Book Discussion Kits

This page is a list of all Book Discussion kits available from the library at this time.

 

ALL THE KING’S MEN – ROBERT PENN WARREN

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this classic book is generally regarded as the finest novel ever written on American politics. It describes the career of Willie Stark, a back-country lawyer whose idealism is overcome by his lust for power.

AMERICAN DERVISH – AYAD AKTAR

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina (a friend of his mother) arrives from Pakistan, and everything changes.

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN – GARTH STEIN

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope–a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

BLUE ASYLUM – KATHY HEPINSTALL

Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Iris Dunleavy is put on trial by her husband, convicted of madness, and sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a compliant Virginia plantation wife. But her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing on notions of cruelty and property.

CONFEDERATES IN THE ATTIC – TONY HORWITZ

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America’s greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

DEAD WAKE – ERIK LARSON

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of the disaster of the Lusitania, whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.

THE DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC – CANDICE MILLARD

The extraordinary New York Times bestselling account of James Garfield’s rise from poverty to the American presidency, and the dramatic history of his assassination and legacy.

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY – ERIK LARSON

Erik Larson intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

THE DINNER – HERMAN KOCH

An internationally bestselling phenomenon, the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.

THE DOVEKEEPERS – ALICE HOFFMAN

Nearly two thousand years ago, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada. Based on this tragic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love, as their live intersect in the days of the siege.

THE GIRL IN THE BLUE BERET – BOBBIE ANN MASON

Inspired by the wartime experiences of her father-in-law, Bobbie Ann Mason has crafted the haunting and profoundly moving story of an American World War II pilot shot down in Occupied Europe, and his wrenching odyssey of discovery, decades later, as he uncovers the truth about those who helped him escape in 1944.

GONE GIRL – GILLIAN FLYNN

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. This is a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller.

HOMER & LANGLEY – E.L. DOCTOROW

Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers—the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, even as the hoarding creates difficulties in their struggle to survive and create meaning to their lives.

HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET – JAMIE FORD

The Panama Hotel has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. The owner’s finding of a parasol, sends Henry Lee on a search for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure.

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS – REBECCA SKLOOT

Henrietta Lacks, a poor Southern tobacco farmer, was buried in an unmarked grave 60 years ago. Yet her cells – – taken without her knowledge – – became one of the most important tools in medical research, and have been bought and sold by the millions.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE CYPRESS – THOMAS STEINBECK

With superb attention to cultural detail, Steinbeck brings to vivid light the Chinese immigrant experience at turn of the century California, juxtaposing complex ancient rituals against contemporary customs with the grace, passion and authority of a master.

THE KITCHEN BOY – 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 murder. Does he hold the key to the many questions surrounding the family’s murder?

THE KITE RUNNER – KHALED HOSSEINI

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history. The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction.

KNOCKING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR – KATY BUTLER

Katy Butler was living thousands of miles away when her old but seemingly vigorous father suffered a crippling stroke. When he said, “I’m living too long,” Katy and her mother faced wrenching moral questions, faced by millions of America’s 28 million caregivers. Part memoir, part medical history, and part spiritual guide, this book highlights the labyrinth of a broken medical system and the obsession of maximum longevity regardless of the quality of life.

THE LACUNA – BARBARA KINGSOLVER

In this powerfully imagined, provocative novel, Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. This is the poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as well as an unforgettable portrait of the artist —and of art.

THE LITTLE STRANGER – SARAH WATERS

Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely, crumbling Hundreds Hall, home to the Ayres family for over two centuries. As the Ayres family struggle to keep pace with changing society, Faraday wonders whether they are haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life?

LONE WOLF – JODI PICOULT

On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision. With conflicting motivations, emotions, and personal secrets, what will this family decide? And will they be able to live with that decision, after the truth has been revealed.

THE MADONNAS OF LENINGRAD – DEBRA DEAN

An elderly Russian woman now living in America, she cannot hold on to fresh memories, yet her distant past is miraculously preserved in her mind’s eye. Seamlessly moving back and forth in time between the Soviet Union and contemporary America, THE MADONNAS OF LENNINGRAD, is a searing portrait of war and remembrance, of the power of love, memory and, art to offer beauty, grace and hope in the face of overwhelming despair.

ME & EMMA – ELIZABETH FLOCK

In many ways, Carrie Parker is like any other eight-year-old—playing make-believe, going to school, dreaming of faraway places. But even in her imagination, she can’t pretend away the hardships of her impoverished North Carolina home or protect her younger sister, Emma. But after the sisters’ plan to run away from home unravels, Carrie’s world takes a shocking turn—and one shattering moment ultimately reveals a truth that leaves everyone reeling.

THE MUSEUM OF EXTRA ORDINARY THINGS – ALICE HOFFMAN

Coralie Sardie, the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island freak show, meets Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant, while he’s taking pictures. As Eddie becomes embroiled in the mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance, he ignites the heart of Coralie. Alice Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a tender and moving story of young love in tumultuous times.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS – ERIN MORGENSTERN

The circus is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. As two young magicians fiercely compete against one another, they both tumble into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone, from performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON – ADAM JOHNSON

An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON follows a young man’s journey through the icy water, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES – SILAS HOUSE

It is the early 1900s in rural Kentucky, and from the moment Saul Sullivan lays eyes on Vine, a Cherokee, he knows she is meant to be his wife. When Saul leaves Vine behind to work in another county for a year, the wife he leaves behind will never be the same again. The violence that lies ahead for Vine, will not only test her spirit, but also her ability to forgive—both others and herself. . . .

RAIN – CYNTHIA BARNETT

Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive.

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world’s water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.

THE RED GARDEN – ALICE HOFFMAN

An exquisite prose, Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting more than three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters’ lives are intertwined by fate and by their own actions. At the center of everyone’s life is a mysterious garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look.

RIVER OF DOUBT – CANDICE MILLARD

At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

SO COLD THE RIVER – MICHAEL KORYTA

Eric Shaw arrives in Bradford to do a documentary, just in time to be a guest at the town’s restored hotel resort. From the start, he begins to experience visions and hallucinations, and discovers that something besides the hotel has been restored – a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to regain its lost glory.

STATION ELEVEN – EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, STATION ELEVEN tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

STUFF MATTERS – MARK MIODOWNIK

Miodownik entertainingly examines the materials he encounters in a typical morning. This is an eye-opening adventure deep inside the everyday materials that surround us, packed with surprising stories and fascinating science.

THE SWERVE – STEPHEN GREENBLATT

One of the world’s most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

TRUCK – MICHAEL PERRY

Hilarious and heartfelt, Truck: A Love Story is the tale of a man struggling to grow his own garden, fix his old pickup, and resurrect a love life permanently impaired by Neil Diamond. In the process, he sets his hair on fire, is attacked by wild turkeys, and proposes marriage to a woman in New Orleans. The result is a surprisingly tender testament to love.

TURN OF MIND – ALICE LAPLANTE

A New York Times bestseller, Turn of Mind is a literary thriller about a retired orthopedic surgeon suffering from dementia and accused of killing her best friend. With unmatched patience and a pulsating intensity, Alice LaPlante’s debut novel brings us deep into a brilliant woman’s deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse.

A WALK IN THE WOODS – BILL BRYSON

The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. Bryson entertains us with his adventures along the trail as he attempts to walk it in its entirety,

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS – SARA GRUEN

Jacob Jankowski, a ninety something , disillusioned circus veteran, Marlena, the star of the equestrian act in love with the wrong man and Rosie, the circus elephant that can’t follow instructions, come together to form a surprising friendship. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival. Surprising, poignant, and funny

THE YARD – ALEX GRECIAN

1889, LONDON.

JACK THE RIPPER’S REIGN OF TERROR IN FINALLY OVER, BUT A NEW ONE IS JUST BEGINNING. Walter Day, the newest detective of the “Murder Squad” concludes that the squad is being targeted after the bizarre murder of one of its own. Together with the forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley, they discover that the biggest surprise is the killer’s motive.