Book Group Crystal Ball #BEA12 (part one)
Posted by: Kaite Stover
I’ve finally sorted through boxes of BEA loot and I’ll be posting two separate entries on the above topic. Some of these titles will have hit print by the time this post hits the blog, but they were still garnering buzz in New York. Anyone going to ALA in Anaheim should stop by the publishers’ booths and see if there’s few more galleys available.
Book groups with a penchant for funny and poignant family drama should look for Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead, bowing in June from Knopf. A rip-snorting debut about an upper-crust wedding that is going to pieces in delectable fashion that no one wants to see in the society pages on Sunday.
It’s hard to find a book group that won’t be salivating over the latest offering from Chris Bohjalian. Look for The Sandcastle Girls in July from Doubleday. Bohjalian mines his own heritage for this dual story. First, an historical novel involving the romance between a young, idealistic American woman in Syria assisting refugees of the Armenian genocide. Fast forward to present day America where another young woman begins to peel back the layers of her family history to unearth a secret long thought buried.
Fans of suspenseful, detailed, lively paced historical fiction shouldn’t miss the debut novel from Vincent Lam, The Headmaster’s Wager. In 1960s Saigon the respectable, proud, educated Chinese headmaster of an English academy is challenged by the complexities of politics, war, family and loyalty. This sumptuous, moving story with unforgettable characters is coming in August from Hoarth.
August will bring another novel that lovers of quirky characters will gravitate towards. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison from Algonquin is part road novel, part domestic drama, part coming-of-age tale, and all heart. Attendees of a BEA event heard Evison speak emotionally and eloquently about the inspiration for his latest work, sure to be popular with book groups this fall.
Lastly, perennial book group favorite, Barbara Kingsolver, should be at the top of the list this winter with Flight Behavior, coming from Harper in November. Readers will have much to discuss about a young Appalachian woman on the verge of making a self-destructive decision who instead encounters a miraculous spectacle that challenges her beliefs, family bonds, and her own place in her world.