Extra Libris: Bonus Book Material

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!

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.”

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.

In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jennifer Finney Boylan asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents.

A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother.

We’ve gathered questions to spark lively discussion with your book club and to deepen your own reading experience.

Most reader’s guide are written by a staffer at the publisher or by a freelancer writer. It’s a rare treat to get discussion questions that come from the author herself.

Miranda Beverly-Whittmore has come up with 15 provocative questions that will enrich your reading experience of Bittersweet and enliven your book group discussion.

Many early readers of Bittersweet have compared it to Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s blockbuster bestseller. So if you’re a fan of psychological suspense and you’re looking for a page-turning, twisty-turny summer read – add Bittersweet to your TBR list!

L.Y. Marlow is excited to join your book group discussion. Email CrownReadingGroups@randomhouse.com to invite her to yours.”

From the author of Color Me Butterfly, A Life Apart is at once a family epic and a historical drama that brings the streets and neighborhoods of Boston vividly to life from World War II through the civil rights era to the present day, A Life Apart takes readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice’s relationship is tested by time, family loyalties, unending guilt, racial tensions, death, and the profound effects of war. Perfect for book groups!

Discussion questions for Dark Eden, the book that won the 2013 Arthur C Clarke Award for the Best Science Fiction Novel of 2013.

Eden is a planet outside of the galaxy that has no sun of its own, but has evolved its own form of life that uses heat from the planet’s core, and produces luminescence like deep sea creatures on Earth. Generations before the beginning of the book, a group of astronauts found themselves stranded there with a damaged spacecraft. Three of the astronauts elected to try and return to Earth. Two, a man and a woman, decide to remain and wait.