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Giveaway Opportunity: THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Joyce_Harold Fry Have you met Harold Fry? If not, we’ve got a giveaway opportunity you won’t want to miss. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a debut novel by Rachel Joyce, is now out in paperback! Enter below for your chance to win a copy of the charming novel readers are raving about.

“There’s tremendous heart in this debut novel by Rachel Joyce, as she probes questions that are as simple as they are profound: Can we begin to live again, and live truly, as ourselves, even in middle age, when all seems ruined? Can we believe in hope when hope seems to have abandoned us? I found myself laughing through tears, rooting for Harold at every step of his journey. I’m still rooting for him.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.

Head over to Rachel’s Facebook page to tell her about the most unlikely pilgrimage or journey you’ve ever taken! Or just share your thoughts about the book. Also, if you are planning your next book club discussion, then Random House Reader’s Circle has the reader’s guide to help you get started.

Win a copy of Ellen Feldman’s novel NEXT TO LOVE!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Next to Love TPFor fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Postmistress, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a story of love, war, loss, and the scars they leave set during the years of World War II and its aftermath.

Set in a small town in Massachusetts, Next to Love follows three childhood friends, Babe, Millie, and Grace, whose lives are unmoored when their men are called to duty. And yet the changes that are thrust upon them move them in directions they never dreamed possible—while their husbands and boyfriends are enduring their own transformations. In the decades that follow, the three friends lose their innocence, struggle to raise their children, and find meaning and love in unexpected places. And as they change, so does America—from a country in which people know their place in the social hierarchy to a world in which feminism, the Civil Rights movement, and technological innovations present new possibilities—and uncertainties. And yet Babe, Millie, and Grace remain bonded by their past, even as their children grow up and away and a new society rises from the ashes of the war.

Beautifully crafted and unforgettable, Next to Love depicts the enduring power of love and friendship, and illuminates a transformational moment in American history.

Win a copy of Janelle Brown’s This Is Where We Live

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

This Is Where We Live

**This giveaway is now closed. Sign up for the Reader’s Circle e-newsletter on the RHRC.com homepage for more news about monthly giveaways.**

Now in paperback from the author of All We Ever Wanted Was EverythingBrown_Janelle

“Wildly entertaining.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Feels like a natural follow-up to Brown’s bestselling 2008 debut. . . . Both books [are] page-turners. . . . Brown has an uncanny eye for contemporary characters and settings, and that’s definitely part of the fun.”—Los Angeles Times

“Richly told . . . Maybe some wisdom can be gleaned from this recession after all.”—The Seattle Times

Claudia and Jeremy, a young married couple (she’s an aspiring filmmaker, he’s an indie musician), are on the verge of making it. Her first film was a sensation at Sundance and is about to have its theatrical release; he’s assembled a new band and is a few songs shy of an album. They’ve recently purchased their first home—a mid-century bungalow with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles—with the magical assistance of an adjustable-rate mortgage. But a series of seismic events—the tanking of Claudia’s film, the return of Jeremy’s manipulative ex-girlfriend, and the staggering adjustment of their monthly mortgage payments—deal a crushing blow to their dreams of the bohemian life and their professional aspirations and make them question their values and their shared vision of the future.

Win a copy of Anna Quindlen’s EVERY LAST ONE

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011


“In a tale that rings strikingly true, [Anna] Quindlen captures both the beauty and the breathtaking fragility of family life.”—People

Mary Beth Latham has built her life around her family, around caring for her three teenage children and preserving the rituals of their daily life. When one of her sons becomes depressed, Mary Beth focuses on him, only to be blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterward is a testament to the power of a woman’s love and determination, and to the invisible lines of hope and healing that connect one human being to another. Ultimately, as rendered in Anna Quindlen’s mesmerizing prose, Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the things we fear the most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel.

A special message from Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet–plus, a giveaway!

Monday, February 7th, 2011


With over half a million copies in print, Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is quickly becoming a modern classic. Jamie recently caught up with Reader’s Circle from Seattle, where the novel is set, and tells us about the many different kinds of people he’s met on the road who’ve fallen in love with the book.

Oh, the places you’ll go.

In the last year I’ve spent one hundred nights on the road: one hundred nights! I’ve had so many layovers at the Salt Lake City and Minneapolis airports that I can probably claim partial residency. And I’ve been on so many planes I’m sure I’ve developed a dangerous peanut allergy (or at least a worrisome addiction).

In my wildest authorly dreams I never imagined I would travel beyond my own mailbox. What a delightful, delirious journey it’s been, and still is. In fact, as I’m writing this I’m sitting in a comfy, cozy chair in the tearoom of Seattle’s Panama Hotel, where my novel began. The hotel itself is actually on the corner of 6th & Main, which I must admit is not nearly as sexy as Bitter and Sweet, but they still brew a great cup of lychee.

As I’m watching another wide-eyed book club wander in, I can’t help but marvel at the diversity of readers I’ve met: the kindly souls, the tender hearts, the unforgettable stories. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the road:

The Pilgrimage: When a gentleman from the Nisei Veteran’s Association invited me to the annual Minidoka Reunion, for former internees and their families, it was an honor I couldn’t pass up. Not only was the weekend a touching and memorable experience, but there was a karaoke night where former internees, many in their 80s, sang, Don’t Fence Me In. Kinda gets you right there, doesn’t it?

Night at the Smithsonian: I was invited to speak at the Renwick Gallery Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweetof the Smithsonian Institute in conjunction with The Art of Gaman, an exhibit of fine art created entirely within Japanese internment camps. I’ll never forget speaking to a packed house, in an ornate gallery, surrounded by incredible artwork, while my teenagers toiled in the back thinking their dad was still terribly un-cool.

Boys Night Out: This may surprise you, but I’ve actually run into a handful of Men’s Book Clubs, a fascinating phenomenon and something I once imagined to exist but had never actually seen in the wild, like a unicorn. Single-malt scotch, chicken-wings, and literature–who knew?

Generation Y: I had the privilege of speaking to the freshman class of Gustavus Adolphus College, a roaring crowd of 700. Many of my readers are from “The Greatest Generation,” while this was a much younger crowd. And yet they loved the book, even with its lack of vampires and shirtless werewolves. Don’t underestimate the young readers of today (or tomorrow): they will do much good in this world.

Back to School: Speaking of students, on one ambitious New York afternoon I spoke with four different inner-city high school classes. We shared stories of family problems, racial tensions, and our collective dislike of The Scarlett Letter. But we also touched upon aspects of history often glossed over in textbooks.

The Melting Pot: When I was first asked to visit an ESL class (English as a Second Language) that was reading my novel, I expected undergrads from China and Japan. Instead, the students were from Bahrain, India, Kenya, Laos, and Brazil: evidently the themes and struggles of assimilation know no borders.

The Bitter and the Sweet: And lastly, every author fears that one book event where no one shows up: where it’s you and the janitor. Most of my book gigs are robustly attended affairs, but the location and timing of one particular event conspired against me. On that night, only one woman was there, with her husband. Her father had passed away two days earlier and she took time away from funeral preparations to attend. She was Sansei (3rd generation Japanese American) and her father had been interned at Minidoka for four years. She had read my book to her father during the last week of his life and the story had meant a great deal to both of them.

Despite a wide reading audience, I don’t try to be something to everyone. I try to be everything to someone. On that one night, I succeeded.

I think that calls for another cup of tea.


A Q&A with Sarah Addison Allen; plus, recipes and a chance to win THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Girl Who Chased the MoonAbout the book
Emily Benedict has come to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, not only wishing to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also dreaming of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

Enter your information below for a chance to win a copy!

Random House Reader’s Circle: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book?

Sarah Addison Allen: It all started with barbecue. From the beginning, I knew I wanted The Girl Who Chased the Moon to be set in a North Carolina barbecue town. It was the only constant throughout many drafts, and it actually ended up influencing the story and the characters.

RHRC: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or do they come to you as you write them?

SAA: My writing process is very organic. I start with an idea. I have the general story arc and the cast. But then I sit down to write and things change. New characters appear, some disappear. And the big elements of magic in all my books—the prophetic apple tree in Garden Spells, the books that appear on their own in The Sugar Queen, and the cakes with the power to call in The Girl Who Chased the Moon—weren’t in the stories until I started writing. I was actually surprised by them. Making it up as I go along is one of the best parts of writing. But it’s also one of the most frustrating parts. It’s an insecure feeling, not knowing what’s going to happen. But I’ve learned to trust the process.

RHRC: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

SAA: There’s always a point where I can see the ending scene so clearly that I can’t wait to get to it. Sometimes I see it when I begin a book, but sometimes I’m almost on top of it before it’s clear. I didn’t see Maddie coming in The Girl Who Chased the Moon. She walked in and I said, “The nerve of you! Who are you and what are you doing, appearing at the end of my story?” So she told me.

RHRC: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters?

allen_sarah_addisonSAA: I think my characters are more wish fulfillments than they are mirrors. They see things I don’t and live in a world I can only enter through words.

RHRC: What struggles did you have on the road to being published?

SAA: I wrote for about twelve years before Garden Spells—my mainstream debut—sold, and I struggled daily with the urge to give up writing altogether. Discouragement is a big ugly beast.

RHRC: What has been the best part about your success?

SAA: I love that my dad has stopped asking me when I’m going to get a real job.

RHRC: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novels?

SAA: My favorite books are the ones that make me smile for hours after reading them. I want that for my readers, for the sweetness to linger. Sort of like chocolate, but without the calories.

Recipes for Julia’s Cakes of the Day

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1¼ cups vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped firm ripe banana

Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together. Add eggs and oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, and pecans. Stir in the bananas. Spoon the batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.

1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed to combine. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high, and mix.

Southern Peach Pound Cake
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Reserve 1/4 cup of flour for later, and sift together the remaining flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Use the reserved flour to coat the chopped peaches, then fold the floured peaches into the batter. Spread evenly into a 10-inch tube pan that has been buttered and coated with white sugar. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes in a 325-degree oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Milky Way Cake
8 Milky Way candy bars (regular size)
2 sticks butter or margarine
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
½ teaspoon baking soda
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 cup pecans, chopped

Melt candy bars in one stick of butter or margarine. Cream sugar and the other stick of butter or margarine together. Add eggs, baking soda, and flour alternately with buttermilk. Add melted candy mixture and pecans. Bake in 3 (9-inch) pans, greased, at 325 degrees for 30–40 minutes or until done. Cool for 5 minutes, remove from the pans, and cool on racks.

2½ cups sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 stick butter or margarine
1 6-ounce package chocolate chips
1 cup marshmallow creme

Mix over low heat. Combine sugar and milk. Cook until it reaches a soft ball stage. Add other ingredients. Stir until chocolate chips melt, then remove from heat. Beat until cool.

Win a paperback copy of ALICE I HAVE BEEN

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Alice I Have Been TP

This giveaway is now closed; winners will be notified by e-mail. Thanks to all who entered!

“This is book club gold.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin’s spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she’ll always be known simply as “Alice,” the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats….

Win a paperback of Tom Rachman’s THE IMPERFECTIONISTS!

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

The Imperfectionists TPOne of most acclaimed books of the year, Tom Rachman’s debut novel follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters and editors of an English-language newspaper in Rome.

“So good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off. I still haven’t answered that question, nor do I know how someone so young . . . could have acquired such a precocious grasp of human foibles. The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching.”—Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

Coming to paperback January 4th, 2011!

Win a paperback of MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND by Helen Simonson!

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Major Pettigrew TP cover small

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

“Funny, barbed, delightfully winsome storytelling . . . As with the polished work of Alexander McCall Smith, there is never a dull moment. . . . It’s all about intelligence, heart, dignity and backbone. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand has them all.”—The New York Times

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

Win a copy of Jonathan Dee’s novel THE PRIVILEGES!

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

THE PRIVILEGES by Jonathan DeeThis giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

“An incredibly readable, intelligent, incisive portrait of a particular kind of American family. Jonathan Dee takes us inside the world of what desire for wealth can do, and cannot do, for the self, the soul, and the family.” — Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge

Smart and socially gifted, Adam and Cynthia Morey are perfect for each other. With Adam’s rising career in the world of private equity, a beautiful home in Manhattan, gorgeous children, and plenty of money, they are, by any reasonable standard, successful. But for the Moreys, their future of boundless privilege is not arriving fast enough. As Cynthia begins to drift, Adam is confronted with a choice that will test how much he is willing to risk to ensure his family’s happiness and to recapture the sense that the only acceptable life is one of infinite possibility. The Privileges is an odyssey of a couple touched by fortune, changed by time, and guided above all else by their epic love for each other.

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