Pick the book you would most like to read and discuss for the month of December. The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike In a small New England town in the late 1960s, there lived three witches. Alexandra Spoffard, a sculptress, could create thunderstorms. Jane Smart, a cellist, could fly. The local gossip columnist, Sukie Rougemont could turn milk into cream. Divorced but hardly celibate, content but always ripe for adventure, our three wonderful witches one day found themselves quite under the spell of the new man in town, Darryl Van Horne, whose hot tub was the scene of some rather bewitching delights. To tell you any more, dear reader, would be to spoil the marvelous joy of reading this hexy, sexy novel by the incomparable John Updike. Rats Saw God, by Rob Thomas In order to pass English class and graduate, 18-year-old Steve York has to write a 100- page essay about his life. What sounds like a run-of-the-mill writing assignment, however, becomes an excuse for Steve to reflect on the last four years (from Texas freshman to California senior), and figure out where it all went wrong. Maybe it was when he discovered that he really couldn't relate to his father, the Famous Astronaut. Or it could be because his "heart had been run through frappé, puree, and liquefy on a love blender" by his ex-girlfriend, Wanda "Dub" Varner. No matter where the finger of blame ends up pointing, it's a wild ride of self-enlightenment as Steve discovers that not all relationships are permanent, and that some--like the one with his dad--can be mended with a little work. With Steve, author Rob Thomas has taken a teenage outsider and given him a funny, intelligent voice: "There are those males who merely fill ear holes with tiny studs hardly big enough to offend a Marine. Not me. Most days I wear big hoops. When I combine the look with a doo rag, I'm a regular pirate." As with his other novels--Doing Time and Slave Day--Thomas proves his thorough grasp of young adult issues and emotions. Teens will appreciate the author's empathy and humor, and teachers and parents will examine his work for clues to the mystery of adolescence. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years—except Biff, the Messiah’s best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in this divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work “reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams” (Philadelphia Inquirer). Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healing, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior’s pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there’s no one who loves Josh more—except maybe “Maggie” Mary of Magdala—and Biff isn’t about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight. Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly (U.S. -- Seven Deadly Wonders) In ancient times, a Golden Capstone was placed atop the Great Pyramid at Giza during a rare solar event called the Tartarus Rotation. Once ever 4500 years, a superhot sunspot—the Tartarus Sunspot—aligned itself with Earth and caused immense worldwide flooding and sun-scorching. It is said that when the Capstone sat atop the Great Pyramid, no such flooding or solar damage occurred. And, according to legend, whosoever places the Capstone on the pyramid at the next Tartarus Rotation will gain absolute power over Earth for the next 1000 years. In 2006, the Tartarus Rotation will come again, but the Capstone is nowhere to be found. With the fate of global dominance hanging in the balance, nearly every world power sends forth its troops to locate the Capstone. Among them are the United States, the European Union, Israel, ruthless terrorists, and one other unusual force: a coalition of seven smaller nations that have decided that the Capstone is too powerfull for any one country to hold. So they band together against all odds and send an eight-man team to take on all the great forces in the chase. Led by an Australian super-soldier named Jack West Jr., the team includes a Canadian professor, two crack Irish commandos (one of whom is female), a Spanish paratrooper, a Jamaican soldier, an Arab commando, and a daredevil New Zealand pilot. And with them always is a little girl named Lily, the ten-year-old daughter of the Oracle of Siwa—one of the only two people in the world who can decode an ancient text that leads to the Capstone. This stalwart group embarks on a global journey filled with booby-trapped mines, stupendous ancient wonders, gigantic evil forces, and adventure beyond imagination. From the Colossus of Rhodes to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, from the Lighthouse at Alexandria to the Great Pyramid itself, fasten your seatbelts and hang on as the author of Ice Station and Scarecrow takes you on the adventure of your life! Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Once again, the Earth is under attack. Alien "buggers" are poised for the final assault. The survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the buggers. But who? Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical strategic master. And a child. Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battleschool. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. In simulated war games he excels. But is the pressure and loneliness taking a toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battleschool is just a game. Right?