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For all of you in reading groups and need guidance to select your next group read look no further than our reading group category. Why not print off a few opening extracts to read before you decide?
One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. A beguiling and disturbing story set in 1871 New York where poverty and decadence are unhappy, but necessary bedfellows. Moth, the 12 year old central character, is sold into prostitution by an uncaring mother and as a virgin she holds the key to a mythical cure for all manner of sexually transmitted diseases. The lush descriptions by the author bring late 19C seedy New York to vivid life and make this an alluring read. October 2012 Book of the Month. A few Lovereading members have been lucky enough to get to read this novel ahead of publication. Scroll down to see what they think...
Florence, 1943. Two sisters, Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio, find themselves surrounded by terror and death; and with Italy trapped under the heel of a brutal Nazi occupation, bands of Partisans rise up. Soon Isabella and Caterina will test their wits and deepest beliefs as never before. As the winter grinds on, they will be forced to make the most important decisions of their lives. Their choices will reverberate for decades. In the present day, Alessandro Pallioti, a senior policeman agrees to oversee a murder investigation, after it emerges the victim was once a Partisan hero. When the case begins to unravel, Pallioti finds himself working to uncover a crime lost in the twilight of war, the consequences of which are as deadly today as they were over sixty years ago.
One of our Books of the Year 2015. June 2015 Debut of the Month. In all likelihood this summer’s big hit, and deservedly so, this enchanting and at times poignant debut novel by Guardian journalist Laura Barnett ticks all the boxes (and has already been swooped on by TV for adaptation as a mini series). Spanning the lives of a couple (and their friends, lovers and family) over several decades from Cambridge undergraduates to old age with an affection for the characters that drips off the page, we follow the subtle (and at times frustrating ) way insignificant moments can change the unfurling of a life and how happiness can sometimes depend on the smallest incident –a dog colliding or not with a cyclist- and the road of life can so easily bifurcate into alternate and often contradictory existences. A gentle book which will appeal to fans of David Nicholls and well beyond, in the way that a clever existential concept can illuminate the seesaw nature of people’s lives but still displays an endearing voice of its own. I loved it. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Violet is half-American, half-Chinese, and in the turn of the century Shanghai, as the revolution looms, she is separated from her mother and becomes a courtesan. We follow both women through turbulent lives. Amy Tan is an expert at recreating the period, the tension, the colour, and the fear. It’s a wonderful insight into the world of the courtesan, a long, absorbing book of love and survival.
August 2017 Debut of the Month Provocative and stimulating, this debut crime thriller set in Canada, slams with impact. Two detectives begin an investigation into the death of a man who may have been involved in the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian war in 1995. Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a PhD in International Human Rights Law with a research specialisation in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, her experience and knowledge sets the tone of the novel as she takes fact and blends in fiction. It did take me a little time to settle into the story, and I appreciated the setting of the background of the Canadian police unit and politics. Each chapter is headed by a compelling, sometimes heartbreaking quotation which is explained in the notes. The story slowly grows and gathers pace, creating an intricate, intriguing moving jigsaw of pieces. The most striking part of the story for me, was when the past began to speak, I found myself flinching and yet I couldn't turn away. ‘The Unquiet Dead’ is quite simply, as fascinating as it is a challenging read. ~ Liz Robinson
Winner of the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' 2012. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012. This is one of those books that you can’t help but fall in love with. Experienced radio playwright but debut novelist Rachel Joyce has written a moving and poignant, yet comic, story with such affecting characters it’s hard to stop reading – rather like the journey the central character Harold takes. And it all starts with a simple letter… wonderful. One of the Richard and Judy Spring 2013 Book Club selections. Listen to an audio extract by clicking on the orange arrow below. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce by Random House Audiobooks
May 2012 Debut of the Month. Captivating, beautifully written with a real sense of location this is a heart wrenching story of modern motherhood that is a real emotional roller-coaster. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... Dear Reader: The first time I read Underside of Joy I was lying on my sofa at home feeling very sorry for myself, and not a little annoyed when I heard that a ‘hot’ book had arrived in my inbox. Frankly, I’d rather have been drinking a hot toddy and having a snooze… Three hours later, I looked up from the manuscript, got on my phone to the office, and started bidding. Underside of Joy is that special. To my great relief we were able to successfully pre-empt in the UK before our competitors got started, and every day we received news that another territory had gone to auction – the US, France, Brazil, Germany, the list was endless, and within a month 14 territories had snapped it up. So, what is this book that seems to speak to readers so universally? It tells the story of two children, and two mothers. Ella has been mum to her husband Joe’s children, 3 year-old Zach and 6 year-old Annie, for the past three years, believing their ‘natural’ mother, Paige, has abandoned them, and she loves them as fiercely and passionately as any mother. Then the unthinkable happens and Joe is killed in an accident, leaving Ella gasping for air but clinging to her children for dear life. And then, the moment that stopped me in my tracks, and gave me the goosebumps you only get when you read something special… Little Annie breaks away from the mourners at Joe’s funeral, runs headlong and hurtling towards a statuesque blonde, and calls out the word ‘Mama’. From that page onwards, Seré has you in her snare, sympathies switching endlessly between Ella and Paige, emotions being wrung out by this tragic, uplifting, complex and unforgettable narrative. The novel is so moving that, as one publisher in the Netherlands said after reading its pages, “[I] hugged my kids and husband a little tighter, and felt that bit more patient and grateful.” And as you finish reading this journey through the under-side of joy, you are left feeling its polar opposite – pure unadulterated joy. And how many books can deliver you that! Happy reading. Sarah Ritherdon, Publishing Director, HarperCollins _____________________________________________________________________________________ A few Lovereading members have been lucky enough to get to read this novel ahead of publication. Scroll down to see what they think...
Powerful and absorbing writing, handling a sensitive subject well. The drive to have a baby can be all-consuming, sometimes destructive but can two strangers brought together by the same wish help each other? It’s a great read but have the tissues to hand.
May 2015 Debut of the Month. Eloquently emotional and amusingly witty, this is a beautifully written and utterly compelling relationship tale. It’s easy to find yourself falling in love with this book as you read, the author has the ability to make your heart weep, your thoughts laugh and your soul sing. There are some genuinely funny, sharp and perceptive laugh out loud moments to be had along the way, often alongside or next to the sad, poignant and heartrending. You are encouraged to emotionally connect with Fisher, he feels real, as though you're hearing one of your best friends confide in you. Because it’s Fisher disclosing their story, there is often an enigmatic veil covering Ivy's thoughts and therefore when revealed, her feelings are particularly highlighted and emphasised. There is an abundance of heart and soul emanating from the pages and this wonderfully moving novel is one to cherish. ~ Liz Robinson February 2015 eBook of the Month.
They were identical in every way Until the unthinkable tore them apart Isolte and Viola are twins. Inseparable as children, they've grown into very different adults: Isolte, a successful features writer for a fashion magazine with a photographer boyfriend and a flat in London, and Viola, desperately unhappy and struggling with a lifelong eating disorder. What happened all those years ago to set the twins on such different paths to adulthood? As both women start to unravel the escalating tragedies of a half-remembered summer, terrifying secrets from the past come rushing back - and threaten to overwhelm their adult lives...
So much more than just a crime novel this book follows the lives of a group of men who’s actions over 30 years ago caused pain and death and would inextricably link them to each other. George Pelecanos knows how to tell a good story, gritty, gripping and powerful.
The first novel from the author of the Richard and Judy chosen book The Pirate’s Daughter was originally published in America in 2000 and now, owing to the success of her latest, is reissued over here almost as a new book. It’s Jamaican history again, 1981 and backtracking with a complicated mix of plots and voices which explores both the personal and the political of a war-torn land. Comparison: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jamaica Kincaid.
Perfect Books for Reading Groups
Did you know that the first recorded reading groups were among women working in factories in the nineteenth century? And now, according to research undertaken a few years ago, there are tens of thousands of groups meeting regularly in the UK reading everything from literary classics to technical manuals!
Of course, if you are in a book group, choosing what to read next can be a serious matter as not every book has subject matter that can really be dicussed. So to help you Lovereading has decided to lend a hand by, each month, selecting a number of books we feel are perfect and will give your group a rewarding discussion as well as a rewarding read.
As one reader has said:
"How has it taken me so long to find this treasure of a site? As an avid reader and member of a book group you will be invaluable in selecting future reads. Thanks again for a wonderful site." Angela Whiley
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