February Book Club Selection

The Language of FlowersThe Language of Flowers

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A She Reads Selection


I’m so pleased to share with you one of the best novels of the last year. I read The Language of Flowers in two days, passed it along to friends, and my book club just recently discussed it too — everyone has loved it.

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, aster for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes that she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market inspires her to question what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

This is an amazing book! I encourage you to pick it up. (Available on Amazon)

About the Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico, California. After studying creative writing and education at Stanford, she went on to teach art and writing to youth in low-income communities. She and her husband, PK, have three children: Tre’von, eighteen; Chela, four; and Miles, three. Tre’von, a former foster child, is attending New York University on a Gates Millennium Scholarship. Diffenbaugh and her family currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where her husband is studying urban school reform at Harvard.


The Language of Flowers is a selection of the SHE READS book club. If you love to read novels and you like discussing them with other like-minded women, this online book club is for you! Each month, the She Reads book club offers one current title as a featured selection. Readers have vast differences in taste, so diverse genres and authors are chosen, with a total of twelve books per year.

While the She Reads book club is run by Christian women, the books chosen are not necessarily “Christian” books, but they’re from a variety of genres and publishers. The website features a blog that regularly discusses books and authors; discussion forums; author profiles and interviews; and discussion questions you can use in your own book club.

Click here to visit Vanessa Diffenbaugh online.

Visit Vanessa’s Facebook page.

Click here to visit the She Reads homepage and blog.


I’m giving away two copies of The Language of Flowers. Leave a comment by Saturday (2/18) at 11:59 pm EST. I’ll randomly select two winners. (Winners must live in the US/Canada.)

How do you normally choose the novels you read?

Do you  belong to any kind of book club?


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Esther Thompson on March 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    As a floral designer, this book sounds intriging although I usually read mysteries.
    I don’t belong to a book club, but prefer to choose books that sound interesting at the library or order on online.

  2. Monica Watkins on February 17, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Very often I choose the books I read by word of mouth, suggestions from friends or a blog post like this one. I am not a member of a book club, but I would love to find one.

  3. Nancy Long on February 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    I usually choose books from recommendations of others or from browsing at Barnes & Noble or the public library. I find that oftens a book just calls out to me. Sounds strange, but it’s amazing how those are usually great reads.

    I don’t belong to a book club, but I do have a meditation group & we have book recommendations for each other.

    I definitely want to read this! It sounds fascinating.

  4. Brianna on February 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I do belong to a book club, but I’d love to find a different one. The one I belong to picks good books but the discussion falls apart in the first ten minutes and it becomes a current events discussion group. I’m the youngest one in the group and spent most of the time getting chastised for being young.

  5. Patricia Patteson on February 17, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    I’m open to all subjects, but particularly like history with a human interest story. I like to browse through novels whose titles catch my interest. Then if the story looks interesting I’ll buy the book. I love stories are very different from the ones I write so I can admire the writer’s creativity and freshness.
    I don’t belong to a book club–would love to but don’t have the time right now. I have recommended books to friends who belong to book clubs.

  6. Lori on February 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I find books either by word of mouth or a book review I may of read. Many times I just go by the cover.

    No, I do not belong to a book club. I should consider an online one.

  7. macolady on February 17, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    I find books by word of mouth. Have never belonged to a book club but would like to. The online option sounds like the best suit for my circumstances. Would love to read The Language of Flowers. Crossing my fingers to win!

  8. Holly on February 16, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I have a friend who is an author who gives me lists of authors/books. She also shares from her collection!

  9. Rachel Schieffelbein on February 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    I’m in a book club with a group of friends. Whoever is hosting gets to pick the book. We all have very different tastes. It’s great because it gets us to read things we may not have picked up otherwise.

  10. Ishta Mercurio on February 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I seek out books based on award nominations, friend recommendations, and reviews on blogs. But once I find them, I read the blurb on the back and the first few pages. If it sucks me in, I buy it. 🙂

  11. Jill on February 16, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Would love to win this book. I don’t belong to a book club, but chose books usually by what others say or who the author is compared to.

  12. Shae on February 16, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Ooh! Sounds intriguing. Sign me up for the giveaway!

  13. Melissa on February 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    This book looks really good, hoping to win it!

  14. Carol Benedict on February 16, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    I browse Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites for books in whatever genre I’m in the mood to read. I always read the preview pages of the ones that look interesting, and if they leave me wishing for more I’ll buy the book.

    I don’t belong to a book club, but in my Bible Study group we read and discuss books related to the topic we’re studying.

  15. April Nolen on February 16, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    This book sounds so interesting! If I don’t win it, I’ll probably end up buying it – I’m intrigued.

  16. Kathryn Barker on February 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Sounds like an inspirational book….a heroine coming out of foster care. A good friend and journalist, spent more than six years in foster care…a harrowing experience!

    My daughter and my mother seem to know the BEST books to read! However, I have found a few myself. I dislike being in a rut, although there are certain authors I consistently read.

    I am not a member of a book club. I do belong to a local Quills of Faith Writers group. Favorite books are often a topic of discussion!

  17. Sigal Tzoore on February 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I often will pick up a book at the bookstore because it’s cover called to me. If the title is also beautiful, I will then read the first page. If the first page makes me want to continue, I’ll buy the book. Sometimes I end up buying books I don’t enjoy, but this system mostly works for me. I love titles that have to do with animals (Like Water for Elephants or The Elegance of the Hedgehog) and I love titles that have to do with the moon (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon).

  18. J.M. Lacey on February 16, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    First I’d like to mention that your description of the book sounded just like a query and that’s a helpful example to me! I also have a few copies of the real “Language of Flowers” as I’ve been studying the Victoria era for the last 20 years. I’ve even used the books as my own guides when giving flowers to friends and past flames.

    I choose books several ways:
    1. Recommendations
    2. Description – will it appeal to my tastes?
    3. Then I try to read the first chapter before I buy it. I can usually tell the kind of content in the book by that first chap. It’s sort of my own screening process.
    4. I never buy a book simply because it’s popular and/or a “must read” on others’ lists.

    Thanks for another fun post!

    • Vivian Samuel on February 16, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      I too have the original “The Language of Flowers”. I have read it for both research and pleasure.
      When I first saw this novel I was intrigued by the title, and wondered how much it owes to the original. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet but I will simply to find out how much it pulls from the Victorian text.

  19. Jaci on February 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Sounds like a great read!

  20. Joslyn Morris on February 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    What a great recommendation! I work for Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s nonprofit organization, Camellia Network. Our mission is to help real young people across the country get access to the resources they need to be successful and thrive in adulthood. If you visit http://camellianetwork.org/book-club we also have a promotion where book clubs who register can have Vanessa call in to their Language of Flowers meeting. I encourage everyone to check it out. This novel is truly inspiring and we hope that Camellia Network will be a way to channel that inspiration into action!

  21. Zan Marie on February 16, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS is a wonderful book! I heard about it from a friend who knows my manuscript is about an abused foster child and she was worried it was my story. Of course, it isn’t, but I’m glad she mentioned it.

    Usually I find books by word of mouth and through other writers’ blogs.

  22. Jennifer M on February 16, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    I was our church librarian for years. I *volunteered* because the nice lady who was running it had no time to go and buy the books. Two minutes after beginning the book cull I found out how much garbage got stamped as Christian fiction because someone in the book said grace of they prayed for a parking spot at Stuffmart. I began to wonder then how some books had gotten published!

    But during that day of sorting, I met and fell in like with Jeannette Windle and Dee Henderson! Mizz Windle set one of her books smack in the middle of the Colombian jungle with the FARC! Holy barn owls Batman! Talk about tension! That woman can “show” a setting like no one I’ve read, one can feel the humidity of the jungle in her writing. She also confessed to having the US gov’t contact her to discuss her intimate knowledge of the DEA, her research is that good! I went out and read everything she wrote, but not the kid’s books. No soy loco.

    Dee Henderson has written some awesome nail biting crime fiction. I highly recommend her.
    I will read a book if the location is interesting and the characters face challenges way beyond their normal life. Windle wrote about the Santa Cruz airport, and the Bolivian mountains. When I arrived there, I went thermal because it was an exotic location and I walked where her characters walked! Her MC had to survive in a setting with really cool snakes and jaguars.

    If an author recommends someone, then I will check the book out and see if I can spend my time on it. If the book blurb intrigues me, then I’ll ask my literate friends their opinion. (I don’t ask my illiterate friends though, they get offended…)

    Cover art is becoming something that affects the buyer as well. If the cover is dull, then I wonder who chose it, because don’t we writers want to grab the reader instantly? Our world has a 3 second attention span and a demand for split second information. The cover has to wow the buyer enough to turn the book over and read the blurb.

    Unfortunately, I cannot commit to a book club because I am a hockey parent and have almost every evening booked well in advance, plus game cancellations take precedence over everything, including being in labor. Trust me.

    I’m also a junkie for missionary biographies. And anything set in South America. But I gave up reading Surfer Magazine when I got married. 🙂

  23. Marilyn Turk on February 16, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I love the story line of this book, so I want to read it even if I don’t win it.

    I started our book club a year and a half ago for two reasons: to promote Christian fiction and its writers, and to make myself read more. My favorite genre is historical fiction, so we started with that, but in the interest of the other members, I search for other Christian genres as alternate choices. As a result, we’ve read a variety – from historical to contemporary to suspense. I think the club will be interested in reading this book too. Thanks for telling us about it.

  24. Jan on February 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    We pass books around quite a bit at work, so I guess you could say we have a club of sorts. It’s great to work at a place where everyone reads!

    So some of my recommendations come from co-workers. I also like to read new books written by authors I’ve enjoyed in the past–which are sometimes misses, but it never hurts to try!

    I also love to search airport bookstores and sneak peeks at what other people are reading on planes (a little harder to do now, in the age of Kindle!)

  25. Brandi Ballard on February 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Most of the books on my wishlist come from suggestions from other people. I also go to a lot of readings and add books speakers have written or suggest. I’m interested in what inspires other people.

  26. Robin Coyle on February 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Interesting timing for me on your post. My book group met at my house on Monday and The Language of Flowers was our book selection for February. We had a very robust discussion about it – one of our best!

  27. Jane Steen on February 16, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    When not reading books acquired free for review, I usually get attracted by a book because it’s highly recommended by a book blogger or top Goodreads reviewer. I don’t belong to a book club.

  28. KarenM on February 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I love your blog, Rachelle , thank you for sharing. Sounds like an amazing book!

  29. Lynda (Benzeknees) on February 16, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I tend to pick books by author first. If I’ve read books by a particular author before & I like them, then I look for other books by the same author. I also pick books by recommendations from others. Most of my friends are not readers, so I rely on “Goodread” or other reviewers to point me in a good direction. If I don’t like their recommendation – I just don’t read anything else by the same author again.
    I do not belong to any book club or like organization. I would love to be a member, but I’m not sure how I would feel about others picking my reading material for me. If I found the book fascinating & read it all in a couple of days I would be chomping at the bit to discuss it while others may only be half way through the book. The types of books I like are also not conducive to book clubs – I like Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Wilfred Smith types of books. The larger the book, the better the read as far as I’m concerned.

  30. Lorna Kopp on February 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Thanks for having Vanessa as your guest today Rachelle:) “The Language of Flowers” sounds like a real tearjerker…amazing story! The story about homelessness hits home for me as our family of 6 lived in our van for a few weeks about 7 years ago now…so understand feelings of fear, hopelessness, etc. Would love to be entered for a chance to win:-) thanks.

  31. Dawn Allen on February 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I like word of mouth and reviews. If someone else is passionate about a book, I’m always excited to read it. I share books and reading choices with my students so I consider them my book club. They are a discerning audience.

  32. S. Laura on February 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I’m always in search of a new author with fresh perspective and rich language. This looks hopeful!

  33. Carole Anderson on February 16, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Anything that offers a second chance in life is up my ally for reading.
    This book sounds amazing!

  34. Lisa Marie on February 16, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t belong to any book clubs currently — goodness, I simply don’t have the time to discuss the books I read.

    When I choose a book, I typically stick within my genre, which is contemporary single-title. This gives me a good feel for what the publishing world is looking for and who I should be emulating. There are certain “trends” that I need to keep on top of. This is “research.”

    For sheer enjoyment, I pick books written by my “stand-by” authors I’ve adored since college: Eugenides, Murakami, Coupland, (Douglas) Cooper, and my favorite writer ever, Sarah Bird, also an Austin gal. First edition only. 🙂

    “The Language of Flowers” sounds beautiful — this exactly the type of book that my mom and I would both read and discuss.

  35. Heather Georgoudiou on February 16, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    This year I got tactical in choosing books, I composed a list of 26 books that covered a wide range of genres from historical fiction to world history to literary fiction. I complied the list from books I already had in my house that I had not read. I’m bad about buying books, putting them on my bookshelf and then reading something else.

    I’ll see how this works!!

  36. Christina Mercer on February 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    This sounds like a fabulous read. As a beekeeper, I love all things floral, and would be thrilled to win a copy of this book!

  37. Meghan Carver on February 16, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Although I don’t exclusively read Christian fiction, that is my first consideration in choosing a book. I also look at genre, if I know the author, and the first paragraph. The Language of Flowers sounds terrific!

  38. Julia Reffner on February 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    This sounds fantastic. I find the symbolism of flower names to be fascinating.

    How do I pick a book?

    1)Friend or family member recommendation

    2) Probably the most common way for me now to select a book is through looking at Goodreads reviews for those which which I have similiar reading tastes.

    3) Title Trakk and other review sites.

    4) And here I have to admit that I have added many more books from my wishlist from the list that amazon recommends based on my current wish list.

  39. Christina on February 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I walk along and lightly touch each books looking for a cover to catch my eye. No gaggy embracing and kissing allowed. If it passes that test I’ll read the back. My favorite’s are historical fiction and lately mysteries. No gaggy romance or light, fluffy stories for me.

    I’ve wanted to look into a book club but not sure of the stress of having to read one particular book within a time frame.

  40. Deborah Vogts on February 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Count me in on this book drawing. Would love to read this book. Thanks.

  41. Sally Bradley on February 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    I used to pick books by browsing book shelves. That was back in ’05.

    We no longer live near a bookstore. So I find books to read through blogs.

    I’ve heard of this book but didn’t know what it was about. Sounds like a good one.

  42. Nancy Petralia on February 16, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Almost 17 years ago two events coincided that changed my reading life. A friend at work told me she’d read The Celestine Prophecy and wished she had someone to talk with about it. And my husband decided he only read magazines and thought he should read more books. We invited several friends to read The Celestine Prophecy and discuss it in our home.

    That original friend never managed to make it, but our little group has been reading together ever since. In May we’ll hold a special celebration for our 200th consecutive month of The Book Club. Over the years a few have dropped out, and others added. Some years back neighbors at our shore home asked us to start a book club here. We said fine…as long as they’d read the same book as our Philadelphia group. (Both still working more than that was too big a commitment.) They agreed and are now on their 147th book.

    Our group is unusual in two ways. First, we’re absolutely committed to read the book each month, and show up for the discussion. Second, we have several men in the group which changes the dynamic and selections. We read fiction, non-fiction, classics and the occasional play. Now I read many other things outside of the Book Club selections-for enjoyment and to improve my writing. But I attribute my evolved reading taste, critical assessments and deepened friendships to meeting each month for discussion.

    • Rachelle Gardner on February 16, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Nancy, your book club sounds terrific! Funny, though, the secret to long-lasting success (6+ years) in the book clubs I belong to is exactly the opposite of yours… nobody is obligated to read the book, we still want them to show up even if they never cracked it open. And if you can’t come, you can’t come, it’s fine, we’ll see you next month.

      In my circles, everyone is in the kid-raising time of life, plus we all work in publishing (lots of reading required) so the freedom to not read the book is crucial!

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  43. Kathleen T. Jaeger on February 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    I have belonged to two different book clubs but am not a current member. I did enjoy the books I read there — it exposed me to more than I would have found on my own.

    How do I find books to read? I rely on a recommendation from a friend, or acquaintances, including on-line mentions, especially if it turns up in more than one place. I used to be able to browse the library or book-stores for books for me before I had kids. Occasionally I’ll pick up a book from a display the library has. I have read a lot of youth fiction in my quest of good literature for my children. I missed a lot of treasures in my own growing up years!! So that has been a treat — those searches have been from book lists from sources that I respect.

    Would love to read this one that you have highly recommended. And I’ll check-out She Reads, too. Thanks for the tips!

  44. Jan Udlock on February 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    I don’t belong to any book club. I select books only if they have a deep meaning or connection in my life.

    I so would love a copy of this book because my hubby works for the state in Adoptions and I wrote an article on Camp To Belong.

    Thank you.

  45. Terri Nestel on February 16, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    If I enjoy a book I look for more by that author. The Amazon feature “people who bought this book also bought…” is somewhat helpful. I also get recommendations from friends/family on facebook and our library distributes Book Pages (?) which often has great recommendations. And yes, I have been in book clubs in 3 different states – it is always the thing that makes me feel “at home” after a move!

  46. Cherry Odelberg on February 16, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Wow! This sounds like a wonderful book. Can’t wait to get it in my hands and get my eyes on it. The video trailer was interesting and informative – as I wondered how this type of premise would “work.”
    How do I choose my books? Emotionally. I will return over and over to reread a book that has touched me. I will read and reread trusted books until I stumble on (recommended, gifted, seen in passing) the next great read. To be a great read, for me, a book must teach me something profound, yet gently, lovingly. Sounds like this book will do just that.

  47. Abigail Cossette on February 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I choose books based on a recommendation, usually. Sometimes I’ll pick up this or that classic or influential books just because I haven’t read it and want to know what the fuss is about–but typically I rely on my friends, acquaintances, and favorite bloggers to find books to read.

  48. Ann Bracken on February 16, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I choose books based on recommendations of a few select people whom I trust. My main requirement is that it has to be well written.

    Having been a foster parent this book interests me. *hunting for it on my kindle* Thanks for the recommendation!

  49. Mona on February 16, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    I go for novels recommended by or written by friends. I don’t belong to a book club. If I’m not in the drawing for this one, I’ll certainly buy it. I’ve started a mg using a florist situation-write what I know and I know the workings of a flower shop!

  50. Carol McClain on February 16, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Hands down this is my kind of book–I love symbolism and as I read your post I knew if it were non-fiction, I’d buy it. As a fiction, I’d buy it too and wish that I had written it.

    The topic intrigues me. I worked in Romania where the orphans are just let go at 18 with no care to what happens to them. A social worker says much the same happens here. Then this book appears.

    Society is so tragic.

    Now I’m off to explore the book club.

  51. Libby Beilsmith on February 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    I am so excited about The Language of Flowers. I have worked in the child welfare system for five years as a licensed clinical social worker. I usually don’t select novels related to work because I need to get away from tough realities on my time off. This book will be an exception because of the theme that flowers can heal.

  52. Brenda Quinn on February 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    This sounds like a beautiful book on many levels. Thanks for this recommendation, Rachelle. And thank you, Vanessa!

  53. Sarah Thomas on February 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    I’ve heard such good things about this book! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    As for how I select books:
    1/3 – Books in my genre that I think I should read for comparison.
    1/3 – Books I’ve heard about or friends recommend or that catch my eye at the library (pretty covers–oooh).
    1/3 – Books my mom sends me. She makes me look like a novice reader and thanks to media mail, she keeps a constant stream of books headed my way.

  54. Zara Garcia-Alvarez on February 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    A lot of factors play into how I choose a novel I want to read. I tend to gravitate towards literary fiction, but I’ll read ANY good book. I usually recognize books I will most likely enjoy by its publisher. Them, though I hate to say it, I am drawn to books by their cover designs. If I recognize the author, and it’s one that I like, I’m more than likely to put the book on my reading list. And then, of course, I read the back cover for a synopsis. But, what makes me ultimately decide is what I see inside. I usually open a book up at a random spot and then read. If I like “the taste” of what I’m reading, I give it a shot. My mood also plays a part in my reading choices, just like when I decide what kind of movie I’d like to watch. When all else fails, I go with my “gut” instinct. Every book deserves a chance at being read. The only thing I regret is not being able to read fast enough to read ALL the books I want!

    Thanks for the giveaway. Vanessa Diffenbaugh is very personable. (I follow her on Twitter.) And I love the idea of communicating through the meaning of flowers.

    Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
    Email: zgarcia(dot)alvarez(at)gmail(dot)com
    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

  55. Diane Bailey on February 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    In the past I have read book by alllowing a friend to recommend one. But I now days I have gotten better at choosing my own.

    I would love to read The Language Of Flowers.

    • Diane Bailey on February 16, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      PLease note that my Website has changed

  56. Darlene on February 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    I am passionate about women discovering all that they were created to be. I read books full of passion, purpose, determination, coupled with using the pain for good. I coach women and instruct women. I recommend books daily and have classes as a Coach for Women.

  57. Mary Hamilton on February 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    I choose books by the back cover blurb–nothing with a strong romantic theme but if a little romance is woven into a strong mystery or interpersonal conflict, I’m attracted to it. I’m in a small book club that reads strictly Christian fiction. When I led the group, I tried to find new authors to introduce to the ladies in my group. They loved it and have followed several authors whose books we read.

  58. Terri Thompson on February 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    I love books in which language sets the mood and atmosphere, so the title alone makes me want to read this book. I used to choose books by cover/title/back cover copy. Now I usually read books written by critique partners since many are now being published. Not much time for a book club at this moment, though I’d love to.

  59. Heather Marsten on February 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Sounds like an awesome book, with a unique twist. Our local library has a book club. This month we’re reading Cutting for Stone by Verchese.

    In choosing a novel it is either by recommendation, or I’m reading ones mentioned by Maas or others who recommend good books for writers to read, or I read the back cover and the first few pages to see if it resonates.

    Have a blessed day.

  60. Marcy Kennedy on February 16, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    I have less time to read now than I used to and less discretionary money to work with, so I depend largely on recommendations. I know that’s not a guarantee since we all have different tastes, but it’s served me well so far 🙂

  61. Emily Reynolds on February 16, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    I’ve heard such good things about this book and would love a chance to win! I like the idea of a deep flaw in this MC, one that has the power to create pain for others. Most of my characters’ flaws don’t go that deep.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  62. CG Blake on February 16, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    I choose books based on three factors:

    The author.

    Book reviews or recommendations from friends.

    Whether I need to read a particular writer or work to help me with my work in progress. When I am stuck I usually read Anne Tyler, Alice Munro, Sue Miller, or Alice McDermott,

    I read all genres although I am drawn to stories about families in conflict because that is what I like to write,

  63. Susan Bourgeois on February 16, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    I choose books based on reviews and recommendations from family and friends.

    I love the story behind this book!

    I do not belong to a book club at this time. I’m in the process of writing my own novel.

  64. Wendy Paine Miller on February 16, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Bought this book based on word of mouth. So thankful I did. Loved it. I don’t look at flowers the same way because of it. Highly recommend this read. The author seems like someone I’d love to hang out with. And I relate with her writing style.

    Yep, I belong to a book club. We are a diverse group and I’m fairly new to it, but I swear, there is nothing like a good book to instigate a robust conversation.
    ~ Wendy

  65. Flower Patch Farmgirl on February 16, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I cannot wait to read this book! I’m so intrigued by the connection between the grit and the lovely.

    I will occasionally read a book based on a recommendation, but I have to really trust the source. Mostly, I choose based on the cover, title and description on the back that hook me. I just finished Next to Love by Ellen Feldman. It was the kind of book that almost made me think I should give up writing and leave it to the experts.

  66. Perrin Conrad on February 16, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    I wish I were in a book club, but I am always afraid I won’t have time to read the selections. I tend to read in spurts… One month, I might 3 or 4 books, but then I might go a few months without reading any (because I am obsessively working on my own).

  67. RS Bohn on February 16, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    I typically choose books based on the recommendations of others, particularly if they’re passionate about their rec. Then I’ll check out online reviews to get a clearer idea of whether or not I’ll enjoy the book.

    I’m not in a book club, unless you count informal conversations with friends. 🙂

  68. Sue Harrison on February 16, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    The book sounds wonderful! And it also sounds like it would be a winner for the reading club I belong to. We usually chose our books by recommendation – one of our group has read it or someone we trust recommends it to us. Our next choice is THE READING PROMISE by Alice Ozma. We’ve found so much joy in discovering books together!

  69. Jessica Nelson on February 16, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Wow, the cover is gorgeous!!! Please enter me. The story sounds intriguing.

  70. Dana McNeely on February 16, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    I choose books based on intriguing book reviews or blurbs. I’m also reeled in by a book cover that makes me wonder what’s behind it, or something in the author’s bio with which I identify. For example, Diffenbaugh was raised in Chico, CA. In my 20s, I spent a memorable summer there “helping” with an almond harvest. Long hours, sore muscles, a rooster outside my window before dawn, big worms vibrating among the almonds on the conveyer belt. 🙂

  71. Cathy West on February 16, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Loved this book! I hadn’t seen that trailer so thanks for posting it!! I choose my reading material based on recommendations, authors I know personally or authors that I’m already familiar with and have read before. If I don’t know the author, I do rely heavily on other people’s recommendations and I do read the reviews on Amazon or wherever.

  72. Thelma on February 16, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    I keep a running list of books I’m interested in reading. This has been on the list for awhile.

  73. Melissa on February 16, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    I don’t belong to any book clubs, but I *do* work in both a library and a bookstore. Usually I pick up books from one of those places based on co-workers’ and customers’ suggestions. I also listen to a couple genre podcasts for recommendations.

  74. Heidi M on February 16, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    I usually choose my books based on recommendations of friends and family, but I’m a bookstore browser, too. If a cover or a blurb catches my eye, I’m apt to try it!
    I do belong to a book club and I have the summer pick this year… thinking this might be a good choice!

  75. Sharon A Lavy on February 16, 2012 at 7:58 AM

    I am influenced by the books cover, the back blurb, and the first page.

    If a book has been recommended I will ignore the above criteria and give it a chance.

    Would love to win this one.

  76. Deborah Serravalle on February 16, 2012 at 7:44 AM

    Thanks for this recommendation. I love inspiring stories but try to stay away from sappy, in-your-face books. Vanessa’s novel sounds intriguing. As does her life. Which brings me to your question…how do I chose a read?

    I asked followers on my blog this question and got some very interesting responses. I do look at the author. Not necessarily first and foremost. But I want to know something of their story before I shell out my money for their book. Why did they write this book? On what authority? Background, etc about the author is interesting to me. Others feel very differently. Fair enough. But it does create good discussion.

    I hope I’m awarded a copy of The Language of Flowers. However, if not I’ll be sure to check it out online.

  77. Andrea on February 16, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    Oh, I’ve heard this book is good and given it to someone as a gift but haven’t read it yet.

    Lately, I’ve been finding novels to read through blog recommendations. And I’m choosier about the novels I purchase – I usually check them out from the library first, and then decide if it’s something I want to keep on my bookshelf to read again.

  78. Heather on February 16, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    I would love to win; this book sounds wonderful.

    I choose books based on recommendations from friends usually. I also usually buy books used, so another way is just by finding things that look interesting when browsing a used bookstore. I’m not part of a book club.

  79. Diana on February 16, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    When I go to the bookstore, I check to see if any of my favorite authors have a new book out. If I’ve read everything of theirs that is on the shelves, then I look at covers and titles until one catches my interest. Then I read the back blurb (I wish publishers would stop putting author pics on the back cover. That does NOT sell the book to me.) and if it sounds interesting, then I hold onto it and continue browsing. I usually end up with four or five books when I check out.

  80. Christina Kit. on February 16, 2012 at 6:02 AM

    Totally forgot to answer the question – I choose books based on the blurb and Goodreads and Amazon reviews

  81. Christina Kit. on February 16, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    I LOVE the sound of the story – especially how it spotlights what happens to 18 year olds after they leave the foster care system.

    Thanks so much for this giveaway:))

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  82. Nancy S. Thompson on February 16, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    I would love to read this book. Apparently, my library isn’t carrying it yet. These days, I pretty much only read what’s been recommended to me which often means titles are few & far between.

  83. EnnisP on February 16, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    The book seems designed to attract ladies – especially the cover – but the two themes: the ugly of bad experiences and the beauty of flowers are universal. I’m sure men could relate.

  84. P. J. Casselman on February 16, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    There are two ways that I normally choose novels to read. One is by recommendation from friends and online friends such as your blog. I’ve read a few from your guest bloggers, for example.
    The second way is by reading reviews in periodicals. While I’m partial to fantasy, I’m always on the lookout for a good historical fiction. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough Christian fantasy books in the mainstream market, so I occasionally peruse the indie market. Talk about a crap shoot. I’ve read some great indies, but too often get snake eyes.

  85. Angelica Hagman on February 16, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Love the personal story behind the book – can’t wait to read it! I belong to two book clubs and this definitely sounds appropriate for at least one of them.

  86. Neurotic Workaholic on February 16, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Most of the books I read are chick lit and (preferably funny) memoirs. The good thing about Amazon is that it’ll make recommendations for you based on your previous purchases, so that’s how I started reading other authors I hadn’t heard of before. And sometimes, when I’m browsing in a bookstore, I’ll look at the books with the most interesting titles. If the blurbs look good and the pages that I peek at are even better, I’ll buy the books.

  87. Paula Yantorno on February 16, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Sounds like another great book to add to our book club list!

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  89. Janey Goude on February 16, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    I normally don’t read novels. Oddity among writers, but I don’t enjoy reading for pleasure.
    This one, I must say intrigues me. I’m in awe of a fiction writer’s ability to come up with that kind of plot line. So unique. That kind of creativity is mind boggling to me.

  90. Beth K. Vogt on February 16, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Hhhm. A book based on the language of flowers. I’m intrigued.
    At the urging of my daughter, we started a mother-daughter book club. It was a lot of fun, for both the moms and the daughters. We compiled a list of books to be read from recommendations of a librarian friend of mine. The girls voted on which book to read and then we discussed the books and rated them. The club’s in limbo right now because of scheduling conflicts — but I hope to reactivate it soon!

  91. Camille Eide on February 16, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    (I’ve read this book on your recommendation/loan and want to get my own copy now!)

    I do listen to book recommendations, but also take into account vast differences in taste/style/resonance, so even when people rave about a book, I want to hear the premise and sample the opening pages and the writing to see if I can hang out with it for 300+ pages. This book’s opening pages gripped me. When my curiosity over a book has me 25 pages in before I know it, there’s a good chance I’m in. 🙂

  92. Joanne Bischof on February 16, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    I also choose books by recommendation most of the time. If someone suggests something they think I’ll enjoy, I’m much more likely to search it out and give it a go. I read the Language of Flowers and also finished it in just a few days. It was a very moving and well-told story!

    I belong to a book club but we read non-fiction. I’ve been involved for years and its a lot of fun as we’re always discussing whatever topic we’re on.

  93. Donna Pyle on February 16, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    I’ll be more likely to buy a book after receiving a recommendation from someone who’s read it. If I’m browsing in the book store, I buy based on a combination of (1) attractive cover, (2) inside/back flap blurbs, (3) setting. If those mesh, it’s a must buy! Congratulations, Vanessa, on the success of your book! Thanks, Rachelle, for recommending it.

  94. Cheryl Barker on February 16, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    I usually choose novels based on recommendations from others or because I’ve enjoyed another book written by the same author. I read some I’ve won through giveaways like this. Thanks for the chance to win a book you so highly recommend, Rachelle!

  95. Joan on February 16, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    I choose books by browsing. I love going into a bookstore and reading the jackets. I also read reviews in newspapers and magazines and pick up promising titles that way.

  96. Joseph Ramirez on February 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    I choose novels by the recommendations of people I trust, first and foremost. After that, it’s pretty much left to…

    1. the cover
    2. the blurb
    3. the first two or three pages

  97. Daphne Gray-Grant on February 16, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    I normally choose novels based on reviews and/or recommendations from friends. For a year, when I was much younger, whenever I read a book and required THAT book to lead me to the next one. (An author or another book had to be mentioned in the text or at the very least something concrete had to lead me to another book or author.) It was quite a fascinating journey and I only wish I’d been taking better notes so I could give some examples now.

    I don’t belong to a book club now because I HATE having to finish books I really don’t like. My last book club had me hating way too many books. I’m going to start a new club soon where we won’t all read the same book. Instead, each month members will have to bring at least one recommendation (of a book they read in the previous month) for everyone else. I think that will be a whole lot more fun!

  98. Iola on February 16, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    I don’t live in the US, so can’t enter the draw – and it seems I can’t even buy it on Kindle!

    Hmm… I see it is available for Kobo… but it’s more expensive… hmm…

    • Rachelle Gardner on February 16, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      It IS available on Kindle. Enjoy!

      • Iola on February 16, 2012 at 4:17 PM

        It’s not shown as available on Kindle here in New Zealand. It may well be available in the US, but the way Amazon is configured, if I can’t buy the Kindle version from here, it doesn’t show that there is one (and I guess US customers can’t see that it isn’t available in Asia/Pacific).

        Relating this back to your comments on Kodak: I know worldwide rights are a legal issue, but if the publishers want to remain relevant, they have to make sure English-language books are available wherever people speak English, not just in the US/Canada.

  99. Mary Ruth Pursselley on February 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    There are certain genres and styles of novels I generally prefer, so I usually look for new things to read within those categories first. I’m very eclectic, though, so I’m always open to try new things, especially if a friend has recommended them.
    The only book club I’m part of officially (I volunteer in an unofficial capacity as personal librarian for most of my friends) is paperbackswap.com. It’ll be the death of me sooner or later – scarcely a week goes by in which I don’t have at least one or two book coming or going.

  100. Jon Tan on February 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Sounds like a wonderful read! Can’t wait to share it with the club!