Book Club Kits

Book Club Kits

If you belong to a book discussion group or would like to start one, you’re invited to check out our selection of book club kit titles. Each kit contains multiple copies of a title and a master book discussion guide. Funding for this collection was provided by the Friends of the Manitowoc Public Library.

For additional info, please contact:

Laura Schreiner
Materials Management
lschreiner@manitowoc.org
920-686-3011

100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared, The by Jonas Jonasson

Confined to a nursing home and about to turn 100, Allan Karlsson, who has a larger-than-life back story as an explosives expert, climbs out of the window in his slippers and embarks on an unforgettable adventure involving thugs, a murderous elephant and a very friendly hot dog stand operator.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro

 American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars. As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet’s life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 Rue Therese. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise’s life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.
Genre: Book Club Kit

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

What started as a request for an out-of-print book evolved into a 20-year friendship between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York, and Frank Doel, a used-book dealer in London.

Genre: Book Club Kit

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed “Zippy” for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period-people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.

Genre: Autobiography, Biography, Book Club Kit, Staff Picks
Subjects: Biography City and town life, Girls

A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck

A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A grumpy, yet loveable man, finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door

Genre: Book Club Kit

About A Boy by Nick Hornby

Thirty-something, unmarried and very cool Londoner, Will Lightman’s search for eligible young women leads him to invent a young son so as to join Single Parents Alone Together, support group for single parents. As he is very proud of his superficiality, it appears at first to be the perfect solution, a place to meet beautiful women with whom he can have brief affairs but who will eventually dump him in favor of someone more suitable. Complications set in when Will meets Marcus, an impossibly uncool, twelve year old. Once Will lets Marcus into his life, he finds that not only is he capable of getting close to another person but it can be good thing as well.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Now in her twilight years, Alice Liddell looks back on a remarkable life. From a pampered childhood in Oxford to difficult years as a widowed mother, Alice examines how she became who she is–and how she became immortalized as Alice in Wonderland.

Genre: Book Club Kit

All Shook Up: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Changed America by Glenn C. Altschuler

The birth of rock ‘n roll ignited a firestorm of controversy–one critic called it ‘musical riots put to a switchblade beat’–but if it generated much sound and fury, what, if anything, did it signify? As Glenn Altschuler reveals in All Shook Up, the rise of rock ‘n roll–and the outraged reception to it–in fact can tell us a lot about the values of the United States in the 1950s, a decade that saw a great struggle for the control of popular culture. Altschuler shows, in particular, how rock’s ‘switchblade beat’ openedup wide fissures in American society along the fault-lines of family, sexuality, and race

Genre: Book Club Kit

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Considered one of the greatest mysteries of all times, ten strangers, each with a dark secret, are gathered together on an isolated island by a mysterious host. One by one, they die, and before the weekend is out, there will be none.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Annie Freeman’s Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish

For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine’s oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request-a traveling funeral-and she wants the most important women in her life as “pallbearers.”
From Sonoma to Manhattan, Katherine, Laura, Rebecca, Jill, and Marie will carry Annie’s ashes to the special places in her life. At every stop there’s a surprise encounter and a small miracle waiting, and as they whoop it up across the country, attracting interest wherever they go, they share their deepest secrets-tales of broken hearts and second chances, missed opportunities and new beginnings. And as they grieve over what they’ve lost, they discover how much is still possible if only they can unravel the secret Annie left them….

Genre: Book Club Kit

Art of Fielding, The by Chad Harbach

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, she visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood. The resulting narrative is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Thirteen-year-old Briony sees her older sister, Cecilia, strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain of their country estate. Also watching is Robbie Turner, a childhood friend and son of the housekeeper, who with Cecilia has recently graduated from Cambridge. By the end of the day the lives of all will be changed forever, Robbie and Cecilia crossing a boundary they had never dared approach and Briony committing a dreadful crime, the guilt staying with her for life.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket–and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship–and forgiveness–can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

Eliza Neumann, a seeming unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father’s spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Mirriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam’s secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian

For ten summers, all three generations of the Seton family met at their country home in New England to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family and the convictions that just might pull it apart.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

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. Roxane 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.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Bone House, The by Brian Freeman

Hilary and Mark Bradley are trapped in a web of suspicion. Last year, accusations of a torrid affair with a student cost Mark his teaching job and made the young couple into outcasts in their remote island town off the Lake Michigan coast. Now another teenage girl is found dead on a deserted beach. . . and once again, Mark faces a hostile town convinced of his guilt.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On A Northern Michigan Farm by Mardi Link

It’s the summer of 2005, and Mardi Jo Link’s dream of living the simple life has unraveled into debt, heartbreak, and perpetually ragged cuticles. But when she and her husband call it quits, leaving her more broke than ever, Link makes a seemingly impossible resolution: to hang on to her northern Michigan farm and continue to raise her boys on well water and wood chopping and dirt. Armed with an unfailing sense of humor and three resolute accomplices, Link confronts blizzards and coyotes, learns about Zen divorce and the best way to butcher a hog, dominates a zucchini-growing contest and wins a year’s supply of local bread, masters the art of bargain cooking, deals with rampaging poultry, and finds her way to a truly rich existence.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Boys in the Boat, The by Daniel Brown

This book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. It traces the story of the team that defeated elite rivals at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder, and a homeless teen rower.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

At the age of twelve, Sophie Caco is sent from her impoverished village of Croix-des-Rosets to New York, to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know, and a legacy of shame that can be healed only when she returns to Haiti — to the women who first reared her.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, The by Junot Diaz

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Christmas Town, The by Donna VanLiere

Lauren Gabriel has spent many years of her life in foster homes. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day. On a drive to clear her head, she witnesses an accident and suddenly finds herself being pulled into the town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

Genre: Book Club Kit

Co. Aytch: A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War by Samuel R. Watkins

A classic Civil War memoir, Co. Aytch is the work of a natural storyteller who balances the horror of war with an irrepressible sense of humor and a sharp eye for the lighter side of battle. It is a testament to one man’s enduring humanity, courage, and wisdom in the midst of death and destruction.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Coincidence of Coconut Cake, The by Amy Reichert

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff–with an intern. Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game–but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

A wounded disillusioned Confederate soldier decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Ada, the young woman he left there years before.
Genre: Book Club Kit

Colors of the Mountain by Da Chen

In 1962, as millions of Chinese citizens were gripped by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and the Red Guards enforced a brutal regime of communism, a boy was born to a poor family in southern China.  Da Chen, the youngest child, seemed destined for a life of poverty, shame, and hunger.  He befriends a gang of young hoodlums as well as the elegant, elderly Chinese Baptist woman who teaches him English and opens the door to a new life. Chen’s remarkable story is full of unforgettable scenes of rural Chinese life: feasting on oysters and fried peanuts on New Year’s Day, studying alongside classmates who wear red armbands and quote Mao, and playing and working in the peaceful rice fields near his village.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he’s put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart. In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of ‘hardcore’ reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison’s commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book’s climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the ‘Civil Wargasm.’

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Set against the wild terrain of northern Ontario, orphan Kate Morrison and her siblings are bound together by loss. None of them could have expected the tumultuous times ahead, least of all Kate’s older brothers, Matt and Luke. Twenty years later, the sacrifices they made and the promises they broke would continue to reverberate through their lives and the quiet rural community of Crow Lake.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The by Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school’s rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.
Genre: Book Club Kit

Devil in the White City, The: Murder, Magic, and Madness At the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson’s spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men — the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World’s Fair, striving to secure America’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron

The story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat, starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the book return slot at the Spencer, Iowa, Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility (for a cat), and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.
Genre: Book Club Kit

Dirty Life, The: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

After interviewing a young farmer, writer Kristen Kimball gave up her urban lifestyle to begin a farm with her interviewee near Lake Champlain in northern New York.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Ditch Flowers by Amanda Linsmeier

A baby. Just holding one sets Julia’s heart thumping. She’s wanted a child for so long. When she finally gets pregnant, she’s bursting to tell the world…until a checkup from the doctor confirms a miscarriage. Julia’s world feels like it’s dissolving. This second tragedy following her father-in-law’s death, shakes her and her husband Greg. To support his mother, they uproot their lives and move to Greg’s childhood home. Under the bright Midwestern sky, Julia can feel a new world and new hope beginning. But trouble comes in threes, and soon a boy shows up at Julia’s new daycare whose blue eyes and freckled face look eerily like Greg’s. Despite her love for her husband, Julia finds her thoughts haunted by the boy’s face, and she can’t shake the feeling that her husband has a secret.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Dream Lover, The by Elizabeth Berg

At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name–George Sand–and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach–a dream?

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Eighty-Dollar Champion, The by Elizabeth Letts

The Eighty-Dollar Champion tells the dramatic odyssey of a horse called Snowman, saved from the slaughterhouse by a young Dutch farmer named Harry. Together, Harry and Snowman went on to become America’s show-jumping champions, winning first prize in Madison Square Garden. Set in the mid- to late-1950s, this book captures the can-do spirit of a Cold War immigrant who believed–and triumphed.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is  drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Is Ender the general Earth needs?

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath

Eleven-year-old Primrose living in a small fishing village in British Columbia recounts her experiences and all that she learns about human nature and the unpredictability of life in the months after her parents are lost at sea.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Eyre Affair, The by Jasper Fjorde

England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde’s ingenious fantasy—enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel—unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Face On the Milk Carton, The by Caroline B. Cooney

The picture of a missing child printed on a milk carton attracts the attention of 15-year-old Jane Johnson. A glimpse of the girl’s polka-dot dress causes memories to surface, and Jane begins to review her past and question her true identity. It is nearly impossible for Jane to perceive her loving parents as kidnappers; the task of gathering evidence and drawing conclusions proves less difficult than confronting the undeniable truth.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Falls, The by Joyce Carol Oates

It is 1950 and, after a disastrous honeymoon night, Ariah Erskine’s young husband throws himself into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls. Ariah, “the Widow Bride of the Falls,” begins a relentless seven-day vigil in the mist, waiting for his body to be found. At her side is confirmed bachelor and pillar of the community Dirk Burnaby, who is unexpectedly drawn to her. What follows is a passionate love affair, marriage, and family — a seemingly perfect existence. But tragedy soon takes over their lives, poisoning their halcyon years with distrust, greed, and murder.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

Every time Mr. Fox steals a chicken from the farm, Farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean grow wild with rage. They’re the nastiest crooks in the valley, and they’ve concocted a cunning plan to dig him out of his hole once and for all. But it never occurs to them that Mr. Fox has a fantastic plan of his own…

Genre: Book Club Kit

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser

Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That’s a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis

The United States was more a fragile hope than a reality in 1790. During the decade that followed, the Founding Fathers-re-examined here as Founding Brothers-combined the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with the content of the Constitution to create the practical workings of our government. Through an analysis of six fascinating episodes-Hamilton and Burr’s deadly duel, Washington’s precedent-setting Farewell Address, Adams’ administration and political partnership with his wife, the debate about where to place the capital, Franklin’s attempt to force Congress to confront the issue of slavery and Madison’s attempts to block him, and Jefferson and Adams’ famous correspondence.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life Of A Critic In Disguise by Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world–a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us–along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews–her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Nearly 25 years after Housekeeping , Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations, from the Civil War to the 20th century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. In the words of Kirkus , it is a novel “as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering.” Gilead tells the story of America and will break your heart.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Girl on the Train, The by Paula Hawkins

 Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning, flashing past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stopping at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. Their life, as she sees it, is perfect … until she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but now everything is changed. Rachel goes to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Genre: Book Club Kit

Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

A poor seventeenth-century servant girl knows her place in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, but when he begins to paint her, nasty whispers and rumors circulate throughout the town.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The by Stieg Larsson

The disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden, gnaws at her octogenarian uncle, Henrik Vanger. He is determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. He hires crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently at the wrong end of a libel case, to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old, pierced, tattooed genius hacker, possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age–and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness–assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, an astonishing corruption at the highest echelon of Swedish industrialism–and a surprising connection between themselves.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Giver, The by Lois Lowry

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Glass Castle, The by Jeannette Walls

The glass castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from police and the media — as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents — the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter — but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they really know the one they love.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Graveyard Book, The by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack–who has already killed Bod’s family.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Greatest Generation, The by Tom Brokaw

The NBC-TV anchorman describes the World War II generation by chronicling the stories of 50 individuals who grew up in the Great Depression, fought and won World War II and came home to rebuild our nation.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The by Mary Ann Shaffer

As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey–a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado

As the haves and have-nots grow more separate and unequal in America, the working poor don’t get heard from much. Now they have a voice. Here, Linda Tirado tells what it’s like, day after day, to work, eat, shop, raise kids, and keep a roof over your head without enough money. She also answers questions often asked about those who live on or near minimum wage: Why don’t they get better jobs? Why don’t they make better choices? Why do they smoke cigarettes and have ugly lawns? Why don’t they borrow from their parents? Tirado discusses openly how she went from lower-middle class to sometimes middle class to poor, and everything in between, and in doing so reveals why “poor people don’t always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should.”

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Haunted Wisconsin by Michael Norman

Grab a cozy blanket, light a few flickering candles, and enjoy the unnerving tales of Haunted Wisconsin . Gathered from personal interviews with credible eyewitnesses, on-site explorations, historical archives, newspaper reports, and other sources, these scores of reports date from Wisconsin’s early settlement days to recent inexplicable events.
You’ll read about Wisconsin’s most famous haunted house, Summerwind; three Milwaukee men who encountered the beautiful ghost of National Avenue; a phantom basketball player; a spectral horse that signaled death in the pioneer era of the Wisconsin Dells; a poltergeist in St. Croix County who attracted a crowd of more than three hundred spectators; the Ridgeway Ghost who haunts the driftless valleys of southwestern Wisconsin; a swinging railroad lantern held by unseen hands; the Ghost Island of the Chippewa Flowa≥ and many others. Are ghosts real? That’s for you to decide!

Genre: Book Club Kit

Help, The by Kathryn Stockett

In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women–black and white, mothers and daughters–view one another.
Genre: Book Club Kit

Hindi-Bindi Club, The by Monica Pradhan

For decades they have remained close, sharing treasured recipes, honored customs, and the challenges of women shaped by ancient ways yet living modern lives. They are the Hindi-Bindi Club, a nickname given by their American daughters to the mothers who left India to start anew–daughters now grown and facing struggles of their own. For Kiran, Preity, and Rani, adulthood bears the indelible stamp of their upbringing, from the ways they tweak their mothers’ cooking to suit their Western lifestyles to the ways they reject their mothers’ most fervent beliefs. Now, bearing the disappointments and successes of their chosen paths, these daughters are drawn inexorably home. Kiran, divorced, will seek a new beginning–this time requesting the aid of an ancient tradition she once dismissed. Preity will confront an old heartbreak–and a hidden shame. And Rani will face her demons as an artist and a wife. All will question whether they have the courage of the Hindi-Bindi Club, to hold on to their dreams–or to create new ones.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Hobbit, The by J.R.R. Tolkien

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment–and redemption.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Hot Dogs and Hamburgers by Rob Shindler

In this heartwarming story, author Rob Shindler tells how he offered his time, unflagging energy, and unconventional teaching techniques to help a boy with serious learning differences and adults suffering from low literacy levels. A father who wanted to help his son with his reading deficiencies, Rob discovered the way to that goal was through volunteering at the Literacy Center of Chicago. There, he learned firsthand how ridiculous the common misconceptions are about learning disabilities and adult illiteracy. The assortment of students he taught were ambitious people who were eloquent, driven, clever, and so funny they made him laugh out loud. Here, Rob shares his students’ pain and humiliations, frustrations and hopes. Hot Dogs & Hamburgers demonstrates that literacy issues reside in all neighborhoods and that its victims are committed to finding dignity and life’s possibilities through learning to read. Rob’s teaching experiences are so motivating and rewarding that once you’ve read his story, you’re likely to begin your own journey as a literacy tutor.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford

Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the heartwarming story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Hundred-Foot Journey, The by Richard Morais

Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan Haji first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumi, a small village in the French Alps.
The boisterous Haji family takes Lumi by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais–that of the famous chef Madame Mallory–and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Hunger Games, The by Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Husband’s Secret, The by Liane Moriarty

 Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret, something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive.
Genre: Book Club Kit

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala‘s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

I Work At A Public Library by Gina Sheridan

From a patron’s missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, Sheridan showcases the oddities that have come across her circulation desk: encounters with local eccentrics; bizarre reference requests; and heart-warming stories of patrons who roam the stacks every day.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, The by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells–taken without her knowledge–became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Inn At Lake Devine, The by Elinor Lipman

It’s the early 1960s and Natalie Marx is stunned when her mother inquires about vacation accommodations in Vermont and receives a response that says, “The Inn at Lake Devine is a family-owned resort, which has been in continuous operation since 1922. Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles.” So begins Natalie’s fixation with the Inn and the family who owns it.  And when Natalie finagles an invitation to join a friend on vacation there, she sets herself upon a path that will inextricably link her adult life into this peculiar family and their once-restricted hotel.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

In a compelling book that evokes the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Jack London, Krakauer recounts the haunting and tragic mystery of 22-year-old Chris McCandless who disappeared in April 1992 into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw, transcendent experience. His emaciated corpse was discovered four months later.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of the bestseller Into the Wild. On assignment for Outside Magazine to report on the growing commercialization of the mountain, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world. A rangy, thirty-five-year-old New Zealander, Hall had summited Everest four times between 1990 and 1995 and had led thirty-nine climbers to the top. Ascending the mountain in close proximity to Hall’s team was a guided expedition led by Scott Fischer, a forty-year-old American with legendary strength and drive who had climbed the peak without supplemental oxygen in 1994. But neither Hall nor Fischer survived the rogue storm that struck in May 1996.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza can’t sit still. He can’t pay attention, he can’t follow the rules, and he can’t help it — especially when his meds aren’t working. Joey’s had problems ever since he was born, problems just like his dad and grandma have. And whether he’s wreaking havoc on a class trip or swallowing his house key, Joey’s problems are getting worse. In fact, his behavior is so off the wall that his teachers are threatening to send him to the special-ed center downtown. Joey knows he’s really a good kid, but no matter how hard he tries to do the right thing, something always seems to go wrong. Will he ever get anything right?

Genre: Book Club Kit

John Muir: The Story Of My Boyhood And Youth by John Muir

Muir recounts in vivid detail the three worlds of his early life: his first eleven years in Scotland; the years 1849-1860 in the central Wisconsin wilderness; and two-and-a-half most inventive years at the University of Wisconsin during that institution’s infancy.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Juliet by Anne Fortier

When Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy, she is told that it will lead her to an old family treasure. Soon she is launched on a winding and perilous journey into the history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo rocked the foundations of medieval Siena. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families immortalized in Shakespeare’s unforgettable blood feud, she begins to realize that the notorious curse–“A plague on both your houses!”–is still at work, and that she is the next target. It seems that the only one who can save Julie from her fate is Romeo–but where is he?

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Killer Angels, The by Michael Shaara

In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Kitchen House, The

In 1790, Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant with the kitchen house-slaves. Though she becomes deeply bonded to her new family, Lavinia is also slowly accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. As time passes she finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds and when loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare and lives are at risk.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Kite Runner, The by Khaled Hosseini

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons; their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Lady And The Unicorn, The by Tracy Chevalier

Paris, 1490. A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house–mother and daughter, servant, and lady-in-waiting–before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven. There, master weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has to finish the tapestries–his finest, most intricate work–on time for his exacting French client. The results change all their lives–lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Latehomecomer, The: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang

Beginning in the 1970s, as the Hmong were being massacred for their collaboration with the United States during the Vietnam War, Yang recounts the harrowing story of her family’s captivity, the daring rescue undertaken by her father and uncles, and their narrow escape into Thailand where Yang was born in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. When she was six years old, Yang’s family immigrated to America, and she evocatively captures the challenges of adapting to a new place and a new language. Through her words, the dreams, wisdom, and traditions passed down from her grandmother and shared by an entire community have finally found a voice. Together with her sister, Kao Kalia Yang is the founder of a company dedicated to helping immigrants with writing, translating, and business services. A graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University, Yang has recently screened The Place Where We Were Born , a film documenting the experiences of Hmong American refugees.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Law Of Similars, The by Chris Bohjalian

A lawyer gets romantically involved with the homeopath who is trying to help him and ends up ethically challenged when his office prosecutes her because one of her patients falls into an allergy-induced coma.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Leadership Challenge, The by James Kouzes

The Leadership Challenge, Fourth Edition, has been extensively updated with the latest research and case studies, and offers inspiring new stories of real people achieving extraordinary results. The authors’ central theme remains the same and is more relevant today than ever: “Leadership is Everyone’s Business.” Their “five practices” and “ten commitments” have been proven by hundreds of thousands of dedicated, successful leaders. This edition, with almost one-third new material, emphasizes the global community and refocuses on business leaders.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Learning Joy From Dogs Without Collars by Lauralee Summer

Lauralee Summer and her eccentric, idealistic mother move repeatedly in search of work and a better life, but most often find happiness and security only in their relationship with each other. When she reaches junior high Lauralee and her mother set out for Boston in search of a better education. There Lauralee thrives under the care and guidance of Mr. Mac, becomes the only girl on the school wrestling team, and goes on to Harvard.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Light Between Oceans, The by M. L. Stedman

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Lives Of Girls And Women by Alice Munro

Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father’s fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor family friend and her rough younger brother. When she begins spending more time in town, she is surrounded by women-her mother, an agnostic, opinionated woman who sells encyclopedias to local farmers; her mother’s boarder, the lusty Fern Dogherty; and her best friend, Naomi, with whom she shares the frustrations and unbridled glee of adolescence.
Through these unwitting mentors and in her own encounters with sex, birth, and death, Del explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood. All along she remains a wise, witty observer and recorder of truths in small-town life. The result is a powerful, moving, and humorous demonstration of Alice Munro’s unparalleled awareness of the lives of girls and women.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion in turning other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques. Leaving her hardscrabble Kentucky childhood behind, Teddi opens her own store in Charleston. She builds a life as unexpected and quirky as her many customers, but nothing alleviates the haunting uncertainty she’s felt since her brother Josh mysteriously disappeared. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi returns to Kentucky, embarking on a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family–and find herself.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Lost City Of Steam, The by R.L. Edinger

On the eve of Queen Victoria’s death, Rory Breckenridge and twenty other families disappeared in a great storm on the Irish Sea. One hundred years later eight college students vanished while exploring the Breckenridge estate. A young woman, Leara, searches for her sister who was among them. Unable to find her sister, she seeks out the one person who can help, Private Investigator Andrew Knight. What starts out as a simple missing person’s case turns out to be much more. When the truth is finally discovered, Andrew Knight may be the one who is truly in danger.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Fact and fiction blend in a historical novel that chronicles the relationship between seminal architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, from their meeting, when they were each married to another, to the clandestine affair that shocked Chicago society.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Luncheon Of The Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoirs future wife, among others, share this moment of “la vie moderne,” a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group. Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, Vreeland illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era. With a gorgeous palette of vibrant, captivating characters, she paints their lives, loves, losses, and triumphs in a brilliant portrait of her own.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

 Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?
Genre: Book Club Kit

Many Faces, One Voice by Bud Mikhitarian

A compendium of insights that chronicles the intimate and inspiring stories of people in recovery from addiction who have exposed their secrets to light and are fighting to erase stigma and discrimination. The author was one of the key members of the documentary team that captured over 110 hours of interviews with celebrities, politicians, recovery leaders, and advocates. Their stories, brutally honest and often breathtaking, confront the paradox of anonymity and reveal the hope and power of recovery for individuals, families, and everyone. Many faces one voice is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the history of recovery in America.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Memoir Of The Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl

At age twelve, Julie was initiated into the rite of the Sunday brunch, a weekly madhouse at her father’s Milwaukee-based restaurant, where she and her eight older siblings before her did service in a situation of controlled chaos, learning the ropes of the family business and, more important, learning life lessons that would shape them for all the years to come. In her wry memoir, she looks back on those formative years, a time not just of growing up but, ultimately, of becoming a source of strength and support as the world her father knew began to change into a tougher, less welcoming place.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He’s been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks about the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. Some say Max has Asperger’s Syndrome, but most just say he’s “on the spectrum.” None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy. When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him — and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or Budo’s very existence.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Mermaid Chair, The by Sue Monk Kidd

When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother’s seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life “molded to the smallest space possible.” Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil by John Berendt

Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

Shortly after the death of her husband, a wealthy Southern widow is visited by an impoverished young woman with a small boy. A mistress? A son? Julia Springer can’t believe it, only to discover that the whole town has known for years. But she will rise to the occasion when the boy is kidnaped.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn’t been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten’s older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten’s family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion. Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Antonia Shimerda returns to Black Hawk, Nebraska, to make a fresh start after eloping with a railway conductor following the tragic death of her father. Accustomed to living in a sod house and toiling alongside the men in the fields, she is unprepared for the lecherous reaction her lush sensuality provokes when she moves to the city. Despite betrayal and crushing opposition, Antonia steadfastly pursues her quest for happiness–a moving struggle that mirrors the quiet drama of the American landscape.

Genre: Book Club Kit

My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

Mary Sutter is a brilliant young midwife who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Eager to run away from recent heartbreak, Mary travels to Washington, D.C., to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of two surgeons, who both fall unwittingly in love with her, and resisting her mother’s pleas to return home to help with the difficult birth of her twin sister’s baby, Mary pursues her medical career against all odds. Rich with historical detail-including cameo appearances by Abraham Lincoln and Dorothea Dix, among others- My Name Is Mary Sutter is certain to be recognized as one of the great novels about the Civil War.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Nanny Diaries, The by Emma McLaughlin

Struggling to graduate from NYU and afford her microscopic studio apartment, Nanny takes a position caring for the only son of the wealthy X family. She rapidly learns the insane amount of juggling involved to ensure that a Park Avenue wife who doesn’t work, cook, clean or raise her own child has a smooth day. When the Xes’ marriage begins to disintegrate, Nanny ends up involved way beyond the bounds of human decency. Her tenure with the X family becomes an impossible mission to maintain the mental health of their four year old, her own integrity and, most important, her sense of humour. Over nine tense months Mrs X and Nanny perform the age-old dance of decorum and power.

Genre: Book Club Kit

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, The by Alexander McCall Smith

The No. 1 LadiesDetective Agency, located in Gaborone, Botswana, consists of one woman, the engaging Precious Ramotswe. A cross between Kinsey Milhone and Miss Marple, this unlikely heroine specializes in missing husbands, wayward daughters, con men and imposters. When she sets out on the trail of a missing child she is tumbled headlong into some strange situations and not a little danger.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naive Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education Of Two Society Girls In The West by Dorothy Wickenden

 In the summer of 1916, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood left their families in Auburn, New York, to teach school in the wilds of northwestern Colorado. Nearly a hundred years later Dorothy Wickenden, the granddaughter of Dorothy, found their letters home and reconstructed the saga of two intrepid women and the “settling up” of the West.
Genre: Book Club Kit

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer’s eyes, it’s in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama-desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life-sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition-its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

 Follows the counterculture escapades of members of the Beat generation as they seek pleasure and meaning while traveling coast to coast. As he travels across 1950s America, aspiring writer Sal Paradise chronicles his escapades with the charismatic Dean Moriarty. Sal admires Dean’s passion for experiencing as much as possible of life and his wild flights of poetic fancy.
Genre: Book Club Kit

One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

Out of work and out of money, Stephanie Plum lands a job as bounty hunter and her first prey is, guess who? None other than Joe Morelli, the macho pig who deflowered her in high school and bragged on the lavatory wall of Mario’s Sub Shop. Now a cop, he is wanted for murder. The intriguing thing is she still rather fancies him and even more intriguing is that he will save her life.

Genre: Book Club Kit

One Thousand White Women: The Journals Of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Oogy: The Dog Only A Family Could Love by Larry Levin

In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen–one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue–ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy’s charms.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Other Side Of The Bridge, The by Mary Lawson

Two brothers, Arthur and Jake Dunn, are the sons of a farmer in the mid-1930s, when life is tough and another world war is looming. Arthur is reticent, solid, dutiful and set to inherit the farm and his father’s character; Jake is younger, attractive, mercurial and dangerous to know – the family misfit. When a beautiful young woman comes into the community, the fragile balance of sibling rivalry tips over the edge. Then there is Ian, the family’s next generation, and far too sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. By now it is the fifties, and the world has changed – a little, but not enough. These two generations in the small town of Struan, Ontario, are tragically interlocked, linked by fate and community but separated by a war which devours its young men – its unimaginable horror reaching right into the heart of this remote corner of an empire.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Paradise Under Glass: The Education Of An Indoor Gardener by Ruth Kassinger

In “Paradise Under Glass” Kassinger chronicles her journey from brown thumb to green to create her own tropical refuge in suburban Washington, D.C. Following her journey across America and a quick tour of the glasshouses of the past, Kassinger takes us step-by-step from the construction of her conservatory through her efforts to identify the easiest to grow, most beautiful houseplants.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Patron Saint Of Liars, The by Ann Patchett

Rose, married for three years, decides she has made a mistake and leaves her husband, traveling from California to Kentucky to take up residence in a home for unwed mothers where she plans to have her baby and give it up for adoption, but she soon discovers life still holds some surprises.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Patty Jane’s House Of Curl by Lorna Landvik

A comedy on two sisters running a beauty parlor in Minneapolis which they turn into a women’s support center. One sister is Patty Jane, whose husband skipped town just before she gave birth, the other is Harriet, whose rich boyfriend was killed in a plane crash before they could marry.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Piano Shop on the Left Bank, The: Discovering A Forgotten Passion In A Paris Atelier by Thaddeus Carhart

Walking his two young children to school every morning, Thad Carhart passes an unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood. Intrigued by its simple sign–Desforges Pianos–he enters, only to have his way barred by the shop’s imperious owner. Unable to stifle his curiosity, he finally lands the proper introduction, and a world previously hidden is brought into view. Luc, the atelier’s master, proves an indispensable guide to the history and art of the piano. Intertwined with the story of a musical friendship are reflections on how pianos work, their glorious history, and stories of the people who care for them, from amateur pianists to the craftsmen who make the mechanism sing.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl is pregnant and alone, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known. From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn to read and write. When her brother is killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak and identity, goes to the monastery of Fulda, and is initiated into the brotherhood in his place. As Brother John Anglicus, Joan is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion and politics. Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest throne in Christendom, the throne of St. Peter.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Princess Bride, The by William Goldman

William Goldman‘s modern fantasy classic is a simple, exceptional story about quests—for riches, revenge, power, and, of course, true love—that’s thrilling and timeless. Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you’ll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that’s home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Prize Winner Of Defiance, Ohio, The by Terry Ryan

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio introduces Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the “contest era” of the 1950s and 1960s. Standing up to the church, her alcoholic husband, and antiquated ideas about women, Evelyn turned every financial challenge into an opportunity for innovation, all the while raising her six sons and four daughters with the belief that miracles are an everyday occurrence. The inspiration for a major motion picture, Evelyn Ryan’s story is told by her daughter Terry with an infectious joy that shows how a winning spirit and sense of humor can triumph over adversity every time.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Promise, The: How One Woman Made Good On Her Extraordinary Pact To Send A Classroom Of 1st Graders To College by Oral Lee Brown

One morning in 1987 Oral Lee Brown walked into a corner store in East Oakland, California, to buy snacks for work. A little girl asked her for a quarter, and Brown assumed that she wanted to buy candy, but surprisingly she bought bread and bologna–staples for her family. Later that day Brown couldn’t get the little girl out of her mind. Why wasn’t she in school? Why was she out begging for money to buy food for her family? After several weeks of not being able to sleep, Brown went to look for the girl at the local elementary school and soon found herself in a first-grade classroom. She didn’t find the little girl, but before she left she found herself promising the kids that if they finished high school, she would pay for their college education. At the time, Oral Lee Brown made only $45,000 a year. But years later, after annually saving and investing $10,000 of her own money and establishing the Oral Lee Brown Foundation, this remarkable woman made good on her promise: after nineteen of the original twenty-three students graduated from high school, she sent them all to college. And in May of 2003, LaTosha Hunter was the first of Brown’s “babies,” as well as the first person in her family, to graduate from college.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

After a whirlwind romance and a honeymoon in Italy, the innocent young heroine and the dashing Maxim de Winter return to his country estate, Manderley. But the unsettling memory of Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter, still lingers within. The timid bride must overcome her husband’s oppressive silences and the sullen history of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, to confront the emotional horrors of the past.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman

Set on the coast of Maine over the course of four summers, Red Hook Road tells the story of two families, the Tetherlys and the Copakens, and of the ways in which their lives are unraveled and stitched together by misfortune, by good intentions and failure, and by love and calamity. A marriage collapses under the strain of a daughter?s death; two bereaved siblings find comfort in one another; and an adopted young girl breathes new life into her family with her prodigious talent for the violin.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Red Tent, The by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent is where women gather during their cycles of birthing, menses and illness. A biblical sorority of women and told in the voice of Jacob’s only daughter Dinah, this is a piece of Genesis, from the feminine point of view.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Road From Coorain, The by Jill Ker Conway

One woman’s journey from a childhood in Australia’s outback to adulthood as a successful American career woman. The Road From Coorain is about Everywoman, for it is about childhood loneliness, anguished parent-child relationships, dawning sensibility, discovering a vocation, and finding one’s own sense of self.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Room by Emma Donoghue

It’s Jack’s birthday and he’s excited about turning five. Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real. Until the day Ma admits that there’s a world outside.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Rosie Project, The by Graeme C. Simsion

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So Don designs the Wife Project, a sixteen-page scientifically valid survey to help himself find the perfect partner.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.
But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

On the sixtieth anniversary of the 1942 roundup of Jews by the French police in the Vel d’Hiv section of Paris, American journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article on this dark episode during World War II and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah, a young girl caught up in the raid.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Savage Garden, The by Mark Mills

Young Cambridge scholar Adam Banting is in Tuscany, assigned to write a scholarly monograph about the famous Docci garden–a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills, and classical inscriptions. As his research deepens, Adam comes to suspect that buried in the garden’s strange iconography is the key to uncovering a long-ago murder. But the ancient house holds its own secrets as well. And as Adam delves into his subject, he begins to suspect that he is being used to discover the true meaning of the villa’s murderous past.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Saving CeeCee HoneyCutt by Beth Hoffman

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her mother, Camille, the town’s tiara-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock, a woman who is trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, CeeCee’s long-lost great-aunt, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. There, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity–one that appears to be run entirely by strong, wacky women. A timeless coming of age novel set in the 1960s, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship, and charts the journey of an unforgettable girl who loses one mother, but finds many others in the storybook city of Savannah.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Second Sister, The by Marie Bostwick

Years of long workdays…as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey’s boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson’s Bay, her small, close knit Wisconsin hometown. An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson’s Bay. Lucy…got out and never looked back. Now,…Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister‘s cottage, and begins to see the town, and Alice’s life, anew.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Seventeen Second Miracle, The by Jason F. Wright

Cole Connor has become a patient teacher, and now he has invited three struggling teenagers to visit him on his front porch to learn about Rex Connor–and the Seventeen Second Miracle. Together they will learn how Rex Connor could have allowed seventeen seconds to destroy him, but instead he chose to live every day believing the smallest of acts could change the world for good.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

In 1937 Shanghai–the Paris of Asia–twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree–until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are–Shanghai girls.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Shipping News, The by Annie Proulx

Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just desserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumph–in the company of the obsequious Mavis Bangs; Diddy Shovel the strongman; drowned Herald Prowse; cane-twirling Beety; Nutbeem, who steals foreign news from the radio; a demented cousin the aunt refuses to recognize; the much-zippered Alvin Yark; silent Wavey; and old Billy Pretty, with his bag of secrets. By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lover’s knot.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty, they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash, they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences–and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Snow Flower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See

In nineteenth century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The two women exchange messages written on silk fans and handkerchieves using nu shu, a unique language that women created in order to communicate in secret, sharing their experiences, but when a misunderstanding arises, their friendship threatens to tear apart.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Sparrow, The by Mary Doria Russell

In 2019, a group of men and women sent by the Jesuits to try to understand the inhabitants of the Rakhat, discover that a desire to do good is no proof against doing incalculable harm.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Spellman Files, The by Lisa Lutz

Meet Isabel “Izzy” Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors — but the upshot is she’s good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Izzy’s parents hire her younger sister Rae to follow Izzy (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy’s new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there’s a hitch: she must take one last job before they’ll let her go — a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry, The by Gabrielle Zevin

A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession–a rare edition of Poe poems–has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Supreme’s At Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, The by Edward Kelsey Moore

Earl‘s All-You-Can-Eat diner in Plainview, Indiana, is home away from home for Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. Dubbed “the Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they’ve weathered life’s storms for over four decades and counseled one another through marriage and children, happiness and blues. Now, however, they’re about to face their most challenging year yet. Proud, talented Clarice is struggling to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities; beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair; and fearless Odette is about to embark in the most terrifying battle of her life.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

When his twin brother falls ill in the family’s chateau in the independent republic of Geneva in the eighteenth century, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein embarks on a dangerous and uncertain quest to create the forbidden Elixir of Life described in an ancient text in the family’s secret Biblioteka Obscura.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph; a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuehrer of Buchenwald. Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Thousand Splendid Suns, A by Khaled Hosseini

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Time Traveler’s Wife, The by Audrey Niffenegger

The remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who is diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder and travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap,

Genre: Book Club Kit

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, Scout, as her father, Atticus Finch — a crusading local lawyer– risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Tortilla Curtain, The by T. Coraghessan Boyle

In Southern California’s Topanga Canyon, two couples live in close proximity and yet are worlds apart. High atop a hill overlooking the canyon, nature writer Delaney Mossbacher and his wife, real estate agent Kyra Menaker-Mossbacher, reside in an exclusive, secluded housing development with their son, Jordan. Camped out in a ravine at the bottom of the canyon are Cándido and América Rincón, a Mexican couple who have crossed the border illegally. On the edge of starvation, they search desperately for work in the hope of moving into an apartment before their baby is born. A chance, violent encounter brings together Delaney and Cándido, instigating a chain of events that eventually culminates in a harrowing confrontation.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Two Rivers by T. Greenwood

In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes. Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers, and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn’t long before he begins to suspect that Maggie’s appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In “Under the Tuscan Sun,” she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, The by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Untamed: The Wildest Woman In America And The Fight For Cumberland Island by Will Harlan

Cumberland, the country’s largest and most biologically diverse barrier island, is celebrated for its windswept dunes and feral horses. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie once owned much of the island, and in recent years, Carnegie heirs and the National Park Service have clashed with Carol over the island’s future. What happens when a dirt-poor naturalist with only a high school diploma becomes an outspoken advocate on a celebrated but divisive island? Untamed is the story of an American original standing her ground and fighting for what she believes in, no matter the cost.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox, The by Maggie O'Farrell

In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’s attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital–where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years. Esme has been labeled harmless–sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But she’s still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton

She had as much business keeping a stray dog as she had walking across Egypt–which not so incidentally is the title of her favorite hymn. She’s Mattie Rigsbee, an independent, strong-minded senior citizen, who at 78, might be slowing down just a bit. When young, delinquent Wesley Benfield drops in on her life, he is even less likely a companion than the stray dog. But, of course, the dog never tasted her mouth-watering pound cake.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Jacob Janowski’s luck had run out. Orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was the Great Depression and for Jacob the circus was both his salvation and a living hell. There he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but brutal animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this group of misfits was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Whistling In The Dark by Lesley Kagen

Sally O’Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she’d look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls’ mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.
Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she’s next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Whistling Season, The by Ivan Doig

Can’t cook but doesn’t bite.” So begins the newspaper ad offering the services of an “A-1 housekeeper, sound morals, exceptional disposition” that draws the hungry attention of widower Oliver Milliron in the fall of 1909. And so begins the unforgettable season that deposits the non-cooking, non-biting, ever-whistling Rose Llewellyn and her font-of-knowledge brother, Morris Morgan, in Marias Coulee along with a stampede of homesteaders drawn by the promise of the Big Ditch-a gargantuan irrigation project intended to make the Montana prairie bloom. When the schoolmarm runs off with an itinerant preacher, Morris is pressed into service, setting the stage for the “several kinds of education”-none of them of the textbook variety-Morris and Rose will bring to Oliver, his three sons, and the rambunctious students in the region’s one-room schoolhouse.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Astrid is the only child of a single mother, Ingrid, a brilliant, obsessed poet. Astrid worships her mother and cherishes their private world full of ritual and mystery — but their idyll is shattered when Ingrid falls apart over a lover. Deranged by rejection, she murders the man, and is sentenced to life in prison. White Oleander is the unforgettable story of Astrid’s journey through a series of foster homes and her efforts to find a place herself in impossible circumstances. Each home is its own universe, with a new set of laws and lessons to be learned. With determination and humor, Astrid confronts the challenges of loneliness and poverty, and strives to learn who a motherless child in an indifferent world can become.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way To Deal With Change In Your Work And In Your Life

Most people are fearful of change, both personal and professional, because they don’t have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Dr. Spencer Johnson, the coauthor of the multimillion bestseller The One Minute Manager, uses a deceptively simple story to show that when it comes to living in a rapidly changing world, what matters most is your attitude.
Exploring a simple way to take the fear and anxiety out of managing the future, Who Moved My Cheese? can help you discover how to anticipate, acknowledge, and accept change in order to have a positive impact on your job, your relationships, and every aspect of your life.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Why We Buy by Paco Underhill

Revolutionary retail guru Paco Underhill is back with a completely revised edition of his classic, witty bestselling book on our ever-evolving consumer culture–full of fresh observations and important lessons from the cutting edge of retail such as Internet behemoths Amazon and iTunes as well as the globalization of retail in the world’s emerging markets.
This enlightening edition includes new information on:
-The latest trends in online retail–what retailers are doing right and what they’re doing wrong–and how nearly every Internet retailer from iTunes to Amazon can drastically improve how it serves its customers.
-A guided tour of the most innovative stores, malls and retail environments around the world–almost all of which are springing up in countries where prosperity is new. An enormous indoor ski slope attracts shoppers to a mall in Dubai; an uber-luxurious Sao Paolo department store provides its customers with personal shoppers; a mall in South Africa has a wave pool for surfing.

Genre: Book Club Kit

Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr

Michelle LeBeau, the child of a white American father and a Japanese mother, lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin–a small town that had been entirely white before her arrival. Rejected and bullied, Michelle spends her time reading, avoiding fights, and roaming the countryside with her dog Brett. She idolizes her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau, an expert hunter and former minor league baseball player who is one of the town’s most respected men. Charlie strongly disapproves of his son’s marriage to Michelle’s mother but dotes on his only grandchild. This fragile peace is threatened when the expansion of the local clinic leads to the arrival of the Garretts, a young black couple from Chicago. The Garretts’ presence deeply upsets most of the residents of Deerhorn–when Mr. Garrett makes a controversial accusation against one of the town leaders, who is also Charlie LeBeau’s best friend.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Wizard Of Earthsea, A by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea,nbsp;nbsp;but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing,nbsp;nbsp;how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

Discussion Questions

Genre: Book Club Kit
Manitowoc Public Library © 2016
Login

 


×
Hours

Monday – 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

Tuesday – 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

Wednesday – 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

Thursday – Closed

Friday – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Saturday – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Sunday – 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

×
Facebook
Facebook
YouTube
Pinterest
Pinterest
Instagram
SHARE