The No-Obligation Book Club picks its first read of 2014.

By Real Simple
Updated December 18, 2013
from the December 2005/January 2006 issue of Real Simple
Monica Buck

Hi, Bookies:

The reason I ask, of course, is because time is running out. To recap: Kelley Carter, Real Simple’s home department senior market editor, will lead the discussion of the winning book, chosen from the four below. Poll closes at 11:59 p.m. this coming Sunday, December 22.


The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., by Adelle Waldman

Waldman’s debut novel offers a sharp skewering of modern mating rites, as seen through the love life of one self-involved literary Brooklyn hipster.

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

January may be the perfect time to settle in and read Walter’s enchanting and acclaimed decade-spanning novel (a previous book club contender) of an enduring love that blooms in a tiny Italian seaside town in 1962.

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

Messud (The Emperor’s Children) returns with a seething story of an ordinary, middle-aged schoolteacher who struggles to free herself of the trap she believes her life has become.

Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, by Anatole Broyard

Likened to Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Kafka is the slim memoir of another writer who captures his city, and young manhood among artists and poets, in a time long gone: Greenwich Village just after World War II.