Dear readers,

We wanted to inform you that on December 1, we will be launching a new Bookclub-in-a-Box website — at the same web address — that we hope will make it even easier for you to buy and download our PDF book club discussion guides. When the new site launches, you will no longer be required to register or log into your account in order to buy a discussion guide — simply click “Add to Cart,” proceed to the checkout page, and you can pay securely with your credit card through PayPal. (Remember you don’t need a PayPal account either to pay using this method — you can still pay just by entering your credit card information through the secure PayPal website when prompted.)

We hope you enjoy the new site as much as we do! For those who still have active Bookclub-in-a-Box memberships, we will be phasing out that option, but we’ll be offering each active member coupons for two completely free PDF discussion guides of your choice.

If you have an active membership and haven’t heard from us yet, or if you have any questions, please email us at orders [at] bookclubinabox [dot] com. We’d be happy to help.

Thanks, and happy reading!

Today is the official launch of the Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide for Khaled Hosseini’s latest novel, And the Mountains Echoed. Spanning decades, continents, and generations, this novel — from the author of Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns — is a powerfully woven story of the joys, sorrows, sacrifices, and betrayals that both bind and fracture families.

The Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide (60 pages) includes complete coverage of the characters, themes, symbols,  and writing style, plus selected quotes from the novel and discussion questions to get your book club or classroom buzzing.

Click here to buy the PDF guide for only $5.98.

About the novel: And the Mountains Echoed reads much like a series of linked short stories, with each chapter focusing on a primary character who shares a connection, by blood or fate, to the novel’s central tragedy. It all begins in Afghanistan, when three-year-old Pari is separated from her beloved brother Abdullah and sold to a wealthy couple in Kabul.  The consequences of this desperate act echo down through the generations, radiating from Afghanistan to France, Greece, and America.

Also check out the Bookclub-in-a-Box guides to Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

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Sue Monk Kidd’s touching novel The Invention of Wings, which debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, is about self-discovery and a striving for freedom that overcomes heartbreak, rejection, and societal restrictions. It is based on the true story of nineteenth-century abolitionists and women’s rights activists Sarah and Angelina Grimké.

The Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guide (51 pages) includes complete coverage of the characters, themes, symbols, historical background, and writing style, plus discussion questions to get your book club or classroom buzzing.

Click here to buy the PDF discussion guide for only $5.98.

About the novel: Ten-year-old Hetty “Handful” Grimké is an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston. She is given to the Grimké’s daughter, Sarah, on Sarah’s eleventh birthday.  Sarah, however, has a mind of her own and does not want to “own” another human being. She believes she is meant to do something big and important in life. When she tries to free Hetty, her parents intervene and the two girls become bonded in a relationship that will span thirty-five years. Sarah defies her parents and her society by becoming an abolitionist. In this, she is joined by her younger sister Angelina. Together they become pioneers in the abolitionist and human rights movements.

The story is based in part on the historic figure of Sarah Grimké. Kidd uses the character of Hetty and Hetty’s servitude in juxtaposition to Sarah’s liberal leanings. Hetty’s mother, Charlotte, is a fearless and cunning woman who records her family’s history on a quilt that she keeps hidden from her masters while her lover, Denmark Versey, a free black man, plans a slave uprising that ends in disaster.

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Carolyn Taylor-Watts grew up in New Zealand and started out her career there as a registered nurse, but she has now established a family in downtown Toronto and pursued her dream as a writer of short stories and books. Although she has previously published several non-fiction books, last December she self-published a novel for the first time.

Helena: An Odyssey is an epic saga overflowing with Greco-Turkish history and stories that reflect the symbolism and importance of hair — in fact, the novel was inspired by Taylor-Watts’s Greek hairdresser. The story opens with the Kouvalis family in late 20th-century Toronto, but weaves back and forth between this family’s present day and the time of the Greco-Turkish war generations earlier. The author describes her book as “a story of myths, grand obsessions, and doomed, thwarted love stories. Probably the most interesting one of its many themes is the fascinating and sometimes terrible history of the power and symbolism of hair.” She spoke with Bookclub-in-a-Box about her writing process and inspiration, the years of research, and the highs and lows of self-publishing. (Buy Helena: An Odyssey in print or ebook format on Amazon.)

Can you tell me about your Greek hairdresser, and how she inspired the main themes of Helena: An Odyssey?

When I moved to Cabbagetown in Toronto, I needed a hairdresser. I was walking up Parliament Street, and I heard music coming out of this hair salon. I looked in the window and there was this woman dancing and singing with scissors in her hand. The salon was full and busy and it had an energizing atmosphere. So I thought, ooh, let’s try this.

When I sat down in her chair, it was like sitting in a psychiatrist’s chair, because the hairdresser asks you to tell her all about yourself.  But I turned the tables on her because I found her so fascinating, and I wanted to know all about her. Over the years, I heard her family’s story — they were Greeks living in Turkey — and what happened to them when they came to Toronto. I had intended to write a novel about what I know, my own story about my forebears moving from England to New Zealand. But I thought, I already know that story and I don’t want to relive it — I want to know something else.

Continue reading

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This Sunday marks the first official day of summer, and we’re already stacking a lot of books up on our to-read pile. Marilyn Herbert, founder of Bookclub-in-a-Box, has put together this list of books you should read — including Harper Lee’s long-awaited followup to To Kill a Mockingbird — either to be enjoyed on your own or for a discussion with your closest book-loving friends.

A God in Ruins (Kate Atkinson)

A God In Ruins picks up the life of Ursula Todd’s young brother Teddy. We met Ursula in the mesmerizing Life After Life where she lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. We meet Teddy as a would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father and as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

The Truth According to Us (Annie Barrows)

Evoking the same small town charm with the same great eye for character, the co-author of Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society finds her own voice in this debut novel about a young debutante working for the Federal Writer’s Project whose arrival in Macedonia, West Virginia changes the course of history for a prominent family who has been sitting on a secret for decades. The Romeyn family is a fixture in the town, their identity tied to its knotty history. Layla enters their lives and lights a match to the family veneer and a truth comes to light that will change each of their lives forever. Continue reading

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Spring has arrived at long last, and you can now save 25% off every one of our Bookclub-in-a-Box discussion guides, in print and PDF formats. After you begin your order on this website, just use the coupon code “SPRING” at checkout.

PDF guides: Was $6.98 Now $5.23

Print guides: Was $7.49 Now $5.62

This offer ends April 2 at 11:59 p.m., so take advantage of our spring sale now!

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