The Atlanta chapter of the Midtown Review Book Club met earlier this week to discuss SWAMPLANDIA! to mixed reviews.  We had a couple of full on haters in the group and a couple of people who weren’t sure what to think, but were glad they had read it.  If I’m being fair SWAMPLANDIA! wasn’t my favorite book of all time, but I do give author Karen Russell credit for taking us on an unexpected journey with some wholly original characters.

For October we’re going back about 10 years to read a book I have been meaning to read for… well… 10 years!  I’m pleased to announce our October Book Club Pick is BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett.  (If you read it when it first came out, now is the perfect time for a re-read!)

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening — until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

As always, we’d love to have your book club read along with us – or start a Midtown Review book club of your own by clicking here!

If you live in the Atlanta area you can join us to discuss the book.  Go to for all the details and to register!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor