Reading Group Guides

Back to the Books!

Carol Fitzgerald, September 2015

Last week was one of the three weeks of the year where we do not update our websites. It gives both me and Tom, our Editorial Director, a chance to slip away on vacation. I spent most of the week in the shade of a tree poolside, reading. That is when I was not in the pool floating and reading. The lovely part of a staycation like this is that there is no packing, and I can wander through my book piles and select titles on a whim, instead of pre-thinking what I would like to read. Lovely!

Among my reading were more than a dozen Young Adult (YA) fiction titles. Though I often love these books, my day-to-day reading skews more adult, so this is my idea of perfect vacation reading. I found myself thinking of how these books could make for wonderful book group discussions as they are issue-oriented, or could be a culled group of suggestions for those of you who want to explore the world of YA, but are unsure of what to read. I share more about many of them later in this opening letter.

Our prize book in September’s “What’s Your Book Group Reading This Month?” contest is MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, the first book in acclaimed Italian author Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series. It’s the story of Elena and Lila, two girls growing up on the tough streets of Naples in the 1950s, who learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, and as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. The series has gained quite a following since MY BRILLIANT FRIEND pubbed in 2011, partly because of Ferrante’s masterful and honest depiction of female friendship, and partly because the mystery of the author’s identity persists! As usual, we’re giving three groups the chance to win 12 copies of the book; click here to enter and let us know what your group is reading this month for your chance to win. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 7th at noon ET. You can also click here to read a review on Bookreporter.com. By the way, the fourth and final book in this series, THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD, was just published, bringing what we are calling “Ferrante Fever” to an all-time high. The books have been quite a hit in our office. You can read our review here.

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