Reading Group Best Bets BooklistBook Image

Suggestions for book discussions, reading groups and book clubs. Fiction and Nonfiction titles are included. Drawn from FictionL, Book Sense, Kirkus, and a variety of other sources.

The first U.S. edition of the book is usually listed, but many of these titles are available in paperback editions.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.


  • Blind Assassin
    Author: Atwood, Margaret
    Publisher: Bantam $ 26 ISBN: 0385475721 Date: 2000
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW star Library Journal
    Containing a novel within a novel, The Blind Assassin is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms of the 1930s and 1940s, it unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 8/23/00
  • Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague
    Author: Brooks, Geraldine
    Publisher: Viking $ 24.95 ISBN: 067091021x Date: 2001
    star PW
    A young woman comes of age during an extraordinary year of love and death as she and her community are tested by one of the greatest catastrophes ever to befall England. This gripping historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the "Plague Village", in the rugged mountain spine of England in 1666.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | Medical Fiction
    Updated 6/21/01
  • The Da Vinci Code
    Author: Brown, Dan
    Publisher: Doubleday $ 24.95 ISBN: 0385504209 Date: 2003
    star Library Journal
    In an exhilarating blend of scholarly intelligence, relentless adventure, and cutting wit, Robert Langdon (first introduced in Angels Demons) and his new adventure combines the punch of Robert Ludlum, the intriguing historical touch of Umberto Eco, and the nonstop suspense of Michael Crichton.
    Suggested Reading: If You Like The Da Vinci Code
    Updated 1.29.03
  • Virgin Blue
    Author: Chevalier, Tracy
    Publisher: Plume $ 14 (trade paper) ISBN: 0452284449 Date: 2003
    star LJ
    Never before published in the United States, this first novel is released by the critically acclaimed author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels. Readers meet Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin--two women born centuries apart, yet bound by a fateful family legacy.
    Updated 8.14.03
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring
    Author: Chevalier, Tracy
    Publisher: Dutton $ 23.95 ISBN: 052594527x Date: 2000
    star PW star Kirkus star Booklist
    With the precision and focus of an Old Master's painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring paints a vivid portrait of colorful 17th-century Delft, as well as the hauntingly poignant story of one young girl's rite of passage.
    Suggested Reading: Vermeer | Historical Fiction Stars | All Stars | Biographical Fiction
  • Caramelo
    Author: Cisneros, Sandra
    Publisher: Knopf $ 24 ISBN: 0679435549 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Bookliststar LJ
    An extraordinary new novel from the author of The House on Mango Street is a multigenerational story of a Mexican-American family whose myriad voices create a dazzling weave of passion, poignancy, and the stuff of life.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars Lists | Latino/Latina Stars
    Updated 9.23.02
  • Disgrace
    Author: Coetzee, J.M.
    Publisher: Viking List Price: $ 23.95 ISBN: 0670887315 Date: 1999
    star PWstar LJ
    Set in post-apartheid Cape Town, Professor David Laurie attempts to relate to his daughter, Lucy, and to a society with new racial complexities. But that is disrupted by an afternoon of violence that changes him and his daughter in ways he could never have foreseen. Coetzee is the only writer awarded the Booker Prize twice, and this work is a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle Awards.
  • Pope Joan
    Author: Cross, Donna Woolfolk
    Publisher: Crown $ 25 ISBN: 0517593653 Date: 1996
    star Booklist
    There are few historical heroines as fascinating and controversial as Pope Joan, a woman whose hunger for knowledge and independent nature led her to pass as a man and ultimately to attain the high seat in Rome. Pope Joan is a spellbinding tale of a woman who gave up everything, even her very name, for the sake of knowledge.
    Updated 7.6.04
  • The Hours
    Author: Cunningham, Michael
    Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux List Price: $ 22 ISBN: 0374172897 Date: 1998
    star PWstar Kirkusstar Booklist
    The author of At Home at the End of the World and Flesh and Blood draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | All Stars
  • The Red Tent
    Author: Diamant, Anita
    Publisher: St Martins $ 24.95 ISBN: 0312169787 Date: 1997
    star Bookliststar LJ
    The Bible only hints at the life of Dinah. Told in her voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.
    Updated 7.6.04
  • House of Sand and Fog
    Author: Dubus, Andre
    Publisher: W.W. Norton List Price: $ 25.95 ISBN: 0393046974 Date: 1999
    star PWstar Kirkusstar BL
    House of Sand and Fog is a narrative triumph in which a traditional immigrant success story and a modern love story are turned upside down with brutal, heartrending consequences. It is an American tragedy, and a shockingly true picture of the county we live in today.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
  • Peace Like a River
    Author: Enger, Leif
    Publisher: Atlantic Monthly $ 24 ISBN: 087113795x Date: 2001
    star Bookliststar PW
    Through the voice of 11-year-old Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy obsessed with cowboys living in 1960s Minnesota, the story is told of the Land family's cross-country search for Reuben's outlaw older brother, who has been charged with murder.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts
    Updated 7/16/01
  • The Master Butchers Singing Club
    Author: Erdrich, Louise
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 25.95 ISBN: 0066209773 Date: 2003
    star Kirkusstar Bookliststar PW
    A brilliant new book by one of America's most acclaimed novelists, in The Master Butchers Singing Club Erdrich creates a fictional world filled with memorable characters who grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 12.23.02
  • Crimson Petal and the White
    Author: Faber, Michael
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 26 ISBN: 015100692x Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar Bookliststar LJstar PW
    Richly textured, this novel is set in 1870s London. Nineteen-year-old prostitute Sugar yearns for escape from a terrifying brothel. Her ascent through Victorian society offers an intimacy with host of unforgettable characters as Sugar tries to lift her body and soul out of the gutter.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | All Stars Lists
    Updated 9.23.02
  • The Eyre Affair
    Author: Fforde, Jasper
    Publisher: Viking $ 23.95 ISBN: 0670030643 Date: 2002
    star PW
    Based on an imaginary world where time and reality bend in the most convincing and original way since Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Eyre Affair is a an endlessly inventive caper unlike any other. The Thursday Next web site: Here at we have put together as much information about the shadowy heroine of The Eyre Affair fame as we can within the strict guidelines of the Special Operations Network.
    Updated 1/2/02
  • Everthing Is Illuminated
    Author: Foer, Jonathan Safran
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin $ 24 ISBN: 0618173870 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar Library Journalstar PWstar Booklist
    A writer journeys to the farmlands of eastern Europe to find Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Passionate and marked by an indelible humanity, Everything Is Illuminated mines the black holes of history and is ultimately a story about searching for people and places that no longer exist.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars | Humorous Fiction
    Updated 3/14/02
  • Cold Mountain
    Frazier, Charles
    Publisher: Atlantic Monthly List Price: $23 ISBN: 0871136791 Date: 1997
    star Library Journal
    A magnificent love story in the tradition of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms. Based on true stories passed down from the author's great-great-grandfather, Cold Mountain is set at the end of the Civil War and tells the tale of a wounded soldier and his perilous journey home from the front.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
    Golden, Arthur
    Publisher: Knopf List Price: $ 25 ISBN: 0375400117 Date: 1997
    star LJstar PWstar Booklist
    NYTBR Notable
    Booklist Editors' Choice
    An alluring tour-de-force: a stunningly original novel told as the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. Taking readers behind the rice-paper screens to a world of beauty and cruelty - where appearances are paramount, where men feud over the price of a girl's virginity - Memoirs of a Geisha is an epic on an intimate scale.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    Author: Haddon, Mark
    Publisher: Doubleday $ 22.95 ISBN: 0385509456 Date: 2004
    star Kirkusstar PW
    Narrated by a 15-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.
    Suggested Reading: Sherlockian Stars
    Updated 7.26.04
  • Mrs. Kimble
    Author: Haigh, Jennifer
    Publisher: Morrow $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060509392 Date: 2003
    star Booklist
    Covering a span of 25 years, Mrs. Kimble tells the story of a trio of women who consecutively married the same man--a charismatic opportunist named Ken Kimble--a fascinating psychological portrait of an irresistible Svengali and the women who succumb to his spell.
    Updated 12.2.02
  • When the Elephants Dance
    Author: Holthe, Tess Uriza
    Publisher: Crown $ 24.95 ISBN: 0609609521 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar Library Journalstar PW
    Inspired, in part, by the experiences of her father, who was a boy in the Philippines during World War II, this debut novel begins during the final week of the Japanese-American battle for the islands. As they hide in a cellar from the Japanese, several Filipino civilians tell magical tales to help pass the time, fuel their courage, and teach important lessons of hope.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | World War Stars | First Fiction | All Stars
    Updated 1/2/02
  • Never Let Me Go
    Author: Ishiguro, Kazuo
    Publisher: Knopf $ 25 ISBN: 1400043395 Date: 2005
    star Kirkusstar PW
    From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love. - Publisher Marketing
    Updated 2.1.05
  • Beasts of No Nation
    Author: Iweala, Uzodinma
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 16.95 ISBN: 006079867x Date: 2005
    star Kirkusstar Bookliststar LJ
    A harrowing, utterly original debut novel about the life of Agu, a child soldier in a war town African country. In a powerful, strikingly original voice, Iweala leads the reader through the random travels, betrayals and violence that mark Agu's new community. - Publisher Marketing.
    Suggested Reading: Child Soldiers | Debuts | All Stars
    Updated 9.17.05
  • The Secret Life of Bees
    Author: Kidd, Sue Monk
    Publisher: Viking $ 24.95 ISBN: 0670032379 Date: 2002
    A stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees follows a young girl who is taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters. As she enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, she discovers a place where she can find the single thing her heart longs for most.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts
    Updated 7.26.04
  • Prodigal Summer
    Author: Kingsolver, Barbara
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 26 ISBN: 0060199652 Date: 2000
    star PW star Kirkus star Booklist star Library Journal
    In a beautiful hymn to wildness, Kingsolver celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature and of nature itself. Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate takes over the countryside, the novel's characters find their connections to one another in the forested mountains of southern Appalachia.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 10/23/00
  • The Poisonwood Bible
    Author: Kingsolver, Barbara
    Publisher: Harpercollins List Price: $ 27.50 ISBN: 0060175400 Date: 1998
    star PWstar LJstar Bookliststar Kirkus
    In her first novel since Pigs in Heaven, Kingsolver offers a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption. The Poisonwood Bible tells the story of an American Family that travels to the Congo in 1959, a time of tremendous political and social upheaval.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
  • The History of Love
    Author: Krauss, Nicole
    Publisher: Norton $ 23.95 ISBN: 0393060349 Date: 2005
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Booklist
    Leo Gursky is barely surviving, tapping his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But life wasn't always like this: 60 years ago, in the Polish village where he was born, Leo fell in love and wrote a book. And though Leo doesn't know it, that book survived, inspiring fabulous circumstances, even love.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 3.28.05
  • Crow Lake
    Author: Lawson, Mary
    Publisher: Dial $ 23.95 ISBN: 038533611x Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar PW
    For the farming Pye family of northern Ontario, life is a Greek tragedy where the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons, and terrible events occur offstage. In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, Lawson ratchets up the tension with heartbreaking humor and consummate control.
    Updated 3/2/02
  • Mystic River
    Author: Lehane, Dennis
    Publisher: Morrow $ 22 ISBN: 0688163165 Date: 2001
    star Booklist star PW star LJ
    When Jimmy Marcus's daughter is found dead, his childhood friend Sean Devine is assigned the case. Sean's personal life begins to unravel as his investigation takes him back into a world of violence and pain he thought he'd left behind. His quest also leads him on a collision course with Marcus--a man with his own dark past--and David Boyle, a man who hides monstrous secrets beneath a bland facade.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 1/17/01
  • Child of My Heart
    Author: McDermott, Alice
    Publisher: FSG $ 23 ISBN: 0374121230 Date: 2002
    star Booklist
    McDermott's haunting new work--her first since the bestselling Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award--is narrated by a woman who was born beautiful. On the cusp of 15, her witty, deeply etched evocation of all that was really transpiring under the surface during a seemingly idyllic season gives her wry tale its remarkable vividness and impact.
    Updated 7.6.04
  • Atonement
    Author: McEwan, Ian
    Publisher: Doubleday $ 26 ISBN: 0385503954 Date: 2002
    star PWstar Bookliststar Kirkus
    In this rich novel by the author of the Booker Prize-winning novel Amsterdam, a young girl unwittingly tells a tale that turns her family upside down. Brilliant and utterly enthralling in its depiction of childhood, love and war, England and class, Atonement is at its center a profound--and profoundly moving--exploration of shame and forgiveness, of atonement and the difficulty of absolution.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 12/6/01
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
    Author: Maguire, Gregory
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060391448 Date: 1995
    The Wizard of Oz is one of the most watched, best-loved movies of all time. Everyone who grew up watching it year after year will be fascinated by this twist in the tale--a richly comic, highly literary, and supremely entertaining excursion into the life and times of the infamous Wicked Witch of the West.
    Suggested Reading: Fairy and Folk Tales
    Updated 7.6.04
  • Embers
    Author: Marai, Sandor
    Publisher: Knopf $ 21 ISBN: 0375407561 Date: 2001
    star PWstar Kirkus
    Already an international bestseller, Embers--first published in Budapest in 1942--finds an aristocrat and his friend fighting a duel of words over the now-dead chatelaine of the castle.
    Updated 8/20/01
  • Life of Pi
    Author: Martel, Yann
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 25 ISBN: 0151008116 Date: 2002
    star PWstar Library Journal
    This brilliant fabulist novel combines the delight of Kipling's Just So Stories with the metaphysical adventure of Jonah and the Whale, as Pi, the son of a zookeeper, is marooned aboard a lifeboat with a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan, and a tiger.
    Updated 6/29/02
  • Piano Tuner
    Author: Mason, Daniel Philippe
    Publisher: Knopf $ 24 ISBN: 0375414657 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar Library Journal
    A hypnotic tale of myth, romance, and self-discovery, this extraordinary fiction debut tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the 19th century, where he encounters thieves, soldiers, and an enchanting but elusive woman.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | Debuts | Burma
    Updated 8.16.02
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
    Author: Niffenegger, Audrey
    Publisher: MacAdam/Cage $ 25 ISBN: 193156146x Date: 2003
    star PWstar LJ
    The love story of Henry and Claire whose lives are punctuated by Henry's disappearance to different points in time--sometimes even back to visit Claire as a young woman. When Henry meets Claire, he is twenty-eight, and she is twenty. He's a hip, handsome librarian; she is an art student with Botticelli hair. Henry has never met Claire before; Claire has known Henry since she was six...
    Suggested Reading: Time Travel Stars | Immortalism Stars | Reading Group Stars
    Updated 8.14.03
  • When the Emperor was Divine
    Author: Otsuka, Julie
    Publisher: Knopf $ 18 ISBN: 0375414290 Date: 2002
    star PWstar Library Journalstar Booklist
    Otsuka's commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any previously written--a haunting evocation of a family in wartime and an unmistakably resonant lesson for our times.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | World War Fiction Stars | Debuts | All Stars Lists | Asian American Stars
    Updated 9.7.02
  • The Dive from Clausen's Pier
    Author: Packer, Ann
    Publisher: Knopf $ 24 ISBN: 0375412824 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Booklist
    A suspenseful, richly layered first novel that asks: How much do people owe the people they love? The Dive from Clausen's Pier will speak to all those who have ever thought about leaving when they knew they should stay or felt trapped, not only by circumstance, but by the strength of their own love.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars | Debuts
    Updated 3/26/02
  • Bel Canto
    Author: Patchett, Ann
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 25 ISBN: 0060188731 Date: 2001
    star Kirkus
    From the bestselling author of The Magician's Assistant comes a marvelous novel of love, opera, and terrorism set in South America. Two couples, complete opposites, fall in love; sexual identities become confused; and a horrific imprisonment is transformed into an unexpected heaven on earth.
    Suggested Reading: Music & Fiction | Terrorism
    Updated 4/20/01
  • I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother
    Author: Pearson, Allison
    Publisher: Knopf $ 23 ISBN: 0375414053 Date: 2002
    star PWstar Booklist
    In a novel that is at once uproariously funny and achingly sad, Pearson captures the guilty secret lives of working women--the self-recrimination, the comic deceptions, the giddy exhaustion, and the despair.
    Suggested Reading: Chicklit Stars
    Updated 9.7.02
  • My Jim
    Author: Rawles, Nancy
    Publisher: Crown $ 19.95 ISBN: 1400054001 Date: 2005
    star Kirkus
    A spare and beautiful meditation on love and loss, this novel follows the life of Sadie, the abandoned wife of the escaped slave Jim from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
    Suggested Reading: African American Stars | Adult Books for Teens | Twain Stars
    Updated 11.9.04
  • The Human Stain
    Author: Roth, Philip
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin $ 27 ISBN: 0618059458 Date: 2000
    star Kirkus star Booklist star PW
    Set in 1990s America, where conflicting moralities and ideological divisions are made manifest through public denunciations and rituals of purification, the newest novel by award-winning author Philip Roth concludes his eloquent trilogy of postwar American lives begun in American Pastoral and continued in I Married a Communist.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 3/23/00.
  • Sparrow
    Author: Russell, Mary Doria
    Publisher: Villard $ 23 ISBN: 0679451501 Date: 1996
    star Bookliststar Kirkus
    Emilio Sandoz, a brilliant Jesuit priest, seems like the perfect leader for the first expedition to an extraterrestrial culture. However, when Sandoz returns to Earth 20 years later as the mission's sole survivor, he is accused of unspeakable violence and depravity. Why? An extraordinary fiction debut, by paleoanthropologist Mary Doria Russell.
    Updated 7.6.04
  • Empire Falls
    Author: Russo, Richard
    Publisher: Knopf $ 25.95 ISBN: 0679432477 Date: 2001
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Booklist
    Richard Russo, author of The Risk Pool and Nobody's Fool, takes readers back to the small-town, blue-collar heart of the country. - Publisher marketing.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 4/20/01
  • Lovely Bones
    Author: Sebold, Alice
    Publisher: Little Brown $ 21.95 ISBN: 031666343 Date: 2002
    star Bookliststar Library Journalstar PW
    In the hands of a brilliant new novelist, and through the eyes of her winning new heroine, this tale of family, memory, love, and living is told by 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who is already in heaven. In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and builds out of her family's grief the most hopeful and joyful of stories.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts | All Stars Lists
    Updated 6.29.02
  • Unless: A Novel
    Author: Shields, Carol
    Publisher: Marshall Pickering $ 24.95 ISBN: 0007141076 Date: 2002
    star Kirkus
    After 44 years, Reta Winters she is discovering the meaning of loss for the first time when her beloved eldest daughter drops out of life to sit on a street corner. A major literary event from the author of the international bestseller and Pulitzer-Prize winner, The Stone Diaries, this is a novel of love and letting go.
    Updated 2/18/02
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
    Author: Sijie, Dai
    Publisher: Knopf $ 20 ISBN: 037541309x Date: 2001
    star PWstar Library Journal
    From the hopelessness and terror of Mao's infamous Cultural Revolution, two boys are forever transformed when they discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translations. Even their friend, the Little Seamstress, will never be the same.
    Updated 9/24/01
  • The Last Girls
    Author: Smith, Lee
    Publisher: Algonquin $ 24.95 ISBN: 1565123638 Date: 2003
    star Bookliststar Kirkusstar PW
    Revered for her powerful female characters, Smith tells a brilliant story of how college pals who grew up in an era when they were still called "girls" have negotiated life as "women."
    Suggested Reading: All Stars Lists
    Updated 7.31.02
  • White Teeth
    Author: Smith, Zadie
    Publisher: Random $ 25.95 ISBN: 0375501851 Date: 2000
    star PW star Kirkus
    A spectacular, riotously entertaining epic set in post-World War II London, White Teeth is a novel of two families - the Joneses and the Iqbals - whose hilarious and tortured lives capture all the optimism and absurdity of the past half-century. "Zadie Smith's fizzing first novel is about how we all got here - from the Caribbean, from the Indian subcontinent, from 13th place in a long ago Olympic bicycle race - and about what "here" turned out to be."--Salman Rushdie.
    Suggested Reading: Humorous Fiction | Debuts
    Updated 3/16/00.
  • The Little Friend
    Author: Tartt, Donna
    Publisher: Knopf $ 26 ISBN: 0679439382 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar Bookliststar PWstar LJ
    The hugely anticipated new novel by the author of The Secret History--"an elegant, edifying work of art" (Entertainment Weekly). Even more transfixingly suspenseful than its predecessor, this is a dark novel of lost childhood, rich in moral paradox, as a 12-year-old Mississippi girl sets out to find her brother's murderer.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars Lists
    Updated 10.16.02
  • The Story of Lucy Gault
    Author: Trevor, William
    Publisher: Viking $ 24.95 ISBN: 0670031542 Date: 2002
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Bookliststar Library Journal
    The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920s Ireland, but the threat of arson leads nine-year-old Lucy's parents to leave Ireland for England. On the day before they are to leave, Lucy runs away. In this profound and moving story of love, guilt and forgiveness, Trevor has written a novel that stands alongside the best literature in the English language.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars Lists
    Updated 9.7.02
  • The Song Reader
    Author: Tucker, Lisa
    Publisher: Pocket/Downtown $ 12 (paper) ISBN: 0743464451 Date: 2003
    star PW
    When two sisters are left alone after the death of their mother and the disappearance of their father, Mary Beth becomes the hero of both her younger sister and their entire town. She is a "song reader." She doesn't read palms or tarot cards; she reads people's secrets and desires from the songs they can't get out of their minds.
    Suggested Reading: Music & Fiction | Debuts
    Updated 3.17.03
  • The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
    Author: Udall, Brady
    Publisher: Norton $ 24.95 ISBN: 0393020363 Date: 2001
    star Kirkusstar PW
    Half Apache and "mostly orphaned", Edgar's trials begin on an Arizona reservation at the age of seven when the mailman's jeep accidentally runs over his head. Through it all, readers will root for this irresistible innocent who never truly loses heart, and whose quest for the mailman leads him to an unexpected home.
    Updated 5/29/01
  • Miss Garnet's Angel
    Author: Vickers, Sally
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf $ 25 ISBN: 0786708239 Date: 2001
    star Kirkusstar PW
    Stories magically unfold within this novel's tale of Miss Julia Garnet, a schoolteacher who decides, after the death of her longtime friend Harriet, to take an apartment for six months in Venice. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the city and its magnificent art, Miss Garnet's English reserve begins to melt away. For the first time in her life she falls in love and her once ordinary world is further transformed.
    Suggested Reading: Venice
    Updated 2/1/01
  • The Passion of Artemesia
    Author: Vreeland, Susan
    Publisher: Viking $ 24.95 ISBN: 0670894494 Date: 2002
    star Bookliststar Library Journal
    From the bestselling author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue comes an exquisite portrait of the life of one of the most remarkable female painters in history.
    Suggested Reading: Historical Fiction Stars | Biographical Fiction | Reading Group Stars | Debuts
    Updated 12/18/01


  • Breaking Clean
    Author: Blunt, Judy
    Publisher: Knopf $ 24 ISBN: 0375401318 Date: 2002
    star Kirkus star PW
    An astonishing literary debut: the true story of a remarkable woman's life in the contemporary American West, where the lessons she learned carried her through blizzards, devastating prairie fires, and extreme isolation.
    Suggested Reading: Travel Tales | Nature
    Updated 1.31.02
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in Boom-Time America
    by Ehrenreich, Barbara
    Publisher: Metropolitan $ 23 ISBN: 0805063889 Date: 2001
    star Kirkus
    Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages. Social critic Barbara Ehrenreich joined them, moving into a trailer and working as a waitress, hotel maid, and Wal-Mart sales clerk. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and duality.
  • Dont' Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
    by Fuller, Alexandra
    Publisher: Random House $ 24.95 ISBN: 0375507507 Date: 2002
    star Kirkus star Booklist star PW
    Magnificently original and affecting, Fuller's memoir of a childhood dominated by the Rhodesian civil war of 1971-1979 captures the fascinating life of a white family living in one of the most remote regions of Africa.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars | Memoir Stars
    Updated 11.27.01
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    by Hillenbrand, Laura
    Publisher: Random $ 24.95 ISBN: 0375502912 Date: 2001
    star PW star Booklist
    One of the greatest legends of the 20th century, Seabiscuit was a discarded, bottom-level runner who became a champion with the help of three men: a trainer, an owner, and a jockey. This is the spellbinding tale of how they did it.
    Seabiscuit Online
    Suggested Reading: Horse Tales

  • Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
    Author: Horwitz, Tony
    Publisher: Holt $ 26 ISBN: 0805065415 Date: 2002
    star PW
    In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world.
    Suggested Reading: Travel Tales | Sea Stories
    Updated 8.28.02
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
    Author: Krakauer, Jon
    Publisher: Doubleday $ 26 ISBN: 0385509510 Date: 2003
    star Kirkusstar LJ
    Krakauer shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief in this true story of an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers who insist God commanded them to kill.
    Updated 6.30.03
  • A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiania
    by Kimmel, Haven
    Publisher: Bantam $ 21.95ISBN: 0385499825 Date: 2001
    star PW
    When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet. Nicknamed "Zippy", she possessed big eyes and even bigger ears. In this loving memoir, Kimmel takes readers back in time to when small-town America was still in the innocent postwar period and treats readers to an appealing, and knowing, heroine.
    Suggested Reading: Memoir Stars
  • The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
    Author: Larson, Erik
    Publisher: Crown $ 25.95 ISBN: 0609608444 Date: 2003
    star Kirkusstar PWstar Booklist
    In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and its devious creators. A blend of Ragtime and Silence of the Lambs, The Devil in the White City is Larson at his best.
    Suggested Reading: Holmes: Scarlet Mansions by Allen Eckert (novel) and Depraved: The Shocking True Story of America's First Serial Killer by Harold Schechter.
    Links: Chicago World's Fair - Hypertext | Interactive Guide
    Web Book | Holmes Article
    Suggested Reading: All Stars | True Crime Stars
    Updated 2.28.02
  • Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy
    Author: Mayes, Frances
    Publisher: Chronicle $ 22.95 ISBN: 0811808424 Date: 1996
    In Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes brings a poet's voice, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer together to create an enchanting and lyrical book about the life, the traditions, and the cuisine of Tuscany.
    Updated 7.6.04
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
    Author: Nafisi, Azar
    Publisher: Random $ 23.95 ISBN: 0375504907 Date: 2003
    star Kirkusstar PWstar LJ
    Reading Lolita in Tehran is the astonishing true story of young women who met in secret each week to read and talk about forbidden Western classics--and their lives and loves--in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars
    Updated 3.21.03

Seeing Stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

2012 Lists

more stars lists...

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)


book mark Overbooked

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