moral ambiguity. Author Phillip Margolin wrote, “What makes Defending Jacob special is the way Landay gives the reader the twists, turns and surprises found in the best legal thrillers while making its centerpiece the tragedy faced by a normal family who are thrust into a nightmare.”
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Two couples-brothers and their wives-sit down to dinner at a posh Amsterdam restaurant, discussing the wine and ambience. Soon, however, conversation turns to the horrific act of violence perpetrated by their sons, and the risks each family faces if the boys are identified. Publisher's Weekly called it "a cunningly crafted thriller."
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver
Library Journal called it "reminiscent of John Grisham's The Confession in its exploration of the death penalty." After 10 years on death row, convicted murderer Noa Singleton receives a clemency offer: the true story of the crime in exchange for her life. But the offer comes from the victim's mother, a powerful lawyer whose motives are questionable at best.
Gold by Chris Cleave
On the eve of the London Olympics, three elite track cyclists face tests in the arena that are rivaled only by challenges in their personal lives, which athletic ability alone cannot win for them. The Miami Herald said, “Chris Cleave’s latest novel lives and breathes, sweats and suffers at the harrowing place where ambition collides with sacrifice.”
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Two of science fiction’s bestselling authors have created an accessible, engrossing story: an old-fashioned quest for the great beyond which takes place in the very near future. A mysterious scientist has invented a simple device which opens the door to the multiverse — and to all the uninhabited Earths in it. When young people leave Earth to stake their claim on another planet, there are consequences for all humankind.
Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons
A tender, hopeful story of a man in search of his dream. Set in the English countryside in the years following World War II, a German immigrant attempts to build his own elite golf course. But in his single-minded pursuit, he has lost sight of the dreams that have already come true. The London Times said, “Prepare to be seriously charmed.”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Associated Press called it “Magical. Enchanting. Spellbinding. Mesmerizing.” In the quiet of night, a circus appears, which is the stunning background for a duel between two magicians who have been trained their whole lives to win. But when the rivals fall in love, unintended consequences threaten the entire circus.
Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
A grand, epic novel which tells the story of the City of Lights through characters both real and fictional, stretching out an engrossing narrative over 2,000 years. From the Romans to World War II, five families and the forces of progress and modernization yield their power on the city. Booklist calls Rutherfurd "the undisputed master of the multigenerational historical saga."
The Returned by Jason Mott
All over the world, deceased loved ones are returning to their families. Some are welcomed home, while others are feared, hunted, or exiled. Harold and Lucille Hargrave, along with the other citizens of Arcadia, must learn to live with unanswered questions and hard realities during a mystifying phenomenon. "Mott has written a breathtaking novel that navigates emotional minefields with realism and grace." (Kirkus Reviews)
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Appropriate for readers ages 9 to 109. August Pullman, born with a severe facial deformity, has never attended school before. Now that his surgeries are behind him, he's entering fifth grade at Beecher Prep. Auggie is used to people treating him differently because of how he looks, but he, his family, and his fellow students are not prepared for the experiences-both good and bad-that school will bring. "Few first novels pack more of a punch: it's a rare story with the power to open eyes-and hearts-to what it's like to be singled out for a difference you can't control, when all you want is to be just another face in the crowd." (Publisher's Weekly)
The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age by Catherine Steiner-Adair
The author, a practicing psychologist and parent, explores the negative impact of technology on family relationships, in particular, the effect on children who must compete with mobile devices for their parents' attention. "A riveting, hugely important book that every parent will want to read. Filled with gripping anecdotes taken from true life, this book sounds an alarm we all must hearken to if we care about our children--and ourselves." Edward M. Hallowell, MD
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
From the biblical tale in the title to dyslexia, small class size, and Ivy League education, Gladwell takes his trademark perspective on advantage vs. disadvantage and turns our perception on its ear. "Gladwell rewards readers with moving stories, surprising insights and consistently provocative ideas." (Kirkus Reviews)
Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink
During the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, medical professionals were forced to make life-or-death decisions in horrific conditions—no power, intolerable heat, and flooding. Booklist called it “Both a breathtaking read and an essential book for understanding how people behave in times of crisis.”
Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
A gripping account of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln written in the style of a historical thriller. Vince Flynn said, “you will feel like you are walking the streets of Washington, DC, on the night that John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. This is a hugely entertaining, heart-stopping read.”
My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
A "charming food memoir" (Library Journal) from The Wednesday Chef blogger, who broke off her engagement and headed to Berlin, where she had spent half the year with her mother as a child. Reconnecting with her love of cooking, and with a former boyfriend, Weiss recalls her journey toward happiness, both gastronomic and romantic.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Cain asserts that introverts are underestimated and undervalued in our self-promoting society. Educational and business preferences for group work and collaboration have stymied innovation and creativity. “Quiet explores introversion through psychological research old and new, personal experiences, and even brain chemistry, in an engaging and highly-readable fashion.” (Amazon.com)
A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead
During the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, a diverse group of women courageously defied their oppressors by circulating resistance literature, transporting and hiding Jews, and trafficking weapons. Many were sent to Auschwitz, and only a few returned. These are their stories. Harper Perennial calls it “a remarkable account of the extraordinary courage of ordinary people — a story of bravery, survival, and the enduring power of female friendship.”
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail by Cheryl Strayed
After her mother’s death and the demise of her marriage, Strayed made the rash decision to hike the Pacific Coast Trail alone. Along the way she encountered the ferocity of nature and crippling loneliness, but ultimately regained her inner strength and renewed her spirit. Random House calls it a “powerful, blazingly honest memoir.”