By The Book

October 11, 2017 NEWSLETTER
For Book Lovers and Other Curious People



Grant by Ron ChernowIt was a landmark event in our country’s history: the military surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate government at Appomattox signaling the end of the Civil War. So what was the victorious commander of the Union army thinking in this shining life moment? In Ron Chernow’s just-released epic biography, Grant, he writes, “Asked what was uppermost in his mind at this sublime moment in history, the sheepish Grant said prosaically, ‘My dirty boots and not wearing a sword.’” In this week’s episode of Just the Right Book Podcast, Chernow discusses with Roxanne how he filled more than 1,000 pages with an inside look at one of our most misunderstood presidents, who faced battles with poverty and alcohol before vaulting up the military ranks in the Civil War. Not surprising, in Grant’s own memoirs, there’s not “a single syllable about his drinking problem…or his terrible poverty,” Chernow notes on the podcast. “My job as a biographer is to probe the ‘silences,’ what the subject doesn’t want to talk about in his own biography.” He adds, “Great figures can carry the weight of their own defects. History is not the lives of saints.”


The Immortalists by Chloe BenjaminIf you were told the date of your death, how would that affect the course of your life? That’s the storyline of a book coming out in January and teased on our first October episode by Random House rep and former “Books on the Nightstand” host Michael Kindness. In The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, four adolescents sneak out to hear their fortunes from a mystical woman, and it takes off from there. For those who can’t wait, Michael, in his inspiring fashion, reels off a number of titles you can jump into today. Jump into this episode with notepad in hand!



October is National Reading Group Month. We salute everyone who belongs to a reading group and celebrates how good books bring people together. NRGM salutes reading groups, fosters their growth and promotes the love of literature – as do we at Just the Right Book Podcast. In the spirit of celebrating the joy of shared reading and insightful discussion, why not share our podcast with your group and encourage members to subscribe at your next gathering? Let us know how many people were able to subscribe and we’ll give you a plug to our thousands of followers on social media. Speaking of reading groups, Michael Kindness and Roxanne note in their episode what happens when some club members are not totally behind the monthly choice and, as a result, choose not to read the book and participate in the discussion. One of the joys of reading groups is to broaden your exposure to books you may not have known about or genres you may not have considered. Maybe some of you out there want to rethink that strategy.


Welcome to some 300 new newsletter subscribers from Wesleyan University, who no doubt signed up at the new Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore in Middletown, CT – owned by our podcast host Roxanne, who also owns the RJ Julia Booksellers flagship store in Madison, CT. We hope our newsletter chatter is worthy of your time – as well as our podcast. Let us know what you think.


Cheryl Strayed …into the wild, which was the basis of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Wild by Cheryl Strayed and later the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon. Strayed is the author of four books and writes the advice column, “Dear Sugar.” In an upcoming episode of JTRB Podcast, she tells her story and how curiosity at a young age set the tone for her life journey. “As a child, I was very probing,” she tells Roxanne. “In fact, my mother would say I could ask each adult only three questions, because she knew I would never stop. I always paid careful attention to people’s emotional realities.” Stay tuned for more.


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Thanks for listening. Now go read a book!

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