Book Group Crystal Ball #ALA11 Annual

Just when I thought I’d run into all the best book group picks for the fall, I found five more while I was attending ALA in New Orleans.

Here’s a short list of titles that I’ll be suggesting for the Kansas City Public Library book groups. These were the titles that offered the most intriguing characters and story lines with discussable topics.

The first two use New Orleans as a setting. Robert Olen Butler’s newest novel, A Small Hotel, will have the group talking about what constitutes a marriage and how it changes over time. On the day they will finalize their divorce, Kelly leaves Michael in court as she drives from Florida to New Orleans and checks into the hotel where she and her soon-to-be-ex-husband fell in love twenty years ago to think about her marriage and it’s current state. bones2

The second, Salvage the Bones, will be a highly emotional read for book groups. Jesmyn Ward has mined the experience of herself and her family and turned it into a powerful story of a family and their struggles in the twelve days leading up to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Readers will enjoy comparing the storm to the stormy nature of the family’s situation.

Another moving title will have participants examining relationships and how to handle grief. Meghan O’Rourke has written an expressive memoir, The Long Goodbye, that chronicles her experiences with her mother’s death and the disintegration of her marriage. Book group members will find much to ponder about the nature of memory, loss, and healing.

Tayari Jones’s most recent novel, Silver Sparrow, is a novel that will appeal tosilver groups that enjoy relationships between sisters. Dana Lynn and Chaurisse are sisters but only one of them knows it. Their father, James, has two families in the same city and while he does his best to keep them separate, his daughters become friends. This is an unthinkable situation and the two girls and their mothers struggle to make the best of it without destroying themselves.

For readers who want a little urban fantasy with meat on its bones (pun intended), take a look at The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, a literary werewolf story. Jake Marlow is a Kant quote-dropping werewolf who is tired of living and is on the run from the monster hunters who want to see the species extinct. Think American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis meets Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow.

Keep these in mind while planning the reading schedule for next year.

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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.

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