Announcing: The Book Sense 'Reading Group' 76 - The Top Ten

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The votes have been tallied, and here are independent booksellers' picks of the best books for reading groups.

These are deemed to be the books that have been, and continue to be, the most popular choices of groups, as booksellers recommend them for their quality, subject matter, and discussion value.

Your votes have been tallied, and we're ready to announce the Top Ten. Over a thousand books were nominated, and there are a block of books tied for the last slots on the 76, so stay tuned for the announcement of the full Reading Group 76. We will begin to group the books into themes, and we hope to have a flier ready early this fall, though several other 76s are also on deadline. The release of the actual Reading Group 76 flier will be accompanied by a press release, and, we think, some media coverage.

This was a lot of fun to compile, and judging from all your e-mails, you had great store debates in choosing your final list of 15. And with Mark Nichols' help, we built a little vote-tallying device here that made the process of gathering lists of 15 books from hundreds of stores manageable. This process of you recommending best books in an area of interest or need, combined with our ability to gather it here, may serve as a model for compiling other unique 76s, as well as to begin compiling core backlist title lists.

Anyway, without further ado, the 2002-2003 Reading Group 76s top ten vote-getters:

  1. THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, by Barbara Kingsolver (Perennial, 0060930535, $15)
  2. THE RED TENT, by Anita Diamant (Picador, 0312195516, $14.95)
  3. GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING, by Tracy Chevalier (Plume, 0452282152, $13)
  4. HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG, by Andre Dubus III (Vintage, 0375727345, $14)
  5. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, by Arthur Golden (Vintage, 0679781587, $14.95)
  6. THE SPARROW, by Mary Doria Russell (Fawcett, 0449912558, $12.95)
  7. THE HOURS, by Michael Cunningham (Picador, 0312243022, $13)
  8. THE ANGLE OF REPOSE, by Wallace Stegner (Penguin, 014016930X, $13.95)
  9. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee (Warner, 0446310786, $6.99; Perennial, 0060935464, $11.95)
  10. PLAINSONG, by Kent Haruf (Vintage, 0375705856, $13)

Carl
carl@booksense.com