Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Giveaway of The Cradle by Patrick Somerville

Valerie and Hatchette Book Group are generously sponsoring a giveaway of The Cradle by Patrick Somerville.

About the Book:
Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline's sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.

Only as Matt tries to track down his wife's mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality, a mysterious life that grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains, and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline's trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will forever change Marissa's life, and faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.

Elegant and astonishing, Patrick Somerville tells the story of one man's journey into the heart of marriage, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. Confirming the arrival of an exuberantly talented new writer, The Cradle is an uniquely imaginative debut novel that radiates with wisdom and wonder.

About the Author:
Patrick Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later earned his MFA in creative writing from Cornell University. He is the author of the story collection Trouble (Vintage, 2006), and his writing has appeared in One Story, Epoch and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives with his wife in Chicago, and is currently the Blattner Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Northwestern University. This is his first novel.

The Cradle comes with a Reading Group Guide, which I've reproduced below. The author also shares a list of books that have influenced his own work as a writer. I love learning about a writer's influences - here's the link to the list of 51 books that most influenced Patrick Somerville.

Reading Group Guide, courtesy of the publisher:
1. What does Matt mean when he tells Joe, "You're free," as they eat breakfast in the diner?

2. In your opinion, what is the significance of the cradle?

3. Renee's story occurs more than a decade after Matt's, and in many ways the two characters exist in different worlds. How are their respective quests similar? How are their journeys different?

4. Why does Marissa cry on her wedding day?

5. Why do you think Matt rips the showerhead out of the wall?

6. In the novel's first chapter, Marissa claims,"There are two kinds of people in the world. There are people who understand that everything matters and people who don't understand that everything matters" (page 6). What does she mean by this? Is she serious? Use her statement as a way to think about the various characters in the book.

7. How is writing poetry different for Renee than her work writing children's books? Why do you think she struggles so much with the former, and how does that struggle change in the course of the novel? How does Renee's understanding of Walt Whitman's work play a role?

8. Matt comes to the realization that "the world never just happened but rather was made by people, each and every aspect of it" (page 157). How does this realization affect his sense of personal responsibility?

9. Who was the character you most identified with at the beginning of the novel? Did that change by the conclusion of the story?

10. Why do you think that, following Matt's return, Marissa never again asked about the cradle?

Want your own copy? Sign up below!


To enter please tell us about one new release book that you're looking forward to reading.

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.

The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on May 5, 2010.

Thank you so much Valerie and Hatchette for sponsoring this giveaway!


  1. This one sounds good! I just received my copy of Between Friends by Kristy Kiernan and cannot wait to read it. Also can't wait to read The Swimming Pool.

  2. Thank you so much for this giveaway! "The Cradle" has been on my wish list since I first read a very early review! A unique, intriguing story line! Another new book that I very much look forward to reading is "Bone Fire" by Mark Spragg. He wrote "An Unfinished Life", one of my favorites. It was made into a great movie starring Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman.

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

    US Resident, Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  3. I'm looking forward to reading Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs.

    I'm a follower.

  4. I can't wait to read Postcard from James Patterson

    already a follower
    msboatgal at

  5. I am a follower. I have heard that Three Wishes is a good book and I would like to read it.

  6. I would like to read The Bride Collector.
    This book sounds really good and I would like to win and read it.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com
    I follow by google reader.

  7. I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. Another book I'm looking forward to is Anne LaMott's new novel "Imperfect Birds"- she is terrific.

    Thanks for the opportunity my email address is
    laruediane2000(at)yahoo(dot)com and I subscribe to your great blog!

  8. A book I am looking forward to is Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner. This book also sounds good and is a book I am looking forward to reading especially since it is set here in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

    bthgordon at yahoo dot com

  9. I'm looking forward to Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins!

    I follow!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  10. Please include me! I'm a follower!

    dcf_beth at verizon dot net

  11. I'm looking forward to reading Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear.
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  12. I'm looking forward to:

    Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
    ~It's a sequel to last years Perfect Chemistry, which I loved!

    Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
    ~#4 in the Kate Daniels series. I can't wait to see what happens with Kate & Curran. ;0)

    Kitty Goes To War by Carrie Vaughn
    ~#8 in the Kitty Norville series. Cormac is back! Woohoo! I've missed him.

    I follow. :0)

    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

  13. Hi! I'm a new follower and I am looking forward to reading The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer, which I recently acquired. Thank you for the contest.

    hrbeck_98 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. I'm looking forward to reading Fever Dream by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

  15. I am looking forward to reading Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci. I am also one of your followers.

    Thank you,


  16. I am looking forward to reading Innocent by Scott Turow. Please enter me. Thanks!

    I am a follower!


  17. I'm looking forward to Chelsea CHelsea Bang Bang.


  18. I can hardly wait to begin reading Sarah Sundin's A Distant Melody. It's next on my list. I would love to win this book. Please include me in your giveaway. I am a follower.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  19. I'm looking forward to reading 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan.

    I'm a follower.

    Please enter me in this giveaway!

    familyhistree at yahoo dot com

    Sarah E

  20. the dome by stephen king

  21. Im looking forward to reading Girl in Translation.
    I am a follower on GFC.

  22. I am looking forward to the release of "Every Last One: A Novel" by Anna Quindlen

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  23. Follower

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  24. I am looking forward to Sweet Tea at Sunrise by Sherryl Woods.

    I am a follower/subscriber.

    Pam S

  25. I'm looking forward to reading Naamah's Curse.

  26. sounds like a great book that I would love to win.