Book Group Crystal Ball #BEA11

My apologies for being so late to get this up. I’ve been sucked into a stack of books from which I thought I might not emerge.

This year’s Book Expo America in New York City convinced me I don’t ever want to miss it again. Two years ago, I felt overwhelmed and, frankly, kinda ignored as a librarian. This year, whoa. Librarians were feted and greeted everywhere. From the publishers, to the marketers, to the authors, to the librarian-friendly sessions, I felt so welcome and exhilarated that I promise I won’t be missing BEA in the future.

There were so many informative and intriguing sessions that I could have been busy the entire time taking notes, asking questions, and totally missing the show floor. But, wisely, I didn’t. And while I was trolling the show floor with some new and old library pals, I found some great books that I will be putting on the reading lists for my three book groups next year.

Here are five titles that I will be suggesting to Kansas City’s book groups.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan–Jordan’s first novel, Mudbound, winner of the Bellwether prize in 2006, has been an area favorite and I’ve wrwhenshewoke_fc2itten about this book a couple of times on this blog. Jordan’s follow up promises to be just as thought-provoking. Hannah wakes and notices her hands first. They are red. The red of a stop sign. Hannah is now a Chrome, serving a sixteen year sentence as a Red for committing the crime of murder. She has aborted her baby and will not name the father. This dystopian novel combines the harsh social punishment of The Scarlet Letter to the fearful tone of The Handmaid’s Tale. Readers will relish discussing the political, religious, and social issues regarding justice, women’s rights, theology and ideology. A compelling story with sympathetic characters. Expect buttons to be pushed. Look for this title in October.

The Orchard by Theresa Weir–this memoir is being compared to Silent Spring on a Midwest farm. The author falls in love with Adrian, the son of a prominent family, whose lives and orchards are destined to be cursed. Young Theresa moves to her new husband’s farm and is rebuffed by his family as an outsider. As the perils of chemicals on crops affect workers, land, and harvest, Theresa and Adrian struggle to hold onto the family lands that may be the death of them. For book groups that enjoy memoirs, this book is a winner. It bows in September.

The American Heiress by Daisy Godwin–for all those book groups that just love historicalamericanheiress fiction that is thinly disguised speculation on the real lives of real people, this one is a treat. It will also satisfy all those PBS “Downton Abbey” fans as they wait for the next season of the series. Young, beautiful, independent, and slightly spoiled Cora Cash yearns to get out from under the social-climbing thumb of her mother. Her robber-baron father’s millions aren’t enough to gain her entrance into New York’s high society, but it’s enough to catch the eye of an impoverished duke with a crumbling family manor he’d like to keep in the family. The social and financial complexities of marriage in the Gilded Age will spark lively debate. This delectable historical bonbon should be hitting the shelves by the end of June.

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson–fans of women’s fiction with a dash of gothic drama will revel in the lush descriptions of the Provence countrysi9780062049698_0_coverde and the lavender farming industry. Two tales spanning a generation unfold and come together in a spooky way. First, modern bookish Eve moves to a Provencal farmhouse, Les Genevriers, with her dashing and sophisticated older lover, Dom. (If you’re thinking Rebecca, you’re on the right track.) The story of the family that owned and operated the hamlet is told in alternating chapters by youngest daughter Benedicte. Eve feels the presence of otherworldly beings, is it Benedicte, hoping to right a great wrong? Or her evil brother, Pierre, seeking retribution for an inheritance denied? Slowly building suspense couched in a misty complex tale of the truths we give and deny our loved ones for all the best, but perhaps, wrong, reasons. Look for The Lantern in September. Consider pairing it with Daphne DuMaurier’s classic, Rebecca.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern–a fantasy debut that I’ll be giving to all those wailing Harry Potter fans who no longer have books or movies to look forward to. I’ll also urge this one on my book groups who want to sample quality fantasy, but don’t want too many unicorns or fairies. It’s a beautiful love story of two warring magicians who don’t know they’ve been sworn to defeat each other since birth. Their duel will take place under the canopy of Le Cirque des Reves, an enchanted circus that appears wherever and whenever it chooses. This is a mesmerizing tale of magic, deception, and darkness. The pace is leisurely in order for the readers to appreciate the rich descriptions and the suspense of the eventual meeting of the lover-magicians. The black-and-white Big Top goes up in September.

I’m sure I’ll discover more great book group reads in New Orleans. I promise to share them in a more timely fashion.

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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.

2 Comments on "Book Group Crystal Ball #BEA11"

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  1. Someone I work with visits your blog regularly and recommended it to me to read too. The writing style is great and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

  2. shinemontano@hotmail.com' Shine says:

    Looking for nice books to read is not easy. Thanks for your recommendations.

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