ballantine reader's circle neswletter  
Table of Contents
* Great Books, Old and New
* Lose yourself in HOW TO BE LOST
* Novel Idea- Katrina relief
* An Amy Tan Moment
* Reading Our Readers
* New in paperback this month
* The RC Catalog: while supplies last

September 2005

Dear Readers,

Fall has ceremoniously arrived with a plethora of exceptional books that you cannot miss. But first I want to remind you that our complete library is crowded with book club classics that are every bit as enticing as our new releases.

Laura Hillenbrand's SEABISCUIT for instance, is a Readers Circle bestseller not to be forgotten. We recently caught wind that SEABISCUIT is chosen for a Community Reads program in Downers Grove, IL. I love the concept of an entire city reading together—its a wonderful way to connect with friends, family, neighbors, and even strangers. Were told that the last time Downers Grove selected a book, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, more than 200,000 people participated in the program—you thought your book club is big?

Another morsel of news from a Readers Circle favorite comes from Dayna Dunbar, author of THE SAINTS AND SINNERS OF OKAY COUNTY. Daynas novel has been chosen as one of the Oklahoma Six Pack of Books. These are books by authors from Oklahoma, writing about Oklahoma. An online vote decides the winner, so if you want to participate you can cast your vote for SAINTS AND SINNERS by going to this website:

Need another convincing reason to browse our ever-growing library? Amy Tans bestselling novels are on our shelves and you might want to revisit them before diving into her newest release SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING. More on that to lets get started!

Happy reading!

Your BRC Tour Guide,
Avi Bashirrad

Imagine an author visiting you in your very own living room (by phone, of course).

Enter your book club to win a phone chat with Amanda Eyre Ward, author of HOW TO BE LOST.

To request a phone chat, click here.

Check out our new phone chats for this month, click here.


In addition to the authors in our monthly phone chat promotion, we've created an extension of that program that includes the best of our previously published Ballantine Reader's Circle titles. Now, over 100 of your favorite authors are available for phone chats. Click here to view our entire list & to request an author today.

HOW TO BE LOST by Amanda Eyre Ward

With dark humor and beautiful prose this critically acclaimed author brings us a novel about love and secrets, and introduces one of the most memorable heroines in years. People magazine compared this haunting story with THE LOVELY BONES. Heres what you said...

A few months ago, we asked some of you to read advance copies of HOW TO BE LOST. Here are a couple of the responses we received:

"I enjoyed the intertwining of characters and the mysterious way the author brought Agnes into the story. She threw me off a little with Charlene and I was shocked when I realized who had kidnapped Ellie! I will definitely recommend this for my book club in the fall. We are all teachers and do not meet regularly during the summer but I will bring the book with me."
—Wanda J. Thomas, Media, PA

all of Part One. It's a wonderful story and I'll be recommending it to my book group. I agree with The Charlotte Observer's comment on the front cover. Indeed, this is one of those books "that remind you why you love to read."
—Bonnie Gluhanich (Book Club: Books Too) Muskegon, MI

To read an excerpt or discussion questions for HOW TO BE LOST click here.

Organize a book donation with your book club members to help rebuild libraries that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The ALA (American Library Association) has established a book donation program. Click here for more information.

Coming Soon....


The bestselling author of THE JOY LUCK CLUB and THE BONESETTERS DAUGHTER has a provocative new novel coming in October thats as seductive as its title suggests.

Filled with her signature "idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery"(Los Angeles Times), SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING is a gripping morality tale about the consequences of intentions—both good and bad—and about the shared responsibility that individuals must accept for the actions of others.


THE COAL TATOO by Silas House and and HOT FUDGE SUNDAY BLUES by Bev Marshall

Silas House follows his national bestsellers A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES and CLAY'S QUILT with this story of two sisters who cant stand to live together but cant bear to live apart. This book won the 2004 Kentucky Literary Award for Fiction and has been named Appalachian Book of the Year. (Previous winners include COLD MOUNTAIN and FAIR AND TENDER LADIES by Lee Smith)

A lyrical coming-of-age story set in the 1960s, HOT FUDGE SUNDAY BLUES is an extraordinary companion to Bev Marshalls first two novels, WALKING THROUGH SHADOWS and RIGHT AS RAIN. Here again she mines the territory of the small town of Zebulon, Mississippi, where even the most seemingly ordinary folks harbor well-disguised heartaches and intricate secrets.

Silas House and Bev Marshall met at a book signing in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2002 and instantly becme friends and fans of each other's novels. Since that time, they've corresponded and occasionally had the opportunity to read and sign together across the South. Now with three published novels each, Silas and Bev met again in Jackson at a favorite local watering hole to talk about their latest books.

Bev Marshall interviews Silas House about The Coal Tatoo: Click here.

Silas House interviews Bev Marshall about Hot Fudge Sundae Blues: Click here.

And now with the release of their books in Reader's Circle edition they will be hitting the road again - sharing some events. For more details check out the tour dates listed here.

We asked some of you to read advance copies of HOT FUDGE SUNDAY BLUES. Here are some of your responses:

"Bev Marshall's ability to let the reader inside her characters is showcased in this tale of extraordinary events experienced through the eyes of a 13-year old girl. I was immediately drawn into their lives, and felt acutely their disappointments, fears and joys. I would definitely recommend this book for reading groups--the themes of judgment, religion, role modeling, "coming of age" ... great stuff for lively discussions!"
—Pam Cox, Fort Worth, Texas (Book Club: Pages...a reading club)

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read an advance copy of Bev Marshall's newest. I read Right as Rain last spring and just loved it — so this was a treat beyond "hot fudge"! I will definitely recommend this one to my club — we love southern fiction and characters we can recognize in ourselves and our families!
—Sally LeSage, Sandy Springs, Georgia Book Club: High Point Moms Book Club


Last month we asked you: Imagine you are being sent to live on a remote island and you can only take two people with you...and they have to be characters from books youve read. Who would you choose, and why? Here's what our lucky winner said:

Andi Grant from Virginia Beach, VA:
If I were stranded on a deserted Island I would have to bring Bridget Jones with me. After I'd read both of Fielding's books I felt as though I'd made a new friend. Plus, what is life without having someone to laugh with? Second I would bring Jack Elliot from the great novel, THESE IS MY WORDS written by Nancy Turner. I love the ruggedness of a western frontiersman, I'd want that strong man there to love and protect me.

Each month we'll ask you, our readers, to share something with us about your book club or about your personal reading habits. By responding, you will automatically be entered to win FREE books. PLEASE NOTE: you must include your mailing address in your response in order to qualify. Your address will not be used for any promotions or shared with anyone else.

Everyone is talking about blogs these days. In case you were wondering, "blog" is short for "web log" and its basically a daily journal that someone posts for public viewing on the Internet. Wed like to you visit any blogs? If so, which blogs do you visit and how often? Would you consider visiting a blog on the subject of BOOKS? Share your thoughts by writing to us at:


JERUSALEM by Karen Armstrong

The Nonfiction genre has been very popular with book clubs this past year so its fitting that Karen Armstrongs timely classic now joins the Readers Circle. Written with grace and clarity, the product of years of meticulous research, JERUSALEM combines history with spirituality—this is a book for the ages.

NIGHTINGALES by Gillian Gill

Combining biography, politics, social history, and consummate storytelling, Nightingales is a dazzling portrait of an amazing woman, her difficult but loving family, and the high Victorian era they so perfectly epitomized. Beautifully written, witty, and irresistible, Nightingales is truly a tour de force.

LILAS FEAST by Frances Osborne

At the end of her life, Frances Osbornes one-hundred-year-old great-grandmother Lilla was as elegant as ever–but she rarely mentioned the Japanese prison camps in which she spent much of World War II, or the elaborate cookbook she wrote to help her survive behind the barbed wire.


This beloved first novel from bestselling author Fannie Flagg is a coming of age story that is both hilarious and touching. Sassy and irreverent from the get-go, Daisy Fay takes us on a rollicking journey through her formative years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.


Submit a request to receive a free copy of our new 2005 catalog which highlights all the titles from our combined imprints-it's the perfect tool to help reading groups pick the right book. Click here to submit your request. Offer available while supplies last.

Visit our Web site at where you and your reading group can access everything from sample excerpts and author interviews, to reading group guides, book club tips, online chats, and contests. As always, please feel free to forward this message to a friend if you think they might enjoy it.

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