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Great Group Reads

National Reading Group Month Selects
Great Group Reads

2017 Selections

The Best of Us: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard
The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol
Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss
The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
The Redemption of Galen Pike: Short Stories by Carys Davies
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
Smoke by Dan Vyleta
So Much Blue by Percival Everett
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso


Great Group Reads Selections 2017 Tabletop (PDF)

National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit


The Best of Us: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard
(Bloomsbury USA, HC 978-1635570342)
This open and unflinching memoir of love and loss tells the story of Maynard’s late second marriage, the joy she found in it, and the devastation of discovering that this true partner of her heart had cancer. Narrating from the caregiver’s perspective, the story is reflective, loving, and seasoned with the kind of magical thinking that those likely facing imminent loss cling to.

More about: Bloomsbury USA, The Best of Us: A Memoir

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Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker
(ECW Press, TP 978-1770413030)
A dysfunctional family novel, this tells of the coming of age of Ari Appleton, a girl who manages to keep her sweet and caring nature despite the abuse and horrors surrounding her. Set during the sexual revolution and drug culture of the sixties, this story of the importance of a safe harbor and of small instances of goodness is ultimately a life-affirming story.

More about: ECW Press, The Clay Girl

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review, Bookreporter, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
(Hogarth, HC 978-1524760786)
A masterful and epic novel following Cyril Avery from birth to death and told in seven year increments, this covers Ireland and Irish history from the end of WWII to almost the present day and offers readers insights into the strength of the Church in Ireland, coming out, adoption, bravery, and compassion.

More about: Hogarth, The Heart’s Invisible Furies

Bonus Resources: Booklist Review, Bookreporter, Reading Group Choices, Reading Group Guides

Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
(Ecco, HC 978-0062469687)
Set mainly on the campus of a Boy Scout camp, this multi-generational novel examines the definition of heroism, bullying, what it means to have a moral compass, and the hard work of adolescent struggle.

More about: Ecco, The Hearts of Men

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Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol
(Red Hen Press, TP 978-1597093811)
An early tragedy in his family’s commune twines itself into Jeremy’s very bones, marking him in childhood and coloring his young adulthood where his greatest concerns are with the extinction of plants and the need for a sustainable future. It skillfully touches on issues of activism, ecoterrorism, aging, memory, and family.

More about: Red Hen Press, Kinship of Clover

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Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss
(Conari Press, TP 978-1573246989)
A devastating and compelling graphic memoir about a woman and her two young sons as they face their husband and father’s diagnosis with ALS, this is a heartbreaking look at loss, the end of life, and how a terminal diagnosis affects those who will be left behind.

More about: Conari Press, Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love

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Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman
(Kensington, TP 978-1617734496)
A young albino girl is sold to the circus by her mother in this heart-rending tale of belonging, love, and abuse. Touching on shame, animal, as well as child, abuse, and exploitation, this is a sensitive rendering of great horrors, the damage family can do, and circus life.

More about: Kensington, The Life She Was Given

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Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, TP 978-1101982266)
Two women, one Indian-American and one Mexican, in very different situations in life are connected by their love for the same baby, the foster child of one and the biological child of the other in this heartbreaking look at immigration, motherhood, class, adoption, and infertility.

More about: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Lucky Boy

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Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell
(Prospect Park Books, TP 978-1938849893)
When Elsie’s estranged mother dies, Elsie is sent on a journey of discovery, wanting to understand the secretive and distant woman who was her mother. The story takes her through a dangerous cult, all the way back to her own origin as she uncovers the lies she’s forever believed to be true, and forces her to examine her own confused feelings about parenthood and family.

More about: Prospect Park Books, Mothers and Other Strangers

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News of the World by Paulette Jiles
(William Morrow Paperbacks, TP 978-0062409218)
The tender and transformative story of an elderly army veteran and itinerant newsreader who agrees to return a young white girl captured by the Kiowa to her remaining family and their arduous and dangerous journey through the West to her new home, this is a lovely tale of connection, cultural differences, goodness, and trust.

More about: William Morrow Paperbacks, News of the World

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One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain
(University of South Carolina Press, HC 978-1611177466)
When Sarah Creamer takes in the newborn son of her husband and her best friend, she doesn’t know how to be a mother and she holds herself at arms-length from tiny Emerson Bridge. But after her husband drinks himself to death, she is the only parent left and she must figure out how to support the two of them as she learns to be a real mama. This warm and poignant novel addresses issues of poverty, class, kindness, parental love, and what it means to raise farm animals.

More about: University of South Carolina Press, One Good Mama Bone

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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
(Grand Central Publishing, HC 978-1455563937)
When Sunja, the unmarried, pregnant daughter of a fisherman and an innkeeper agrees to marry a kind but sickly minister heading from Korea to Japan instead of becoming the mistress of the wealthy married man whose child she carries, she chooses a life in exile that will affect her family on through the generations.

More about: Grand Central Publishing, Pachinko

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The Redemption of Galen Pike: Short Stories by Carys Davies
(Biblioasis, TP 978-1771961394)
This collection of surprising and quirky short stories is masterfully written with unexpected endings, spare prose, and the theme of relationship threading through each separate tale.

More about: Biblioasis, The Redemption of Galen Pike: Short Stories

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Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HC 978-0544912588)
A multi-generational story of a Palestinian family in exile, this is both crushing and beautiful as members of the family scatter all over the Middle East in search of safety and a settled home as conflict displaces them again and again. Rich and nuanced in noisy life, this story gives another face to the historical and modern situation in the region.

More about: Algonquin Books, Salt Houses

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Smoke by Dan Vyleta
(Anchor, TP 978-1101910405)
Sin is an actual physical manifestation in the form of smoke and soot in this Dickensian and dystopian novel of class privilege and evil. When a couple of school boys discover that their understanding of the world has been based on lies and manipulations to keep the ruling class in power, they team up with a girl who can lead them to the dangerous answers that could expose everything and change their world.

More about: Hub City Press, Smoke

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Community: Goodreads 1, Goodreads 2

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So Much Blue by Percival Everett
(Graywolf Press, TP 978-1555977825)
Set in three different time periods in three different parts of the world, the novel centers on celebrated artist Kevin Pace, who is working on an enormous painting that he won’t show to anyone, not family, not friends. The painting might just contain the secrets of Kevin’s past, those from a decade prior when he had an affair with a young French woman and those from even further in the past when he went to El Salvador to try and help rescue his friend’s drug dealing brother. A novel of art, infidelity, and self-discovery, this is a thoughtful and complex tale.

More about: Graywolf Press, So Much Blue

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
(Scribner, HC 978-1501154829)
The sweeping story of a Chinese mother and the Chinese-American daughter she gave up for adoption, this is tale of tea farming, international adoption, survival, and perseverance.

More about: Scribner, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

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The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber
(She Writes Press, TP 978-1631521928)
A carefully researched, fictionalized story of Pamela Bianco, a celebrated child prodigy artist, whose mother wrote The Velveteen Rabbit, this double stranded narrative is a sensitive depiction of depression, artistic expression, mother daughter dynamics, and love.

More about: She Writes Press, The Velveteen Daughter

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We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
(Viking, HC 978-0399563089)
In this novel based on the author’s family, WWII looms ever closer and the Kurc family, a Polish, Jewish family, must find ways to survive the atrocities and terror of the war and find their way back to each other. This is a tale showcasing the strength and resilience of the human spirit, survival, and resourcefulness in the face of the appalling horrors of the Nazis.

More about: Viking, We Were the Lucky Ones

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The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
(Picador, TP 978-1250124579)
Two widowed neighbors in Cape Town, one white and one black, nurture their long-standing hostility towards each other until they are forced to cooperate with each other in this wonderful examination of race, truth, regret, fidelity, and resiliency.

More about: Picador, The Woman Next Door

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Archive:
Great Group Reads Selections — 2009
Great Group Reads Selections — 2010
Great Group Reads Selections — 2011
Great Group Reads Selections — 2012
Great Group Reads Selections — 2013
Great Group Reads Selections — 2014
Great Group Reads Selections — 2015
Great Group Reads Selections — 2016

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