Book Keeping: A Reader's Community

Reading Group Guides

They May Not Mean To but They Do

Acclaimed for blending wry humor and crystal-clear truth, Cathleen Schine now explores the quandaries of eldercare through the eyes of a vibrant matriarch who has no interest in aging gracefully. Joy Bergman has stood by her husband for nearly a lifetime, but as he slips further into dementia and their finances dwindle, she faces exasperating […]


Henry Forge and his daughter, Henrietta, are the heirs to one of Kentucky’s oldest and richest families. According to Forge family mythology, their lineage can be traced back to the white settlers who first crossed the Cumberland Gap in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War.

The Road Home by Ethan Nichtern

The author himself has written a guide to the digestion of The Road Home, a book that American Buddhist legend Jack Kornfield has called “A beautiful guide and invitation to a sane life.”

Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey

Inventive and illuminating, Only the Animals traces a century of human history from the perspective of ten animals caught up in human conflicts. Connected to both famous and little-known writers in surprising ways, each animal tells an astonishing story of life and death, exploring provocative questions about the experiences that make life more than a quest for mere survival.

Witches of America by Alex Mar

When the documentary filmmaker Alex Mar set out to report on the nearly one million Americans who practice Paganism today, she found herself drawn into a world that defies stereotype. Witches of America retraces Mar’s five-year trip into the occult.

Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams

In her wildly inventive debut novel, Naomi J. Williams reimagines the historical Lapérouse expedition, a voyage of exploration that left Brest in 1785 with two frigates, more than two hundred men, and overblown Enlightenment ideals and expectations, in a brave attempt to circumnavigate the globe for science and the glory of France.

Submission by Michel Houellebecq

A daring, captivating tale from France’s most famous living literary figure, Submission imagines a French presidential election in which a Muslim candidate emerges victorious—not through a coup but through a peaceful runoff.

The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

A rollicking, modern twist on “The Necklace,” Guy de Maupassant’s classic tale of a nineteenth-century material girl, Sloane Crosley’s The Clasp opens on a private island in Florida . . .

A Manual for Cleaning Women Lucia Berlin

In A Manual for Cleaning Women, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.

Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh

By turns tragicomic and enchanting, Flood of Fire completes Ghosh’s unprecedented reenvisioning of the nineteenth-century war on drugs.

The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon

Just as Aleksandar Hemon’s acclaimed books delve into a diverse range of human experiences, Joshua Levin—the aspiring screenwriter at the center of The Making of Zombie Wars—finds creative inspiration in all aspects of life, from pop culture to crazed passion.

Death and Mr. Pickwick by Stephen Jarvis

A novel worthy of Dickens himself, Death and Mr. Pickwick is a rollicking ride that unlocks a provocative publishing mystery. We hope that the following discussion topics will enrich your reading group’s experience.

The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus

A tragicomic meditation on the corrupting power of wealth and the healing power of imperfect love, The Unfortunates is a storytelling triumph.

Robin Rinaldi - The Wild Oats Project

Delivering an everywoman’s account of sex and sensuality, The Wild Oats Project raises the stakes in the conversations begun by Wild and Eat Pray Love.

Deep Down Dark by Héctor Tobar

In her Musing blog, the award-winning author Ann Patchett described why Deep Down Dark was the best book she read in 2014, leading her to choose it as the first book club selection for NPR’s Morning Edition. “It is a masterpiece of compassion,” she wrote. “You know the story—33 men were buried in a spectacular […]

Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

In Jeff VanderMeer’s haunting Southern Reach trilogy [Annihilation, Authority, & Acceptance], an American wilderness has become a shadowland, concealed by the government for more than thirty years. An environmental disaster zone, Area X is home to strange biological forces that have begun gathering strength. The secret agency known as the Southern Reach has sent in […]


Questions and topics for discussion for Fin & Lady, an enchanting novel of a brother and sister who must form their own unconventional family in increasingly unconventional times.

The Stager by Susan Coll

Questions and topics for discussion for The Stager, a comedy of rabbits and real estate in the D.C. suburbs from Susan Coll, the author of Acceptance and Beach Week.


Questions and topics for discussion for The Snow Queen, a darkly luminous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours.


Questions and topics for discussion for The Shelf, which describes Phyllis Rose’s grand literary experiment—to read her way through a random shelf of library books, LEQ–LES.