Announcing Our Next Four Books! {Book Club and Give Away}

Want a challenge?

Prepare a reading series to follow-up an amazing book. Thankfully, we are up for the challenge! Summer is a time for light-hearted reading (though one of these is not the most light-hearted, I’ll admit). We’ve got two memoirs and two novels and all kinds of fun planned. Without further ado, here’s our summer and early fall reading series!

Which would you like to read? I’ll draw a winner for each book and announce them on the Grove.

Heart in the right placeJune’s book is Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan —

“Carolyn Jourdan, an attorney on Capitol Hill, thought she had it made. But when her mother has a heart attack, she returns home—to the Tennessee mountains, where her father is a country doctor and her mother works as his receptionist. Jourdan offers to fill in for her mother until she gets better. But days turn into weeks as she trades her suits for scrubs and finds herself following hazmat regulations for cleaning up bodily fluids; maintaining composure when confronted with a splinter the size of a steak knife; and tending to the loquacious Miss Hiawatha, whose daily doctor visits are never billed. Most important, though, she comes to understand what her caring and patient father means to her close-knit community. With great humor and great tenderness, Heart in the Right Place shows that some of our biggest heroes are the ones living right beside us.”

Reasons I like it: light, humorous, looking at cross-cultural issues within one country, wrestling with identity and significance. It invited me to be present to my real life and not wait for the fantasy life I might want. When I heard my brother-in-law had to keep getting out of bed to find out what was so funny and that my sister has bought copies of this for numerous friends, I knew it was the perfect book to kick-off our summer series.

Poisonwood BibleJuly’s book is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver —

“The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.”

Reasons I like it: The story is told from all five females and the way Kingsolver is able to sound like five different ages and experiences is some of the most stunning writing I’ve ever read. Though not a “happy” book, it has themes galore for us to discuss. This is a must-read for folks in our line of work.

August's bookAugust’s book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and  Annie Barrows — 

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

“As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

“Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

“Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.”

Reasons I like it: A delightful read to end summer with, this has historical accuracy concerning the occupation of an island during WWII and is told through letters (like most of our lives with emails and blogs, eh?!). Fun cross-cultural themes in unexpected places.

TattoosSeptember’s book is Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle (Very small warning on a tiny bit of language. Which is to be expected working with gang members.)

“For twenty years, Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. In Tattoos on the Heart, he distills his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith.

“Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally. From giant, tattooed Cesar, shopping at JCPenney fresh out of prison, we learn how to feel worthy of God’s love. From ten-year-old Lula we learn the importance of being known and acknowledged. From Pedro we understand the kind of patience necessary to rescue someone from the darkness. In each chapter we benefit from Boyle’s gentle, hard-earned wisdom.

“These essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love and the importance of fighting despair. Gorgeous and uplifting, Tattoos on the Heart reminds us that no life is less valuable than another.”

Reasons I like it: I went back to check my personal notes and this is what I wrote:

This book makes me want to be a better person. Period.

Any book with this effect gets five stars. My sister brought it from America and told me she laughed out loud as she read it and every morning her husband wanted to know the funny things she’d been reading. Anyone who can take working with gang members and ex-cons and some of the most tragic situations and find The Light and the light side is someone I want to follow. Father Greg consistently challenges the deeply rooted belief that some lives are not as valuable as others. There is also a beautiful chapter on success and failure and what they look like when you are working with people … things are messy! I find myself in the messy grey middle more and more as I grow older and people invite me deeper into their messes. Am I making the difference Father Greg is? I don’t know, but I hope to leave fingerprints along the way. Thanks Elizabeth for one of the best books I’ve read in a long time!


I am so excited about this series I can barely stand it. I wanted you to know what we’ll be reading so you can join in the excitement (and if you want used copies with cheap shipping, you can order now).

Next week I’ll give more of an introduction on Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan and lay out the plan for June.

Which would you like to read? Leave a comment and you might get drawn!

With reading and learning joy, Amy

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 


  1. Kathy Vaughan May 18, 2015

    I’ve already read The Poisonwood Bible (compelling) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (delightful)so I would like to read the other ones.  Sounds like a couple of good reads!

  2. Kimberly Todd May 18, 2015

    Tattoos on the Heart.

    Good stuff here, Amy. Good. Stuff.

  3. Cheryl Moye May 18, 2015

    Tattoos on the Heart sounds awesome!! I always want to be a better person!!

  4. Melissa May 18, 2015

    Heart in the Right Place sounds like my kind of book!

  5. Lindsy Wallace May 18, 2015

    Wow, good choices! The Poisonwood Bible is dear to me because it’s written about my daughter’s birth country AND Tattoos on the Heart has been on my To Read list for a long time! So, I’d be happy with either;-)

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      I’m eager to read about Africa too — and learn from VA folks!

  6. Rachel May 18, 2015

    Tattoos of the Heart sounds ever so inspiring – I’ve been wanting to check out Father Greg Boyle for some time. (I hope to read all of them, though!)

  7. Jillian Rogers May 18, 2015

    The Poisonwood Bible has been on my Kindle wish list for a while. I would love to get it! Thank you Amy for a great line-up. Book club is SO good.

  8. Amanda House May 18, 2015

    I read The Poisonwood Bible a while ago and loved it. I laughed aloud, which I don’t do often while reading. I also love how the story is told from the different perspectives.

    I’m most excited about reading Tattoos on the Heart. Maybe because I’m from Southern California and have been to LA numerous times and always enjoy reading about stories in settings I’m familiar with. Maybe because ever since I watched the TV series The Wire, especially season 4, gang stories with redemption just intrigue and encourage me. Maybe because I love that you said it made you want to be a better person.

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      Love hearing these tidbits of your story!

  9. Elizabeth May 18, 2015

    “Heart in the Right Place” reminds me somewhat of the plotline of the TV show Hart of Dixie (which, though good, eventually devolves into more sexuality than I prefer to watch on TV). Plus I love medical stuff. So I definitely want to read that one!

    Also the Guernsey book I want to read, as we just finished WWII stuff in homeschool. “Tattoos on the Heart” I think I’ll get to it eventually, but I’ve seen the “Poisonwood Bible,” and though I’ve heard tons of good things about it, it’s so long! I’d never get it finished in one month, let alone the summer. So, I will set my sights low, and try to read Heart in the Right Place and then the Guernsey book. Hopefully, eventually in my life, I’ll get to Poisonwood. 🙂

    My book club participation may slow down as I pick up more responsibilities elsewhere. 🙁 I love our conversations here, but alas, there is only so much time in a week. Have fun picking the winners!

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      🙂 … I understand on the length of Poisonwood! That’s why we actually have 5 weeks to read it (with Sabbath week the last week of June). This might not be the time for you to read it, but at some point, when the time is right, you’ll be amazed with Kingsolvers writing! Something to look forward to, eh? We’ll miss you being as involved here, but I’m thankful people can come and go as is best for them! 🙂

  10. Angie May 18, 2015

    I would love to read Heart in the Right Place. It looks like just what I need right now!

  11. Marguerite McCann May 19, 2015

    I would love to read the Guernsey Literary and potato peel pie society, my grandmother was born in Guernsey and evacuated as a teenager during the war. By the time I was interested to hear her story she had dementia, so would love to know more about that time period.

  12. Amy Boucher Pye May 19, 2015

    Oh I love the Guernsey book – so evocative. I’d like to read the Tattoos book – sounds fascinating, especially in the light of the horrific tragedy in Waco. Have the Poisonwood Bible but never read it – sounds like I should?

    1. Amy Boucher Pye May 19, 2015

      Amy Young I SO didn’t mean to have a massive picture of me up! Can you delete!!? 🙂

    2. Kimberly Todd May 20, 2015

      I’m following the Waco trouble, too. I was born and raised there and my parents are still there. I hadn’t thought about this book in that light, but I am now.

  13. Emily May 19, 2015

    The Poisonwood Bible. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a couple other books by Barbara Kingsolver. She is simply an excellent writer. I’ve been meaning to read The Poisonwood Bible, but…life.

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      I get it 🙂 … even if you don’t win it, it’s worth the read!

  14. Nancy May 19, 2015

    Heart in the Right place looks to be a great summer read!

  15. Phyllis May 19, 2015

    They all look great, but I’ve already read The Poisonwood Bible (although I’d read it again), so I would have to pick one of the other three.

  16. Kristin May 19, 2015

    The humor in Heart in the Right Place sounds like a wonderful book for summer. The laughs and cross-cultural experience will be great — sounds like it is looking at real life happenings with a smile.

  17. Amy May 19, 2015

    I am going to try to read all of them. I started The Poisonwood Bible several times and had a hard time with it, but I know it is a must read so I am willing to try it again. Maybe reading it with friends will help 🙂

    Looking forward to your summer (my winter/rainy season) reading

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      Not only do we share names, we’re sharing weather! It’s unseasonably wet and cold where I am. And we are going on weeks of this :)! I’m ready for SUN.

  18. Ruth May 19, 2015

    I guess this means I should actually read The Poisonwood Bible that’s been hanging out in my kindle app waiting for me to get to it.  Heart in the Right Place sounds great, and I’d love to re-read The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  

  19. MaDonna May 19, 2015

    I’ve not joined in the Book Clubs, but am going to give it a try this summer. Though in the midst of a move, I think it will be good for me because I’m leaving some dear book loving friends behind. What better way to start to fill a void, right?

    I have to admit, they all sound really good – and I’ve not read any of them. I’ve had on my list for some time though, so that is probably on the top of my list, then comes Tattoos of the Heart and the WWII book a close second.

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      Oh losing book loving friends is the worst :(. I”m sorry. That being said, a big warm welcome! 🙂

  20. Sydnie May 19, 2015

    I’d like to read The Poisonwood Bible. It’s been on my to read list for a while now.

  21. Martha May 19, 2015

    My votes would be for Heart in the Right Place & Tattoos of the Heart.  Both sound uplifting!

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  22. Sherri May 19, 2015

    The “Poisonwood Bible” intrigues me, since it is written from the point of view of 4 women and about a family with the same lifestyle as ours. I’m also interested in “Soul Tattoo”. Amy wrote that it inspired her to be a better person. I could use some inspiration right now! These look like great summer options!

  23. Esteci May 19, 2015

    While I’ve read and savored Poisonwood and Guernsey, I am keen to check out the two heart books– both memoirs!

  24. Jessica May 19, 2015

    The Poisonwood Bible looks interesting! I was just reading something somewhere (yeah, really helpful I know) about the Belgian Congo.  I think it had to do with King Leopold.  The details are hazy, but reading a fiction account sounds like it’ll be nice for in the summer!

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      Somewhere is a reputable source 🙂 … I’m familiar with it too!

  25. Brandi Riddle May 19, 2015

    Oh my, they all sound sooo good!  How am I to choose one?  I think I would like to read all at some point when time allows.  Maybe I’ll start with Tattoos on the Heart.

  26. Leona May 19, 2015

    Heart in the Right Place sounds perfect for my place in life right now!

  27. Lisette May 19, 2015

    I am looking forward to reading Tattoos on the Heart!

  28. Allysa May 19, 2015

    All of them!  But first choice is Heart in the Right Place.  What can I say, I’m a Tennessee girl!

  29. Judy May 19, 2015

    They all looked and sounded interesting and I love reading anything that has cultural dimensions to consider.  Summer is a busy time, but at the end of each day, my way to relax is always with a good book!  Thanks for these suggestions!

  30. Trish May 19, 2015

    I’d like to read Heart in the Right Place.

  31. Monica F May 19, 2015

    They all look great, I’ve read the Poisonwood Bible, so I’d go for the “Heart in the Right Place” or “Tattoos of the Heart”.

  32. Elisa Groth May 19, 2015

    Which one wouldn’t I like to read?  I would love to read all of them.  I’m especially interested in Heart in the Right Place and Tattoos on the Heart.  I’ve read the August pic but have also always wanted to read the Poisionwood Bible with a group.  I can’t wait for summer reading! Yeah!  What great pics!

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      This shows what a goof I am … I thought you were referring to pictures and I wanted to say, Amazon done good 🙂

  33. Grace L May 19, 2015

    I would love to read “Heart in the Right Place” and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. Thanks, Amy, for picking out more good books!

  34. Christy J May 19, 2015

    These all sound good. I have read The Poisonwood Bible and liked it a lot. Now I think I would like to reread it since I live in Africa. The others sound good as well, and I’m looking forward to having some time to read this summer!

  35. Jennifer A. May 19, 2015

    A sweet friend just recommended “Tattoos on the Heart” to me last week, and I cannot wait to get started on it!

    1. Amy Young May 20, 2015

      Love it when we hear about a book from more than one place!

  36. Laura R May 19, 2015

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society sounds like a great book! Yeah! for summer reading!

  37. Kim Atkinson May 20, 2015

    Wow! Great choices! Tattoos of my heart is my choice! Thankful for the heads up so I can see about shipping!!!

  38. Bayta May 20, 2015

    I’d love to read “Tattoos on the Heart” and “The Poisonwood Bible”. Have already read the Guernsey one and loved it! Looks like it’ll be a great summer 🙂

  39. laura r May 20, 2015

    Oh, there are some good reads there!  Looking forward to the summer.

    “Heart in the Right Place” sounds like a good read for where I’m at in life.. cross cultural in your own country.

    Looking forward to re-reading the middle two and interested in reading “Tatoos of my Heart.”

  40. Amy Grooters May 21, 2015

    Surprise me! I want to read all of them.

  41. Linda May 23, 2015

    I’ve had The Poisonwood Bible on my to read list forever!  Can’t wait to join in reading with other likeminded women.  You said it well in the post Amy, hard decision on what to follow the last great book with.  Thanks for these selections.  I’ve not read any of them.  Summer reading is always the best, no matter what continent you live in.

  42. J May 27, 2015

    Hi Amy,

    I am a bit late due to travelling. Firstly, thank you so much for including “The Poisonwood Bible.” I have read this but will look forward to re-reading and discussing the themes in the book. The other books look interesting on different levels, especially “Tattoos of the heart,” so I will try to join in where I can.

  43. Felicity Congdon June 14, 2015

    I am so late in replying, but new to the community so I just read this. I would love to read the Poisonwood Bible with you all in July!!

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