BEA Book Group Picks

It only took 45 minutes, but I’ve found half a year’s worth of material for my book groups next year. This is just from one panel, mind you. I ran across plenty of other titles in my many laps around the Javits Center for BookExpo America. These were the highlights from the Library Journal Day of Dialogue. Planning to attend BEA next year? Put this newly annual event on your calendar.

The Embers by Hyatt Bass–a young woman embarking on a new hopeful chapter in her life gathers her estranged family around her and watches as they all come to terms with the tragedy that tore them all apart sixteen years ago. Fans of Laura Moriarty will enjoy discussing topics such as familial responsibility, foregiveness, guilt and redemption. I will be suggesting this title for the book group that wants the latest Jodi Picoult novel to discuss and despairs that the library doesn’t own twenty copies of it. Look for this debut novel later in June.

The Hawk and The Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War
by Nicholas Thompson—With permission of both estates, the author, the grandson of one of the two great men who shaped the Cold War, tells the story of a sixty-year old friendship between the two men who rose to power during WWII and guided the trajectory of the Cold War. Although Pal Nitze and George Kennan were political opponents regarding this difficult period of American History, they remained the closest of friends and the story of their long-lasting friendship is the history of one of our nation’s most politically stressed times. It’s a great vehicle for telling the larger story of the cold war and is book group ready for MEN!! This title might make an interesting companion to The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw.

The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim—This debut novel is set in early 20th century Korea. Najin Han, a smart, headstrong and privileged daughter of an educated family is sent to the king’s court to serve as a companion to the young princess. The assassinatio of the Korean king heralds the end of a traditional Korean world and the beginning of the occupation of Korea by Japan. Najin is determined to further her education in this coming-of-age novel that spans thirty years and expertly captures the beauty and loss of a specific time and place. Readers who enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or Kitchen God’s Wife will not be disappointed by The Calligrapher’s Daughter. Look for it in August.

An Unquenchable Thirst
by Mary Johnson—after seeing a Time magazine cover of Mother Teresa, the author was inspired to join the Missionaries of Charity and became one of the Catholic sister’s close confidantes. Mary left the order after twenty years and experienced her own crisis of faith and identity as she struggled to make sense of the secular world. This elegantly written memoir will appeal to fans of Karen Armstrong and Kathleen Norris. You’ll have to wait patiently until next spring for its publication.

Wolf in the Parlor by Jon Franklin—known for his award winning science writing, Franklin spent ten years researching dogs and why they love us so darn much. His journey began with a photograph of a skeleton uncovered by archeologists. The arm of skeleton was reached out to rest on skeleton of a puppy. It’s second step came when the author proposed to his girlfriend who responded, “Good. Now we can get a dog.” Franklin spent many hours and miles with his own puppy, a poodle named Charlie. A thoughtful and fascinating of the relationship between humans and dogs that will be a lively choice for book groups. And you can invite their dogs! This one bows in September.



About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

1 Comment on "BEA Book Group Picks"

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  1.' Mary Ellen says:

    Kaite, do you ever sit still (or stop reading)? I just found your booktalks from the “Shout and Share” panel at Book Expo posted on Early Word.

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