Novel Thoughts Book Club June Pick

📣Novel Thoughts Book Club📣

Presenting our June selection—
The Firekeeper’s Daughter by @angelineboulley

Save the date for our zoom chat on June 30 at 730pm EST!

The Firekeeper’s Daughter

🔥🦋This is our first YA pick and the first Indigenous author we’ve read together. @alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes and I cannot be more excited to discuss it with you! I’m listening to the audiobook because I’ve seen rave reviews about the narration and pronunciation of the Ojibwe Native American language. Let’s be honest with a cover this stunning I’ll inevitably need a copy in hand too.

🔥🦋With four starred reviews, Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, perfect for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange. Best for grade 9 and up, so invite a teen to read it and join us too!

🔥🦋Along with the incredible bookstagrammer and literary critics reviews, The Firekeeper’s Daughter is soon to be adapted by Netflix with President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground.

Read with us! Comment below to ensure I send you the zoom link. 🔥🦋

Novel Thoughts Book Club May title

Presenting our May title, Landslide by @susan_conleyy

You are invited to join our book party on May 27 at 730pm est. We are celebrating in two parts—
1️⃣first, the book discussion at 730pm
2️⃣second, we welcome the brilliantly talented author Susan in conversation at 8pm

I had the distinct pleasure of hosting Susan locally in 2019 for an event celebrating the release of her previous novel, Elsey Come Home. We agreed it was high time for a reunion and are thrilled to include all of you! What I love about her writing is that it is epic in its intimacy, spare and evocative and honest.

@alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes and I hope you’ll save the date, secure your copy of Landslide, and meet us on zoom next month. Send me a note to receive the zoom link!

A synopsis:

With remarkable poise and startling beauty, Landslide ushers us into a modern household where, for a family at odds, Instagram posts, sex-positivity talks, and old fishing tales mingle to become a kind of love language. It is a beautiful portrait of a family, as compelling as it is moving, and raises the question of how to remain devoted when the eye of the storm closes in.

Novel Thoughts Book Club April Pick

🐅 Novel Thoughts Book Club 🐅 April title is The Night Tiger by @yangszechoo

Please join us for our live discussion on Sunday, April 25 at 730p est.
Comment to make sure we send you the zoom link!

Synopsis: Set in 1930’s Malaysia, Yangsze Choo’s The Night Tiger pulls us into a world of servants and masters, age-old superstition and modern idealism, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. But anchoring this dazzling, propulsive novel is the intimate coming-of-age of a child and a young woman, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.

@alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes and I are so eager to connect with you on this immersive and transportive novel.

The Night Tiger

March Buddy Read + Author Talk

Announcing our March selection—The Yellow Wife by @sadeqasays . Save the date— March 31 at 730pm EST. It’s our pleasure to share that author Sadeqa Johnson will be joining us in conversation that evening. You’re all invited to our zoom book party! 🎉 @alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes and I hope to see you for our one year buddy read anniversary.

Yellow Wife

“Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.

She’d been promised freedom on her eighteenth birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer’s cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.”

Sadeqa Johnson is the award-winning author of four novels. Her accolades include the National Book Club Award, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the USA Best Book Award for Best Fiction. She is a Kimbilio Fellow, former board member of the James River Writers, and a Tall Poppy Writer. Originally from Philadelphia, she currently lives near Richmond, Virginia, with her family.

To make sure you receive the zoom link next month, please comment here. Historical fiction is my jam and I am eager to read this riveting story and honored to speak with Sadeqa.

February Buddy Read

I hope you’ll join the conversation for our 11th pandemic buddy read. Alanna and I have selected A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum. Our zoom meeting will be on February 24 at 730pm EST. Link will be provided the week before our discussion. The story of three generations of Palestinian-American women struggling to express their individual desires within the confines of their Arab culture in the wake of shocking intimate violence in their community. More story details below…

A GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS FINALIST FOR BEST FICTION AND BEST DEBUT • BOOKBROWE’S BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A MARIE CLAIRE BEST WOMEN’S FICTION OF THE YEAR • A REAL SIMPLE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A POPSUGAR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR ALL WRITTEN BY FEMALES

New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A Washington Post 10 Books to Read in March • A Newsweek Best Book of the Summer • A USA Today Best Book of the Week • A Washington Book Review Difficult-To-Put-Down Novel • A Refinery 29 Best Books of the Month • A Buzzfeed News 4 Books We Couldn’t Put Down Last Month • A New Arab Best Books by Arab Authors • An Electric Lit 20 Best Debuts of the First Half of 2019 • A The Millions Most Anticipated Books of 2019

“Where I come from, we’ve learned to silence ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard ofdangerous, the ultimate shame.”

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

January Buddy Read + Author Talk

Reading with my Gnomies! Who wants an invite to the buddy read on 1/28? Pssst, TJ Klune is coming, you should join our book party! 🎉  

If you set 2021 reading goals to:

✅ read with bookstagram friends

✅read outside your typical genres

✅read #lgtbq authors

✅read a feel good book

✅meet an author 

✅join a virtual book group 

then we’ve got you covered. 

@alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes  and I are cohosting our 10th buddy read and you’re invited!

Here’s my previous review of this gem…
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five star vibes. All the feels. This book is P E R F E C T. 

✨Charming. Witty. Brave. Heartfelt. Tender. Hilarious. 

✨This book is a hug! I dare you to not fall in love with these characters. They face prejudices, struggle to belong, and are misunderstood.  There is a love story here, one about humanity + found family + second chances. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a must read and moved instantly into my tops of 2020 list. It’s the greatest feel good story to ever involve the Antichrist. Read this one now!

December Author Talk

I’m thrilled to invite you to meet the fabulous Juliet Grames on Tuesday, December 8th! Join @alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes and me for a buddy read of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna. We will meet via zoom at 730p and Juliet will join us in conversation at 8p.

See my review below the photo!

”When I tell you that Stella Fortuna was a special girl, I hope you’re not thinking small-town special. Other people would underestimate Stella during her long life, and not one of them didn’t end up regretting it.”

💫Stella is the newest inductee to my fictional character hall of fame. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing @julietgrames and she is gracious and talented on and off the written page. Based on the near-death experiences of her grandmother, this family saga sweeps from Calabria to Connecticut and covers three generations. Stella is a woman who knows what she doesn’t want but her culture and family ignores what’s written on her heart and forces her into traditional roles. This is truly an unforgettable tale.

💫This novel addresses a myriad of themes such as sisterhood, immigration, domestic abuse, secrets, marriage, family, patriarchy, feminism, and the American dream. My four local book groups are discussing it this month and they have a lot to say.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Pair with a bold Italian red wine and bowl of Calabrian chile pasta. 🍷 🍝

One of my favorite quotes—”This was the trouble with emigration—it dismantled the patriarchy. Because really, what did Assunta, or any woman, need a husband for, when she did every goddamn thing herself?”

May Buddy Read

Join Jillian Puzzo of @bookbarct and Alanna Goldberg of @alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes for our THIRD virtual book club. We are making the best of quarantine by connecting with you in bookish conversations.

Our May title is SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid and will meet on 5/31.

Our LIVE zoom chat is on Sunday, May 31 @8pm EST.

Link will be provided here on May 24.

Happy reading!

Women in History

**POSTPONED: DATE TBD**Authors Jane Healey & Lynda Cohen Loigman in Conversation with Jillian Puzzo of BookBarCT

BEANTOWN GIRLS | JANE HEALEY
The Beantown Girls follows three best friends from Boston who leave the USA to volunteer overseas as Red Cross Clubmobile girls. A novel of love, courage and danger unfolds as World War II’s brightest American heroines take on the front lines.

THE WARTIME SISTERS | LYNDA COHEN LOIGMAN
In The Wartime Sisters we meet estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, who are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

Martha Hall Kelly Author Talk

Tuesday, March 3 @7-9pm
Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford, 335 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT
Hosted by the Mandell JCC in partnership with RJ Julia Booksellers.

The Mandell JCC Book Festival RETURNS! Join us for an evening with New York Times bestselling author Martha Hall Kelly, Author … Her book, ‘LOST ROSES’ launches Tuesday, March 3rd in paperback, and this brilliant author has chosen to celebrate the milestone with us at the J!

The runaway bestseller ‘LILAC GIRLS’ introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

Book Festival Co-Directors:
Alanna Goldberg & Jillian Puzzo
Book Festival Co-Chairs:
Kathy Binder & Kathy Fishman

Tickets: $20
Box Office: 860.231.6316 | tickets@mandelljcc.org
www.mandelljcc.org/tix