Book Club Corner – August

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.


The Tsar of Love & Techno by Anthony Marra

9780770436452Marra’s follow up to his remarkable debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (2013), is a collection of interwoven stories… A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima-ballerina. A chorus of women recounts their stories and those of their grandmothers, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts. This book has garnered much love from BookPeople booksellers, and deservedly so.

“Ambitious and intellectually restless…[Marra is] a prose writer who resembles the Joseph Heller of Catch-22 and the Jonathan Safran Foer of Everything Is Illuminated.”—Dwight Garner, New York Times

ANTHONY MARRA is the author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (2013), which won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize and appeared on over twenty year-end lists. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where he teaches as the Jones Lecturer in Fiction.

The Tsar of Love & Techno was released in paperback on July 19th, and is available on our shelves now!

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg 

9780804172950Hallberg’s debut novel, which garnered much praise and made all the important lists, takes a microcosm of 1976 New York City that includes two siblings in a high-society family, two punk-rock teenagers, a murder, a detective and a journalist, and manages to tell a story about family, loneliness, art and rock ‘n roll. It gets under your skin, transports you to past, and emotionally involves you in these people’s lives. Hallberg’s New York City is the field upon which these character’s lives will inevitably collide, changed forever. You may not see NYC quite the same way after reading this book.

“Dickensian, massively entertaining, as close to a great American novel as this century has produced.”—Stephen King

Garth Risk Hallberg was born in Louisiana and grew up in North Carolina. His writing has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, Best New American Voices 2008, and, most frequently, The Millions; a novella, A Field Guide to the North American Family, was published in 2007. He lives in New York with his wife and children.

City on Fire was released in paperback on July 26th, and is available on our shelves now!

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

9781250094735Berlin has been compared to Raymond Carver, Richard Yates, Grace Paley and Alice Munroe. She started publishing in 1981, and while her small following was devout she never reached a mass audience in her lifetime. This collection of stories, published after her death, hit the New York Times Bestseller list in its second week. She writes about the everyday lives of the working class, but with a combination of grace and wit. She explores her characters with great honesty, making them seem urgent and alive.

“In the field of short fiction, Lucia Berlin is one of America’s best kept secrets. That’s it. Flat out. No mitigating conditions.”—Paul Metcalf

LUCIA BERLIN (1936-2004) worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. An alcoholic most her life, she got sober and began writing steadily by the 1990s, she took a visiting writer’s post at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994 and was soon promoted to associate professor. In 2001, in failing health, she moved to Southern California to be near her sons. She died in 2004 in Marina del Rey.

A Manual for Cleaning Women will be released in paperback on August 2nd, and is available for pre-order now!

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

9780778319313A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband’s family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf. Perfect for fans of Tana French.

For years Sarah’s husband, Jack, has avoided returning home, but when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. Upon arriving, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the family is what it seems. Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past, but the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

“Masterful… Intelligent… Thought-provoking. If there’s such a thing as a ‘thoughtful thriller,’ Missing Pieces is it.” – Sandra Brown

Heather Gudenkauf is an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Heather lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running.

Missing Pieces will be released in paperback on August 9th, and is available for pre-order now!

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

9781101912362Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of a nationwide economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project seems to be the answer to their prayers. Everyone gets a job and a clean, comfortable house to live in…for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their “civilian” homes.

In this book, Atwood turns her astute satirical eye toward the economic and social forces shaping our modern world. It’s both a commentary on the human cost of corporatization, and a timeless story about love & survival.

“Poignant…. Gloriously madcap…. You only pause in your laughter when you realise that, in its constituent parts, the world she depicts here is all too horribly plausible.”—The Guardian (London)

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. She has been awarded the Arthur C. Clarke Award, The Booker Prize, and the Nebula Award, among many others. Her most recent series, MaddAddam, is about to be adapted for television. She lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.

The Heart Goes Last will be released in paperback on Aug 9th and is available for pre-order now.

Who Will Catch Us As We Fall by Iman Verjee

9781780749365Haunted by a past that has kept her from Nairobi for over three years, Leena returns home to discover her family unchanged: her father is still a staunch patriot dreaming of a better country; her mother is still an arch traditionalist, unwilling or unable to let go of the past; and her brother, always the rebellious one, spends his days provoking the establishment as a political activist. When Leena meets a local Kikuyu artist whose past is linked to her own, the two begin a secret affair—one that forces Leena to again question her place in a country she once called home.

Interlinked with Leena’s story is that of Jeffery: a corrupt policeman burdened with his own angers and regrets, and whose questionable actions have unexpected and catastrophic consequences for those closest to him. Spanning a period of 12 years, Who Will Catch Us As We Fall is a gripping and epic story of love, loss and identity in contemporary Kenya.

“Rich in profound observations of character, psychology, and human nature…. A unique, powerful voice in African literature.” — Kirkus Reviews

Iman Verjee won the 2012 PFD City University Writing Prize for Fiction for her debut novel In Between Dreams (Oneworld, 2014), which she wrote while completing an MA in Creative Writing at City University. Prior to studying in London she studied psychology at the University of Alberta in Canada. She now lives in Calgary, Canada, having emigrated from Nairobi, Kenya, in 2014.

Who Will Catch Us As We Fall will be released in paperback on August 9th and is available for pre-order now.


Thursday, August 11 at 7PM

Debut Novelist
speaking & signing
A Wife of Noble Character

Join us tonight for a juicy, sprawling comedy of manners about a group of thirtysomethings navigating friendship, love, and their fledgling careers among Houston’s high-powered, oil-money elite. Debut novelist Yvonne Puig will be here this evening to speak and sign A Wife of Noble Character.


2015 Côtes de Provence Rosé Domaine Houchart


Summer is the time for pink wines! These wines tend toward crisp berry flavors, without being to sweet. In fact, you should enjoy them with a side of berries, or maybe a frozen fruity treat. And they are perfect for sitting on the patio while the sun goes down and you’re deep into your summer reading list. You can find this Houchart at the Austin Wine Merchant, on their Recent Arrivals and Pink Wines page. It’s $11.99/bottle.

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