Today’s blog is a whistle stop tour through some of the new additions we’ve made to our Reading Group Collection. The Collection is well used and has always been popular so periodically, we add new titles to ensure that the many reading groups in Warwickshire can find something to discover and discuss.
The Collection contains books in many genres – crime novels to thrillers, historical to contemporary fiction and non-fiction titles too. For more details about how to use the Collection, see our Reading Groups Collection page. Here’s a quick look at what we’ve recently added to the Collection:
Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected. As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?
Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today. That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another. Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe: a decapitation in Germany, a public shooting at a university in Bordeaux; in Illinois, a sports team stands around the centre circle of the football pitch and pulls the trigger of the gun pressed to the temple of the person on their right. It becomes a movement.
Abandoned at birth and threatened with a life in service, Defoe’s young rebel sets her heart on independence. One fatal seduction and five husbands later, she resorts to a life of self-supporting crime. First published in 1722, and still being read today, if your group would like to read a “classic” (with a bit of naughtiness included), this might be the book for your discussions!
Two tales of a city: the historical race to reach one of the world’s most mythologised places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend. With a nearly 4 star rating on goodreads.com, this non-fiction title could provoke discussions amongst your group about history, politics, religion and beyond
Kerry Hayes knows exactly who she is: a single mum, a cleaner and Mariah Carey’s biggest fan. Noah Martineau thinks he knows who he is: a successful barrister, with a wife, daughter and big house in Primrose Hill. Strangers with nothing in common. Strangers living worlds apart. But it wasn’t always this way – and Noah and Kerry are about to discover just who they really are.
Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen, though – almost a lifetime ago – and those memories have faded. Now she works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy who came to stay on the boat one winter; and the creature in the water – a canal thief? – swimming upstream, getting ever closer. In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but go back.
The powerful, heart-breaking memoir of Dita Kraus, the real-life Librarian of Auschwitz. Born in Prague to a Jewish family in 1929, Dita Kraus has lived through the most turbulent decades of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Here, Dita writes with startling clarity on the horrors and joys of a life delayed by the Holocaust. From her earliest memories and childhood friendships in Prague before the war, to the Nazi-occupation that saw her and her family sent to the Jewish ghetto at Terezin, to the unimaginable fear and bravery of her imprisonment in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and life after liberation. Dita writes unflinchingly about the harsh conditions of the camps and her role as librarian of the precious books that her fellow prisoners managed to smuggle past the guards. But she also looks beyond the Holocaust – to the life she rebuilt after the war.
It is the mid-1800s and as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe is haunted by the violent trauma it wrought on her former enslaved life at Sweet Home, Kentucky. Her dead baby daughter, whose tombstone bears the single word, Beloved, returns as a spectre to punish her mother, but also to elicit her love.
James Vincent, born in 1942, escapes his parents’ turbulent marriage and attends law school in New York, where he moves up the social ladder as a promising young attorney. Meanwhile, Agnes Miller, a beautiful black woman on date with a handsome suitor, is pulled over by the police on a rural road in Georgia. The terrible moments that follow make her question her future and pivot her into a hasty marriage and new life in the Bronx. Illuminating more than six decades of sweeping change – from the struggle for civil rights to Obama’s first year as President – James and Agnes’s families will come together in unexpected, intimate and profoundly human ways.
East Prussia, 1943. Hitler hides away in the Wolfsshanze – his hidden headquarters. The tide is turning in the war and his enemies circle ever closer. Ten women are chosen. Ten women to taste his food and protect him from poison. 26-year-old Rosa has lost everything to this war. Her parents are dead. Her husband is fighting on the front line. Alone and scared, she faces the SS with nothing but the knowledge every bite might be her last. Caught on the wrong side of history, how far is Rosa willing to go to survive?
Scotland 1950s. Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can’t believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a strong and steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family, nor Walter’s care, can seem to save her. Many years later Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.
The Dunbar brothers are living – fighting, loving, grieving – in the perfect chaos of a house without grown-ups. Today, the father who walked out on them long ago has just walked right back in. He has an unexpected request: Who will build a bridge with him? Seizing the chance to come to terms with a traumatic secret, Clay is the boy to accept. Such superhuman feat, he believes, will be the healing of him. But why is this boy so broken? And what will it take to put his family back together again?
We hope that has given you some titles to ponder if you’re looking for your next reading group book. As these are new additions, most will not yet have reviews so look out for future ‘Recommended Reads from the Reading Group Collection’ posts later in the year to see what other Warwickshire reading groups made of them.
If you would like to know more about our Reading Group Collection, we have lots of information available on our Reading Groups page here. You can find out how to join and you’ll find useful tips for starting your group, including ‘The Reading Pack’ here.
If you’re already in a reading group and use our Reading Group Collection, did you know that we send out periodical updates about the service to the named contact for each group? Find out how to sign up to these updates here.