2005-2006 choices for Book of the Month Club

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2005-2006 choices for Book of the Month Club Powered By Docstoc
					Summer 2011

  1. The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman – Fiction - 304 pgs.
  “Printing presses whirr, ashtrays smolder, and the endearing complexity of humanity plays out in
  Tom Rachman's debut novel, The Imperfectionists. Set against the backdrop of a fictional English-
  language newspaper based in Rome, it begins as a celebration of the beloved and endangered role
  of newspapers and the original 24/7 news cycle. ... The chaos of the newsroom becomes a stage for
  characters unified by a common thread of circumstance, with each chapter presenting an affecting
  look into the life of a different player... This cacophony of emotion blends into a single voice, as the
  depiction of a paper deemed a "daily report on the idiocy and the brilliance of the species" becomes
  more about the disillusion in everyday life than the dissolution of an industry.”

  2. Open and Shut - by David Rosenfelt –Mystery & thriller fiction -256 pgs.
  “Written with the skill of a veteran, Rosenfelt's debut legal thriller boasts fresh characters, an
  engaging narrator, and a plot that forces readers to keep flipping the pages. Andy Carpenter, a
  defense lawyer, takes on a new client: a man on death row, appealing his conviction for the murder
  of a woman nearly a decade ago. Andy takes the case as a favor to his father, the district attorney
  who originally prosecuted the inmate. When Andy's father dies, leaving him 22 million dollars and a
  35-year-old photograph, Andy has some tough questions to answer. Where did his father get the
  money? Who are the men in the photograph? And could one of them have some connection with the
  murder for which Andy's client was convicted?...”

  3. The Middle Place - by Kelly Corrigan– Memoir - 272 pgs.
  “Newspaper columnist Corrigan was a happily married mother of two young daughters when she
  discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. She was still undergoing treatment when she learned
  that her beloved father, who'd already survived prostate cancer, now had bladder cancer. Corrigan's
  story could have been unbearably depressing had she not made it clear from the start that she
  came from sturdy stock. Growing up, she loved hearing her father boom out his morning HELLO
  WORLD dialogue with the universe, so his kids would feel like the world wasn't just a safe place but
  was even rooting for you. As Corrigan reports on her cancer treatment—the chemo, the surgery,
  the radiation—she weaves in the story of how it felt growing up in a big, suburban Philadelphia
  family with her larger-than-life father and her steady-loving mother and brothers. She tells how she
  met her husband, how she gave birth to her daughters. All these stories lead up to where she is
  now, in that middle place, being someone's child, but also having children of her own.“

  Substitute/Additional Title:

  4. Feed - by M.T. Anderson – Science Fiction – 300 pgs.
  “This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected
  directly into people's brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer
  society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly
  entertainment--even on trips to Mars and the moon--and by constant customized murmurs in their
  brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy. Anderson gives us this world through the voice of a boy
  who, like everyone around him, is almost completely inarticulate, whose vocabulary, in a dead-on
  parody of the worst teenspeak, depends heavily on three words: "like," "thing," and the second
  most common English obscenity. He's even made this vapid kid a bit sympathetic, as a product of
  his society who dimly knows something is missing in his head. The details are bitterly funny--the
  idiotic but wildly popular sitcom called "Oh? Wow! Thing!", the girls who have to retire to the ladies
  room a couple of times an evening because hairstyles have changed, the hideous lesions on
  everyone that are not only accepted, but turned into a fashion statement. And the ultimate
  awfulness is that when we finally meet the boy's parents, they are just as inarticulate and empty-
  headed as he is, and their solution to their son's problem is to buy him an expensive car…”
School Year 2011-2012

   1.   September – Meeting Date: Sept. 27, 2010 (*note – this is 4th Tue. of month)
   Laika – by Nick Abadzis – graphic novel – 199 pgs.
   “Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth's first space traveler. This is her
   journey. Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three
   compelling lives. Along with Laika, there is Korolev, once a political prisoner, now a driven engineer
   at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika's health
   and life. This intense triangle is rendered with the pitch-perfect emotionality of classics like Because
   of Winn Dixie, Shiloh, and Old Yeller. Abadzis gives life to a pivotal moment in modern history,
   casting light on the hidden moments of deep humanity behind history. Laika's story will speak
   straight to your heart.”

   2.     October – Meeting Date: Oct. 18, 2010
   Jellicoe Road – by Melina Marchetta – Printz Award fiction – 419 pgs.
   “For years, three factions—Townies, Cadets (city kids doing a six-week outdoor education program),
   and Jellicoe School students—have engaged in teen war games in the Australian countryside,
   defending territorial borders, negotiating for assets, and even taking hostages. Taylor Markham, a
   17-year-old who was abandoned years ago by her mother, takes on leadership of the boarding
   school's six Houses. Plagued with doubts about being boss, she's not sure she can handle her Cadet
   counterpart, Jonah Griggs, whom she met several years before while running away to find her
   mother. When Hannah, a sort of house mother who has taken Taylor under her wing, disappears,
   Taylor puzzles over the book manuscript the woman left behind. Hannah's tale involves a tragic car
   accident on the Jellicoe Road more than 20 years earlier. Only three children survived, and Taylor
   discovers that this trio, plus a Cadet and a Townie, developed an epic friendship that was the
   foundation of the many mysteries in her life and identity, as well as of the war games…”

   3.    November – Meeting Date: Nov. 15, 2010
   Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void – by Mary Roach – humorous non-fiction –
   334 pgs.
   “With her wry humor and inextinguishable curiosity, Mary Roach has crafted her own quirky niche in
   the somewhat staid world of science writing, showing no fear (or shame) in the face of cadavers,
   ectoplasm, or sex. In Packing for Mars, Roach tackles the strange science of space travel, and the
   psychology, technology, and politics that go into sending a crew into orbit. Roach is unfailingly
   inquisitive (Why is it impolite for astronauts to float upside down during conversations? Just how
   smelly does a spacecraft get after a two week mission?), and she eagerly seeks out the stories that
   don't make it onto NASA's website--from SPCA-certified space suits for chimps, to the trial-and-
   error approach to crafting menus during the space program's early years (when the chefs are
   former livestock veterinarians, taste isn't high on the priority list). Packing for Mars is a book for
   grownups who still secretly dream of being astronauts, and Roach lives it up on their behalf--
   weightless in a C-9 aircraft, she just can't resist the opportunity to go "Supermanning" around the
   cabin. Her zeal for discovery, combined with her love of the absurd, amazing, and stranger-than-
   fiction, make Packing for Mars an uproarious trip into the world of space travel.”

   4.   December – Meeting Date: Dec. 20, 2010
   The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – by Alan Bradley- Mystery fiction – 416 pgs.
   “It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at
   the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the
   laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia
discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one
morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much
to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old
science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older
sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure
novels, and boys respectively—Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In
Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult
readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be
fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected
twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this
curious combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes…”

5.    January – Meeting Date: Jan. 24, 2012 (*note – this is a 4th Tue. of the month)
Revolution - by Jennifer Donnelly – YA fiction - 496 pgs.
“Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly's remarkable new novel, weaves together the lives of Andi Alpers, a
depressed modern-day teenager, and Alexandrine Paradis, a brave young woman caught up in the
French Revolution. While in Paris with her estranged father, a Nobel geneticist hired to match the
DNA of a heart said to belong to the last dauphin of France, Andi discovers a diary hidden within a
guitar case--and so begins the story of Alexandrine, who herself had close ties to the dauphin.
Redemption and the will to change are powerful themes of the novel, and music is ever present--
Andi and Alex have a passion for the guitar, and the playlist running through Revolution is a who's
who of classic and contemporary influences. Danger, intrigue, music, and impeccably researched
history fill the pages of Revolution, as both young women learn that, "it is love, not death, that
undoes us."

6.    February – Meeting Date: Feb. 21, 2012
Trash – by Andy Mulligan – YA fiction – 229 pgs.
“Three young teens, trash-pickers living in the city dump of an unnamed third-world country,
discover a mysterious bag one morning, triggering a chain of events that will change their lives
forever. Raphael, Gordo, and Rat take turns narrating the story of how they uncover a network of
political corruption and abuse of the poor. Each puzzle the boys solve leads to yet a new riddle for
them to work out. The chase leads them throughout the city, exposing the great disparity between
the “haves” and the “have nots,” and the huge injustice this represents. Several run-ins with the
police make it clear that getting caught means death for the three boys. They face moral dilemmas
throughout and, ultimately, make good decisions. Their intelligence and characters make the
condition in which they live seem even more unfair. While on the surface the book reads like a fast-
paced adventure title, it also makes a larger statement about the horrors of poverty and injustice in
the world. Occasionally the alternating viewpoints of the book become confusing, particularly when
they switch mid-chapter. In spite of this, Trash is a compelling read. The action is riveting and the
secret codes throughout will appeal mystery fans. Readers will be drawn to this title, and hopefully
learn a little about the world outside their own country.”

7.    March – Meeting Date: March 20, 2012
Half Broke Horses - by Jeanette Walls – half fiction/half non-fiction– 288 pgs.
“For the first 10 years of her life, Lily Casey Smith, the narrator of this true-life novel by her
granddaughter, Walls, lived in a dirt dugout in west Texas. Walls, whose megaselling memoir, The
Glass Castle, recalled her own upbringing, writes in what she recalls as Lily's plainspoken voice,
whose recital provides plenty of drama and suspense as she ricochets from one challenge to
another. Having been educated in fits and starts because of her parents' penury, Lily becomes a
teacher at age 15 in a remote frontier town she reaches after a solo 28-day ride. Marriage to a
bigamist almost saps her spirit, but later she weds a rancher with whom she shares two children
and a strain of plucky resilience. (They sell bootleg liquor during Prohibition, hiding the bottles
under a baby's crib.) Lily is a spirited heroine, fiercely outspoken against hypocrisy and prejudice, a
rodeo rider and fearless breaker of horses, and a ruthless poker player. Assailed by flash floods,
tornados and droughts, Lily never gets far from hardscrabble drudgery in several states—New
Mexico, Arizona, Illinois—but hers is one of those heartwarming stories about indomitable women
that will always find an audience.”
8.    April – Meeting Date: April 17, 2012
Before I Fall – by Lauren Oliver––YA fiction - 480 pgs.
“In this Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls teen hybrid, Sam Kingston is pretty, popular, and has a
seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a late-night party everything goes terribly wrong, and the life
that she lived is gone forever. Or is it? At the start of Before I Fall, Sam is self-consumed and
oblivious about the impact of her actions on others. But as she repeatedly experiences slightly
altered versions of the hours leading up to her death—and her relationships with friends, family,
and formerly overlooked classmates bloom, end, or shift—it’s impossible not to feel for the girl
whose life ends too soon. Oliver’s adept teen dialogue and lively prose make for a fast, page-turning
story in which the reader is every bit as emotionally invested as Sam.”

9.     May – Meeting Date: May 15, 2012 (*note – this is 2nd Tue. of month)
Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity –by Mike Carey and Peter Gross – Graphic
novel - 144 pgs.
“A taut thriller that slyly plays off the real-world mania for imaginary ones like that of Harry Potter,
Carey's new series undercuts the mythology of such all-pervasive media-hyped creations while at
the same time hinting at a brilliantly imagined one of its own. Tom Taylor is the son of Wilson
Taylor and the unwilling namesake of the protagonist in his dad's wildly popular 13-book fantasy
series. The Tommy Taylor cottage industry of movies, video games, and geek-ridden conventions is
given an extra dash of drama by Wilson's having mysteriously disappeared years before, leaving a
cynical Tom (who inherited none of his millions) to eke out a grubby living at paid appearances.
Carey's story (solidly illustrated by Gross) picks up speed fast when Tom realizes some elements of
Wilson's stories might not be made up. By the time the first story is done, Carey has not only
created a brisk and addictive story, sketched with crafty allusions to classic literature, but also
neatly subverted the celebrity-worship manias of fantasy fandom and questioned the very nature of
storytelling itself.”

10. June – Meeting Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 (*note – this is a 4th Tue. of month)
Bossypants – by Tina Fey – humorous memoir - 288 pgs.
“Tina Fey’s new book Bossypants is short, messy, and impossibly funny (an apt description of the
comedian herself). From her humble roots growing up in Pennsylvania to her days doing amateur
improv in Chicago to her early sketches on Saturday Night Live, Fey gives us a fascinating glimpse
behind the curtain of modern comedy with equal doses of wit, candor, and self-deprecation. Some
of the funniest chapters feature the differences between male and female comedy writers ("men
urinate in cups"), her cruise ship honeymoon ("it’s very Poseidon Adventure"), and advice about
breastfeeding ("I had an obligation to my child to pretend to try"). But the chaos of Fey’s life is best
detailed when she’s dividing her efforts equally between rehearsing her Sarah Palin impression,
trying to get Oprah to appear on 30 Rock, and planning her daughter’s Peter Pan-themed birthday.
Bossypants gets to the heart of why Tina Fey remains universally adored: she embodies the hectic,
too-many-things-to-juggle lifestyle we all have, but instead of complaining about it, she can just
laugh it off.”