MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Looking for the perfect books for your book club to read this year and into 2016? Look no further!

In December last year we published the first half of our Top Reads for Book Clubs in 2015 list, covering books that had published (or were due to publish) in paperback from late 2014 to early 2015.

Now, here is part 2 - with the very best book club reads from Spring to Fall 2015. All books are available in paperback and ebook. All received 5 star reviews from BookBrowse, and almost all have reading guides.

Of course, these aren't just for book clubs, they make great reading for all who enjoy well written books that provoke good conversation, and tell you things about this wonderful world of ours you didn't before!

The books are categorized into:

  • Moral Dilemmas
  • Historic USA
  • The Chinese-American Experience
  • The Golden Years
  • Historic Europe
  • Generational Sagas
  • Page-Turning Nonfiction
  • Books for Younger Readers


The Long Way Home


Gemini Gemini by Carol Cassella

Paperback Mar 2015. 352 pages. Published by Simon & Schuster

What is a doctor's commitment to a patient? When does that care cross the line? These are just some of the questions that intensive-care physician Charlotte Reese has to resolve as she attends to a young woman her own age, in this absorbing, brilliantly written meditation on life, love and relationships. A gripping read.
More info & reading guide

The Snow Queen The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

Paperback May 2015. 272 pages. Published by Picador

Life is fraught with plenty of morally grey areas. No revelation here. But what's especially intriguing in this veteran author's novel is the way it is tenderly explored as the characters struggle with work, relationships and illness. Set in contemporary New York, the struggles laid bare here are ones that most of us will recognize.
More info & reading guide

The Book of Strange New Things The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel by Michel Faber

Paperback Jun 2015. 480 pages. Published by Hogarth Books

Truly out of this world in more ways than one, this novel is fraught with moral dilemmas such as what is owed to the ones whom you love, and what constitutes the definition of loyalty. Set against the backdrop of a planet that is rapidly coming apart at the seams, this compelling story makes for transportive reading.
More info & reading guide

Eyrie Eyrie by Tim Winton

Paperback Jun 2015. 432 pages. Published by Picador

A disillusioned environmentalist, Tom Keely is barely hanging on to his life when his past meets up with him in unexpected ways. A lesson in how even the best intentions can lead us awry, Australia's revered novelist reminds us that one has to keep from drowning before being able to rescue others.
More info & reading guide

The Long Way Home The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, #10 by Louise Penny

Paperback Jul 28, 2015. 384 pages. Published by Minotaur Books

Chief Inspector Gamache is a house favorite. And here are plenty of reasons why. Good ol' Gamache is looking forward to the retired life at last when he discovers that his sleuthing past won't let go as quickly. When his neighbor Clara Morrow requests a very special favor, he is morally obliged to go on a quest to retrieve what she has lost, a journey that will have lasting effects.
More info


The Promise The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

Paperback May 2015. 320 pages. Published by Skyhorse Publishing

Nearing the tenth anniversary of Katrina, it is noteworthy to remember yet another devastating hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900 and left around 10,000 dead. This novel set against that raging force of nature focuses on one family unit and effectively shows that sometimes the most violent storms can be fueled by strong undercurrents from within.
More info including reading guide

The High Divide The High Divide by Lin Enger

Paperback May 2015. 368 pages. Published by Algonquin Books

Almost everyone loves a good quest and this readable Western dishes up three. Set against the wide open country of Montana and Minnesota, this engaging pass at the Great American Novel works in weighty themes such as family, loyalty and remorse through the eyes of the Pope family looking to make things right in the aftermath of the American Civil War.
More info including reading guide

The Invention of Wings The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Paperback May 2015. 384 pages. Published by Penguin Books

The oppressive institution of slavery transforms the lives of two remarkable women, one black, the other white, as they work the parameters of societal mores and try to craft them into relevant rules in their own lives. A cast of vibrant characters leaps out of the page and brings a dark slice of American history to focus in rich technicolor. A BookBrowse favorite.
More info including reading guide

The Invention of Exile The Invention of Exile: A Novel by Vanessa Manko

Paperback Jul 2015. 304 pages. Published by Penguin Books

This story of a Russian immigrant trying to keep the American Dream alive despite overwhelming odds will strike a chord with all readers for its embrace of universal values such as love, family, hope and hard work. The undercurrents of xenophobia which so easily mark "the other" as ready targets for hate, add gravitas to this brilliant debut.
More info including reading guide

The Hollow Ground The Hollow Ground: A Novel by Natalie S. Harnett

Paperback Aug 25, 2015. 336 pages. Published by Thomas Dunne Books

Pennsylvania coal country glows red hot in this deeply affecting debut about an Irish American family with old secrets buried deep, trying to reinvent their lives despite the stifling weight of the past. The rich mineral seams belie the crushing poverty that permeates this all-American milieu.
More info including reading guide


Everything I Never Told You Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Paperback May 2015. 304 pages. Published by Penguin Books

This moving debut about mixed-race marriages (and offspring) and the weight of parental expectations might well be a primer for today's "modern family." Centered on the death of a Chinese American teenager, Celeste Ng touchingly writes about the often yawning gap between seemingly close-knit family members.
More info & reading guide

For Today I Am a Boy For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu

Paperback March 2015. 256 Pages. Published by Mariner Books

It is difficult to live the life you were meant to live especially when your father, having sired multiple daughters, sees you as the one son who will live up to his ideals of masculinity. This is the existential dilemma that Peter Huang must struggle with as he faces up to his identity and overcomes many challenges, before he can truly break free.
More info & online discussion

China Dolls China Dolls by Lisa See

Paperback Mar 2015. 416 pages. Published by Random House

Set on the eve of World War II in San Francisco's Chinatown, this story by veteran author Lisa See, shows that it takes more than skin color to forge a common bond between people. The three women featured in the story all share a common Chinese ancestry but their upbringings could not be more different. It is especially interesting to realize that for all the shades of grey that they see in themselves, the external world can be brutal in its washed-out perspectives on race and color.
More info & reading guide

A Map of Betrayal A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin

Paperback Jul 2015. 304 pages. Published by Vintage

Gary Shang, the fractured protagonist of this moving tale, is caught between a rock and a hard place as he has to make difficult moral decisions about allegiance. Whom does he owe loyalty to: the China of his birth or the America of his adopted country? This twist on an immigrant's narrative, based on a true story, is heartbreakingly nuanced presenting no easy answers.
More info & reading guide


Mimi Malloy, At Last! Mimi Malloy, At Last! by Julia MacDonnell

Paperback Mar 2015. 288 pages. Published by Picador

If you're nodding at the phrase "At Last" this one's for you. You have tended to family, to children and spouse and it's time for yourself -- at last! That's exactly how Mimi feels after raising six beautiful daughters. It's time for some "me" time. Even if a doctor might come bearing worrisome news, this is one spunky Irish American gal who won't go down without a fight.
More info & reading guide

A Man Called Ove A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Paperback May 2015. 368 pages. Published by Atria Books.

If the trope of a cranky old man with a heart of gold might sound a tad formulaic, this one has more than enough heart to win you over. The colorful supporting characters who are lucky enough to be the Swedish curmudgeon's neighbors, give Ove a new lease on life by giving him reasons to celebrate every day. A heartwarming read.
More info & reading guide

Please join us to discuss Backman's latest: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

Florence Gordon

Florence Gordon by Brian Morton

Paperback Sep 1 2015. 320 pages. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

At 75. Florence Gordon doesn't believe in whitening her hair -- or her teeth. She is "gloriously difficult" and is perfectly happy with life as it is in old age. In short, she's the kind of person that many of us (men included) would love to be -- spunky, occasionally cantankerous sure, but also full of warm and considered convictions. A terrific read.
More info & reading guide (we'll be hosting a discussion starting Sept 1)


Dark Aemilia Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady by Sally O'Reilly

Paperback Jun 2015. 448 pages. Published by Picador

Imagine Shakespeare's London. Now throw in passion, some witchcraft. The Bard's muse, Aemilia Lanyer. You've got all the makings of a gripping and immensely readable tale that is full of the juiciest bits of historical fiction you can sink your teeth into. Mesmerizing.
More info & reading guide

Gutenberg's Apprentice

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie

Paperback Sep 8 2015. 416 pages. Published by Harper

New ways of doing business have almost invariably been seen as challenging the established order. Imagine the scribes who wrote the Bible being replaced by Gutenberg's printed copies. What sacrilege! The Catholic Church is among the many forces stacked squarely against this invention as the genius' apprentice must figure out where his allegiances truly lie in this absorbing novel.
More info


Some Luck Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Paperback Jul 2015. 416 pages. Published by Anchor Books

The first in a trilogy that is to span a transformative century in America, this story zeroes in on a small Iowa family farm and the many members of the Langdon family as they experience life from the aftermath of World War 1 through to the '50s, standing on the cusp of sweeping social change. A definitive slice of the all-American experience.
More info & reading guide

We Are Not Ourselves We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Paperback Jun 2015. 640 pages. Published by Simon & Schuster

You've studied hard, you've married well, you have a loving family and even then your life can be derailed right off the tracks. Eileen Tumulty is a perfect example of a middle-class American woman in the mid-twentieth century, a woman who can sense the opening up of possibilities even as life constrains her eventually. A moving tale of an improbable and enduring marriage and a woman who bravely fields every obstacle thrown at her, this is a wise and precocious debut.
More info & reading guide

Land of Love and Drowning

Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

Paperback Jul 21, 2015. 416 pages. Published by Riverhead Books

If the phrase "sweeping saga" brings to mind bloat and a book in need of strong editing, this one will change all that. Chronicling the history of the Virgin Islands through the fortunes of the Bradshaw family, this is a thought-provoking look at history and the slow erosion of place through the harshness of globalization.
More info & reading guide


Sweetland: A Novel by Michael Crummey

Paperback Sept 7, 2015. 336 pages. Published by Liveright/WW Norton

What happens when the very terra firma under your feet is not very...well, firma anymore? When a remote island off the Newfoundland coast is under threat of being forsaken by the Canadian government, one brave man won't go down without a fight. Powerfully depicting our connections to place, Sweetland is a compelling look at the values we hold dear and will fight for against the forces of modernity.
More info


The Underground Girls of Kabul

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

Paperback Jul 2015. 288 pages. Published by Crown

An extraordinary exploration of the Afghani custom of dressing up girls as boys, this journalistic account makes for great book club fodder. It is telling that the status of boys in this war-ravaged country is the basis for life-altering parenting decisions.
More info & reading guide. Please join us to discuss this book

The Human Age The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us by Diane Ackerman

Paperback Sept 14, 2015. 352 pages. Published by W.W. Norton & Company

With laser-sharp focus and wit, this volume dissects science for the layperson describing the varied impacts humans have had on the earth. While there's plenty of room for negativity, The Human Age is not without hope about the future and about our ability to craft a new future despite tough odds.
More info

A Spy Among Friends A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre

Paperback May 2015. 384 pages. Published by Broadway Books

You can read this gripping espionage narrative at many levels. At its most basic, this is a page-turning, true crime thriller to rival John Le Carre; but at a deeper level, you can't look away from one man's deeply flawed morals that spurred him on to lead the worst kind of betrayal, one that would hit hard on international levels.
More info


Zane and the Hurricane Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick

Paperback Jul 28, 2015. 192 pages. Published by The Blue Sky Press

The horrors of Katrina are on vivid (but not off-putting) display here as the storm brings out the best and the worst in people. This moving novel introduces young adults to one of the worst natural disasters in recent American history while emphasizing the value of basic morals such as generosity and bravery. Recommended for ages 10-14.
More info & reading guide

100 Sideways Miles 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Paperback Sept 8, 2015. 288 pages. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

It's bad enough when you're a teenager trying to find your place in the world. But young Finn Easton just might have it worse than many others. His novelist father already has a bestseller featuring a fictitious Finn Easton that rings very close to the real deal. Trapped by circumstance and the weight of the past, this teenager takes the opportunity to make his own destiny when it is presented to him in an unusual fashion. A quirky amd fun novel. Recommended for ages 12+
More info & reading guide

Threatened Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Paperback Aug 25, 2015. 288 pages. Published by Scholastic.

Deep in the Gabon jungle, where primates are very much a part of the lush forests, young Luc will come to realize the meaning of family and the definition of home, which is defined not so much by place but by character. The second volume in the planned Great Ape quartet, this gorgeous novel is for readers of all stripes, and especially for nature lovers. Recommended for ages 12+
More info

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