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You know that feeling when you finish a book and you’re desperately wanting more? We’ve collected Author Essays, Author Q&As, and Reader Guides from many of our featured books to continue your reading journey — and to start a lively book club discussion!

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Novelists Adam Sternbergh and Lev Grossman on Genre Fiction and Theories of Nerd-dom

There are essentially three kinds of nerds: Sci-Fi Nerds (e.g. Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.); Superhero Nerds (e.g. superheroes and comic books), and Fantasy Nerds (e.g. Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.).

Adam Sternbergh: My theory is: You can’t be all three. You can be one, you can be two, but never all three.

Lev Grossman: I might suggest a refinement along the lines of: One’s nerdiness is a fixed quantity, a non-expanding pie, which can only be allocated to one genre/medium at the expense of another.

Adam Sternbergh: I like that—the Quantity Theory of Nerd-dom . . . I wonder if this biodiversity of enthusiasms has contributed to the explosion of literary-genre crossbreeds—which is to say, novels that take seriously both the pleasures of genre and the pleasures of literary fiction?

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Jennifer Clement On Writing Prayers for the Stolen

In Mexico today women are stolen off the street or taken from their houses at gunpoint. Some women never return home from their workplace, a party, or walking to the corner. They are all young and poor and pretty.

A woman can be sold to different owners many times, and even dozens of times a day as a prostitute, while a plastic bag of drugs can be sold once.

Prayers for the Stolen is a novel about Ladydi Garcia Martínez. She is part of a community, like so many in rural Mexico, that has been decimated by drug traffickers, government agricultural policies, and illegal immigration. Her home is a village near the once glamorous port of Acapulco. Her story, although inspired by truth, is fiction.

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A Novel Told Through Office Memos, Emails, Articles, and Divorce Papers

Witty and wonderful, sparkling and sophisticated, this debut romantic comedy brilliantly tells the story of one very messy, very high-profile divorce, and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it.

Told through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, and legal papers, this playful reinvention of the epistolary form races along with humor and heartache, exploring the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails. For Sophie, the whole affair sparks a hard look at her own relationships—not only with her parents, but with colleagues, friends, lovers, and most importantly, herself.

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Survival of the Geekiest: Get the Reader’s Guide for The Martian

Debut novelist and self-proclaimed space nerd Andy Weir manages to make every moment of astronaut Mark Watney’s outer-space ordeal painstakingly realistic and believable.

For scifi fans, The Martian is an obvious choice: the kind of debut space fiction geeks will gobble up like candy. But even if you’re not a big science fiction reader, you should consider reading The Martian with your book group. It’s smart, provocative – with plenty of hot topics to discuss – and it’s just the kind of book to reboot your reading routine.

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Book Club in a Box: Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking

Here’s everything you need to create an extraordinary book group meeting: a great memoir, delicious recipes, and a reader’s guide to get the discussion going.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking is a sweeping memoir of the Soviet Union, spanning a century of war and famine, food and family. In prose both sardonic and tender, author Anya von Bremzen tells the story of three generations of her Soviet family through the meals that sustained them.

With our Book Club in a Box, you’ll lead your discussion with panache, and your book group will rave about your Russian zakuski (literally “little bites”) – with Lemon Vodka cocktails, Deviled Eggs with Salmon Caviar Jewels, and Guest-at-the-Doorstep Apple and Berry Charlotte.

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The Underground Girls of Kabul
Is Perfect for Your Book Group

You know those books that keep your book group talking and talking – long after the wine and cheese are gone? The Underground Girls of Kabul is that kind of book. It’s our #1 pick to celebrate National Reading Group Month.

“Five years of intensive reporting have yielded this gritty, poignant, and provocative collage of intimate portraits,” says the reviewer in Elle.

“Nordberg conveys captivating nuance and complexity; just when you feel some kind of judgment or conclusive opinion is within reach, she deftly turns the tables, leaving us to reexamine our own prejudices and societal norms as we struggle with questions that are perhaps unanswerable.”

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“All of the Best Living Happens on the Edges” Says Character in The Moon Sisters

Have you ever loved a book and then when you try to describe it to someone, you just can’t do it justice? I had that trouble recently with The Moon Sisters.

“I loved this book,” I told my friend, “The mom commits suicide (probably) and her two daughters travel to the site of her unfinished novel to lay her spirit to rest. Along the way, they discover these deep wounds within themselves.”

My friend’s response? “That sounds really depressing.”

“It’s not depressing!” I exclaimed, “It’s magical – in a magical realism sort of way – and ultimately, it’s uplifting to see how these girls find each other and themselves.”

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Think Mommie Dearest meets Psycho

Everything is just perfect in the Hurst household . . . or that’s what Josephine Hurst would like people to think.

In truth, Josephine knows better than anyone that her family is falling apart: her husband, Douglas, is an alcoholic and possible adulterer; her sheltered son, William, suffers from stress-induced seizures; daughter Violet is using drugs and deliberately starving herself; and casting a shadow over all is the absence of her eldest child, Rose.

Seen through the lenses of her two remaining children, the novel tells the story of a family spiraling into crisis as the lies they’ve lived with begin to crumble, and the truths they uncover threaten to tear them apart.