Reading Guides-Discussion Questions for Book Clubs & Reading Groups
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Popular Discussion Questions
(updated 1/15/2014)
A Mercy
Toni Morrison
A powerful tragedy distilled into a jewel of a masterpiece by the Nobel Prize–winning author of Beloved and, almost like a prelude to that story, set two centuries earlier.
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A Reliable Wife
Robert Goolrick
He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for "a reliable wife.
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American Wife: A Novel
Curtis Sittenfeld
A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president.
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And the Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini
An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)
Barbara Kingsolver & Camille Kingsolver & Steven L. Hopp
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.
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Atonement
Ian McEwan
On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant.
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Away: A Novel
Amy Bloom
Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine.
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Bel Canto (P.S.)
Ann Patchett
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr.
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Brooklyn: A Novel
Colm Toibin
“One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two.
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City of Thieves: A Novel
David Benioff
From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival—and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.
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Columbine
Dave Cullen
Dave Cullen, the acclaimed journalist who followed the Columbine massacre from day one reconstructs, with unrivaled care and insight, the psychological journey of two teenage boys who became killers.
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Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Elizabeth Gilbert
At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who’d been living in Indonesia when they met.
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Confessions of a Shopaholic (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Sophie Kinsella
Millions of readers have come to adore New York Times best-selling author Sophie Kinsella’s irrepressible heroine.
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Cutting for Stone: A novel
Abraham Verghese
A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel—an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.
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Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
Ken Follett
Ken Follett's World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics.
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Ford County: Stories
John Grisham
In his first collection of short stories John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill.
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Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her
Melanie Rehak
A plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930.
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Handle with Care: A Novel
Jodi Picoult
Things break all the time.
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Heart and Soul
Maeve Binchy
“[Maeve] Binchy makes you laugh, cry, and care.
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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel
Jamie Ford
"Sentimental, heartfelt….
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Let the Great World Spin: A Novel
Colum McCann
In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers.
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Life of Pi
Yann Martel
Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for FictionPi Patel is an unusual boy.
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Love in the Time of Cholera (Vintage International)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love.
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Love Walked In
Marisa De Los Santos
When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever.
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Loving Frank: A Novel
Nancy Horan
I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by.
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Mudbound
Hillary Jordan
In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal.
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My Sister's Keeper: A Novel
Jodi Picoult
New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult is widely acclaimed for her keen insights into the hearts and minds of real people.
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Olive Kitteridge: Fiction
Elizabeth Strout
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.
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Out Stealing Horses: A Novel
Per Petterson
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEWA TIME MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEARWINNER OF THE IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDOut Stealing Horses has been embraced across the world as a classic, a novel of universal relevance and power.
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People of the Book: A Novel
Geraldine Brooks
The “complex and moving”(The New Yorker) novel by Pulitzer Prize–winner Geraldine Brooks follows a rare manuscript through centuries of exile and warInspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author.
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Precious (Push Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries)
Sapphire
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTUREIncludes a Reading Group GuidePrecious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem's casualties.
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Revolutionary Road (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage Contemporaries)
Richard Yates
In the hopeful 1950s, Frank and April Wheeler appear to be a model couple: bright, beautiful, talented, with two young children and a starter home in the suburbs.
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Room: A Novel
Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world.
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Run for Your Life
James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
A calculating killer who calls himself The Teacher is taking on New York City, killing the powerful and the arrogant.
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Shanghai Girls: A Novel
Lisa See
For readers of the phenomenal bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love—a stunning new novel from Lisa See about two sisters who leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy.
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So Cold the River
Michael Koryta
It started with a beautiful woman and a challenge.
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Strength in What Remains
Tracy Kidder
Tracy Kidder, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of the bestsellers The Soul of a New Machine, House, and the enduring classic Mountains Beyond Mountains, has been described by the Baltimore Sun as the “master of the non-fiction narrative.
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That Old Cape Magic
Richard Russo
Following Bridge of Sighs—a national best seller hailed by The Boston Globe as “an astounding achievement” and “a masterpiece”—Richard Russo gives us the story of a marriage, and of all the other ties that bind, from parents and in-laws to children and the promises of youth.
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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
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The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
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The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.
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The Castaways (Platinum Fiction)
Elin Hilderbrand
Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends.
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The Dovekeepers: A Novel
Alice Hoffman
Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.
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The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Muriel Barbery
The enthralling international bestseller.
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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Stieg Larsson
The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital.
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The Girl Who Played with Fire
Stieg Larsson
The electrifying follow-up to the phenomenal best seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ("An intelligent, ingeniously plotted, utterly engrossing thriller" –The Washington Post), and this time it is Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker, who is the focus and fierce heart of the story.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stieg Larsson
A sensation across Europe—millions of copies sold A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.
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The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and Friendship
Jeffrey Zaslow
From the coauthor of the million-copy bestseller The Last Lecture comes a moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring story of eleven girls and the ten women they became.
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.
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The Help
Kathryn Stockett
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
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The Housekeeper and the Professor: A Novel
Yoko Ogawa
He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem--ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.
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The Kite Runner Illustrated Edition
Khaled Hosseini
A deluxe collector's edition of the phenomenally bestselling The Kite Runner, filled with striking and memorable photographs that bring Khaled Hosseini's compelling story to life.
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The Lacuna: A Novel
Barbara Kingsolver
In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J.
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The Language of Flowers: A Novel
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past.
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The Last Song
Nicholas Sparks
#1 bestselling author Nicholas Sparks's new novel is at once a compelling family drama and a heartrending tale of young love.
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The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir
Kao Kalia Yang
In search of a place to call home, thousands of Hmong families made the journey from the war-torn jungles of Laos to the overcrowded refugee camps of Thailand and onward to America.
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The Lost Symbol
Dan Brown
In the publishing phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon went up against the Priory of Sion and unraveled one of the greatest mysteries of all time.
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The Lovely Bones: A Novel
Alice Sebold
When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven.
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The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Kim Edwards
Kim Edwards’s stunning family drama evokes the spirit of Sue Miller and Alice Sebold, articulating every mother’s silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you? In 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr.
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The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning.
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The Outlander: A Novel (P.S.)
Gil Adamson
In 1903 Mary Boulton flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law.
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The Paris Wife: A Novel
Paula McLain
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.
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The Postmistress
Sarah Blake
Those who carry the truth sometimes bear a terrible weight.
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The Reader (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Vintage International)
Bernhard Schlink
Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.
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The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Cormac Mccarthy
NATIONAL BESTSELLERPULITZER PRIZE WINNERNational Book Critic's Circle Award FinalistA New York Times Notable BookOne of the Best Books of the YearThe Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Denver Post, The Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Times, New York, People, Rocky Mountain News, Time, The Village Voice, The Washington PostThe searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece.
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The Rosie Project: A Novel
Graeme Simsion
THE ART OF LOVE IS NEVER A SCIENCE MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife.
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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (Oprah Book Club #62)
David Wroblewski
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin.
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The Storyteller
Jodi Picoult
Some stories live forever .
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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley
In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison.
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The Time In Between: A Novel
Maria Duenas
The inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II Between Youth and Adulthood .
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The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.
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The Well and the Mine
Gin Phillips
With an introduction by Fannie Flagg Author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café A novel of warmth and true feeling, The Well and the Mine explores the value of community, charity, family, and hope that we can give each other during a time of hardship.
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The Year of the Flood: A Novel
Margaret Atwood
The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood.
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The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel (P.S.)
Michael Chabon
For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel.
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Things I've Been Silent About: Memories
Azar Nafisi
I started making a list in my diary entitled “Things I Have Been Silent About.
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Unaccustomed Earth
Jhumpa Lahiri
From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories—longer and more emotionally complex than any she has yet written—that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand as they enter the lives of sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, daughters and sons, friends and lovers.
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Water for Elephants: A Novel
Sara Gruen
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.
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What Was Lost: A Novel
Catherine O'Flynn
A tender and sharply observant debut novel about a missing young girl—winner of the Costa First Novel Award and long-listed for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize, and The Guardian First Book AwardIn the 1980s, Kate Meaney—“Top Secret” notebook and toy monkey in tow—is hard at work as a junior detective.
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While My Sister Sleeps
Barbara Delinsky
Following the success of The Secret Between Us, a book the Boston Globe hailed as “one of her best,” Barbara Delinsky returns with another moving and deeply satisfying novel, this one about the unique and emotionally complex world of siblings.
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  Sweet Girl






Sweet Girl
By Travis Mulhauser
With the heart, daring, and evocative atmosphere of Winter’s Bone and True Grit, and driven by the raw, whip-smart voice of Percy James, a blistering debut about a fearless sixteen-year old girl whose search for her missing mother leads to an unexpected discovery, and a life or death struggle in the harsh frozen landscape of the Upper Midwest.

Filled with the sweeping sense of cultural and geographic isolation of its setting—the hills of fictional Cutler County in northern Michigan—and told in Percy’s unflinching style, Sweetgirl is an affecting exploration of courage, sacrifice, and the ties that bind—a taut and darkly humorous tour-de-force that is horrifying, tender, and hopeful.... read more

 
         
 
         
  Descent





The Ramblers
By Aidan Donnelley Rowley
Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village—The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled...

...an accomplished, sumptuous novel about fate, loss, hope, birds, friendship, love, the wonders of the natural world and the mysteries of the human spirit. read more