Women We'd Like To Lunch With Book Club
Join us on the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00pm
Books Inc. in Laurel Village
3515 California St
June 2015 Selection: Winner of the Booker Prize
On the Battersea Reach of the Thames, a mixed bag of the slightly disreputable, the temporarily lost, and the patently eccentric live on houseboats, rising and falling with the great river s tides. Belonging to neither land nor sea, they cling to one another in a motley yet kindly society. There is Maurice, by occupation a male prostitute, by happenstance a receiver of stolen goods. And Richard, a buttoned-up ex-navy man whose boat dominates the Reach. Then there is Nenna, a faithful but abandoned wife, the diffident mother of two young girls running wild on the waterfront streets.
It is Nenna s domestic predicament that, as it deepens, draws the relations among this scrubby community together into ever more complex and comic patterns. The result is one of Fitzgerald s greatest triumphs, a novel the Booker judges deemed flawless.
A marvelous achievement: strong, supple, humane, ripe, generous, and graceful. "Sunday Times"
May 2015 Selection: For years Joan has been trying to forget her past, to find peace and satisfaction in her role as wife and mother. Few in her drowsy California suburb know her thrilling history: as a young American ballerina in Paris, she fell into a doomed, passionate romance with Soviet dance superstar Arslan Rusakov. After playing a leading role in his celebrated defection, Joan bowed out of the spotlight for good, heartbroken by Arslan and humbled by her own modest career.
But when her son turns out to be a ballet prodigy, Joan is pulled back into a world she thought she'd left behind--a world of dangerous secrets, of Arslan, and of longing for what will always be just out of reach.
March 2015 Selection:
One of "The""New York Times"'s Ten Best Books of the Year
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
An NPR "Great Reads" Book, a "Chicago Tribune" Best Book, a "Washington Post "Notable Book, a "Seattle Times "Best Book, an "Entertainment Weekly" Top Fiction Book, a "Newsday "Top 10 Book, and a "Goodreads "Best of the Year pick.
A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of "Half of a Yellow Sun."
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion--for each other and for their homeland.
February 2015 Selection: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014
Winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award
One of the "New York Times Book Review's "100 Notable Books of 2013 and named by "The Christian Science Monitor "as one of the top 15 works of fiction
The "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Jane Austen Book Club" introduces a middle-class American family, ordinary in every way but one.
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. "I was raised with a chimpanzee," she explains. "I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren't thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern's expulsion ... she was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half and I loved her as a sister." As a child, Rosemary never stopped talking. Then, something happened, and Rosemary wrapped herself in silence.
In "We Are All Completely beside Ourselves, " Karen Joy Fowler weaves her most accomplished work to date--a tale of loving but fallible people whose well-intentioned actions lead to heartbreaking consequences.
January 2015 Selection: From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians--a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister, Jane, whose obscurity and poverty were matched only by her brother's fame and wealth but who, like him, was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator.
November 2014 Selection: This classic collection--now revised and expanded--is the perfect introduction to Nobel Laureate Alice Munro's brilliant, revelatory short stories, in which she unfolds the wordless secrets that lie at the center of human experience.
The stories in this volume span Munro's career: The title stories from her collections "The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; "and "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; "Differently," "from "Friend of My Youth; "Carried Away," "from "Open Secrets; "and (new to this edition) ""In Sight of the Lake," "from "Dear Life. Vintage Munro "also includes the text of the Nobel Prize Presentation Speech, given by Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy.
October 2014 Selection: A "New York Times" "Book Review" Notable Book - A "Washington Post "Top Ten Book of the Year - A" Chicago Tribune" Noteworthy Book - A "Huffington Post" Best Book - A "Boston Globe" Best Book of the Year - A "Kirkus" Best Fiction Book - A Goodreads Best Book
Nora Eldridge is a reliable, but unremarkable, friend and neighbor, always on the fringe of other people's achievements. But the arrival of the Shahid family--dashing Skandar, a Lebanese scholar, glamorous Sirena, an Italian artist, and their son, Reza--draws her into a complex and exciting new world. Nora's happiness pushes her beyond her boundaries, until Sirena's careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal. Told with urgency, intimacy, and piercing emotion, this "New York Times "bestselling novel is the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed, and abandoned by a desire for a world beyond her own.
September 2014 Selection: In the ancient town of Ephesus, Mary lives alone, years after her son's crucifixion. She has no interest in collaborating with the authors of the Gospel, who are her keepers. She does not agree that her son is the Son of God; nor that his death was "worth it"; nor that the "group of misfits he gathered around him, men who could not look a woman in the eye," were holy disciples.
Mary judges herself ruthlessly (she did not stay at the foot of the cross until her son died--she fled, to save herself), and her judgment of others is equally harsh. This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as the docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone. Toibin's tour de force of imagination and language is a portrait so vivid and convincing that our image of Mary will be forever transformed.
August 2014 Selection: A place out of time, Ashaunt Point, Massachusetts, has provided sanctuary and anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who summer along its remote, rocky shore. But in 1942, the U.S. Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change.An unforgettable portrait of one family's journey through the second half of the twentieth century, The End of the Point artfully probes the hairline fractures hidden beneath the surface of our lives and traces the fragile and enduring bonds that connect us. With subtlety and grace, Elizabeth Graver illuminates the powerful legacy of family and place, exploring what we are born into and what we pass down, preserve, cast off, or willingly set free.
June 2014 Selection: A "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Daily Candy" Best Book of the Year
Winner of the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize for First Fiction
Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize
The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to the impeccably appropriate Greyson Duff. The weekend is full of champagne, salt air and practiced bonhomie, but long-buried discontent and simmering lust stir beneath the surface.
Winn Van Meter, father of the bride, is not having a good time. Barred from the exclusive social club he's been eyeing since birth, he's also tormented by an inappropriate crush on Daphne's beguiling bridesmaid, Agatha, and the fear that his daughter, Livia--recently heartbroken by the son of his greatest rival--is a too-ready target for the wiles of Greyson's best man. When old resentments, a beached whale and an escaped lobster are added to the mix, the wedding that should have gone off with military precision threatens to become a spectacle of misbehavior.
May 2014 Selection: The start of an affair, the end of an era.
Fans of Kate Morton's "The ""Forgotten Garden, " Catherine Bailey's "The Secret Rooms, "and TV's "Downton Abbey" will love this "New York Times "bestselling sweeping historical novel of love and loss. It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford--and Elise--forever.
April 2014 Selection: Claire, a composer and a new mother, has moved to Los Angeles so that her husband can follow his passion for writing television comedy. Suddenly the marriage--once a genuine 50/50 arrangement--changes, with Paul working late and Claire left at home with baby William, whom she adores but has no idea how to care for.
She hires Lola, a fifty-two-year-old mother of five, who is working in America to pay for her own children's higher education back in the Philippines. Lola stabilizes the rocky household, and soon other parents try to lure her away. But what she sacrifices to stay with Claire and "Williamo" remains her own closely guarded secret.
March 2014 Selection: A sweeping and sensuous novel of a son's quest to recover his family's lost masterpieces, looted by the Nazis during the occupation.
Max Berenzon's father is the most successful art dealer in Paris, owner of the Berenzon Gallery, home to both Picasso and Matisse. To Max's great surprise, his father forbids him from entering the family business, choosing instead to hire a beautiful and brilliant gallery assistant named Rose Clement. When Paris falls to the Nazis, the Berenzons survive in hiding, but when they return in 1944 their gallery is empty, their priceless collection vanished. In a city darkened by corruption and black martketers, Max chases his twin obsessions: the lost paintings and Rose Clement.
January 2014 Selection: Exploring the way our choices and relationships are shaped by the menace and beauty of the natural world, Megan Mayhew Bergman's powerful and heartwarming collection captures the surprising moments when the pull of our biology becomes evident, when love or fear collides with good sense, or when our attachment to an animal or wild place can't be denied.
In "Housewifely Arts," a single mother and her son drive hours to track down an African gray parrot that can mimic her deceased mother's voice. A population-control activist faces the conflict between her loyalty to the environment and her maternal desire in "Yesterday's Whales." And in the title story, a lonely naturalist allows an attractive stranger to lead her and her aging father on a hunt for an elusive woodpecker.
As intelligent as they are moving, the stories in "Birds of a Lesser Paradise "are alive with emotion, wit, and insight into the impressive power that nature has over all of us. This extraordinary collection introduces a young writer of remarkable talent.
November 2013 Selection: The inspiration for a new film starring Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard, Steve Coogan, and Onata Aprile
After her parents' bitter divorce, young Maisie Farange finds herself shuttled between her selfish mother and vain father, who value her only as a means for provoking each other. Maisie--solitary, observant, and wise beyond her years--is drawn into an increasingly entangled adult world of intrigue and sexual betrayal until she is finally compelled to choose her own future. Published in 1897 as Henry James was experimenting with narrative technique and fascinated by the idea of the child's-eye view, "What Maisie Knew" is a subtle yet devastating portrayal of an innocent adrift in a corrupt society.
October 2013 Selection: A vibrant new novel from Penelope Lively--a wry, wise story about the surprising ways lives intersect
When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true; an old-guard historian tries to recapture his youthful vigor with an ill-conceived idea for a TV miniseries; and a middle-aged central European immigrant learns to speak English and reinvents his life with the assistance of some new friends.
Through a richly conceived and colorful cast of characters, Penelope Lively explores the powerful role of chance in people's lives and deftly illustrates how our paths can be altered irrevocably by someone we will never even meet. Brought to life in her hallmark graceful prose and full of keen insights into human nature, "How It All Began" is an engaging, contemporary tale that is sure to strike a chord with her legion of loyal fans as well as new readers. A writer of rare wisdom, elegance, and humor, Lively is a consummate storyteller whose gifts are on full display in this masterful work.
August 2013 Selection: JASON PROSPER grew up in the elite world of Manhattan penthouses, Maine summer estates, old-boy prep schools, and exclusive sailing clubs. A smart, athletic teenager, Jason maintains a healthy, humorous disdain for the trappings of affluence, preferring to spend afternoons sailing with Cal, his best friend and boarding-school roommate. When Cal commits suicide during their junior year at Kensington Prep, Jason is devastated by the loss and transfers to Bellingham Academy. There, he meets Aidan, a fellow student with her own troubled past. They embark on a tender, awkward, deeply emotional relationship. When a major hurricane hits the New England coast, the destruction it causes brings with it another upheaval in Jason's life, forcing him to make sense of a terrible secret that has been buried by the boys he considers his friends.
Set against the backdrop of the 1987 stock market collapse, "The Starboard Sea"Amber Dermont is an examination of the abuses of class privilege, the mutability of sexual desire, the thrill and risk of competitive sailing, and the adult cost of teenage recklessness. It is a powerful and provocative novel about a young man finding his moral center, trying to forgive himself, and accepting the gift of love.
July 2013 Selection: From the moment it opens--on a rocky patch of Italian coastline, circa 1962, when a daydreaming young innkeeper looks out over the water and spies a mysterious woman approaching him on a boat--Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood, Beautiful Ruins is gloriously inventive and constantly surprising--a story of flawed yet fascinating people navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.