Book Club Corner Picks: September Recommendations

book club
Welcome to our Book Club Corner, where each month we highlight books new to paperback we think would make perfect picks for your next book club discussion. If you’re looking to join a book club, we host a wide variety of free, bookseller-run book clubs right here at BookPeople. Join us! We love to talk books.

Featured Books of the Month:

the thing about decemberThe Thing About December by Donal Ryan

While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Following the deaths first of his father and then his mother, Johnsey inherits the family farm, and a healthy bank account, both of which he proves incapable of managing on his own. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns. Though companionship, and the promise of love, enter his life as a result of a hospital stay following a brutal beating, Johnsey remains a lonely man struggling to keep up with a world that moves faster than he does. You’ll discuss loss, wealth, solitude, and community.

Finalist, Novel of the Year, The Irish Book Awards
–Finalist, The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year
–A September 2014 Indie Next Pick

we are waterWe Are Water by Wally Lamb
Annie Oh–wife, mother, and artist–has shaken her family to its core. After twenty-seven years of marriage and three children, Annie has fallen in love with Viveca, the wealthy, cultured, confident Manhattan art dealer who orchestrated her professional success. The two plan to wed in the Oh family’s hometown of Three Rivers, Connecticut, where gay marriage has recently been legalized. But this provokes mixed reactions and opens a Pandora’s box of toxic secrets–dark and painful truths that have festered below the surface of the Ohs’ lives. You’ll discuss trauma, redemption, and the impact of secrets.
“It’s a sign of a good novel when the reader slowly savors the final chapters, both eager to discover the ending and dreading saying goodbye to the characters. We Are Water is a book worth diving into.” –USA Today, 4-star review

good lord birdThe Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry—whom Brown nicknames Little Onion—conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859—one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. You’ll discuss issues of US history, race and identity.

–Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction
–Soon to be a major motion picture starring Liev Shreiber and Jaden Smith
–A Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Oprah Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year


  last days of californiaThe Last Days of California by Mary Miller

Fifteen-year-old Jess is on a road trip to the end of the world. Her evangelical father has packed up the family and left their Montgomery, Alabama, home behind to drive west in anticipation of the rapture, hoping to save as many souls as possible before the imminent Second Coming. With her long-suffering mother and her rebellious sister Elise, Jess hands out tracts to nonbelievers at every rest stop, Waffle House, and gas station along the way. Through sticky diners and in crowded motel pools, beneath bleached bedspreads and in the backseat of the family car, Jess and Elise whisper and squabble their way across the country. But as doomsday approaches, Jess can’t seem to work up any real fear about the apocalypse when her sister’s secret pregnancy and their increasingly frayed parents loom so much larger. You’ll discuss family, religion, the American highway, and growing up.

Arian recommends this book: “This book, it would seem in some ways, is a bit of a love letter; to the South, the American road trip, and, most definitely, to being a girl. Mary Miller has taken every raw part of adolescence and written it down in authentic and beautiful detail. It’s a must read for anyone looking for accurate, strong and remarkable female voices in literature.”

Featured Wine of the Month: 

evenus zinfandel portScrumptious, chocolatey and smooth, there is no better way to welcome Autumn than with this port. Good luck saving any of this bottle for later. You can find it in Austin at Trader Joe’s for around ten dollars. This is a great wine to read by.

Featured Book Club Event:

Bret Anthony Johnson

Remember Me Like This (fiction; hardcover)
Tuesday, September 9 at 7pm
Event Info

BookPeople is pleased to work with the New Writers Project of the University of Texas for this event in our collaborative New Writers Tour series. Together, we will welcome Bret Anthony Johnston to BookPeople to speak about & sign his new novel, Remember Me Like This. A gripping story with the pace of a thriller but the nuanced characterization and deep empathy of some of the literary canon’s most beloved novels, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot and his shimmering prose, Johnston reveals that only in caring for one another can we save ourselves. Join us this evening as Bret Anthony Johnston speaks and signs. A perfect evening out for book clubs!

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