Book Club Pick: Lone Wolf

“The night after I went into the wolf enclosure for the first time I woke up to find my father sitting on the edge of my bed, watching me. His face was outlined with moonlight. ‘When I was in the wild, I was chased by a bear. I was sure I was going to die. I didn’t think there could be anything more terrifying,’ he said. ‘I was wrong.’ He reached out one hand and tucked my hair behind my ear. ‘The scariest thing in the world is thinking that someone you love is going to die.'” – Jodi Picoult’s Lone Wolf

I completely understand why so many of Jodi Picoult’s fans–myself included–refer to themselves as members of the “Jodi Pi-cult.” Lone Wolf, Picoult’s latest best-selling work now available as a beautiful paperback, is an unassumingly brilliant exploration of a family-in-crisis suddenly faced with an impossible question: if someone you love has been gravely injured with essentially no chance of recovery, do you artificially prolong their life or artificially induce their death? It should be no surprise to anyone familiar with Picoult’s impressive body of work that she handles such a complex issue with grace, humour and compassion, but what did surprise me was how exactly she did so. In Lone Wolf, Picoult explores a new family dymanic: that of wolf packs, and (pardon the pun) it makes for a howling good read.

Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves. He has written about them, studied their habits intensively, and even lived with them for extended periods of time. In many ways, Luke understands wolf dynamics better than those of his own family. His wife, Georgie, has left him, finally giving up on their lonely marriage. His son, Edward, twenty-four, fled six years ago, leaving behind a shattered relationship with his father. Edward understands that some things cannot be fixed, though memories of his domineering father still inflict pain. Then comes a frantic phone call: Luke has been gravely injured in a car accident with Edward’s younger sister, Cara.

Suddenly everything changes: Edward must return home to face the father he walked out on at age eighteen. He and Cara have to decide their father’s fate together. Though there’s no easy answer, questions abound: What secrets have Edward and his sister kept from each other? What hidden motives inform their need to let their father die . . . or to try to keep him alive? What would Luke himself want? How can any family member make such a decision in the face of guilt, pain, or both? And most importantly, to what extent have they all forgotten what a wolf never forgets: that each member of a pack needs the others, and that sometimes survival means sacrifice?

What I admire and respect the most about Picoult’s writing is her ability to take challenging moral issues and frame them within an addictive, page-turning story. I personally don’t think she’s ever done this better than she has with Lone Wolf: each chapter is narrated by a different character, making the story as rich and dynamic as the wolves that remain at its heart. There’s so much to talk about in Lone Wolf, and as such Simon & Schuster has prepared a handy Reader’s Group Guide to help get discussion rolling. I have some questions of my own as well, please feel free to use them within your own book club or to leave an answer in the comment section below!

  • What did you think of Picoult’s use of different narrators? Are there any chapters that you think would be interested in reading from a different point of view? How well do you think the font choices reflected the characters’ voices?
  • What would you do in Edward’s situation? Cara’s?
  • Do you feel any different about wolves having read this book?
  • What do you think lay at the heart of the Warren family’s problems? Is there any relation to the roles found in wolf packs?

Happy reading everyone!

Read an excerpt.
Explore Jodi’s website.
Read about the fascinating research Jodi did on wolves and the real life Luke Warren.
Last but not least: win up to ten copies of Lone Wolf for your book club!

Bones are Forever. Is Seeley Booth?

Update: Thanks to everyone who participated – I’m sure Tempe (both Book and TV versions) appreciate the careful consideration you have all put into her love life.
It was a tight race but Booth came out slightly on top with 117 votes to Ryan’s 101.
A fun fact: At least 20 people voted for Ryan because he’s Canadian. Go Canada!

Congratulations to Carol, who voted “Seeley Booth – how can you improve on perfection?”, for winning our Bones are Forever Prize Pack.

Keep following Simonreads.ca for more author news and giveaways!

Bestselling author Kathy Reichs is also the producer of and inspiration for FOX TV’s BONES – I’ve always been curious about the intersection of the two mediums. Her new release, Bones are Forever has given me cause to revisit that intersection.

The language in Bones are Forever caught me from the start. Reichs is not messing around here. We join Temperance Brennan (Tempe), as her she looks into the eyes of an infant before pulling its body from a bathroom vanity. Reichs shows her victims from the perspective of a forensic anthropologist, her vast knowledge adding a reliable base to the narrative.

Simultaneously, Reichs’ writing hits you in the gut with emotionality. Tempe’s encounters with these young deaths exist in the shadow of motherhood, her own daughter often coming to mind. As Tempe pieces the trail of murders together, she leaves the bleak Montreal bathroom for diamond mining country in Yellowknife, NT.

Along the way, we meet Lieutenant-détective Andrew Ryan. Sorry, that is, “smoking hot,” old-fling, Lieutenant-détective Andrew Ryan. Now, of course, I’m inclined to consider him in contrast to Seeley Booth. What would the TV-boyfriend of Tempe think of this run-in with her old fling? Who do you think is the more compelling love interest and why?

Leave a comment with your choice for Tempe – Andrew Ryan or Seeley Booth. Everyone who comments will be entered to win a Kathy Reichs prize pack, including a library of her books and seasons 1-6 of FOX TV’s BONES, on DVD.

By leaving a comment you’ve agreed to our Official Rules, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.
Contest Ends August 22, 2012.

Meet Kathy Reichs in Toronto.
Watch the trailer.
Visit KathyReichs.com.
Learn more about Bones are Forever.

Jennifer Weiner and Suzy Shier!

Just in time for summer we have a fantastic summer reading sweeps for all of you to enter!

We have partnered with Suzy Shier to give away some prize packs consisting of Suzy Shier gift cards and Jennifer Weiner books AND a signed copy of Jennifer’s new novel The Next Best Thing! For details and to enter click on the image below.

This contest is open July 2-31.

Win Jodi Picoult’s ENTIRE Collection!

Like most people, I was drawn to Jodi Picoult after seeing the trailer for My Sister’s Keeper.  When a certain buzz ascends around a book, I get this twitching feeling, guiding me towards the bookstore.  I always need to judge things for myself and of course, abide by rule number one: always read the book before seeing the movie.

Oddly enough, I never saw the movie.  But I did read plenty of Jodi’s books after that.  I also got my mom hooked, which means we collectively own the majority of her novels.  My favourite will always be Change of Heart, the story of a man on death row who begins performing a certain known set of miracles within his jail cell.  I specifically remember reading it on the dock at my uncles cottage, watching days slip past without me noticing.  Jodi is one addictive writer.  Her research is impeccable and her characters will seem more real than some of your friends.  She holds a personal space in my book-loving heart.

Now – after all that rambling – here’s what’s in it for you!  Jodi’s most recent book, Sing You Home is coming out in paperback and although this book is great, so are all her others.  So we thought it might be more fun, instead of offering a sweepstakes for the new book, we will offer a sweepstakes for all of the books!  Click on the image below and enter to win the complete collection of Jodi’s books!  This is one heck of a sweepstakes if you’re a Jodi fan, and even if you’re not, every woman on your Christmas list this year will love you.

Good luck!