Read It Forward

“Rocky Flats was the big secret of my childhood,” says Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden. “No one knew what they did at the plant; the rumor in the neighborhood was that they made household cleaning products. We knew nothing about radioactive and toxic contamination. My childhood was also shadowed by the secrecy surrounding my father’s alcoholism. My family was very close and loving but also troubled. I wrote the book to learn what really happened at Rocky Flats, to learn everything I could about plutonium pits and nuclear weapons and the crucial role the plant played during and after the Cold War.”

“When I set out to write The Watch, I wanted to give voice to the statistics, especially those counted as collateral damage in our foreign wars of choice,” says novelist Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya. “I decided to tell the story of one brave and representative young Afghan woman who refuses to yield her right to bury the body of her brother killed during a battle with an American combat company. In modeling my Pashtun protagonist explicitly on Sophocles’ Antigone, I introduced a figure from Greek tragic drama – perhaps its purest figure – in order to enable you to feel her sorrow, sorrow of a magnitude to which we’ve become immunized, despite our best intentions, in an age of the ceaseless warfare.”

“I cannot say this urgently enough,” says Scott Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan, “you have to read Gone Girl. It’s as if Gillian Flynn has mixed us a martini using battery acid instead of vermouth and somehow managed to make it taste really, really good. Gone Girl is delicious and intoxicating and delightfully poisonous.” Scott Smith’s not the only one urging you to read Gillian Flynn’s latest. Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of Fallen, says “Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl reminds me of Patricia Highsmith at the top of her game.” Be among the first to read it! RIF is excited to give you the chance to win a copy of Gone Girl months before its June 2012 release.

The interlocking stories in The Kissing List feature an unforgettable group of young women – Sylvie, Anna, Frances, Maureen – as their lives connect, first during a year abroad at Oxford, then later as they move to New York on the cusp of adulthood. We follow each of them as they navigate the treachery of first dates, temp jobs and roommates, failed relationships and unexpected affairs – all the things that make their lives seem full of possibility, but also rife with potential disappointment.

“I learned about my own mind and how I differ from most other people by reading Dr. Tony Attwood’s Asperger’s Syndrome. His explanations of how people on the autism spectrum see the world transformed my life as much as anything before or since,” explains John Robison, author of Be Different. “A few years after that, my brother Augusten [Burroughs] took up the book writing trade. After growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional home, I had worked hard to conceal the less savory aspects of my youth. With no warning, my brother put it all out there for the world to see, and I was terrified. Would I have any friends left after they read his account of our childhood?”

RIFers in book groups! Signs of Life is a terrific book group book, which is why it’s a selection of the Ladies Home Journal Book Club. Don’t miss the bonus material for Signs of Life that will help make your book group discussion lively and rewarding: a letter from author Natalie Taylor and discussion questions for Signs of Life. Were you a lucky winner of our Read It First Signs of Life giveaway? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment with your RIFer Reader Review. If we feature your review here on, we’ll send you another fabulous book!