The members of Real Simple's No-Obligation Book Club choose their May 2013 read.
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Paper construction of birdhouse by Matthew Sporzynski
Credit: Monica Buck

Hi, Bookies!

Our May discussion leader, Stephanie Sisco, is a rookie when it comes to the No-Obligation Book Club. But if you follow our Daily Finds newsletter, then you’re well familiar with her work: The assistant editor in Real Simple’s Home Department, Stephanie scours the decorating and organizing marketplaces to find smart products to recommend to you. As for what she’s recommending to us, book-wise, for our May read: We’ve got a great mix of fiction and nonfiction, mystery and history, real lives and invented ones. See below for your choices, then vote by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, April 22.


The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout

In the latest from Pulitzer Prize winner Strout (Olive Kitteridge), two brothers flee their tragic past and small Maine hometown for divergent lives in New York City. But a new family crisis—a nephew in serious trouble—calls them back to their home.

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, by Madeleine Albright

Just 2 when her parents escaped with her to London following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, the former secretary of State did not realize for decades just what had been lost in the war: the family who died in the Holocaust and her parents’ dreams of freedom for their birth land. She writes movingly of tragedies both personal and historical in this memoir.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler

Beautiful and witty, as glittering and fast-living as any of her husband’s famous Jazz Age characters, Zelda Fitgerald was equally as doomed. But when she wasn’t Mrs. Scott Fitzgerald, half of one of the most notorious couples in the literary world, who was she?

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin

Two boyhood friends in rural Mississippi find themselves on opposite sides when a pair of young women disappear, more than 20 years apart. One of the men, still a local, has long been under suspicion. The other, who’d left years before, has just returned as the constable. Which of the men—if either—is the true culprit?