Hey guys! I guess it's time to get things rolling on our book club. I have read all of the comments that were left in this post and will be putting all of the suggested books up for voting. So here's the list of books we've got, and their Amazon.com descriptions! Au Paris by Rachel Spencer http://www.amazon.com/Au-Paris-Rachel-Spencer/dp/0806527978/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-7196679-7425437?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189538414&sr=8-1 Description: While older readers might not relate to Spencer's dramatic declaration ("I had woken up at age 23 to realize I was living a life I had never planned"), 20-somethings fresh out of college just might cotton to the latest in nanny memoirs as Spencer narrates her journey from cubicle to croissants, traveling to Paris in order to try her luck as an au pair for a wealthy Parisian family. Visions of shopping trips are quickly replaced with the more quotidian aspects of cooking, cleaning and caring for three children in a foreign country where a simple shopping trip can turn into an adventure. Spencer's portrait of the family she works for is not always flattering and can even become uncomfortable as she describes a particular evening sharing a meal and a couple of bottles of wine with the monsieur of the house. A week in the French countryside exposes Spencer to the highs and lows of country life, giving her a new appreciation for the overwhelming bustle of the city. In this light read, Spencer nicely describes the charm of Paris and the quirks of the French, but her constant surprise at being treated as an employee, as well as her repetitive descriptions of her love of espresso grows tiresome. (Dec.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. The Pact by Jodi Picoult http://www.amazon.com/Pact-Love-Story-Jodi-Picoult/dp/0061150142/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/103-7196679-7425437?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190212341&sr=1-2 Description: Until the phone calls came at three o'clock on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily is deadshot with a gun her beloved and devoted Chris pilfered from his father's cabinet as part of an apparent suicide pactleaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew. From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoultone of the most powerful writers in contemporary fictioncomes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb http://www.amazon.com/Know-This-Much-True-Oprahs/dp/0006513239/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7196679-7425437?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190212489&sr=1-1 Description: This much is true for sure: Lamb's second novel (after the bestselling, Oprah-selected She's Come Undone) is a hefty read. Some may be daunted by its length, its seemingly obsessive inclusion of background details and its many digressions. The topics it unflinchingly exploresAmental illness, dysfunctional families, domestic abuseAare rendered with unsparing candor. But thanks to well-sustained dramatic tension, funky gallows humor and some shocking surprises, this sinuous story of one family's dark secrets and recurring patterns of behavior largely succeeds in its ambitious reach. The narrative explores the theme of sibling responsibility, depicting the moral and emotional conundrum of an identical twin whose love for his afflicted brother is mixed with resentment, bitterness and guilt. Narrator Dominick Birdsey, once a high-school history teacher and now, at 40, a housepainter in upstate Connecticut, relates the process that led to his twin Thomas's schizophrenic paranoia and the resulting chaos in both their lives. The book opens with a horrific scene in which Thomas slices off his right hand, declaring it a sacrifice demanded by God. Flashbacks illuminate the boys' difficult childhoods: illegitimate, they never knew their father; diffident, gentle Thomas was verbally and physically abused by their bullying stepfather, who also terrorized their ineffectual mother. Scenes from the pivotal summer of 1969, when Dominick betrayed Thomas and others in crucial ways, are juxtaposed with his current life: his frustrating relationship with his scatterbrained live-in, Joy; his enduring love for his ex-wife, Dessa; his memories of their baby's death and of his mother's sad and terrified existence. All of this unfolds against his urgent need to release Thomas from a mental institution and the psychiatric sessions that finally force Dominick to acknowledge his own self-destructive impulses. Lamb takes major risks in spreading his narrative over more than 900 pages. Long stretches are filled with the raunchy, foul-mouthed humor of teenaged Dominick and his friends. Yet the details of working-class life, particularly the prevalence of self-righteous male machismo and domestic brutality, ring absolutely true. Though the inclusion of a diary written by the twins' Sicilian immigrant grandfather may seem an unnecessary digression at first, its revelations add depth and texture to the narrative. Lastly, what seems a minor subplot turns out to hold the key to many secrets. In tracing Dominick's helplessness against the abuse of power on many levels, Lamb creates a nuanced picture of a flawed but decent man. And the questions that suspensefully permeate the novelAthe identity of the twins' father; the mystery of the inscription on their grandfather's tomb; the likelihood of Dominick's reconciliation with his ex-wifeAcontribute to a fully developed and triumphantly resolved exploration of one man's suffering and redemption. BOMC main selection; author tour; simultaneous audio. All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein http://www.amazon.com/All-But-My-Life-Memoir/dp/0809015803/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7196679-7425437?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190212577&sr=1-1 Description: The basis for the Emmy-winning documentary ONE SURVIVOR REMEMBERS, this is the memoir of a young Polish Jewess's enslavement by the Nazis and her ultimate liberation by American soldiers. Grace Conlin takes a detached approach, affecting the pretentious fatalism that lazy actors use to represent tragic dignity. Her heroine lacks the author's endearing, transcendent life force. Otherwise, both While this narrator possesses a pleasant, expressive voice compatible with Klein's straightforward grace, her narration doesn't do justice to all the resonances of the text. Perhaps, considering the subject, that is merciful. Y.R. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini http://www.amazon.com/Thousand-Splendid-Suns-Khaled-Hosseini/dp/1594489505/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7196679-7425437?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190212668&sr=1-1 Description: Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny"There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten"is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. ....More to come in a moment!