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?

Giveaways Good for Book Clubs

Historical Thriller Giveaway: Dictator by Robert Harris

Riveting and tumultuous, Dictator encompasses some of the most epic events in ancient history—the collapse of the Roman Republic and the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey, the assassination of Julius Caesar. But the central problem it presents is a timeless one: how to keep political freedom unsullied by personal ambition, vested interests, and the erosive effects of ceaseless, senseless foreign wars. In Robert Harris’s indelible portrait, Cicero attempts to answer this question with both his thoughts and his deeds, becoming a hero—brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful yet ultimately brave—both for his own time and for ours.

Your Reading Life Good for Book Clubs

RIF’s Favorite Reads of 2015

While we can’t quite believe this year is coming to a close already, we’re happy to reflect on the books we enjoyed over the last twelve months. And what a year it’s been for books! From the final Ferrante to the much-anticipated sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird to the ubiquitous thriller that kept everyone guessing to a father’s heartfelt letter to his son about being black in America—it seemed like literature buzz was on everyone’s lips in 2015.

To help you sort out which titles are worth purchasing from your local bookstore, downloading on your eReader, or waiting for at the library, Read It Forward has picked 16 of our favorite books—a healthy mix of fiction, non-fiction and memoir—all of which we devoured in the past year.

So, if you’re not sure what the must-read books of 2015 are, see below for our selections—then click on each image to shop our picks! Then tell us what you thought the best book of 2015 was!

Author Essay Good for Book Clubs

Getting My Movie-Obsessed Friend Back Into Books

A close friend admitted to me this week that she has fallen out with reading. This is a disaster, obviously. How can I tempt my friend to pick up a book, or two?

I know she loves cinema so here’s my strategy:

I’ve spent an evening scouring recent and forthcoming movie releases for those specifically based on novels. If I can persuade my friend to read a piece of fiction related to a big-screen production, then we can start a conversation about the novels that adapt well, and those that don’t. Or we can discuss why one adaptation is better than another, for the same novel. I’ve sought out adaptations of classic novels, riffs on classics, and contemporary works of fiction.