Two summers ago, my mom’s book club invited me as a guest to lead a discussion of John Fowle’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, one of my favorite books

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Two summers ago, my mom’s book club invited me as a guest to lead a discussion of John Fowle’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, one of my favorite books. Maybe it was the beach picnic setting at odds with the serious nature of the book or my nervous desire to impress, but I felt the discussion was less than stellar. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the intervening time; the selections below were chosen with a sandy setting in mind and a cool cocktail in hand.



New in Fiction

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This hilarious and heartwrenching novel follows eleven-year-old Harri Opuku, recently immigrated from Ghana to the rough housing projects of London, as he tries to navigate inner-city life.

Read Pigeon English for yourself and see why Harrison Opuku is bo-styles. How being the fastest runner in Year 7 makes him dope-fine. And why, when a hutious criminal feels Harri closing in on him, it just feels crazy. You'll want this book to last donkey hours. Trust me.

Purchase the book.
Download the reading group guide.


New in Nonfiction

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For those of you hopping on your bike this summer, whether it’s a leisurely scenic tour or training for something more serious, you should check out this month’s nonfiction pick The Happiness of Pursuit by celebrated Tour De France veteran and Olympic medalist Davis Phinney. Despite being an elite athlete for two decades, Davis felt for years that something was not quite right. He was finally diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s, and his body, once an ally, became a prison. While Davis’s cycling career was coming to a close, however, his son Taylor’s was beginning to flourish. Determined to overcome his setbacks, Davis eventually became well enough to watch his son compete in the Beijing Olympics. A humorous and graceful chronicle of Davis’ career, his battle with Parkinson’s, and his relationship with Taylor, The Happiness of Pursuit is an inspirational read for anyone who’s ever had a hurdle to overcome.

Purchase the book.
Download the discussion guide.
Visit Davis Phinney’s website or follow him on Twitter.


Summer Giveaway

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Speaking of beaches, new in paperback is Dear Money by Martha McPhee, which opens on the coast of Maine with the serendipitous arrival of a yellow biplane. We’re giving away free copies of this truly delightful satire about a novelist turned bond trader to the first five people who email


Whom to Invite

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In Dean Bakopoulus’ latest novel, My American Unhappiness, Zeke—widowed, adoptive dad to his dead brother’s twin daughters, director of a humanities nonprofit in the republican Midwest—asks “Why are you so unhappy?” and then attempts to answer this simple yet vital question through a series of unconventional experiences.

Invite Dean to join your group in person, on the phone, or on Skype.
Purchase the book.
Download the reading group guide (link tk).

Check out Dean on the web by visiting his website, liking him on Facebook, or following him on Twitter!


NOW IN PAPERBACK: More Great Summer Reading

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What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Poetzsch

Buddha’s Orphans by Samrat Upadhyay

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas

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

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