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The Overlook Press Reader’s Guides

Calling All Book Clubs!

Welcome to Reading Group Central at The Overlook Press. Reading groups offer book lovers the opportunity to meet new people who share their interests, enjoy stimulating discussion about intriguing topics, and best of all, read great books! Whether your group is an intimate gathering organized with friends or a large event run by professionals, The Overlook Press is always happy to help you find the right book for your readers.

We have created the Overlook Reader’s Guides to enhance your group’s discussion of some of our favorite titles. They include a description of each book, sample questions, and discussion topics to focus and inspire thought in any reading group or book club.

Get started by clicking on the cover of the titles featured below. We’ll be adding new titles frequently, so stay tuned. From brand-new releases to classic works from the past, we hope that your group will find something for everyone!

The Last Man in Europe by Dennis Glover
April, 1947. In a run-down farmhouse on a remote Scottish island, George Orwell begins his last and greatest work: Nineteen Eighty-Four.Forty-three years old and suffering from the tuberculosis that within three winters will take his life, Orwell comes to see the book as his legacy―the culmination of a career spent fighting to preserve the freedoms which the wars and upheavals of the twentieth century have threatened. Simultaneously a captivating drama, a unique literary excavation, and an unflinching portrait of a writer, The Last Man in Europe will change the way we understand both our enduringly Orwellian times and Nineteen Eighty-Fourdownload

Paris in the Present Tense by Mark Helprin
Mark Helprin’s powerful, rapturous novel is set in a present-day Paris caught between violent unrest and its well-known, inescapable glories. Seventy-four-year-old Jules Lacour—a maître at Paris-Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the war in Algeria, and child of the Holocaust—must find a balance between his strong obligations to the past and the attractions and beauties of life and love in the present. download

True Grit by Charles Portis
Available in Paperback
Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America’s foremost writers. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and became the basis for the movie starring John Wayne and now the film by the Coen brothers starring Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon.True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father’s blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory.True Grit is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself. From a writer of true status, this is an American classic through and through. download

Discount by Casey Gray Available in Paperback
Set in the American Southwest, Casey Gray’s ambitious tragicomic debut novel follows a group of customers and employees through the twenty-four hour work cycle inside a classic American institution—the Superstore. A humane and contemporary portrait of life on the suburban fringe, Discount is a triumphant and big-hearted novel you won’t soon forget. download

A conversation with the author addressing topics for further discussion can be found here.

Best Friends Forever by Irene Levine
Available in Paperback
Written by journalist and psychologist Irene Levine, Ph.D., Best Friends Forever is an uplifting self-help book for women seeking solace during during a friendship breakup. Dr. Levine draws from the personal testimonials of thousands of women to provide anecdotes and groundbreaking solutions to these complicated situations. Offering tools for personal assessment, case stories, and actionable advice for saving, ending, or re-evaluating a relationship, Dr. Levine shows that breakups are sometimes inevitable. download

Enlightenment by Maureen Freely
Available in Paperback
An investigative journalist unravels the strange and politically-charged disappearance of an American woman who first came to Turkey in the 1960’s in this tense and complex thriller. download


Repeat After Me by Rachel DeWoskin
Available in Paperback.
Aysha is a twenty-two-year-old New Yorker putting the pieces of her life back in place after her parents divorce and her own nervous breakdown when a young Chinese student named Da Ge flips her world upside-down. In a love story that spans decades and continents, from the Tiananmen Square incident to 9/11, New York City s Upper West Side to the terraced mountains of South China, Repeat After Me gives readers an alternately funny and painful glimpse of life and loss in between languages. download

The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte by Laura Joh Rowland
Available in Paperback
Upon learning that she has been falsely accused of plagiarism, the normally mild-mannered Charlotte Bront sets off for London to clear her name. But when she unintentionally witnesses a murder, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in a dangerous chain of events that forces her to confront demons from her past. download

The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill
Available in Paperback
When a lonely woman, a young girl, and an old man vanish within days of one another, no one can deny that something terrifying is happening in the happening in the quiet cathedral town of Lafferton. Fresh-faced policewoman Freya Graffham is assigned to the case—alongside the enigmatic detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler—and must unravel the mystery before the events turn too gruesome. download

From Away by David Carkeet
Carkeet’s first return to the mystery genre since Edgar-nominated Double Negative, From Away follows Denny Braintree, a wisecracking loner devoted to model trains, who finds himself stranded in late-winter Vermont. A mystery of mistaken identities, From Away is a brilliant comic novel that is also a finely wrought mystery. download

Double Negative by David Carkeet
Available in Paperback
In this Edgar Award-nominated mystery classic, a colleague suddenly turns up dead in the office of the genius linguist Jeremy Cook. Accusations fly at the Wabash Institute, the linguistics think tank where he works, and when a second body turns up, Cook must rely on his with to save himself. download

The Forever Marriage by Anne Bauer
Carmen wishes Jobe, the husband she never loved, dead –only to fall in love with him after he is gone. As she helps her three children grieve, she discovers, after a tryst with her most recent lover, that her own life may be in danger. Her emotions reeling, Carmen reflects on the fateful days of her youth that made her the person she has become: privileged suburban wife, unfaithful widow, mother of a child with Down syndrome, fierce friend. The Forever Marriage is at its heart a mystery, and the mystery is what, exactly, the nature of Carmen and Jobe’s marriage might have been. download