Introducing June’s Book Club Selection: Uprooted

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Why Was This Title Selected

The year’s fantasy option, chosen because Jessica raved over it. It was also surprisingly difficult to find a stand-alone fantasy novel – so many of the ones I was finding were series reads (or at least trilogies), and I didn’t want to choose one that wouldn’t be complete in one book.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or via Audible.

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

What’s Coming Up Next?

true-gritTrue Grit by Charles Portis

What’s it about? Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross recounts the time when she sought retribution for her father’s murder.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Introducing May’s Book Club Selection: Hannah Coulter

hannah-coulter

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

“Ignorant boys, killing each other,” is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife, friends, and family about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Life carried on for the community of Port William, Kentucky, as some boys returned from the war and the lives of others were mourned. In her seventies, Nathan’s wife, Hannah, has time now to tell of the years since the war. In Wendell Berry’s unforgettable prose, we learn of the Coulter’s children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors “live right on.”

Why Was This Title Selected

Our literary fiction pick for the year, and because I’ve been wanting to get to one of Berry’s books.

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or via Audible.

What’s Coming Up Next?

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik

What’s it about? Agnieszka’s native village of Dvernik is menaced by something in the surrounding woods, protected only by the local sorcerer. Every decade he chooses a village girl to serve him. Agnieszka is about to find out what happens to those girls during their years of service.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie's Black Coffee - a Hercule Poirot mysteryBlack Coffee by Agatha Christie, adapted as a novel by Charles Osborne

Miss Marple is my preferred Christie character – she amuses me in a way that Poirot does not. The additional bonus with Miss Marple is the lack of Hastings in the narrative – I’m not a big fan of his bumbling.

So, Black Coffee had some strikes against it already when it came to a Christie title – it’s Poirot, and Hastings is in it. Then when I borrowed the title I discovered that it was originally a play, written by Christie, but adapted into a novel by someone else.

Unfortunately, that adaptation shows. The action is very tightly located, and there felt like an excess of directions – someone enters the room, sits here, moves there, etc. I have no doubt it works better as a play, where the limitations that felt cramped in a novel are appropriate for a theatre setting.

I don’t regret reading it by any means, and for Poirot fans or anyone wanting to be sure to read all of Christie’s works it’s a must-read. For anyone else, it’s skippable.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:

Inventor Sir Claude Amory feels a bitter taste in the mouth, when the new formula for explosive material stolen by someone in the household.

In order to quickly remedy the situation, Sir Claude locks the door and turns off the light, giving the thief a chance to return the formula without being detected. But darkness brings death and Hercule Poirot has to untangle family strife, love and suspicious visitors tangle in order to clarify the murderer and prevent disaster.


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Three on a Theme: Jane Eyre

My in-person book club reads an annual “book flight,” inspired by a post at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This year the theme voted on by our members was Jane Eyre. (I’m excited about this, as I didn’t think it would be the winner, but it was my pick).

The first book in our trio is, not surprisingly, Jane Eyre.

For a reimagining of the Jane Eyre story, we’ll also read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. What sort of reimagining? Well, Jane is a serial killer, so I’m guessing a pretty creative one.

The final book in our flight is the 2016 biography Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, by Claire Harman. I’m hoping we gain a new appreciation for Brontë’s work through looking at her life and times.

I can’t wait to dive into these three, which is good because, at over 1500 pages between the three, I need to get moving on reading them before our October meeting where we’ll be discussing them. 🙂

Find Jane Eyre: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Find Jane Steele: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Find Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

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Introducing April’s Book Club Selection: Dark Matter

dark-matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

Why Was This Title Selected

I wanted a thriller for the year, and one that would be super readable and accessable for those who don’t typically read that genre. Buzz I was hearing about the book led me to think this would be a compelling, thought-provoking read that would promote a great discussion!

Anything Else to Know About It?

The discussion will begin soon in the Facebook group, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

If you haven’t read it yet, there’s still time for you to join us – it’s a very quick read, so you should be able to get it read and then join in on the discussion. Heads-up though that I’d stay away from the chat about it until you’ve finished the book; it’d be an easy one to spoil and you’ll miss out on a lot of the fun if you know too much about it before reading it.

It’s available in Print, for Kindle or Nook, or via Audible.

What’s Coming Up in May?

hannah-coulterHannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

What’s it about? An elderly farmwife looks back on her life and world.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads
(Note that you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.)

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My in-person book club’s pick back in January, and I was so sad to miss that meeting thanks to a sick child. The book was compelling, and it seemed like it would lend itself to a fascinating discussion.

There’s a bit more to enjoy about the book if you’re familiar with 80’s pop culture – movies, music, and video games especially. While I was alive for all of the 80’s, I was either too young to be aware of some of the items, or too sheltered (or a mix). I know I missed some of the references, but I had fun asking my husband about them.

That said, you don’t need to be familiar with 80’s pop culture to enjoy the book, or even be a fan of science fiction. It was a fascinating look at a society that I hope isn’t in our future. Wade was an appealing main character, and if you listen to the audio version, Wil Wheaton is fantastic at narrating the story.

Thinking of it for a book club?

It’s also fantastic as a book club discussion book, or so my book club friends tell me. I’m told the discussion was so rich it could have filled a second meeting. It’s also one that’s easy to recommend for readers who don’t usually read science fiction. Our book club likes to expand our typical reading choices, but not so far that no one wants to read the book. Ready Player One worked well for that!

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Cover Love: Emma

Emma was first published in 1815, so there have been almost endless cover versions. To give some limit to the ones I shared today, I stuck with English-language ones published since 2000, with one exception for a 1998 Dover version that I thought was especially pretty.

Pictures are shared in date order, beginning in 1998 and ending with two 2015 200th anniversary edition covers.

emma-cover-collage

See all posts in the “Cover Love” series.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Librivox | Goodreads

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Introducing December’s Book Club Selection: The Hobbit

The HobbitThe HobbitThe Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien by J. R. R. Tolkien

What’s It About?

(Description from Goodreads)

A great modern classic and the prelude to The Lord of the Rings

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.

Why Was This Title Selected

I wanted a fantasy novel for the year, and this one has been on my TBR list for years. I also assumed it would be a fairly accessible one for readers who are new to fantasy.

Anything Else to Know About It?

We’ve started the discussion about the book, and you’re welcome to come and join us.

It’s available in print, for Kindle, Nook, or Audible.

What’s Coming Up in January?

animal-vegetable-miracleAnimal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Nook | Audible | Goodreads

See all the books we’ll be reading in 2017 here.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: November 2013 Recap
Four years ago: Favorite Spiritual Growth Books

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The SilkwormThe Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The second book in the Cormoran Strike series, and while I liked the first book well enough, I LOVED this one. I stayed up till 2 AM reading it, when I finally and had to force myself. If I hadn’t known my kids were going to wake up and expect food and attention the next day I’d have continued.)

I wanted to immediately get the third book and find out what happened next. The only reason I have paused in reading the series is the knowledge that book four isn’t released yet. A publishing date hasn’t even been set (sob!) and after hearing that book three ends on a cliffhanger I’m trying to minimize my wait time.

If you haven’t read the series, I do think you should start with the first (even if I didn’t like it as much). That allows you to meet the characters and I think the more time with Robin the better.

Despite my love for this book I have some cautions: if you’re squeamish, or opposed to language or other graphic content you’ll want to skip it. I kind of hate having to tell anyone to pass on it, as it’s so good, but have to admit that it’s not for everyone. Know your own comfort level of what you want to read.

I’m not much of a TV person, but the BBC is developing the three books currently out in the series into a show and I am thrilled to hear it. The actors have been chosen for the lead roles: Tom Burke will play Cormoran Strike, and Holliday Grainger will play Robin Ellacott.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the number-one international best seller The Cuckoo’s Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives – meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Four years ago: Book Review: Dinner, a Love Story

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (and a linkup)

The Legend of Sleepy HollowThe Legend of Sleepy HollowThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
by Washington Irving

Horror stories are ones I typically avoid, being a total reading wimp. I even questioned whether I wanted to select Irving’s famous tale for October’s book club, because what if it was too much for me?

Then I read it and discovered that it’s not really a horror story, or even particularly scary. If you too are a reading wimp, don’t hesitate to give this a try. It’s super short (the audio is just over an hour), and while the writing is florid, it’s not scary. I listened to most of it late at night in an old farmhouse (i.e., on my book club retreat) and didn’t start jumping at all the bumps and creaks that sort of house makes.

If you’ve never read it, I’d encourage you to give it a try – it’s such a quick read and then you can feel proud of yourself for reading a classic. Oh, wait, maybe that was just me. 🙂


Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion of David and Goliath on November 1st..


If you’ve written a post about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

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3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

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