Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Advice From My 80-Year-Old Self

What advice would your 80-year-old self give to your present-day self? That is precisely the question artist Susan O’Malley asked of more than a hundred ordinary people of all ages. Then, she transformed their responses—bits of advice, reminders, calls to action and words to live by—into vibrantly hued, visually arresting images. The result is a compendium of wisdom that proves you don’t need to be an octogenarian to think like one.

Sadly, the brainchild behind the project, artist Susan O’Malley, didn’t live to see it reach completion. O’Malley died unexpectedly in 2015, at only 38 years of age. Her friends, family and surrounding community have found comfort in her artwork, and the text-based images from Advice From My 80-Year-Old Self are one of the many legacies she leaves behind: extraordinarily optimistic reminders to live each day to the fullest.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

15 Cozy Book Nooks To Curl Up In

Hello, winter. With your howling winds and nose-diving temperatures, you give us the perfect excuse to stay inside where it’s warm and curl up with a great book. Check out these divine book nooks for inspiration (prepare to pin!) and then go carve out a corner of your home or apartment where you can relax and read.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Enter to Win Bill Bryson’s New Book

“At its best as the history of a love affair, the very special relationship between Bryson and Britain. We remain lucky to have him.” —Matthew Engel, Financial Times

In 1995 Bill Bryson got into his car and took a weeks-long farewell motoring trip about England before moving his family back to the United States. The book about that trip, Notes from a Small Island, is uproarious and endlessly endearing, one of the most acute and affectionate portrayals of England in all its glorious eccentricity ever written. Two decades later, he set out again to rediscover that country, and the result is The Road to Little Dribbling. Nothing is funnier than Bill Bryson on the road—prepare for the total joy and multiple episodes of unseemly laughter.

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Thriller Giveaway: The Winter Girl

A scathing and exhilarating thriller that begins with a husband’s obsession with the seemingly vacant house next door.

It’s wintertime in the Hamptons, where Scott and his wife, Elise, have come to be with her terminally ill father, Victor, to await the inevitable. As weeks turn to months, their daily routine—Elise at the hospital with her father, Scott pretending to work and drinking Victor’s booze—only highlights their growing resentment and dissatisfaction with the usual litany of unhappy marriages: work, love, passion, each other. But then Scott notices something simple, even innocuous. Every night at precisely eleven, the lights in the neighbor’s bedroom turn off. It’s clearly a timer . . .but in the dead of winter with no one else around, there’s something about that light he can’t let go of. So one day while Elise is at the hospital, he breaks in. And he feels a jolt of excitement he hasn’t felt in a long time. Soon, it’s not hard to enlist his wife as a partner in crime and see if they can’t restart the passion.

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Gretchen Rubin’s Secrets for Making Your Resolutions Stick

Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin shows us how to actually commit to those pesky New Year’s resolutions we all made a few days ago…

It’s January, the season for resolutions. Almost half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and I certainly always do.

New Year’s resolutions often involve a change in a habit—usually, one that falls into the Essential Seven:

1. Eat and drink more healthfully (give up sugar, drink less alcohol)

2. Exercise regularly

3. Save and spend wisely (pay down debt, donate to worthy causes)

4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (enjoy the moment, stop checking email, spend less time in the car)

Excerpt Good for Book Clubs

Exclusive Excerpt of The Expatriates

In her long-awaited new novel The Expatriates, Janice Y. K. Lee explores with devastating poignancy the emotions, identities, and relationships of three very different American women living in the same small expat community in Hong Kong.

Mercy, a young Korean American and recent Columbia graduate, is adrift, undone by a terrible incident in her recent past. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her struggle to have a child, something she believes could save her foundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, once a happily married mother of three, questions her maternal identity in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives collide in ways that have irreversible consequences for them all.

They arrived three years ago in Hong Kong, Clarke and Margaret Reade, with their three children. He is with a U.S. multinational, she says if anyone asks, which they always do. The sound of that term always gives her a frisson: anonymous, vaguely threatening, nationalistically contradictory in terms. It reminds her of when she reads in the paper about companies with names like Archer Daniels and Monsanto, names she has only vaguely heard of but that own everything that touches people’s daily lives, like toothpaste and children’s aspirin and milk.

But here they always just ask, Which one? as everyone here works for a U.S. multinational. They don’t see anything funny about the term. And she tells them M_ D_. Oh, yes, they say, do you know John McBride and Suzie? From Winnetka? I think John works in sourcing? So he’s up in the Pearl River delta a lot? They natter on and on while she wonders if she’ll ever find anyone who understands. So many people here seem hermetically sealed, as if they live in Hong Kong but are untouched by it. They live in an almost wholly American section of the former British colony, now China, and are only inconvenienced sometimes by the lack of good tomatoes or how hard it is to find a really good hamburger.

She looks up. It is noon. A gift when time passes and she is unaware. She has a lunch in town in an hour, and she has to get ready.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

Happy New Year RIFers!

Happy New Year RIFers!

We are looking forward to a new year filled with great book recommendations!

Care to make a friendly wager?

How many books do you think you’ll read this year?

RIF Editor Abbe Wright ventures that she’ll read at least 60 titles in 2016—that’s more than one book a week!

Anyone think they can beat that?