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December 2008 Book Clubs Schedule

The December 2008 Book Clubs Schedule
December 1 to 19


Talk about Books & Authors


Center Stage


Michael Connelly -- December 1 to 5
Don't miss your chance to talk to Michael Connelly who, for the first time ever, brings Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller together in one novel, The Brass Verdict.  See all Michael Connelly titles.


James Patterson -- December 8 to 12
James Patterson returns with Alex Cross in the page-turning Cross Country, he joins our conversation this week. See all James Patterson titles.


Wally Lamb -- December 15 to 19
Readers and fans are eagerly awaiting Wally Lamb's new novel, The Hour I First Believed, he joins us this week. See all Wally Lamb titles.




New Reads with Rachel Kubie: The Good Thief with the author, Hannah Tinti.
Richly imagined, gothically spooky, and replete with the ingenious storytelling ability of a born novelist, The Good Thief introduces one of the most appealing young heroes in contemporary fiction and ratifies Hannah Tinti as one of our most exciting new talents.



Talk about Genres & Ideas


The Classics book club reads Great American Short Stories: From Hawthorne to Hemingway.
Beginning with well-known stories by Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe, this diverse and colorful collection includes tales by Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Sherwood Anderson, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, and Mary Wilkins Freeman. Uniquely capable of capturing a moment in time, the short story occupies a cherished place in the history of American literature. During the last 200 years, some of this nation’s greatest writers have produced outstanding examples of this art form, many of which are included in this collection.


The Crime book club talks about Lawrence Blocks's Grifter's Game and Fifty-to-One by our very own Charles Ardai!
Grifter's Game was originally published as Mona by Gold Medal in 1961, this is the book’s first publication under the author’s intended title. Con man Joe Marlin was used to scoring easy cash off beautiful women. But that was before he met Mona Brassard and found himself facing the most dangerous con of his career, one that will leave him either a killer — or a corpse.


The Current Events book club welcomes Alice Schroeder, the author of The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life to the discussion from December 1 to 5. The club will also read The World Is Curved by David M. Smick.
Alice Schroeder's The Snowball recounts the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.” In The World Is Curved, David Smick describes how today's risky environment came to be—and why the mortgage mess is a symptom of future trouble. The global financial system is vulnerable to a psychological herd effect that could wreak havoc on Main Street, not just Wall Street.


The Epics book club continues their discussion of The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton.
The most renowned and critically acclaimed novel by the prolific G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday is equal parts mystery, suspense story, allegory, and farce, and is considered a classic of the spy genre while at the same time almost constitutes a genre of its own. The hero, Gabriel Syme, is Chesterton's ideal of the virtuous Common Man. He must infiltrate and try to thwart an anarchist cell, whose heart is the mysterious and ambiguous Sunday, man whose powers seem almost godlike. Syme's mission lead him through the back ways of Victorian London and on a wild Chase through the French country-side, and adventure at once madcap, surreal, and cosmically important.


The Family Room book club reads The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
With the movie hitting the theaters this holiday season, we turn our focus on this Newbery Medal Award winner. In lilting storytelling language reminiscent of fairy tales of old, Kate DiCamillo spins the yarn of Despereaux Tilling, a literate mouse who lives by a different code and happens to fall in love with a real princess. Despereaux is anxious to profess his love, but when he tells his community of his dreams, he gets banished into the dark dungeon where mice never leave. Adjacent to Despereaux's dilemma is the story of a rat named Chiaroscuro, ruthless in personality and in love with making his way toward light. When these two characters eventually collide -- along with Miggery Sow, a down-and-out servant who aims to become a princess of her own -- the result is a heroic, surprising heartwarmer that brings families together, gives hope to underdogs everywhere, and teems with justice.


The Fantasy & Science Fiction book club welcomes Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender in Exile to the discussion!  And reads the classic V: The Original Miniseries by Kenneth Johnson and A. C. Crispin; and The Drowned Life by Jeffrey Ford.

Orson Scott Card returns to his bestselling series with Ender in Exile. Kenneth Johnson’s Warner Bros. television series V swept the nation and drew in hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. Now, the the novel V is finally back in print, with an all-new, never-before-seen revised ending.


The Gardening book club helps you prep for the holidays with A Gardener's Book of Handmade Gifts by Stephanie Donaldson and learn more about your garden with The Visual Encyclopedia of Garden Techniques by Jonathan Edwards.
In A Gardener's Book of Handmade Gifts, Stephanie Donaldson presents an entirely delightful collection of simple, natural gift ideas - beautiful and exquisite creations for gardeners and garden lovers everywhere. And whether you are an experienced gardener or a complete beginner, The Visual Encyclopedia of Garden Techniques contains everything that you need to know about planning, planting and maintaining your garden.


The Fiction book club turns its focus on The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
This bestselling and innovative debut novel from Audrey Niffenegger explores the perfect marriage, one that is tested by challenges the couple can neither control nor predict. An imaginative extension of everyday life, the story asks: What if two people who loved each other deeply, married, and faced a life in which one person remained constant while the other slipped fluidly in and out of time?


The Harry Potter book club reads The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter. The stories are accompanied by delightful pen-and-ink illustrations by Ms. Rowling herself, featuring a still-life frontispiece for each one.


The Literature by Women book club reads The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe.
A bestseller in its day and a potent influence on Sade, Poe, and other purveyors of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic horror, The Mysteries of Udolpho remains one of the most important works in the history of European fiction. After Emily St. Aubuert is imprisoned by her evil guardian, Count Montoni, in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines, terror becomes the order of the day. With its dream-like plot and hallucinatory rendering of its characters' psychological states, The Mysteries of Udolpho is a fascinating challenge to contemporary readers.


The Mystery book club deck the halls with Slay Ride by Chris Grabenstein and Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Holiday Mystery by Agatha Christie.
Slay Ride brings us Scott Wilkinson, a successful young advertising executive on his way to the top. Christopher Miller is an FBI legend who has been willing to do whatever it takes to see that justice is done. However, at age 50, he's ready to spend more time with his family. Two weeks before Christmas, Scott goes on a routine business trip that will forever entangle their two lives. It starts like so many others. Wilkinson calls for a car service to take him from his home to the airport. But the driver of Lincoln Town Car 716 is late. When he finally shows up, he drives like a maniac, and Wilkinson feels fortunate to reach the airport alive. Then, he makes a big mistake. Wilkinson calls the limousine company to complain. Customer Service assures him the bad driver will be "dealt with." Nicolai Kyznetsoff looks and sounds like all the anonymous others who whisk successful young executives back and forth to the airport every day, but the man behind the wheel of Car 716 is something much more sinister: an avenging dark angel who will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on the one man he holds responsible for ruining his life. And in Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Holiday Mystery, on the night before Christmas, the cruel, tyrannical, filthy rich Simeon Lee is found in his locked bedroom with his throat cut. Now Hercule Poirot must put his detective powers to the test to solve one of his most chilling cases - and to prevent a clever killer from spilling more blood.


The Paranormal book club welcomes Cherie Priest, the author of Fathom; and reads Every Last Drop by Charlie Huston; and Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland.
Cherie Priest, who stormed onto the scene with the stunning Southern Gothic trio that began with Four and Twenty Blackbirds, now brings the same masterful writing and unforgettable characterization to the realm of near-contemporary rural fantasy. The result, Fathom, is fast-paced, stunning, and quite unlike anything you’ve ever read. In Every Last Drop, a series of bullet-riddled bad breaks has seen rogue Vampyre and terminal tough guy Joe Pitt go from PI for hire to Clan-connected enforcer to dead man walking in a New York minute. And after burning all his bridges, the only one left to cross leads to the Bronx, where Joe’s brass knuckles and straight razor can’t keep him from running afoul of a sadistic old bloodsucker with a bad bark and a worse bite. Even if every Clan in Manhattan is hollering for Joe’s head on a stick, it’s got to be better than trying to survive in the outer-borough wilderness. In Any Given Doomsday, Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help in the Milwaukee Police Department’s fight against injustice. But when Liz’s foster mother is found viciously murdered—and Liz is discovered unconscious at the scene—her only memory of the crime comes in the form of terrifying dreams...of creatures more horrific than anything Liz has seen in real life. What do these visions mean? And what in the world do they have to do with her former lover, Jimmy Sanducci?


The Romantic Reads book club reads A Seduction at Christmas by Cathy Maxwell.
Desperation and an empty stomach forced Fiona Lachlan to agree to a plan that ended up luring the wickedly notorious Duke of Holburn into trouble. Everything went terribly wrong, and now she has found herself posing as his ward! And while she swore nothing could make her desire a scoundrel, even if he was a duke, she is now drawing ever closer to the one man she cannot have.


The Shakespeare book club reads Love's Labor's Lost by William Shakespeare.
Love's Labour's Lost, now recognized as one of the most delightful and stageworthy of Shakespeare's comedies, came into its own both on the stage and in critical esteem only during the 1930s and 1940s--after nearly three hundred years of neglect by the theater and misuse by critics.



And be sure to visit Ande's Book Explorers board and Ilana's Literature and Life board for regular posts about the reading life.


Looking for a discussion? Find a Book Club for all your interests!