Friday, September 25, 2009

National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads

**In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the WNBA and was also on the selection committee charged with picking the books. Feel free to ask me anything at all about the organization (I'm part of the Charlotte chapter) or about the books on the list and I'll happily ramble on interminably for you!

National Reading Group Month Announces the 2009 Great Group Reads

NEW YORK — September 24, 2009 —The National Reading Group Month Selection Committee has chosen nine books, eight novels and one memoir, as this year’s Great Group Reads. The books are:

Appassionata by Eva Hoffman (Other Press)
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (Other Press)
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James (Avon A)
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey (Harper Perennial)
Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz (Voice)
While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty (Hyperion)
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Picador)
Cost by Roxana Robinson (Picador)
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie (Picador)

These titles were selected on the basis of their appeal to reading groups for whom they are bound to open up lively conversations about a host of timely and provocative topics, from the intimate dynamics of family and personal relationships to major cultural and world issues. The Committee also made a conscious decision to focus its attention on under-represented gems from small presses and lesser-known mid-list releases from larger houses. All are books with strong narratives peopled by fully realized characters; books which perhaps have flown under the radar of reviewers and reading groups overwhelmed by the sheer number of new releases each year.

Selection Committee coordinator Rosalind Reisner puts it this way: “Great Group Reads will help passionate readers find that great mid-list fiction and nonfiction that may be overlooked in the clamor over best-sellers.” Ms. Reisner also was one of ten selectors, all of whom praise the process and the choices made. According to her colleague, Judith Strand, “This NRGM program taught me to read more objectively and gave me greater insight into how to judge a book based on its appeal for group discussion rather than how the story affected me personally. I am grateful to the publishers who trusted our judgment, and to the authors who continue to astound me with their ever higher standards of excellence.” Another Committee member, Michele Leber adds, “Suggesting titles for book groups is a natural next step in WNBA's celebration of National Reading Group Month. As a lifelong lover of reading, a published reviewer for 35 years, and a member of a 15-year-old book group, I'm delighted to have a hand in selecting these titles.” (A full list of Selection Committee members can be found at the National Reading Group Month Web site. (

The National Reading Group Month chair Jill A. Tardiff thanks the Committee for its hard work and all the publishers who submitted titles and made reading copies available. Ms. Tardiff says, “We hope that these wonderful titles become reading-group staples and that booksellers and libraries across America feature them during month of October, which is, of course, National Reading Group Month.” She continues, “To that end, we are providing an array of professionally designed display materials such as shelf-talkers and table-top posters on the National Reading Group Month Web site for anyone to download and use in promoting these titles. We encourage visiting the site for these and other features, as well as links to further resources.”

See National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit at Get Involved http://www.

National Reading Group Month is an initiative of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA). Founded in 1917, WNBA promotes literacy, a love of reading, and women's roles in the community of the book.

National Reading Group Month 2009 Official Sponsors: HarperCollins Publishers, Harper Perennial, Ingram Content Group and Susannah Greenberg PR.

National Reading Group Month Great Group Reads logo designed by Susan Vianna, Fishergate Inc., Chester, MD.

Further information is available at:,

Women's National Book Association, P.O. Box 237, FDR Station, New York, NY
(212) 208-4629,

Press release prepared on September 24, 2009,
by Jill A. Tardiff, National Reading Group Month Chair/Coordinator
tel (201) 656-7220.

Visit National Readiing Group Month on Twitter and Facebook

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