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Posted on Nov 22, 2016 in December 2016

Books-A-Million Book Club Picks for December 2016

 

 

FICTION PICK
 

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Be Frank With Me

by Julia Claiborne Johnson

A sparkling debut combining the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Reclusive literary legend M. M. Mimi Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she’s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress.

When Alice Whitley arrives she’s put to work as a companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric son, who has the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders. The longer she spends with the Bannings, the more Alice becomes obsessed with two questions: Who is Frank’s father? And will Mimi ever finish that book?

Full of countless only-in-Hollywood moments, Be Frank With Me is a heartwarming story of a mother and son, and the intrepid young woman who is pulled into their unforgettable world.

NON-FICTION PICK
 

witches

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The Witches, Salem 1692

by Stacy Schiff

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Cleopatra,” the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials.

It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death.

The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic.

As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, THE WITCHES is Stacy Schiff’s account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

FAITHPOINT PICK
 

present-over-perfect
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Present Over Perfect

by Shauna Niequist

In this five session video Bible study, New York Times bestselling author Shauna Niequist invites you on a journey that changed her life. She will walk a path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning of your worth.

Shauna will help you begin leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection. She offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.

The study guide includes first thoughts, video notes, group discussion questions, practicing presence reflections, and solo work for you to complete between sessions.

The five sessions are:
• Pain Points
• The Roles We Play
• Yes, And No
• Unflashy, Unspectacular, Good
• Living the Love

This DVD is designed to be used with the PRESENT OVER PERFECT STUDY GUIDE (9780310816027)

KIDS PICK
 

the-mysterious-benedict-society

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The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trenton Lee Stewart

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”

When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?
Welcome to the Mysterious Benedict Society.

TEEN PICK
 

all-the-bright-places
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All the Bright Places

by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the natural wonders of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet s world grows, Finch s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Gayle Forman, Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

LITERARY PICK
 

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Fates and Furies

by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it.

Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

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