Dear Mad Readers:

Our Mad River Book Club selections for the summer 2022 take us on journeys to France, Vietnam, Cyprus, England, India and America.   The first three books are written by long-time award-winning authors and the fourth book – a memoir by one of the world’s most admired CEOs.
See below for details of the selections and dates and times for each discussion. 
If you would like to join the Mad River Book Club, please email Barbara Lemaire at
Happy reading!
Mad River Book Club Summer 2022

Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin                     Monday May 16th  4:30
A poignant runaway bestseller full of French charm and memorable characters, Fresh Water for Flowers is Valérie Perrin's English debut, giving readers an intimately told story about a woman who defiantly believes in happiness, despite it all.  Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Random visitors, regulars, and, most notably, her colleagues—three gravediggers, three groundskeepers, and a priest—visit her as often as possible to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee that she offers them. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of their hilarious and touching confidences. Violettes routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of a man—Julien Sole, local police chief—who insists on depositing the ashes of his recently departed mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that the grave Julien is looking for belongs to his mothers one-time lover, and that his mothers story of clandestine love is intertwined with Violettes own secret past.
Em by Kim Thúy                                                        Monday June 20th 4:30
Emma-Jade and Louis are born into the havoc of the Vietnam War. Orphaned, saved and cared for by adults coping with the chaos of Saigon in free-fall, they become children of the Vietnamese diaspora. 
Written in Kim Thúy's trademark style, near to prose poetry, Em reveals her fascination with connection. Through the linked destinies of characters connected by birth and destiny, the novel zigzags between the rubber plantations of Indochina; daily life in Saigon during the war as people find ways to survive and help each other; Operation Babylift, which evacuated thousands of biracial orphans from Saigon in April 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War; and today's global nail polish and nail salon industry, largely driven by former Vietnamese refugees--and everything in between. Here are human lives shaped both by unspeakable trauma and also the beautiful sacrifices of those who made sure these children survived.
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak                         Monday July 18th 4:30
Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. This is an imaginative, multi-layered story reflecting the history of the volatile time in Cyprus in the 1970s between Greeks and Turks, the culture and religious differences, a civil war. A moving, beautifully written and delicately constructed story of love, division, transcendence, history and eco-consciousness, The Island of Missing Trees follows a family from late-20th-century Cyprus to present-day London. 
My Life in Full: Work, Family and our Future by Indra Nooyi           Monday August 22nd 4:30
An intimate and powerful memoir, Nooyi takes us through the events that shaped her, from her childhood and early education in 1960s India, to the Yale School of Management, to her rise as a   corporate consultant and strategist who soon ascended into the most senior executive ranks.  For a dozen years as one of the worlds most admired CEOs, Indra Nooyi redefined what it means to be an exceptional leader. The first woman of color and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company — and one of the foremost strategic thinkers of our time — she transformed PepsiCo with a unique vision, a vigorous pursuit of excellence, and a deep sense of purpose. In a rich memoir brimming with grace, grit, and good humor, My Life in Full offers a firsthand view of Nooyis legendary career and the sacrifices it so often demanded. 
Last book to be confirmed                                                   Monday September 26th 4:30