Because I work with books so much for my job and can hardly keep up with my TBR pile as it is, I’ve always found it too difficult to keep up as a memb

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Because I work with books so much for my job and can hardly keep up with my TBR pile as it is, I’ve always found it too difficult to keep up as a member of a book group. But I do love dissecting a novel and pondering all those difficult questions that stay with you long after the last page has been turned. That’s what happened with three of the books in this newsletter: We the Animals, The Maid, and Mule. I found myself highlighting sections of the books as I read and afterward jotting down discussion questions—for fun! I’ve saved you the trouble and linked below to the guides that resulted, along with a few others (for books I also enjoyed, but let someone else pursue the deep questions).

With so many new and wonderful books to choose from this fall, I hope these highlights help you figure out your next book club pick.


New in Fiction

we the animals lres

This is one of those books that’s hard to say what it’s about— well, it’s about family and brothers and love and hate and growing up… —because it all sounds so vague and I always find myself just saying instead, begging really, Just read it, please, just read it and you’ll see. It’s a stunning piece of literature and at just 144 pages you might be wondering if there’s enough content to generate an hour or two worth of discussion. Believe me, there is. Take a look at the discussion questions and you’ll get the idea.

"First-time novelist Justin Torres unleashes We the Animals, a gorgeous, howling coming-of-age novel that will devour your heart." — Vanity Fair

Purchase the book.
Download the reading group guide.
Visit the Facebook page.
See if Justin is coming to your city.

the maid lres

After reading Kimberly Cutter’s The Maid I was reminded of such classic book club favorites as The Red Tent and Ahab’s Wife because this also re-imagines the life of a woman of history. There have been biographies written and movies made of Joan of Arc, but none of them have told us what this illiterate peasant girl must have felt. The Maid will make you believe, just as Joan herself had to make her family, her king, and her country believe that she heard the voice of God and that God told her to raise an army. It’s an amazing and fascinating story, but moreover, there’s just so much to talk about. I mean, if you’re 14-year-old daughter (or niece or whomever) came to you and said she needed to find President Obama so she could tell him God had spoken to her, would you fall to your knees and call her a saint? (I think not.) Was Joan really a saint or, simply, schizophrenic? I could go on, but you should just click through to read for yourself.

"A fiery portrait of one of history's most exalted heroines. Cutter's lavish imagery is outstanding and her dynamic characters are truly absorbing. The Maid is a triumphant re-imagining of a courageous, faithful and remarkably resilient woman." —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana and A World on Fire

Purchase the book.
Download the discussion guide.
Follow Kim on Twitter.

New in Nonfiction

tigress of forli lres

In her new book, The Tigress of Forlì, Elizabeth Lev delivers a stunning biography of one of the most courageous women in Renaissance history, Caterina Riario Sforza, the Countess of Forlì. A fierce woman who was ensnared in political intrigues early on, Caterina was married at ten to the corrupt nephew of the pope and then lived many turbulent years in Rome’s papal court. Moving to Forlì after her husband’s assassination, Caterina defended her Italian states with iron will, martial strength, and political savvy; still, she eventually lost them to the Borgia family. A rich evocation of the Renaissance, The Tigress of Forlì reveals Caterina Riario Sforza as a brilliant and fearless ruler, and a tragic but unbowed figure.

Purchase the book.
Read the Q&A with the author.

New in Paperback

damascus gate lres

The 1998 bestseller, Damascus Gate by Robert Stone, takes place in the fractious city of Jerusalem, home to seekers, heretics, hustlers, and madmen of many faiths. There a plot unfolds to bomb the sacred Temple Mount and with it the dangers that lie at the fringes of faith are exposed. This is a beautiful new edition of a classic novel that continues to resonate in today’s troubled times.

Purchase the book.
Download the discussion guide.

Read an excerpt.

elizabeth st lres

Elizabeth Street is both a fascinating immigrant story and an intimate portrait of how a first-generation American—and the author’s own great-grandmother—outwits one of the most brutal crime organizations of the early 20th century.

Learn more.

Galley Giveaway

accidents of lres

Coming soon, Stacia Brown’s debut novel Accidents of Providence — the story of a young woman in 17th-century England whose love affair leads to her trial for murder.

I'm giving away free advance reading copies of this wonderfully enticing novel to the first five people who email I was completely taken in by this novel; the love story is moving and the moral questions raised are complicated and nuanced. You really don't want to miss this one.

Who to Invite

mule lres

In Tony D’Souza’s latest novel, Mule, a young couple decides to turn to drug trafficking in order to survive the recession that has left them financially down and out. This makes for a story that is entertaining as well as timely, as two people realize how hard it is to really live the American Dream.

Tony did a ton of a research for this book and he would love to join your group to tell you all about it. If you’re a fan of Weeds or Breaking Bad, you’ll love reading this book and having Tony at your next book club meeting.

Contact Tony.
Purchase the book.
Download the discussion guide.
Like him on Facebook.
Follow him on Twitter.

Recently Added

extremely loud MTI lres

Nashville Chrome by Rick Bass
Download the discussion guide.

Odd Girl Out, Revised and Updated by Rachel Simmons
Download the discussion guide.

Eating for Beginners by Melanie Rehak
Download the discussion guide.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
(A movie tie-in edition will be available shortly.)
Download the discussion guide.

Buddha’s Orphans by Samrat Upadhyay
Download the discussion guide.

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
Download the discussion guide.

Search all of our fiction and nonfiction reading group guide titles on

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