Wanderlust: A Book Club Sampler from Simon & Schuster is your boarding pass to the beautiful, the mysterious, and the unknown. This book club sampler was created to pay homage to a book’s unique ability to transport your imagination around the world, taking you on journeys across distance and time. Whether you’re in the mood for a historical love story set on a sheep station in rural Australia or an illuminating memoir of life in the war-torn Middle East, these are books you and your reading group won’t want ...
Wanderlust: A Book Club Sampler from Simon & Schuster is your boarding pass to the beautiful, the mysterious, and the unknown. This book club sampler was created to pay homage to a book’s unique ability to transport your imagination around the world, taking you on journeys across distance and time. Whether you’re in the mood for a historical love story set on a sheep station in rural Australia or an illuminating memoir of life in the war-torn Middle East, these are books you and your reading group won’t want to miss: Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo, Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman, The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park, An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy.
Each excerpt in Wanderlust is accompanied by a collection of bonus materials intended to enrich your reading experience, including discussion questions, suggestions for enhancing your book club meeting, and author interviews. In the spirit of looking to the horizon, we also asked each author featured in this sampler one question: “What is your favorite travel memory?” Their answers are fittingly diverse—from Christina Meldrum’s summers spent at a family cottage in Lake Margrethe, Michigan, to Alice Hoffman’s inspirational first trip to Masada, the setting of her epic new novel The Dovekeepers. Anuradha Roy, the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, describes the lure of armchair travel best: “All readers…carry within themselves sediments of the places they have traveled to in books, the people they’ve met on the way. Therefore the strange déjà vu is when you land in a foreign country and wonder if you’ve been there before.”
So, sit back, relax, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.
Alice Hoffman has published a total of twenty-eight works of fiction. Her novel, Here on Earth, was an Oprah Book Club choice. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Hoffman’s work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. She currently lives in Boston and New York.
Kate Morton, a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature. She lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.
Anuradha Roy is the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, which has been published in sixteen countries and named by World Literature Today as one of the sixty most essential books on modern India. She lives in India.
Annia Ciezadlo received her M.A. in journalism from New York University in 2000. In late 2003, she left New York for Baghdad, where she worked for The Christian Science Monitor. She has also written about culture, politics, and the Middle East for The New Republic, The Nation, The Washington Post, the National Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Observer, and Lebanon's Daily Star. Annia lives somewhere between New York and Beirut, with her husband, the journalist Mohamad Bazzi.
Christina Meldrum received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and political science from the University of Michigan. After working in grassroots development in Africa, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She has worked for the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, and as a litigator at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is on the advisory board of Women of the World Investments.
Korean-American author Samuel Park was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil until the age of fourteen. His novel This Burns My Heart was chosen as a “Best Book of 2011” by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, and BookPage. It was named one of NPR’s “Freshest Reads” and Today’s “Favorite Things,” and has been translated into four languages. He is an assistant professor of English at Columbia College and lives in Chicago. Visit Samuel Park at SamuelPark.com.
Kimberley Freeman was born in London and grew up in Brisbane, Australia. She is the bestselling author of Wildflower Hill and Lighthouse Bay, and teaches critical and creative writing at the University of Queensland. She lives in Brisbane with an assortment of children and pets. Visit her website at KimberleyFreeman.com.
Richard C. Morais is the editor of Penta, a Barron’s website and quarterly magazine. An American raised in Switzerland, Morais has lived most of his life overseas, returning to the United States in 2003. He is the author of The Hundred-Foot Journey and Buddhaland Brooklyn. He lives in New York City.
Born in the 1950s to college-educated parents who divorced when she was young, Alice Hoffman was raised by her single, working mother in a blue-collar Long Island neighborhood. Although she felt like an outsider growing up, she discovered that these feelings of not quite belonging positioned her uniquely to observe people from a distance. Later, she would hone this viewpoint in stories that captured the full intensity of the human experience.
After high school, Hoffman went to work for the Doubleday factory in Garden City. But the eight-hour, supervised workday was not for her, and she quit before lunch on her first day! She enrolled in night school at Adelphi University, graduating in 1971 with a degree in English. She went on to attend Stanford University's Creative Writing Center on a Mirrellees Fellowship. Her mentor at Stanford, the great teacher and novelist Albert Guerard, helped to get her first story published in the literary magazine Fiction. The story attracted the attention of legendary editor Ted Solotaroff, who asked if she had written any longer fiction. She hadn't -- but immediately set to work. In 1977, when Hoffman was 25, her first novel, Property Of, was published to great fanfare.
Since that remarkable debut, Hoffman has carved herself a unique niche in American fiction. A favorite with teens as well as adults, she renders life's deepest mysteries immediately understandable in stories suffused with magic realism and a dreamy, fairy-tale sensibility. (In a 1994 article for The New York Times, interviewer Ruth Reichl described the magic in Hoffman's books as a casual, regular occurrence -- "...so offhand that even the most skeptical reader can accept it.") Her characters' lives are transformed by uncontrollable forces -- love and loss, sorrow and bliss, danger and death.
Hoffman's 1997 novel Here on Earth was selected as an Oprah Book Club pick, but even without Winfrey's powerful endorsement, her books have become huge bestsellers -- including three that have been adapted for the movies: Practical Magic (1995), The River King (2000), and her YA fable Aquamarine (2001).
Hoffman is a breast cancer survivor; and like many people who consider themselves blessed with luck, she believes strongly in giving back. For this reason, she donated her advance from her 1999 short story collection Local Girls to help create the Hoffman Breast Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA.
Good To Know
Hoffman has written a number of children's books, including Fireflies: A Winter's Tale(1999), Horsefly (2000), and Moondog (2004).
Aquamarine was written for Hoffman's best friend, Jo Ann, who dreamed of the freedom of mermaids as she battled brain cancer.
Here on Earth is a modern version of Hoffman's favorite novel, Wuthering Heights.
Hoffman has been honored with the Massachusetts Book Award for her teen novel Incantation.