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Bond with Dad over These Books

Father’s Day is coming up and this year we’re looking for creative ways to celebrate with the important men in our lives. We’ve learned that even when we’re far apart books can connect us and bring us closer to those we care about, and that sometimes they get us talking to one another in surprising ways. Why not give Dad a book he’ll love, get a copy for yourself, too, and then find some time to share your thoughts? We have books for the dad who’s desperately missing baseball, the dad who’s baking sourdough, the dad who has taken up bird watching, the dad who loves thrillers, and many more.

For those of you looking to get introspective and examine your own relationship with your dad, Dani Shapiro’s latest book, Inheritance, asks the question, “What makes a father a father?” This “profound and exquisitely rendered exploration of identity and the true meaning of family” (People) gives you the perfect opportunity to tell your dad—whether biological, step, adoptive, or honorary—all the ways he’s had an impact on your life.

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

Inheritance is dedicated ‘to my father.’ That [Shapiro] doesn’t say which one speaks volumes: those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read her book, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.” —The Guardian

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had casually submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her beloved deceased father was not her biological father. Over the course of a single day, her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.

Shapiro’s memoir unfolds at a breakneck pace—part mystery, part real-time investigation, part rumination on the ineffable combination of memory, history, biology, and experience that makes us who we are. Inheritance is a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.

Read an excerpt | Get the reader’s guide | Buy the book


K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches by Tyler Kepner

“I’ve never read a better love letter to the sport.”Mike Vaccaro, The New York Post

From The New York Times baseball columnist, an enchanting, enthralling history of the national pastime as told through the craft of pitching, based on years of archival research and interviews with more than three hundred people from Hall of Famers to the stars of today.

In K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches, Tyler Kepner traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind the ten major pitches. Each chapter highlights a different pitch, from the blazing fastball to the fluttering knuckleball to the slippery spitball. Infusing every page with infectious passion for the game, Kepner brings readers inside the minds of combatants sixty feet, six inches apart.

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Our Man by George Packer

“Hands down the best biography I have read this year. . . . Deeply researched and reported.” —Adam B. Kushner, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Richard Holbrooke was brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites. Admired and detested, he was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America’s greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era. His power lay in an utter belief in himself and his idea of a muscular, generous foreign policy. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. His story is thus the story of America during its era of supremacy: its strength, drive, and sense of possibility, as well as its penchant for overreach and heedless self-confidence. In Our Man, drawn from Holbrooke’s diaries and papers, we are given a nonfiction narrative that is both intimate and epic in its revelatory portrait of this extraordinary and deeply flawed man and the elite spheres of society and government he inhabited.

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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

“A masterpiece squared, rooted in history and American mythology and, yet, painfully topical in its visions of justice and mercy erratically denied . . . a great American novel.”  —Maureen Corrigan, NPR.org

When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades.

Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.

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Chances Are . . .  by Richard Russo

“This is a novel about male friendship, fathers and sons, small-town class issues, and lifelong crushes. . . . But this is also a mystery about a 1971 cold case.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

One beautiful September day, three men, friends since meeting in college circa the sixties, convene on Martha’s Vineyard. They couldn’t have been more different then, or even today–Lincoln’s a commercial real estate broker, Teddy’s a tiny-press publisher, and Mickey’s a musician beyond his rockin’ age. But each man holds his own secrets, in addition to the monumental mystery that none of them has ever stopped puzzling over since a Memorial Day weekend on the Vineyard in 1971: the disappearance of the woman each of them loved–Jacy Rockafellow. Now, more than forty years later, as this new weekend unfolds, three lives are displayed in their entirety while the distant past confounds the present like a relentless squall of surprise and discovery. Shot through with Russo’s trademark comedy and humanity, Chances Are . . . also introduces a new level of suspense and menace that will quicken the reader’s heartbeat. For both longtime fans and lucky newcomers, Russo’s latest is a stunning demonstration of a highly acclaimed author deepening and expanding his remarkable achievement.

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Dirt by Bill Buford

“A thrilling tale of adventure, family, and great cooking inside some of the world’s most influential and iconic kitchens.” Eric Ripert, chef and coowner Le Bernardin and author of 32 Yolks

Bill Buford turns his inimitable attention from Italian cuisine to the food of France. Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking—or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered—he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef Michel Richard in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes—this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow—to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at L’Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed—with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he’s learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian. With his signature humor, sense of adventure, and masterly ability to immerse himself—and us—in his surroundings, Buford has written what is sure to be the food-lover’s book of the year.

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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

“A great and at times almost unbelievable story. . . . Theranos may be the biggest case of corporate fraud since Enron.” —New York

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the next Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with its breakthrough device, which performed the whole range of laboratory tests from a single drop of blood. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.5 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. Erroneous results put patients in danger, leading to misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments. All the while, Holmes and her partner, Sunny Balwani, worked to silence anyone who voiced misgivings—from journalists to their own employees.

Rigorously reported and fearlessly written, Bad Blood is a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

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The End of October by Lawrence Wright

“An eerily prescient novel about a devastating virus that begins in Asia before going global. . . . A page-turner that has the earmarks of an instant bestseller.”  —New York Post

At an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons—microbiologist, epidemiologist—travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city. Meanwhile, a Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare, and Henry’s wife, Jill, and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta. All as the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions—scientific, religious, governmental—and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.

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Camino Winds by John Grisham

“The type of wild but smart caper that Grisham’s readers love.” —Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

Just as Bruce Cable’s Bay Books is preparing for the return of bestselling author Mercer Mann, Hurricane Leo veers from its predicted course and heads straight for the island. Florida’s governor orders a mandatory evacuation and most residents board up their houses and flee to the mainland, but Bruce decides to stay and ride out the storm.

The hurricane is devastating: homes and condos are leveled, hotels and storefronts ruined, streets flooded, and a dozen people lose their lives. One of the apparent victims is Nelson Kerr, a friend of Bruce’s and an author of thrillers. But the nature of Nelson’s injuries suggests that the storm wasn’t the cause of his death: He has suffered several suspicious blows to the head.

Who would want Nelson dead? The local police are overwhelmed in the aftermath of the storm and ill equipped to handle the case. Bruce begins to wonder if the shady characters in Nelson’s novels might be more real than fictional. And somewhere on Nelson’s computer is the manuscript of his new novel. Could the key to the case be right there—in black and white? As Bruce starts to investigate, what he discovers between the lines is more shocking than any of Nelson’s plot twists—and far more dangerous.

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Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

“Meticulously reported . . . as finely paced as a novel.” —The New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it.
Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past—Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.

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What It’s Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley

“Simply gorgeous. . . . Appropriate for general readers as well as bird experts, and it is perfectly suitable for young readers.” —Nancy Gilson, The Columbus Dispatch

“Can birds smell?” “Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?” “Do robins ‘hear’ worms?” In What It’s Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author. And while the text is aimed at adults–including fascinating new scientific research on the myriad ways birds have adapted to environmental changes–it is nontechnical, making it the perfect occasion for parents and grandparents to share their love of birds with young children, who will delight in the big, full-color illustrations of birds in action. Unlike any other book he has written, What It’s Like to Be a Bird is poised to bring a whole new audience to David Sibley’s world of birds.

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