Your 2016 Book Club Calendar

We’ve broken down 2016, book by book, month by month, for you. New titles, old favorites — and recent books you might have missed. Topical, timely and timeless, these books will give you plenty to talk about, whether with your book club or the person ahead of you in line at the grocery store.


*In honor of Groundhog Day, we’re hitting the replay button on our January selections. We just know you’ll want to read these books more than once anyway. 

Jan-16Descent: Tim Johnston’s New York Times bestseller is out in paperback. The heart-pounding action will keep you turning the pages as you ache for each character in this astonishing novel. So many complex emotions and relationships to discuss.
Orhan’s Inheritance:
A semifinalist for Goodreads’ Best Debut Author Choice Award, Aline Ohanesian takes us inside an Armenian family and a piece of history too few of us know about with a story too compelling to forget.
The Daylight Marriage:
Heidi Pitlor’s novel delves into the dark and delicate nature of marriage with a depth that resonates.
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving:
Read Jonathan Evison’s novel before you see the movie starring Paul Rudd (the movie is titled The Fundamentals of Caring). It’s a touching story that shows how strength comes from the most unlikely of friendships at the most unlikely of times in a life full of humor, absurdity, pain, and road trips.


How I Shed My Skin: Jim Grimsley’s memoir of unlearning the racist lessons of his Southern childhood comes out in paperback this month, as our national conversation on race relations continues.
Purple Hibiscus: Read this debut novel by acclaimed Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose books have everyone talking.
Panther Baby: Jamal Joseph takes us inside the Black Panthers and his life of as one of its youngest leaders. From honors student to Leavenworth prisoner to Columbia University professor, Joseph’s story is gripping and inspiring.
Silver Sparrow: Tayari Jones’s sparkling novel has been chosen for the national Big Read program for community reading. Read this together with your town or your book club, or on your own. The story of two teenage girls caught in the middle of their father’s deception is not to be missed.


The Miracle Girl: New in paperback this month, Andrew Roe’s novel looks at people’s yearning for something, someone — even an eight-year-old girl in a coma — to believe in.
Pictures of You: Lives collide, literally, in Caroline Leavitt’s bestselling novel that asks that toughest of questions: How well do we really know those we love, and how do we forgive the unforgivable?
Dimestore: Beloved author Lee Smith shares stories from her own life in tiny Grundy, Virginia, and beyond in her first book of nonfiction. Her wit and wisdom shine through, as always.
The Last Girls: Get ready for Smith’s memoir with this pitch-perfect novel of young “girls” bonded for life by a trip down the Mississippi River and the women they’ve become when they travel The Big Muddy again years later.
A Crime in the Neighborhood:  Even if you missed Suzanne Berne’s New York Times Notable Book when it first came out, you certainly won’t forget after you read it.


Apr-16Chasing the North Star: Bestselling novelist and historian Robert Morgan returns with this story of Jonah and Angel, young slaves making their bid for freedom with nothing more than the North Star to guide them in the spring of 1851.
Gap Creek: A New York Times bestseller and an Oprah’s Book Club pick, Morgan’s timeless story of life in the valley at the end of the nineteenth century is a reading group classic.
Breakfast with Buddha: When Otto Ringling gets tricked into taking a road trip with his sister’s guru, he never expects to find what he’s been missing. You might be surprised at what you find, too, in the humor and wonder of Roland Merullo’s cherished novel.
Dinner with Buddha: Otto and Rinpoche are still on the journey of a lifetime, and you never know what’s around the next turn. New in paperback this month, Dinner with Buddha will be a feast for your book club.


May-16Water for Elephants: Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Sara Gruen’s runaway bestseller by taking a trip back to the world under the big top, the world of Rosie the elephant, Marlena the circus star, and Jacob, their protector.
The Atomic Weight of Love: Booksellers and early readers of this debut novel are buzzing about Elizabeth Church’s story of Meridian Wallace, a smart, driven woman of the 1940s caught between her own ambitions and her relationships with two men.
The Shift: A workday in the life of Theresa Brown, RN, unfolds in real time in her memoir, as we watch Brown care for the lives in her hands on the oncology ward of a teaching hospital. A perfect read for Nurses Week, May 6-12.
Dinner with Edward: When Isabel Vincent offers to check on her friend’s ninety-three-year-old father, she has no idea Edward will change her life. Their weekly, sumptuous dinners celebrate the luxury of slowing down and the joy of sharing a meal with a friend — and the dinners help them both find a way to move forward with their lives.

Bonus Picks
For Short Story Month: Try Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee. Each story in this Story Prize finalist packs the wallop of a full novel. It’s like seven fabulous book club discussions in one book.
For Mother’s Day: Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears — thirty years after her death — during the hardest year of Cohen’s life. Letting her mother back into her life and forgiving her are not easy, but perhaps just what she needs, as she shows in her memoir The Year My Mother Came Back.


Jun-16This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!: Just in time for summer vacation, hop on board for the trip of a lifetime, Harriet Chance’s lifetime. As we sail on an Alaskan cruise with Harriet, author Jonathan Evison also takes us back to the days that built her life in this novel full of life’s humorous and heartbreaking moments.
A Life in Men: Travel the globe with Mary as she tries to understand how her unbreakable friendship with Nix was broken on their trip to Greece three years before. Gina Frangello’s novel shows us the importance of living life to the fullest.
Ferris Beach: It’s the early 1970s, and two girls, Katie and Misty, share every secret and dream — until a fateful Fourth of July changes everything. This novel is Jill McCorkle at her best, writing characters so real you’ll think they’re sitting next to you at your book club meeting.
Gossip of the Starlings: Get ready for author Nina de Gramont’s The Last September (new in paperback in July) by reading her novel about the daring, cruel, loving, and selfish world of adolescence at the Esther Percy School for Girls.
Clover: Dori Sanders’ novel is an Algonquin classic, a bestseller that has been recommended classroom reading for years. Read this one now as a summer treat.


Jul-16The Last September: “All of life revolves around a single moment in time . . . In my case, that moment . . . is my husband’s murder.” That’s where Nina de Gramont’s novel begins, and from there we trace Brett’s marriage to the charismatic Charlie, Charlie’s relationship with his unstable brother, Eli, and Brett’s relationship with Eli, who was her best friend in college. Set in Cape Cod, it’s ideal July reading.
July 7th: When should you read this book? How about the seventh day of, say, July? Jill McCorkle’s novel takes place during twenty-four hours in a small North Carolina town.
And West Is West: Ron Childress’ novel — the most recent winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction — about two people caught in the big machinery of war and finance comes out in paperback this month. That makes it the perfect time to read all of our Bellwether winners:
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
Running the Rift
Good Kings Bad Kings



Aug-16The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin: Stephanie Knipper’s debut novel will find a place in readers’ hearts with its story of sisters Rose and Lily and Rose’s daughter, Antoinette, who has severe autism and a powerful gift. Knipper writes beautifully of what it truly means to be different.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: If you haven’t read Gabrielle Zevin’s delightful bestseller yet, August is the month for this special summer-ending treat. You’ll want to hug your local bookstore after you read it.
Life After Life: Grace and magic can, and do, appear when we least expect them. Especially in the close-knit community of this Jill McCorkle novel. With the alternating points of view, you’ll feel like you have a book’s worth of new friends.
Swim to Me: Betsy Carter’s novel had us at Weeki Wachee Springs, a fraying roadside attraction that’s home to mermaids in — where else? — Florida. After all, eccentricity and possibility abound in the Sunshine State.
The Sky Unwashed: Irene Zabytko’s novel about the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster reminds us that ordinary people are capable of the extraordinary, of so much more than just survival.


Sep-16Leave Me: Yup, just one book this month. It’s the book every book club should read this month. Really. International bestselling author Gayle Forman brings “all the feels” to her first adult novel. It’s about how you are who you are no matter where you go, who you let go of, who you let into your life, who your mother was, or what your heart does (literally and figuratively). You won’t be able to stop thinking about Maribeth Klein — a harried working mother so busy taking care of her husband and twins that she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.





Oct-16Cruel Beautiful World: Caroline Leavitt’s brand new novel is a haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family. You’re hooked already, aren’t you?
The Art Forger: Enter the world of artists and forgers and art thieves when one of the stolen Degas paintings from the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist appears at a young artist’s Boston studio in B. A. Shapiro’s New York Times bestselling novel.
The Muralist: New in paperback, Shapiro’s follow-up novel once again takes us inside the art world, where protagonist Alizée works alongside Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Mark Rothko in New York City in 1940. Alizée’s desperate quest to rescue her Jewish family from Europe will seem shockingly similar to the current Syrian refugee crisis.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: You might be skeptical: how interesting can the story of a snail possibly be? Very. You’ll be amazed and inspired. This cherished book is being published in paperback for the first time.


Nov-16Only Love Can Break Your Heart: Ed Tarkington spins a tender, smart, suspenseful story full of the music of the 1970s and the emotional searching of the era in this novel.
The Third Son: Saburo must fight for everything he wants or needs, from love to food to education, from war-torn Taiwan to the American space program. Julie Wu’s novel will inspire your head-in-the-clouds ambition.
American Savior: What if Jesus ran for President of the United States? Doesn’t sound so crazy given the campaign season we’re dealing with, does it? Roland Merullo’s clever and biting satire forces us to look at the religion of politics.
Notorious Victoria: In time for the election, meet the first woman to address the U.S. Congress, the first to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street, and the first to run for president. Mary Gabriel gives us a comprehensive account of Victoria Woodhull, one of American history’s most unusual and fascinating women.


Dec-16The Good Negress: You will not be able to stop thinking about Denise, the narrator of A. J. Verdelle’s “truly extraordinary” story, as Toni Morrison called it. Months later, Neesey’s singular voice will still be in your head. This wonderful book is coming out in paperback at long last. Don’t miss it.
A Reliable Wife: Set in frigid Wisconsin, Robert Goolrick’s No. 1 New York Times bestseller is just the book to read when the December chill sets in.
The Road Home: This time of year, who doesn’t long to find a cozy home in the woods? Eliza Thomas found just that, but as her memoir shows, it was not an easy path to get there.
The Christmas Letters: We all get those annual holiday letters that catch you up with dear friends and distant relations. Only Lee Smith could turn those missives into a novella about three generations of love and marriage, because “Christmas letters give us a chance to remember and celebrate who we are.”

  • 0

    Overall Score

  • Reader Rating: 0 Votes

You May Also Like

One comment

  1. Hello:

    Our book club read “This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!” for March. Since there were no discussion questions available yet, I prepared several for the group. We had a lively discussion as a result so I wanted to share the questions with others.

    Happy reading,

    ‘This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!’ by Jonathan Evison
    Discussion Questions

    + Discuss the title of the book and explain how it references the 50s television show with the same name.
    + The cover of the book suggests a certain levity with its vibrant colors, simplistic drawings, and jovial font; however, the story itself is tragically dark. Why do you think this cover was chosen to represent the book?
    + Describe the narrative style of the book. Who do you think the narrator is?
    + What was the significance of Bernard, the husband, appearing to Harriet throughout the book? Do you feel this element added an important viewpoint to the story?
    + Describe your feelings about the book’s main characters. (Harriet, Bernard, Mildred, Skip, Caroline, Charlie Fitzsimmons) Did your feelings about these characters change as the book progressed?
    + What did the character Kurt Pickens, the man who befriends Harriet while on the cruise, bring to the narrative?
    + Do you feel that Harriet evolved throughout the course of the book? If so, in what ways did she change?
    + Do you see Harriet as a victim, or as a person ultimately responsible for the events that happen to her?
    + Why do you think Harriet revealed the true identity of Caroline’s father to her?
    + What do you think happens at the end of the story? Did you enjoy the ending?
    + Disappointment, delusion and redemption are some of the book’s themes. What do you think the author is trying to convey to the reader?
    + What, if anything, do you think the author is trying to say about old age in this novel?
    + The author wanted to write a sympathetic version of the pre-feminist/silent generation of women. Do you feel he accomplished this goal?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *