Welcome to our new series on book clubs! At the beginning of every month, we’ll present our top recommendations for your club, as well as tips on how to shape your discussion and fun extra stuff to keep the conversation going. Many of us here belong to book clubs, and Open Road even has its own employee reading group. We love nothing more than book talk. So tune in, and read on!
Many book clubs have a summer hiatus, and return in September with that back-to-school feeling. Suddenly every book looks tempting, and the autumn beckons with a wide-open reading schedule. We want to make it easy for your book club to fill up the calendar with lots of great reading. Here are some of our favorites, for all seasons.
The Hanging Judge, by Michael Ponsor
Based on the experience of the author, a federal judge who in 2000 presided over the first capital case in Massachusetts in more than fifty years, this is an extraordinary thriller that offers an unprecedented inside view of a federal death penalty trial. A great discussion is in store for your group!
The Eternal Wonder, by Pearl S. Buck
A novel that was lost for forty years, by the author of the long-loved classic, The Good Earth. Here is a coming-of-age story about an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris, a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea that will change his life forever—and, ultimately, to love.
The Republic of Love, by Carol Shields
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Stone Diaries gives us a love story for the ages: the tale of two polar opposites on a rocky road to romance. A thrice-divorced radio host and a folklorist who studies mermaids show us how love is expressed in all its guises. (And how often has your book club met a character who studies mermaids?!)
Foreign Affairs, by Alison Lurie
Do you dream of sitting next to someone on a plane who might change your life? This one is for you! Alison Lurie’s supremely entertaining masterwork about two American scholars, both alone in London, who find romance in the most unlikely places. Everyone wants a foreign affair.
The Replacement Wife, by Eileen Goudge
A poignant novel that asks the question, “What would you do if you were told you had only six months to live?” For one professional matchmaker the answer is heart-wrenching: She must find her husband’s next wife.
Household Saints, by Francine Prose
It is the late 1940s, in Manhattan’s Little Italy when Joseph Santangelo, the neighborhood butcher, wins his wife in a pinochle game. Defying all expectations, the new couple flourishes and as the years slide past, the city changes around them, but Little Italy’s household saints hold their world together.
Monkeys, by Susan Minot
A decade in the life of the Vincents, a colorful Irish Catholic family from the Boston suburbs. On the surface of this remarkable novel, the family seems happy with their chaotic life. But underneath, the Vincents struggle to maintain the appearance of wealth and stability while dealing with the effects of their father’s alcoholism. When a sudden accident strikes, their love for one another is tested like never before.
To Sir, With Love, by E.R. Braithwaite
The classic schoolroom drama of a black teacher in London’s tough East End who triumphs over bigotry and ignorance to change the lives of his students forever was hailed by the New York Times as “a book that the reader devours quickly, ponders slowly, and forgets not at all.” Based on actual events in the author’s life, this is a powerfully moving story that celebrates courage, commitment, and vision, and is the inspiration for the classic film starring Sidney Poitier.
The Lemon Grove, by Ali Hosseini
A story of love, redemption, and the courage to survive in the face of calamity and loss. Twin brothers Behruz and Ruzbeh are in love with Shireen. When Behruz leaves America and returns to Iran to help his brother, who has been injured in the Iran-Iraq war, a series of events are set in motion that changes all of their lives.
The Translator, by Nina Schuyler
When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, she suffers from an unusual but real condition—the loss of her native language. Speaking only Japanese, a language learned later in life, she leaves for Japan. There, to Hanne’s shock, the Japanese novelist whose work she recently translated confronts her publicly for sabotaging his work. Nina Schuyler offers a deeply moving and mesmerizing story about language, love, and the transcendence of family.
The Salinger Contract, by Adam Langer
This novel “came about through wanting to satirize the idea, so often repeated in interviews, that a book can change your life. It’s a cliché and so rarely true and so I wanted to write a book where that idea is literally true—a writer’s life depends on writing this book,” according to Langer. The result is a literary mystery that connects some of the world’s most famous writers—like Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and J. D. Salinger—to a sinister collector in Chicago. A novel of literary crimes and misdemeanors, The Salinger Contract will delight anyone who loves a fast-paced story told with humor, wit, and intrigue. It’s particularly excellent for book club discussions about the value of books, writing, and art as property.