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

 

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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

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

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: A, 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: A, 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: A, 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: A, 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: A, 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: A, Book Club Kit

Beach Glass & Other Broken Things by Amanda Linsmeier

Beach Glass & Other Broken Things is a collection of twenty-three stories about girls and women on the cusp of self-realization. It highlights the complexities of characters becoming who they really are, from a girl who tracks down her absent father, only to discover he’s made a whole new life without her; to an eighty-four-year-old grandmother falling in love for the first time; to a woman who finds comfort with an unlikely life coach while grieving over her husband’s suicide. Beach Glass & Other Broken Things delves into unimaginable fragility, and unbreakable hope. It celebrates women who are happy or broken, and the ones who save themselves or allow themselves to be saved.

Genre: B, 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: B, 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: B, Book Club Kit

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

When Corey moves away from Lost Creek, Alaska, she makes her friend Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return. Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger. With every hour, Corey’s suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets–but piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter.

Genre: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, Book Club Kit

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the summer of 1977, when New York is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam. Meg Medina transports us to a time when tempers and temperatures ran high to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit.

Genre: B, Book Club Kit

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder . . . With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden–especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .
Genre: Book Club Kit, C

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, C

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, C

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, C

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, C

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, C

Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The by Phaedra Patrick

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater-vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met– a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places

Genre: Book Club Kit, C

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, C

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, D

Death and Life of the Great Lakes, The by Dan Egan

The Great Lakes–Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior–hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.

Genre: Book Club Kit, D

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, D

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, D

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, D

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, D

Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Genre: Book Club Kit, E

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, E

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart. Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, tendency to wear the same clothes year in, year out), means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue each other from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one

Genre: Book Club Kit, E

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, E

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. And this year she’s going to throw her husband, Ed, a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of two hundred guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering Violet’s carefully constructed world.
Genre: Book Club Kit, E

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, E

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, E

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, F

Flat Broke with Two Goats: a Memoir by Jennifer McGaha

A charming memoir of one woman’s unexpected journey from country chic to backwoods barnyard.

Genre: Book Club Kit, F

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, G

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, G

Girl Named Zippy, A 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, G, Staff Picks
Subjects: Biography City and town life, Girls

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, H

Hating Game, The by Sally Thorne

For Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, executive assistants to the CEOs of newly merged Bexley-Gamin Publishing, it’s hate-at-first-sight. So begins a series of daily passive-aggressive maneuvers, including the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin, and both their bosses put their names up for the promotion. Then, the high-stakes games begin! After another 60-hour work week, Lucy logs off her computer and hops on the elevator to head home, as does Joshua. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a kiss on her, and Lucy begins to wonder if she really does hate Joshua after all, or if this is yet another game. — adapted from Kirkus Reviews.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

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, H

Hidden Legacy, The by Carrie Sue Barnes

Forsaking the comforts of home at the height of World War I, Annie Walcott serves as a nurse at a French estate turned war hospital. In the face of daily hardships and losses, she shutters her heart against the emotional toll of her work. When Kyle, the brother of a patient, arrives at the hospital, his and Annie’s unforeseen connection threatens to dismantle her protective walls. New possibilities and former loyalties clash. Will Annie have the courage to become the woman of unrivaled strength and faith she longs to be? Can she embrace the sacrifices necessary to step forward in love? Eighty years later, in a tiny Midwest town where Annie has led a quiet, contented life, she finally confides her untold memories to her great-granddaughter Laurel. The heritage of secrets casts a startling new light on Laurel’s family, faith, and identity. In Annie’s final days, can Laurel allow truth to heal the past and fortify her for the future?

Genre: Book Club Kit, H

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

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, H

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, H

Home for Christmas by Holly Chamberlin

At first glance, Nell King’s cozy home in Yorktide, Maine, seems a step down from the impeccably decorated Boston house she shared with her husband. But in the six years since he abruptly left to marry another woman, Nell and her almost-grown daughters have found real happiness and comfort here. Now, faced with what may be their last Christmas together, Nell feels anxious. She gave up her own ambitions when she married. With the daily obligations of motherhood coming to an end, what role is left for her to fill? Twenty-one-year-old Molly worries about sacrificing her independence the way her mother did. Should she stay in Maine with her dependable boyfriend, or move to the city and prove herself? Felicity, meanwhile, is torn between loyalty to Nell and wanting to spend time with her glamorous stepmother. Nell is eager to make this holiday picture-perfect. But there’s a complication–and an opportunity . . . Nell’s first love, now a successful novelist, is in town for a book signing. As the two rekindle their friendship, Nell confronts the choices she once made in the name of stability. And as the days unfold with revelations and unexpected gifts, this Christmas promises to herald a bright new beginning.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg

“In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family. For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs. Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship. Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

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, H

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, H

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

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, I

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, I

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, I

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, I

Kind Worth Killing, The by Peter Swanson

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and that he’s sure his wife Miranda is cheating on him. But Lily has a dark history that she’s not sharing, and soon sex and deception lead to murder.

Genre: Book Club Kit, K

Kitchen Boy, The by Robert Alexander

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs’ brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family’s murder? Historically vivid and compelling, The Kitchen Boy is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.

Genre: Book Club Kit, K

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, K

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, K

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, L

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, L

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, L

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

“Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this…novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades…”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, L

Long Way From Chicago, A 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, L

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, L

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, L

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, M

Man Called Ove, A 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.

Discussion Questions

Genre: A, Book Club Kit

Man Called Ove, A by Fredrik Backman

A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship.
Genre: Book Club Kit, Books to Movies, M
Subjects: Neighbors, Older Men

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

“One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives–a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys–she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell. With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. [This book] is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them. “
Genre: Book Club Kit, M

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, M

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, M

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, M

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs–the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia? As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.

Genre: Book Club Kit, M

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, M

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, M

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, M

Mutual Admiration Society, The by Lesley Kagen

“Unbeknownst to eleven year old Theresa (Tessie) Finley, she’s in over her head. After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to do list. Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual admiration Society ” … (which also includes her younger sister Birdie and best friend Charlie (Cue Ball) Garfield). (Summary from back cover).
Genre: Book Club Kit, M

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, M

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, M

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, N

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

“In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land. Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember–strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become–in the eyes of the law–a kidnapper himself”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, N

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, N

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, N

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home–a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse–but John’s not here. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month–old resident of Trudy’s womb. Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

Genre: Book Club Kit, N

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, O

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, O

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, O

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

 Looking back at a tragic event that occurred during his thirteenth year, Frank Drum explores how a complicated web of secrets, adultery, and betrayal shattered his Methodist family and their small 1961 Minnesota community.
Genre: Book Club Kit, O

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

At any given moment in other people’s houses, you can find…repressed hopes and dreams…moments of unexpected joy…someone making love on the floor to a man who is most definitely not her husband… *record scratch* As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors’ private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton’s wife is mysteriously missing, and now this… After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that’s a notion easier said than done when Anne’s husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families–and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage

Genre: Book Club Kit, O

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

In Holt, Colorado, widower Louis Waters is initially thrown when the widowed Addie Moore suggests that they spend time together, in bed, to stave off loneliness. “No, not sex,” she clarifies. “I’m talking about getting through the night. And lying warm in bed, companionably.” Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Genre: Book Club Kit, O

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, The by Katarina Bivald

“Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist–even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love” — Provided by publisher.

Genre: Book Club Kit, R

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, R

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, R

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, R

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, R

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, R

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices. For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined. At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family. Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

Genre: Book Club Kit, S

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, S

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, S

Stress Fracture by Tara Meissner

“This psychology memoir is about the things that break us and how we heal. It offers a raw view a 33-year-old wife and mother swallowed by psychosis. The episode includes meeting Jesus Christ, dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, and narrowly escaping eternity in the underworld. Casually called a nervous breakdown, psychosis is an entrapment outside of self where hallucinations and delusions anchor. Family, doctors, and fellow patients witness a nonverbal, confused, distraught shell of a woman. In the security of a psychiatric care center, the week-long psychosis broke and spit out a bipolar patient in the cushioned place of middle class medicine. Outpatient recovery consumed the better part of year with psychiatric treatment and spiritual contemplation. Left scarred and damaged, health returns allowing her to tentatively embrace a grace and peace earned through acceptance of bipolar disorder.”
Genre: Book Club Kit, S

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, S

Tale for the Time Being, A by Ruth Ozeki

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace–and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox–possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, this is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.
Genre: Book Club Kit, T

There There by Tommy Orange

Here is a story of several people, each of whom has private reasons for travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honour his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.

Genre: Book Club Kit, T

Things They Carried, The by Tim O'Brien

This work depicts the heroic young men of Alpha Company as they carry the emotional weight of their lives to war in Vietnam in a patchwork account of a modern journey into the heart of darkness. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have.

Genre: Book Club Kit, T

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, T

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, T

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, T

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, T

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, T

Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A by Betty Smith

Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn’t fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it; especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer. Late in the afternoon the sun slanted down into the mossy yard belonging to Francie Nolan’s house, and warmed the worn wooden fence. Looking at the shafted sun, Francie had that same fine feeling that came when she recalled the poem they recited in school. This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of eld. The one tree in Francie’s yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which grew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked like a lot of opened green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenements districts

Genre: Book Club Kit, T

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, T

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, U

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, U

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, U

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, V

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, W

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, W

We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly

“Ash and Pia move from hipster Brooklyn to rustic Vermont in search of a more authentic life. But just months after settling in, the forecast of a superstorm disrupts their dream. Fear of an impending disaster splits their tight-knit community and exposes the cracks in their marriage. Where Isole was once a place of old farm families, rednecks and transplants, it now divides into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools, each at odds about what course to take.” — From page 4 of cover.
Genre: Book Club Kit, W

Wedding Dress, The by Rachel Hauck

“One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny. Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her. Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, W

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world — until the unthinkable happens.

Genre: Book Club Kit, W

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, W

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, W

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, W

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, W

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, W

World’s Largest Man, The by Harrison Scott Key

A humor columnist describes his father, who was more like a remote frontiersman than a 20th-century Mississippian, and the impact he ultimately had on how he related to his own children, despite his polar opposite views and life choices.

Genre: Book Club Kit, W

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

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

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: A, 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: A, 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: A, 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: A, 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: A, 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: A, Book Club Kit

Man Called Ove, A 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.

Discussion Questions

Genre: A, Book Club Kit

Beach Glass & Other Broken Things by Amanda Linsmeier

Beach Glass & Other Broken Things is a collection of twenty-three stories about girls and women on the cusp of self-realization. It highlights the complexities of characters becoming who they really are, from a girl who tracks down her absent father, only to discover he’s made a whole new life without her; to an eighty-four-year-old grandmother falling in love for the first time; to a woman who finds comfort with an unlikely life coach while grieving over her husband’s suicide. Beach Glass & Other Broken Things delves into unimaginable fragility, and unbreakable hope. It celebrates women who are happy or broken, and the ones who save themselves or allow themselves to be saved.

Genre: B, 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: B, 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: B, Book Club Kit

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

When Corey moves away from Lost Creek, Alaska, she makes her friend Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return. Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger. With every hour, Corey’s suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets–but piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter.

Genre: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, 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: B, Book Club Kit

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the summer of 1977, when New York is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam. Meg Medina transports us to a time when tempers and temperatures ran high to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit.

Genre: B, Book Club Kit

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder . . . With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden–especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake . . .
Genre: Book Club Kit, C

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, C

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, C

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, C

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, C

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, C

Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, The by Phaedra Patrick

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater-vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met– a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places

Genre: Book Club Kit, C

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, C

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, D

Death and Life of the Great Lakes, The by Dan Egan

The Great Lakes–Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior–hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.

Genre: Book Club Kit, D

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, D

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, D

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, D

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, D

Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Genre: Book Club Kit, E

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, E

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart. Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, tendency to wear the same clothes year in, year out), means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue each other from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one

Genre: Book Club Kit, E

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, E

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. And this year she’s going to throw her husband, Ed, a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of two hundred guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering Violet’s carefully constructed world.
Genre: Book Club Kit, E

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, E

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, E

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, F

Flat Broke with Two Goats: a Memoir by Jennifer McGaha

A charming memoir of one woman’s unexpected journey from country chic to backwoods barnyard.

Genre: Book Club Kit, F

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, G

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, G

Girl Named Zippy, A 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, G, Staff Picks
Subjects: Biography City and town life, Girls

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, G

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, H

Hating Game, The by Sally Thorne

For Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, executive assistants to the CEOs of newly merged Bexley-Gamin Publishing, it’s hate-at-first-sight. So begins a series of daily passive-aggressive maneuvers, including the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin, and both their bosses put their names up for the promotion. Then, the high-stakes games begin! After another 60-hour work week, Lucy logs off her computer and hops on the elevator to head home, as does Joshua. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a kiss on her, and Lucy begins to wonder if she really does hate Joshua after all, or if this is yet another game. — adapted from Kirkus Reviews.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

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, H

Hidden Legacy, The by Carrie Sue Barnes

Forsaking the comforts of home at the height of World War I, Annie Walcott serves as a nurse at a French estate turned war hospital. In the face of daily hardships and losses, she shutters her heart against the emotional toll of her work. When Kyle, the brother of a patient, arrives at the hospital, his and Annie’s unforeseen connection threatens to dismantle her protective walls. New possibilities and former loyalties clash. Will Annie have the courage to become the woman of unrivaled strength and faith she longs to be? Can she embrace the sacrifices necessary to step forward in love? Eighty years later, in a tiny Midwest town where Annie has led a quiet, contented life, she finally confides her untold memories to her great-granddaughter Laurel. The heritage of secrets casts a startling new light on Laurel’s family, faith, and identity. In Annie’s final days, can Laurel allow truth to heal the past and fortify her for the future?

Genre: Book Club Kit, H

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Vance, a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, provides an account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm. J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

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, H

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, H

Home for Christmas by Holly Chamberlin

At first glance, Nell King’s cozy home in Yorktide, Maine, seems a step down from the impeccably decorated Boston house she shared with her husband. But in the six years since he abruptly left to marry another woman, Nell and her almost-grown daughters have found real happiness and comfort here. Now, faced with what may be their last Christmas together, Nell feels anxious. She gave up her own ambitions when she married. With the daily obligations of motherhood coming to an end, what role is left for her to fill? Twenty-one-year-old Molly worries about sacrificing her independence the way her mother did. Should she stay in Maine with her dependable boyfriend, or move to the city and prove herself? Felicity, meanwhile, is torn between loyalty to Nell and wanting to spend time with her glamorous stepmother. Nell is eager to make this holiday picture-perfect. But there’s a complication–and an opportunity . . . Nell’s first love, now a successful novelist, is in town for a book signing. As the two rekindle their friendship, Nell confronts the choices she once made in the name of stability. And as the days unfold with revelations and unexpected gifts, this Christmas promises to herald a bright new beginning.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg

“In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family. For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs. Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship. Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, H

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, H

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, H

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, H

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

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, I

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, I

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, I

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, I

Kind Worth Killing, The by Peter Swanson

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and that he’s sure his wife Miranda is cheating on him. But Lily has a dark history that she’s not sharing, and soon sex and deception lead to murder.

Genre: Book Club Kit, K

Kitchen Boy, The by Robert Alexander

Drawing from decades of work, travel, and research in Russia, Robert Alexander re-creates the tragic, perennially fascinating story of the final days of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov as seen through the eyes of their young kitchen boy, Leonka. Now an ancient Russian immigrant, Leonka claims to be the last living witness to the Romanovs’ brutal murders and sets down the dark secrets of his past with the imperial family. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family’s murder? Historically vivid and compelling, The Kitchen Boy is also a touching portrait of a loving family that was in many ways similar, yet so different, from any other.

Genre: Book Club Kit, K

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, K

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, K

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, L

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, L

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, L

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

“Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this…novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades…”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, L

Long Way From Chicago, A 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, L

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, L

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, L

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, M

Man Called Ove, A by Fredrik Backman

A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship.
Genre: Book Club Kit, Books to Movies, M
Subjects: Neighbors, Older Men

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

“One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but. As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives–a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys–she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell. With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change. [This book] is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them. “
Genre: Book Club Kit, M

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, M

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, M

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, M

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel from an award-winning short story writer. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs–the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia? As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.

Genre: Book Club Kit, M

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, M

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, M

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, M

Mutual Admiration Society, The by Lesley Kagen

“Unbeknownst to eleven year old Theresa (Tessie) Finley, she’s in over her head. After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to do list. Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual admiration Society ” … (which also includes her younger sister Birdie and best friend Charlie (Cue Ball) Garfield). (Summary from back cover).
Genre: Book Club Kit, M

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, M

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, M

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, N

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

“In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land. Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember–strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become–in the eyes of the law–a kidnapper himself”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, N

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, N

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, N

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home–a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse–but John’s not here. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month–old resident of Trudy’s womb. Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

Genre: Book Club Kit, N

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, O

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, O

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, O

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

 Looking back at a tragic event that occurred during his thirteenth year, Frank Drum explores how a complicated web of secrets, adultery, and betrayal shattered his Methodist family and their small 1961 Minnesota community.
Genre: Book Club Kit, O

Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

At any given moment in other people’s houses, you can find…repressed hopes and dreams…moments of unexpected joy…someone making love on the floor to a man who is most definitely not her husband… *record scratch* As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors’ private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton’s wife is mysteriously missing, and now this… After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that’s a notion easier said than done when Anne’s husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families–and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage

Genre: Book Club Kit, O

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

In Holt, Colorado, widower Louis Waters is initially thrown when the widowed Addie Moore suggests that they spend time together, in bed, to stave off loneliness. “No, not sex,” she clarifies. “I’m talking about getting through the night. And lying warm in bed, companionably.” Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Genre: Book Club Kit, O

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

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, P

Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, The by Katarina Bivald

“Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist–even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love” — Provided by publisher.

Genre: Book Club Kit, R

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, R

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, R

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, R

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, R

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, R

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

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, S

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices. For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined. At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family. Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

Genre: Book Club Kit, S

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, S

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, S

Stress Fracture by Tara Meissner

“This psychology memoir is about the things that break us and how we heal. It offers a raw view a 33-year-old wife and mother swallowed by psychosis. The episode includes meeting Jesus Christ, dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, and narrowly escaping eternity in the underworld. Casually called a nervous breakdown, psychosis is an entrapment outside of self where hallucinations and delusions anchor. Family, doctors, and fellow patients witness a nonverbal, confused, distraught shell of a woman. In the security of a psychiatric care center, the week-long psychosis broke and spit out a bipolar patient in the cushioned place of middle class medicine. Outpatient recovery consumed the better part of year with psychiatric treatment and spiritual contemplation. Left scarred and damaged, health returns allowing her to tentatively embrace a grace and peace earned through acceptance of bipolar disorder.”
Genre: Book Club Kit, S

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, S

Tale for the Time Being, A by Ruth Ozeki

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace–and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox–possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, this is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.
Genre: Book Club Kit, T

There There by Tommy Orange

Here is a story of several people, each of whom has private reasons for travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow. Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind in shame. Dene Oxendene is pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and has come to work at the powwow to honour his uncle’s memory. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield has come to watch her nephew Orvil Red Feather, who has taught himself traditional Indian dance through YouTube videos and has come to the powwow to dance in public for the very first time. There will be glorious communion, and a spectacle of sacred tradition and pageantry. And there will be sacrifice, and heroism, and unspeakable loss.

Genre: Book Club Kit, T

Things They Carried, The by Tim O'Brien

This work depicts the heroic young men of Alpha Company as they carry the emotional weight of their lives to war in Vietnam in a patchwork account of a modern journey into the heart of darkness. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have.

Genre: Book Club Kit, T

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, T

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, T

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, T

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, T

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, T

Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A by Betty Smith

Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound, but you couldn’t fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it; especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer. Late in the afternoon the sun slanted down into the mossy yard belonging to Francie Nolan’s house, and warmed the worn wooden fence. Looking at the shafted sun, Francie had that same fine feeling that came when she recalled the poem they recited in school. This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight, Stand like Druids of eld. The one tree in Francie’s yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which grew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked like a lot of opened green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenements districts

Genre: Book Club Kit, T

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, T

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, U

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, U

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, U

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, V

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, W

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, W

We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly

“Ash and Pia move from hipster Brooklyn to rustic Vermont in search of a more authentic life. But just months after settling in, the forecast of a superstorm disrupts their dream. Fear of an impending disaster splits their tight-knit community and exposes the cracks in their marriage. Where Isole was once a place of old farm families, rednecks and transplants, it now divides into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools, each at odds about what course to take.” — From page 4 of cover.
Genre: Book Club Kit, W

Wedding Dress, The by Rachel Hauck

“One dress. Four women. An amazing destiny. Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her. Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love”– Provided by publisher.
Genre: Book Club Kit, W

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world — until the unthinkable happens.

Genre: Book Club Kit, W

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, W

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, W

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, W

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, W

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, W

World’s Largest Man, The by Harrison Scott Key

A humor columnist describes his father, who was more like a remote frontiersman than a 20th-century Mississippian, and the impact he ultimately had on how he related to his own children, despite his polar opposite views and life choices.

Genre: Book Club Kit, W