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USA Today Book Club

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The nationally-distributed newspaper USA Today started a book discussion club in early 2002, with on-line reading guides and discussion forums, but it lasted for only two years. Despite the passage of time, you can still find the on-line resources for many (but not all) of the following books if you go to the USA Today Book Club Web index.

2004 Selections

Baby Plays Around: A Love Affair, With Music by Helene Stapinksi

Baby Plays Around reads like a novel but will ring true to anyone who has ever been in a band or just dreamed of it. Set amid the bars, clubs, and rehearsal studios of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, it’s an incisive exploration of the romance of rock and roll, and of the realization and relinquishing of youthful dreams – about ambition, freedom, and infidelity, about love lost and found again.

2003 Selections

Balance of Power by Richard North Patterson

President Kerry Kilcannon and his fiancee, television journalist Lara Costello, have at last decided to marry. But their wedding is followed by a massacre of innocents in a lethal burst of gunfire, challenging their marriage and his presidency in ways so shattering and indelibly personal that Kilcannon vows to eradicate gun violence and crush the most powerful lobby in Washington – the Sons of the Second Amendment (SSA).


Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

The story, set in working class New England, is about three childhood friends, now grown up, who become entangled in a murder — as father of the victim, police investigator and suspect.


Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani

From bestselling author Trigiani comes the story of a passionate young woman whose fateful choice changes her life forever. Set in a time of possibility for women in America, “Lucia, Lucia” is the story of a girl who risked everything for the belief that a woman could–and should–be able to have it all.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (j Rowling)

The fifth in J.K. Rowling’s series of seven books, Order of the Phoenix is the fastest-selling book in U.S. publishing history. Darker than the first four volumes, Order of the Phoenix chronicles Harry’s increasingly rebellious adolescence during troubling times at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


The New Work of Dogs by Jon Katz (636.7 Kat)

Katz’s book, which profiles several pet owners, explores the emotional and psychological role dogs play in our increasingly isolated society.


Jarhead by Anthony Swofford (956.704 Swo)

When the Marines–or “jarheads” as they call themselves–are sent to Saudi Arabia to fight the Iraqis in the Persian Gulf War, Swofford is there, with a 100-pound pack on his shoulders and a sniper’s rifle in his hands. In this powerful memoir, he weaves his war experience with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the Marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family.


The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Pulitzer-prize winning The Hours looks at three women in different periods of history whose lives are linked by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the tale of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway that is anything but ordinary.


Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy by Jane Leavy (796.357 KouYl)

In a book that is part biography and part cultural history, Leavy presents an eye-opening biography of Dodger great Sandy Koufax, a pitcher who changed the game of baseball forever. Leavy reveals the man behind the myth, creating an unprecedented portrait of a man described by one former Dodger as the most misunderstood man in baseball.


I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

Pearson’s debut novel chronicles the world of frazzled working mom Kate Reddy as she juggles the demands of work and family.

2002 Selections

Kitchen Privileges by Mary Higgins Clark (B C5475)

When her father dies in 1939, Mary’s indomitable Irish mother puts a classified ad in the “Bronx Home News”: “Furnished rooms! Kitchen Privileges!” Very shortly, there arrives the first in a succession of tenants who will change the lives of the Higgins family and set the young Mary on her start as a writer, while bringing them all a dose of the Christmas spirit.


Reversible Errors by Scott Turow

A supercharged, exquisitely suspenseful novel about a vicious triple murder and the man condemned to die for it. Further complicating the situation is that the judge who originally found the man guilty is only recently out of prison herself, having served time for taking bribes.


Running With Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs (B B9405)

After Burroughs was adopted by his mother’s shrink at age 13, his childhood took a turn for the bizarre with electroshock machine fun and games; month-long family/patient sleep-overs on the front lawn; a physician-assisted fake suicide attempt to get excused from school forever; and a pedophile living in the barn.


Bad Boy Brawly Brown by Walter Mosley

Easy Rawlins is out of the investigation business and as far away from crime as a black man can be in 1960s Los Angeles. But living around desperate men means life gets complicated sometimes. When an old friend gets in enough trouble to ask for Easy’s help, he finds he can’t refuse.


Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (798.4 Hil)

Laura Hillenbrand beautifully renders this breathtaking saga of one horse’s journey from alsoran to national luminary. Seabiscuit: An American Legend is an inspiring tale of unlikely heroes, a classic story of three embattled individuals overcoming the odds in the Great Depression.


Empire Falls by Richard Russo

In this droll, unsentimental, and occasionally hilarious bestselling novel, Russo tells the story of a big-hearted man who becomes the unlikely hero of a small town with a glorious past but a dubious future.


last updated April 2020 sdc