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Book Club Bash Choices: March 2019

Spring Book Club Bash - March 25 & March 26, 2019

QRB staff-recommended books for groups to discuss.

Fiction

The Cloister by James Carroll (Anchor $16.95). The 12th century monk Abelard is reviled by the church hierarchy for his defense of Jews and his relationship with his pupil, Heloise; a Jewish scholar in occupied France is denigrated for his efforts to revive Abelard's writings; and in the 1950s, a young cleric in New York, struggling with his place in the priesthood, wanders into the Cloisters in upper Manhattan. Three stories come together to demonstrate the battle between intolerance and the desire for truth. (Samantha)

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (St. Martin’s Press $27.99, paperback June, $16.99). What would you do to save your unborn child? Travel decades into the future? That's the issue for the protagonist in Dream Daughter. Raleigh author Diane Chamberlain will take you on the ride of your life as she gives us a game plan for how this just might be possible! (Samantha)

Extinctions by Josephine Wilson (Tin House $15.95). A stodgy, miserable, retired engineering professor in an Australian senior village finds that his world, seemingly about to crumble into nothingness, is completely reinvented. Funny, poignant, and galvanizing, this novel explores many kinds of extinctions―natural, racial, national, and personal―and what we might do to prevent them. (Kent)

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead Books $16). This story explores the grief that a woman and dog share for a lost friend. At the same time it explores the comfort that their new friendship brings. Winner of the 2018 National Book Award. (Anne)

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking $27). Alternating between the ‘80s and the present, Makkai shows how AIDS altered the gay population in ways that reverberate today. This book will stand with the great writing about the AIDS epidemic, including Abraham Verghese’s memoir, My Own Country, and And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts. (Mamie)

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose (Algonquin $15.95). In 2010, performance artist Marina Abramović began a 75-day installation at the Museum of Modern Art. She sat, silent, at a small table. Visitors came to sit across from her for as long as they wished. This is a fictionalized consideration of the impact of this exhibit, the effect of art on those who experience it, and of love—complicated, inconvenient, inevitable love. (Samantha)

The Overstory by Richard Powers (W W Norton $27.95, paperback April, $17.95). A group of people form an affinity for trees as children. They pursue varied paths to adulthood and become advocates and activists for the preservation of old growth forests. Eventually their paths cross in surprising ways. (Anne)

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (Harper Paperbacks $16.99). The May Mothers, a group of moms experiencing new motherhood together, are rocked by a tragedy when one of their sons goes missing. Aimee Molloy presents a unique take on the thriller genre that will keep you up at night—reading! (Chelsea)

Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher (Washington Square Press $16). When his family moves from America to Israel, Jonathan embarks on a love affair with his new country. In the year before he joins the Israeli army, he meets Palestinian twins Nimreen and Laith, and forms an intimate bond of love and friendship. This beautifully wrought story is a reminder that the mentality of Us versus Them can only end badly for both. And that a love story isn’t any good unless it breaks your heart. (Tony)

There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf $25.95, paperback May, Vintage $16). The urban Native American experience is laid bare in this debut novel by a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. The lives of twelve people are brought together by their preparation for the upcoming Big Oakland Powwow. Beautiful language, fascinating and complex characters, and a run-away-train plot. (Mamie)

Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories by May-lee Chai (Blair $16.95). With eight stories depicting the lives of Chinese immigrants to the U. S. as well as migrant workers in China, this collection is unified in theme and consistent in quality. Chai explores class, family, sexuality, and love with grace, power and humor. (Tony)

The White Book by Han Kang (Hogarth Press $20). On the first page, Kang makes a list of white things. The objects on this list recur throughout the book (not sure I’d call it a novel—it’s more like a series of vignettes). It is the story of a woman whose infant brother died before she was born, whose black eyes are the only thing that isn’t white in her memories. (Mamie)

 

Nonfiction

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin $17). A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism from the left and right alike. Why have these men's reputations only grown over the years? What formative factors give a person a particular political outlook? What are the parallels between the 1930s and today? (Kent)

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (Harper $17.99). The late Michelle McNamara’s true crime masterpiece chronicles the ten years of the Golden State Killer’s journey through California. After her premature death, her husband and fellow investigators used her extensive research to finish the book. The recent capture of the alleged killer will add a new dimension to the story. (Chelsea)

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge (Penguin $18). A people’s history that reveals how Southerners shaped American culinary identity and how race relations impacted Southern food culture over six revolutionary decades. (Kent)

The Cloister Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101971581
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Anchor - January 22nd, 2019

From National Book Award-winning writer James Carroll comes a novel of the timeless love story of Peter Abelard and Héloïse, and its impact on a modern priest and a Holocaust survivor seeking sanctuary in Manhattan.


Staff Pick Badge
The Dream Daughter: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250087300
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 2nd, 2018

New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a thrilling, mind-bending novel about one mother's journey to save her child.


Extinctions Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781947793088
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Tin House Books - November 20th, 2018

Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, has quarantined himself in a place he hates: a retirement village. His headstrong wife Martha, adored by all, is dead. His adopted daughter Caroline has cut ties, and his son Callum is lost to him in his own way.


The Friend: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735219458
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 5th, 2019

WINNER OF THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A beautiful book … a world of insight into death, grief, art, and love." —Wall Street Journal

"A penetrating, moving meditation on loss, comfort, memory...Nunez has a wry, withering wit." —NPR


Staff Pick Badge
The Great Believers Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780735223523
Availability: Available from warehouse in 1-5 business days
Published: Viking - June 19th, 2018

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD

SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler


Staff Pick Badge
The Museum of Modern Love Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616208523
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Algonquin Books - November 27th, 2018

An Amazon Editors’ Best Book of December 2018

“Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless.” —from The Museum of Modern Love


Arky Levin has reached a dead end.


Staff Pick Badge
The Overstory Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: Available from warehouse in 1-5 business days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018


The Perfect Mother: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062696809
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - December 31st, 2018

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER —SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING SCANDAL’S KERRY WASHINGTON

An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.


Sadness Is a White Bird: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501176272
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Washington Square Press - February 12th, 2019

A 2018 National Jewish Book Award Finalist for Debut Fiction

In this “nuanced, sharp, and beautifully written” (Michael Chabon) debut novel, a young man prepares to serve in the Israeli army while also trying to reconcile his close relationship to two Palestinian siblings with his deeply ingrained loyalties to family and country.

The story begins in


There There: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018

ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEARTHE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

WINNER OF THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE


Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780932112767
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Blair - October 23rd, 2018

In the title story of this timely and innovative collection, a young woman wearing a Prada coat attempts to redeem a coupon for plastic storage bins while her in-laws are at home watching the Chinese news and taking her private phone calls. It is the lively and wise juxtaposition of cultures, generations, and emotions that characterize May-lee Chai's amazing stories.


The White Book Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780525573067
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Hogarth - February 19th, 2019

Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize

From Booker Prize-winner and literary phenomenon Han Kang, a lyrical and disquieting exploration of personal grief, written through the prism of the color white


Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143110880
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Penguin Books - May 2018

A New York Times bestseller!

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2017

A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike.


Staff Pick Badge
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer Cover Image
By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062319791
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Harper Perennial - February 26th, 2019

Features new material on the Golden State Killer's case and an updated afterword by Patton Oswalt.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:


The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143111016
Availability: On our shelves now
Published: Penguin Books - February 6th, 2018

“The one food book you must read this year."
—Southern Living 

One of Christopher Kimball’s Six Favorite Books About Food


A people’s history that reveals how Southerners shaped American culinary identity and how race relations impacted Southern food culture over six revolutionary decades