In the first story, by Richard Bausch, a grandfather watches as his granddaughter puts herself on a "strict program" of diet and exercise in order to change her status as the only girl in her class who cannot make it over the vault. In just one more day, this little girl's class will be performing the vault at an evening PTA program. What would you do if it were your child or grandchild?

Charles Baxter's piece, "Relative Stranger," brings us in close range of a meeting between brothers who share a birth mother in common, and not much else. What does it mean to be related? If our children love each other, is this love inherent in their genes?

The New Family makes an especially satisfying choice for our first selection for the Family Reading Room, because its intent as a collection is so close to our intent as a book group: to explore our families' individual meanings and relationships to the world at large, and to provide a context for a broader discussion of these themes.

So come one, come all to our first meeting. Children are always welcome; or take advantage of a worthwhile excuse for a short escape. We're looking forward to meeting you over a tall iced coffee or tea and a good book.

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