She waits for a really great plot idea and the perfect first line before starting, but once in motion with a new novel, Hank Phillippi Ryan launches ahead without any outline. Before she stops, she'll have created another complex, authentically detailed crime story that's witty, absorbing and fast-paced.
Since the Sept. 10 release of her latest, "The Wrong Girl," Hank
Phillippi Ryan has experienced — alongside its rise to The Boston
Globe's bestseller list — a national book tour and continued prominence
as an award-winning crime writer. The real mystery about her, though, is
how she manages to juggle full-time writing and touring, a full-time
role as an on-air investigative reporter at Boston's NBC affiliate,
Channel 7, and her role as a wife and grandmother. Each is part of a
life she loves despite its chaotic claim on her time.
"I'm always on the go; some days I don't realize what city I'm
in when I wake up in a hotel — but how lucky am I to be doing that?" she
said laughing. "It's wonderful. In life, we do what we choose to do. We
make priorities, we make selections; I try not to worry because
worrying just takes up time."
Lucky, she said in an interview Thursday, because she began
writing fiction in 2005, after first spending 30 years in television
news, a career now approaching its fourth decade. Always an avid reader,
from Nancy Drew on up to Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark, she
secretly desired to write mysteries. And one day, she just up and did
"One day in my office at Channel 7, I got a call from a woman,
telling me the story of how a relative had been reunited with her birth
mother and realized the adoption agency had made a mistake. She said,
'Can you believe it? They sent the woman the wrong girl.' I got
goosebumps. I knew I had the idea for a novel. I remember sitting at my
desk, thinking 'This will be a fabulous mystery.' I became obsessed with
writing "Prime Time," which won the Agatha for best first mystery
novel. My career has taken off since that time. I wanted it, and the
universe provided ... and that has been what the second half of my life
"Prime Time" was the first of four Charlotte McNally mysteries,
but it was the Boston world of Jane and Jake that burst into the world
of national readership and fame.
Her newest novel follows "The Other Woman" (2012), winner of the
Mary Clark Higgins Award and a nominee for every major mystery writing
award out there. "The Wrong Girl" is the second in a series featuring a
Boston setting and characters. She expects to see the third published in
the fall of 2014.
The series features the same protagonists, reporter Jane Ryland
and her boyfriend, Boston police Detective Jake Brogan. In the latest
mystery, Ryland, a disgraced TV reporter now working in a newsroom, and
Brogan, a gruff, dedicated officer with a soft spot for Ryland, uncover
deceptive practices within a foster care agency. Like her other books,
it is based on a world that Ryan has known intimately as an
investigative reporter. She calls her experiences and knowledge into
play as fictional reality in her books, bringing a distinct ring of
authenticity to her themes.
"New England is almost a character," she said. "Certainly, my
books have a special draw for people who live in New England and can
recognize all of the places and (types of) characters."
In one scene, for instance, a character patiently explains
Boston's peculiar ethics surrounding lawn chair-trash can markers to
save shoveled-out parking spots.
"It's completely inexplicable, unless you live here and understand that social contract," she said.
Authentic touches such as that are throughout her work, but so
is skilled, smart writing. From an early image of "blood and Cheerios"
at a crime scene to a sadly wise reflection on foster care ("It's not
their fault, and there's no way the system can save them all. I'm
supposed to send them to new homes, but how can I be sure they'll thrive
and flourish? They so often don't."), she injects reality alongside the
grim wit of those who deal with crime and grisly murders, Ryan writes
"It's very hard work," she said.
"Writing a novel is astonishingly difficult. It's 100,000 words,
every one of which has to be perfect. It has to be new, fascinating,
unique, riveting and compelling."
Working without an outline requires tenacity — and faith. "I
truly believe I'll be able to solve the mystery, because that's what I'm
doing, laying out the groundwork for a real event in my head. It's just
as true as if something had really happened, so the end has to be what
really happened. I'm a reporter, so I'm going to find that out. Like the
detective in the book, I am solving the mystery."
She could not have done this 20 years ago, she says.
"I wasn't the person I am now. I was 55 when I started writing,
and it turned out that it was the perfect moment in my life to start
this new part of my career. I didn't plan it, didn't look for it, and
wasn't expecting it. But I've learned to be aware when a door is opened
for you, and I think at that moment, that's what happened."
It wasn't easy then, and isn't easy now. Ryan's schedule is busy
from start to finish, and more than one person has called her a
juggler. Heck, she uses the term on herself.
"I take it one item at a time. I plan, I organize, I schedule.
There are things I give up. My husband and I haven't had a vacation for
five years, maybe six. I write on weekends; I never have a day off."
Something, obviously, had to give, she said. "Cooking was first to go,
then sleep. My fun level is very low; I don't think my husband and I
have been to a movie in years. We don't have any dinner parties now. Is
it a sacrifice? Sure, but I feel I'm getting so much more than I'm
giving up. To be following your dreams at midcareer is lucky. I always
wanted to be a writer, and I count my blessings every year."
This chaotic, happy career is enough, she says.
"My days are fulfilled, but they're full of joy and full of love
and full of delight that I have followed my dreams through so much
By Ann Connery Frantz
From the Telegram & Gazette, Dec. 6, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, November 7, 2013
A “fictionalized” memoir with the unlikely title of “Sweet Holy Motherfucking Everloving Delusional Bastard?” I wasn’t even going to bother with it. But then I read, in the prologue, that jail time is involved, though he warns that this book is no jailhouse confessional. Instead, he says, it’s the story of what happens to his fictionalized self between college graduation and incarceration. (You’ll have to read the book to understand this trajectory.) Now I became at least curious. Could the author manage to avoid the pitfall of poor-poor-pitiful-me whining that infects post-jail memoirs?
Oh, man. Could he ever.
Jerome Segundo may have been born to be a stand-up comic. At the very least, he’s a hell of a good writer and storyteller, whose next book will be about the ultimate diet regimen: punishment. But sticking to the present topic, Segundo’s tongue-in-cheek adventure in the world of self-discovery, friendship, dating and sex is one of the liveliest, most entertaining stories I’ve read in years. Really. He’s witty, in a self-immolating sort of way. He’s smart, and a clever writer. With his best buddies, he’s coarse—but aren’t they all. Bottom line: his heart is really, really in the right place, even if his head is reeling with confusion.
Segundo will swear it’s fiction, but the truth lies within the pages, and draws readers deeper and deeper into his crazy young life, then breaks their hearts before he’s finished with them, incarcerated as the result of a complex set of circumstances that don’t add up to a well-defined crime.
Segundo is, however, one of those people who grows and finds a new self in the process. His book does not concern jail time—it covers the crazy set of circumstances which put him there. Throughout this preposterously named book (and the title fits once you’ve read it), Segundo’s misadventures with his friends, his conversations with women and the trials of his goofy 20-something life make a great read. He and his two main pals are sardonic and blissfully unaware of life’s pitfalls, experiencing one after another with aplomb. Though naïve, they mature within a society that sees fit to ignore them—especially in the job market. They are the temporary slobs, slackers and posturers of society, the brothers every sister loves and can’t stand at the same time.
Segundo is young during the time period of this memoir. He is at once hopeful and skeptical—and far from politically correct. Yet he is the boy next door, who captures a unique story in a fresh style; his writing skills prove that he paid attention, at some point in his life, to good literature and good writing. Skirting the sharp edge between fiction and reality, with a tale of quite credible impact, Segundo leaves the reader hang-jawed, shouting, “Don’t do it, you idiot!” as he ventures into each mishap. Pick your favorite, whether it involves borscht and burritos, angry bees, prostatitus cures, “schlepping” flowers, or “speds” field trips (I warned you—not politically correct). This memoir, with its hard-to-remember but impossible to forget title, will win you over.
His gift for description and dialogue is well established, and sure to bring readers much more fun down the line.
Because of the way the book deals with the incident that puts him in prison, however, any young man out on his own ought to read this book—forewarned is kind of important here.
“… The verdict was the malformed product of a binary system of jurisprudence that proclaims either guilt or innocence and ignores the plight of those caught in between. A reasonable case could be made that I am both guilty and innocent. Or neither guilty nor innocent. I’m still grappling with the issue myself,” he writes.
I don’t mean to get into a lecture on the rights or wrongs of criminal acts. I mean only to say this is a good book, a funny book and—in fact—an important book. It has a bit more sex than I like to read, but younger (and more contemporary) readers will like it just as much. I am, after all, his mother’s age.
Segundo—keep writing. You’re un-holy funny and pretty darn smart about yourself and your friends. But next time, choose a title that won’t keep you off the shelves, ok?
Saturday, November 2, 2013
With the October release of the much-anticipated sequel to Maine author Stephen King’s “The Shining,” namely, “Dr. Sleep,” readers welcome the first in a raft of pending releases from favorite authors. I’m not referencing the umpteen new releases by self-published authors, but those who are traditionally published, as book clubs tend to prefer. Scribner published this one, in which Danny is a middle-age alcoholic working at a hospice in New England. But, dear us, he’s in for some trouble with a caravan of weirdo human parasites seeking children with “the shining.” Gulp.
Others with New England ties are busy publishing, or preparing, new work:
Andre Dubus III, who grew up along the Merrimack River (read “Townie”) and teaches at UMass Lowell, has just released “Dirty Love.” He can write heartrendingly about emotional loss, and in this series of linked novellas he explores our deepest, most painful needs and weaknesses.
Longtime Massachusetts resident and Dedham native Anita Shreve releases a new novel, “Stella Bain,” in November. The title character suffers from shell shock (we call it post-traumatic stress disorder) and is taken in by a London surgeon’s family during World War I. An American nurse, she has no recollection of what happened to her on a French battlefield.
Jenna Blum, of “Those Who Save Us” and “Storm Chasers” fame is a Boston regular now living in the Midwest. She says she just finished a novella called “The Lucky One” for an anthology to be released next summer. All of the contributors to “Grand Central” are women writing about World War II, with the action in each set within Grand Central Station on the same day in 1945. Pretty cool sounding. “I had the joyous surprise of falling in love with my own story while writing it,” Jenna said. “I hope you’ll enjoy it too.”
Hank Phillippi Ryan—yes, the indefatigable journalist and mystery writer who ferrets out the dirt in consumer fraud for WHDH TV, Boston—is on a book tour now for “The Wrong Girl.” Her latest in the new Jane Ryland series, ‘Wrong Girl’ is winning kudos among reviewers. You can meet and greet her at a reading on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Southboro Public Library. This “nerve-wracking” thriller (mystery writers love to hear that!) delves into an adoption agency scandal.
On tour lately as well is Chris Bohjalian, Vermont columnist and author of numerous novels, including “Midwives” and “The Sandcastle Girls.” His latest, released three months ago, is “The Light in the Ruins.” I flew through this World War II-era mystery, which includes a little romance, thank you. He’s unpredictable in his book topics, and this one’s a thriller which takes place on an Italian estate during the Nazi “collaboration.” Be prepared for romance and murder.
When Jodi Picoult addressed a packed Hanover Theatre in 2012, she was speaking about “Lone Wolf,” a new novel. Now, a year later, she has been touring for a newer novel—“The Storyteller”—which is about the Holocaust (paperback will be out in February). Picoult, of Hanover, N.H., is already at work on another book for release next year, “Leaving Time.” It’s a novel about grief, loss and, umm … elephants.
Concord resident and presidential biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin releases her latest, “The Bully Pulpit,” next week. This history explores the friendship between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft leading up to their battle for the presidential nomination in 1912. Their fight divided the progressive wing of the Republican party and resulted in Woodrow Wilson’s election. Kearns Goodwin also writes about the legendary “muckraking” press, which gave birth to a spirit of reform supporting Roosevelt. On the side, she writes about baseball.
Speaking of history, Cape Cod resident and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian (twice) David McCullough completed his French fixation with “The Greater Journey” (about American artists who lived in Paris) and is researching a work on early aviation history by reading dozens of books on the subject. Expect it in a year or two! On his own, though, he’s an avid Ruth Rendell mystery fan.
Book groups in the region
NOW Book Group in Worcester will discuss “At Home in the World” by Joyce Maynard on Nov. 11. Maynard was only 18 when she received a letter from author J. D. Salinger, who claimed that they were soul mates—although they’d never met. After a few visits, Salinger persuaded her to leave college and move in with him. This is a memoir of their relationship and Maynard’s struggle to move beyond it.
The Douglas Library Book Group reports, through member Ellie Chesebrough: “We're reading ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini, for discussion on Nov. 12, 6:30 p.m., a novel about how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.” Call the library 508-476-2695 to reserve a copy of the book. New members are welcome, and homemade refreshments inspired by the title will be served.
The C.S. Lewis Society Book Club meets Nov. 2 to discuss the second part of Edith Nesbit’s “Five Children and It.”Meeting is at 9 a.m. in Auburn public Library. A second session, “Fifty Years On: Reflections on the Life and Legacy of C.S. Lewis,” is slated for 9 a.m., Nov. 16. Members also plan to watch and discuss the film, “The Life and Faith of C.S. Lewis: The Magic Never Ends.”
The Pearle L. Crawford Library in Dudley has begun a book group, reports Karen Wall, director. On Nov. 7, at 6 p.m., members (readers welcome) will discuss Jenna Blum’s “Those Who Save Us,” an absorbing novel about a mother’s courage in tragic circumstances during World War II. Coming up on Dec. 5 is “Clara and Mr. Tiffany,” by Susan Vreeland.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
So many bookstores ...
As promised, here are suggestions from readers and others for good bookstores to visit, this time in Massachusetts and Connecticut. There’s quite a range among these independents—some are cozy and specialized while others are bigger and well-established among book collectors and fans. Quite often, they have cafés, or are next door to one.
Take a gander, and if you’re nearby, make it a point to stop in. Independent bookstores need your support. Too often, in following up someone’s tip, I find a bookstore already out of business. Most of the following shops have websites, to help you find what you’re seeking.
Acton’s Willow Books & Café at 279 Great Road (Route 2A) is a terrific bookstore at a small strip mall. There’s a good-size collection of books and a café with sandwiches and several different coffee roasts. Great place to meet a friend or take a child.
The granddaddy of Worcester area indies, Tatnuck Bookseller, lives and breathes now at the Westborough Shopping Center, Route 9 and Lyman Street. Check www.tatnuck.com for details, as this is a big, lively store and café, with much activity. The store has added free wi-fi, a plus for writers and other computer fiends.
To explore a used books mecca, try The Book Bear at 80 West Main St. in West Brookfield (Route 9, just west of town center). This store has about 5,000 kids’ books and 100,000 more for adults; used, rare and out-of-print books are bought, traded and sold. The store is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There’s no café, but Dunkin’ Donuts is next door. Call (508) 867-8705 for more information.
Shire Book Shop, at 305 Union St., Franklin, is open from 10 to 5 Tuesday
through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. Since it’s located in a
turn-of-the-century mill building, store owners try to keep its atmosphere as
old timey as possible. There are reading areas where one may enjoy a cup of
complimentary tea while browsing the store’s 100,000-plus group of collectible
and used books. The store also offers book repair service.
While you’re in town, check out Franklin Public Library (1778), considered the
nation’s oldest. It houses a collection of Ben Franklin’s own books.
I’ve always “meant” to stop at the Montague Bookmill, 440 Greenfield Road, Montague, which boasts of itself: “Books you don’t need, in a place you can’t find.” (Gotta love that.) Montague is another mill store—this one a sawmill—located in a crafty location; check out the arts center, music and movies, and the Lady Killigrew Café. It’s a beautiful drive any time of year, but check the website for directions, as it is a bit hard to find otherwise (next time, I will trust the GPS).
Bookstore fan Richard Wright (www.richard-wright.blogspot.com) contacted me to say he writes about his favorite independent bookstores around New England at his blog—a good place to check before traveling. He’s also the author of “A Vacationer’s Guide to Rural New England Bookstores.” In its January issue, Yankee magazine invited Wright to list his favorite five bookstores, which he wouldn’t do without the proviso that he be allowed to include 10 runners-up.
Lorraine Ostrokolowicz wrote in about the Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster, owned by Deb Horan. Nearly 20 years old, says Ostrokolowicz, “it’s much more than a bookstore.” Judith Ferrara and John Gaumond of Worcester also recommended the shop, calling it “a true-blue arts and community-oriented bookstore—with great coffees too!” Check www.er3.com/book for details. Its book group meets at 6:30 Wednesday (July 31) to discuss “The Good Sisters” by Joyce Maynard. There is a lot going on, relating to books and living. Hours are listed at www.bookloversgourmet.com.
Amy Brenner-Fricke, a former associate at the T&G—also an avid reader—sent in a roundup of some Connecticut favorites, since she hails from that state.
“If you’re looking for quirky, definitely The Book Barn in Niantic. It’s … hard to describe,” says Amy. The set-up is amazing—500,000 books in three locations. “The main location is a sprawling area of barns and sheds and lean-tos, all of which have books stashed in them,” she said. “The various sheds and barns are called The Main Barn (history, military, anthropology, children's books, politics, firefighting, espionage, erotica, true crime, art, etc.); The Annex (fiction); Hades (vampires, paranormal romances, chick lit, and the beginning of the alphabetic section of mysteries and thrillers); The Haunted Bookshop (mysteries and thrillers); The Last Page (agriculture, animal sciences, biology and genetics, canoeing/kayaking, ecology and conservationism, firearms, gardening, geology, nature, natural history/sciences, outdoors, sports, weather and climate, zoology); and Ellis Island (otherwise known as the ‘Book Immigration’ spot, where the newest arrivals live until they are sorted and stocked in their appropriate building).” With 13 cats wandering around, and a goat, the place qualifies as folksy. By the way, complimentary beverages and snacks are available. And remember: there are two more locations down the street. (www.bookbarnniantic.com)
Amy also lists these places, defined as “less quirky and perhaps more traditional”:
Bank Square Books in downtown Mystic, with new books, literary journals and an
author luncheon series;
* Monte Cristo Bookshop in the downtown waterfront district of New London,
which opened in December after conducting a social media funding campaign. Here’s
an interesting note: James O’Neill funded the building in 1910—he was the
father of playwright Eugene O’Neill. He also portrayed the “Count” over 6,000
times in theaters around the world. Cool connection.
* RJ Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road in Madison, has a very active
series of author visits throughout the year and adjoins an independent café
full of sinfully rich goodies.
* Breakwater Books, 81 Whitfield St., Guilford, offers bestsellers as well as
old favorites. Its website lists staff picks.
“Read It and Reap” is published the last Sunday of each month in the Worcester, Mass. Telegram & Gazette. Write me at email@example.com with ideas, comments or questions.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
William Morrow publishers this month offers a video chat with Lacy Crawford, a college admissions officer-turned-novelist. “Early Decision” opens up the world of college preparation in a dramatic setting, illustrating how the increasingly frantic effort to get into the college of choice is “getting in the way of growing up.” Publishers are increasingly supporting book club interest in authors.
GalleyCat, a lively, up-to-the-minute website about books, maintains a listing of authors willing to travel, use Skype or communicate via speakerphone with a book group. There isn’t a simple URL for this one; you’ll have to find it by going through www.mediabistro.com/galleycat, and typing in a search for: authors who visit book clubs.
An author’s website is usually the easiest way to make contact, since many authors invite clubs to contact them online for an interview. Some have a clearly marked “book clubs” link right on the site. In the absence of that, a well-constructed personal email might generate a response. You have nothing to lose by trying.
They’ll also consider a personal visit, weighing time and location. Writers enjoy talking about their book with readers, and an author—particularly a new one—can slowly rack up sales with enough visits, and word of mouth. That’s no exaggeration. Some enterprising writers take their marketing role seriously and visit hundreds of book clubs. Since publishers’ promotion money these days goes to already well-read, top-of-the-list authors, the newcomers and less recognized authors have grown increasingly creative in self-marketing. And, as I’ve noted before, the more famous, or sought-after, may charge a fee, or limit their visits to Skype and such. No problem; plenty of others are out there, clawing their way up the book sales charts and anxious for your love.
"As long as the book groups have read the novel, I'm a pretty happy camper. One safety tip? Don't spin the laptop on a lazy susan like it's the teacups ride at Disney World. I had a book group do that last week and I was in serious need of Dramamine by the time we were finished.” He enjoys the one-on-one contact that visits afford. “I usually have fun. I hope the book groups do too. And maybe that's the key: Don't take the group too seriously and feel you need to write a thesis about the novelist."
Jenna Blum, author of “Storm Chasers” and “Those Who Save Us,” says “I've had nothing but good experiences, whether in person, by phone, or by Skype! And I've had the privilege of talking to literally over a thousand book clubs.”
But I’d asked for a tip, so she added, “My best advice for book clubs I visit with via Skype is to schedule 10 to 15 minutes of tech time before we actually get started—and to be prepared to be "Skyebombed" by my boyfriend (who often wears a Viking helmet) and my black Lab jumping around behind me in my study.”
Jenna, familiar to attendees at Grub Street’s Marketplace and the Muse—a three-day workshop in Boston for writers, will appear with other authors Sept. 25 at the Providence, R.I., Public Library. See www.lovecarol.org for details on this benefit. She travels frequently on author visits.”
Claire Cook, Massachusetts author of “Must Love Dogs” and several other terrific books, is also enthusiastic. “I love book clubs and Skype with them often, and I also visit in person I'm going to be in the area,” she said. “If they're interested, they should go to http://ClaireCook.com and click on Book Clubs and we can take it from there.
“One thing I like to do is have everyone in the book club ask me one question, so that each member gets some one-on-one time with me. I also suggest that they find me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/ClaireCookauthorpage) afterward and post a photo of their meeting on my page—it’s a great way for us to stay in touch.
“Book clubs usually choose one of my novels after they've just finished something dark and depressing and are ready to have some fun, so I love hearing all about the thematically related food and activities they come up with. My biggest advice is to not worry about preparation, and just think of me as someone who's coming to the party! In over a decade of visiting with book clubs, we've always had a blast and never once run out of things to say!”
Around the area:
The Charlton Public Library Book Club meets the third Tuesday of each month in the library’s Local History Room. Cheryl Hansen, library director, said, “In September, we will be discussing ‘The End of the Point’ by Elizabeth Graver.”
The Douglas Library Book Group will consider Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 10, in Simon Fairfield Public Library. Kingsolver’s book is about Dellarobia Turnbow, who—tired of living on a failing farm and suffering oppressive Appalachian poverty—leaves to meet with a potential lover but is detoured by a miraculous event that ignites a media and religious firestorm which changes her life forever. Call 508-476-2695 for a copy of the book. New members are welcome. Homemade refreshments, inspired by the title being discussed, will be served.
“Flight Behavior” is also on the menu for the Worcester-area group, Books, Brews & Banter, which meets Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in O’Connor’s Restaurant,
Arthur Miller’s famed drama, “The Crucible,” is slated for Audio Journal’s next call-in book group, “Speaking Volumes.” The session is at 8 p.m., Sept. 3, at www.audiojournal.net. Upcoming books are listed at that site.
Reading, Sharing and Laughing takes on Khaled Hosseini (“The Kite Runners”) newest, “And the Mountains Echoed,” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26 in Fitchburg’s Chaibo restaurant. To join in, look up www.meetup.com/Reading-Sharing-and-Laughing.
The Women’s Issues Book Group of Worcester meets Sept. 9 to discuss Kris Holloway’s “Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali,” a Peace Corps volunteer’s memoirs. The group meets at 7 p.m., second Monday monthly, in Barnes & Noble, 541 Lincoln St. To get on the mailing list contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Under the subject heading of great bookstores, here’s one that is not an independent, but is affiliated with a library. The Food for Thought Bookstore and Café is inside Worcester Public Library at Salem Square, downtown. Friends unveiled a new, enlarged facility in June, relocated to the center of the first floor. “The bookstore carefully selects the best of donated materials and de-accessed library books to put on its shelves, and sells them at very reasonable prices. The ‘grab and go’ cafe serves coffee, tea, lemonade, etc., and sandwiches and baked goods supplied by Eric's La Patisserie,” said Christine Weinrobe, Friends president. Volunteers run the store and café open during library hours. Proceeds go toward adult and children’s programming materials.Fall signals new vigor among book groups as members return from their travels. Be sure to send fall reading schedules by the third week of each month to Read It and Reap at: email@example.com.