Bonus Book Material

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!

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.

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.

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.”

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.