Marjan Kamali, Katherine A Sherbrooke, Elizabeth Ames, Susan Bernhard
As of this writing, we are in this weird place between “normal” and “hello Zoom, my old friend”. How is your book club going these days? Outside? Inside? Virtual? Maybe your book club has lost its motivation and evaporated like all that summer rain. While everyone should choose what level of “friendliness” they are comfortable with, let’s agree on one thing: having the author of your book club pick at your meeting is an incredible bonus.
Haven’t you done it already? Well you should, as the Boston area is full of published novelists, and many of them are more than happy to join your group. Having an author at your meeting takes your meeting to a whole new level: it allows you to get answers and ideas to very specific questions, and hey, it could give you that extra push to make sure that you actually finished the book!
Here are a handful of local authors who are very willing to show up at book clubs. Depending on everyone’s comfort level, this might be a virtual tour, but keep it handy for future in-person meetings.
Marjan Kamali, author of “La papeterie”
Marjan’s second novel, “The Stationery Shop,” was one of NPR’s best books of 2019, a true editor’s choice, and is now being adapted for television by HBO. “The Stationery Shop” is a love story about missed connections and fate, but because it takes place in part during the Iranian coup of 1953, it is also a book about political and cultural upheavals . Marjan has visited 83 book clubs for “The Stationery Shop” (she keeps a meticulous spreadsheet), and you can contact her through her website: http://MarjanKamali.com.
Katherine A. Sherbrooke, author of “Leaving Coy’s Hill”
We all know Massachusetts is full of history. Sherbrooke’s landmark novel about abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone, Massachusetts’ first woman to graduate from college, highlights a person often relegated to the shadow of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Leaving Coy’s Hill has been named a NYT 2021 Summer Reading Pick, and you can contact Katherine through her website: http://KaSherbrooke.com.
Elizabeth Ames, author of “The Gold of the Other”
Does your book club also serve as “time with friends”? Then Elizabeth Ames’ debut novel “The Other’s Gold” might be perfect for your next selection. Before the pandemic, Elizabeth’s ‘MO book club’ was to join the rally after everyone had a chance to pull out their book without her presence – but with enough time for her to have a snack. ! “The Other’s Gold” will certainly get people talking, and Elizabeth will always be happy to join in answering readers’ questions, with or without snacks. Contact Elizabeth through her website: http://ElizabethAmes.com.
Susan Bernhard, author of “Winter Plunge”
How’s that for a breathtaking opening? “Winter Loon” begins with a mother dying by falling into a frozen lake while her son tries to save her. (Hey, that’s not a spoiler; it’s in the back blurb!) Bernhard’s debut novel explores the questions of why some people “escape” bad situations while others can’t , and what happens when a child harbors complicated feelings towards a parent. PS Susan also has extensive experience as a bookseller at Belmont Books, so this is a great resource to know when exploring future book club choices! Susan has a book club contact form on her website: http://SusanBerhnard.com.
Jennifer De Leon, author of “White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing and Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From”
This has been one of my favorite reads of 2021, and it’s not just because MetroWest Readers Fest selected it as the “signature title” of ONE, our region-wide community read. “White Space,” released in March 2021 and winner of the Juniper Prize for Non-Fictional Creation, takes readers from Guatemala to Connecticut College, in the Bay Area, right here in MetroWest: Framingham, where De Leon grew up and now teaches at Framingham State University. De Leon is also the author of YA’s novel “Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From”, which Celeste Ng calls “A Funny, Insightful, and Indispensable Book Telling a Much-needed Story”.
Speaking of book clubs, the MetroWest Readers Fest Board of Directors and I would like to invite you to what we call a ONE Big Community Book Club meeting at 7 p.m. on September 30 at the Goodnow Library. And yes, the author will be there! While we encourage you to read one of Jennifer De Leon’s books, we know how book clubs (and busy lives) go, so please attend even if you can’t finish, or start to. elsewhere ! For more information, visit http://MetroWestReadersFest.org.