We know how difficult it is to choose a book for your next book group meeting, and to find enough copies for all the members of your group. We've made it easier for you by collecting donated and withdrawn copies of discussible books and putting all the copies in a canvas bag. We've included discussion questions and information about each author in a folder for each collection.
There are at least 8 copies of the book in each kit. At this time we have over 400 kits for you to choose from.
Printable lists of titles are also available, without cover art, sorted by title and by author.
How can we get a kit?
Call us at 608-266-6300 and we will help you check out a kit. The kit will be checked out on the library card of the person picking them up. The person checking out the kit may choose a due date for the kit, up to 3 months from the day they pick it up. Due to high demand, please take only one or two kits at a time. Kits can be shipped to any library in Madison as well as any public library in the South Central Library System.
What if a book is lost?
If your group happens to lose a book, we ask that you replace it with another copy of the book, new or second hand, that is clean and readable.
Search our collection of kits
When she visits her liberated and loving aunt, life dramatically changes for a 15-year old Nigerian girl who has grown up in sheltered privilege with a wealthy father who is politically courageous but religiously fanatic.
Two events focused attention on Chicago in 1893: the World’s Fair with it’s hundreds of newly built structures (all white), and the investigation into the crimes of Dr. Henry Holmes, reputedly the first American serial killer.
An autistic teen narrates this story of his adventure trying to solve a mystery surrounding the discovery of the murdered corpse of his neighbor’s pet poodle.
Claire and Henry have a loving, passionate marriage with one big problem: Henry is a time traveler, involuntarily dropping in and out of time. This unusual love story follows Claire and Henry's relationship, as the two meet out of sync, with different memories of each other or none at all, testing the strength of their devotion in a world which could change in an instant.
Young Lucy Mercer Rutherford is hired as the private secretary for Eleanor Roosevelt but soon falls deeply in love with Eleanor’s ambitious and charismatic husband Franklin. When the affair is discovered by Eleanor and threatens Franklin’s presidential chances, Franklin ends it with Lucy, vowing to never betray Eleanor’s trust again. But the connection is strong between the two, and when Franklin is in declining health, the two meet again. This novel, told from Lucy’s perspective, is based on historical events and sources.
The further adventures of Precious Ramotswe, the cunning, insightful head of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana.
Found in a box on the doorstep of the richest woman in town, a newborn baby brings the parallel worlds of 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' together.
An Indian boy, Piscine Patel (aka ‘Pi’) and his zookeeping family are emigrating to Canada. While on a container ship enroute to their new life, an accident at sea leaves Pi and a tiger in a lifeboat floating on the Pacific Ocean.
A college-aged woman is faced with difficult decisions when her boyfriend dives off a pier and becomes a quadriplegic. Set in Madison, with many small details local readers will love.
Calliope's friendship with a classmate and her sense of identity are compromised by the adolescent discovery that she is an intersex person, a situation with roots in her grandparent's desperate struggle for survival in the 1920s.
Small-town Georgia in 1964 is the setting for this novel of beekeeping, civil rights, and a girl's yearning for her deceased mother. Despite the difficult subjects, this novel is sad but warm and, ultimately, uplifting.
EMT and former nurse Perry moves back to his hometown - New Auburn, WI - after years away. His stories about his emergency calls are compelling and his ruminations on small town life unique.
A rich, layered family saga triptych that spreads over Greece, Scotland, New York City and Long Island during three summers. The family patriarch and his son are the focus of this 2002 National Book Award winner.
Martinez investigates the deaths of three migrant workers, the Chavez brothers. Martinez spends a year with the brothers’ extended family as they work their way across the U.S., including a stint at a Wisconsin meat packing plant.
Two boys are sent to the countryside to be re-educated in this fable set during China's Cultural Revolution. They discover hope through forbidden western literature, but find hope can be cruel and corrupting.
A Broadway actress returns home to small town Minnesota to care for her Down's syndrome nephew. This larger-than-life woman learns how far she's drifted from her core values, but with trademark Landvik humor.
In this multi-layered novel, a dying octogenarian recalls her past, including her forced marriage, her sister's suicide, and the publication of her sister's science fiction novel, The Blind Assassin.
Summer in a corner of southern Appalachia serves as the setting for the adventures and struggles of three free-spirited women, who have intimate ties to the natural world.
Set in a small town in the plains of Colorado, this novel tells the interrelated stories of eight characters whose lives undergo radical change during the course of one year.
An account of the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas and killed 6,000 people. Larson uses personal papers, letters, newspapers and government archives as the source material for this engrossing tale.
An orphan raised in Valparaiso, Chile, by a Victorian spinster and her rigid brother, Eliza Sommers follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 and meets a Chinese herbalist, who becomes her soul mate, on the journey.
Your first year teaching at a poor urban school can really be tough. Esme, however, has energy, wit, big ideas and a touch of cynicism. Written in diary form, we read about her successes and failures as a teacher as she experiences them over the course of a year.
After living 20 years in England, Bryson reacquaints himself with America by walking the Appalachian Trail and shares his comic insight into the trail's people, politics and history. The full title is A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.
This memoir of family, friends and food by the former restaurant critic for The New York Times and current editor of Gourmet Magazine focuses on the early childhood and adulthood of the author, and shows what led to her love of food.
A paranoid schizophrenic, incarcerated in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum for murder, Dr. W.C. Minor provided tens of thousands of quotations for use in the Oxford English Dictionary for its first publication in the nineteenth century.
This is the first in a series of gentle mysteries. Precious Ramotswe operates in Botswana, running an agency where the solving of the ‘mystery’ is often secondary to the exploration of family, customs and alternate methods of justice.
A fictionalized account based on the true story of a white woman who accused a black man of rape in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, in order to avoid a forced marriage to the farmhand who actually raped her. The resulting riots pitted the National Guard against the community of Greenwood, known as the "Negro Wall Street," and resulted in the complete destruction of that town.
In chapters that alternate between the history of the Hmong and a highly personal story of a young Hmong girl who is severly ill with seizures, we learn about Hmong culture and the dramatic clash between it and American medicine in the early 1990s. The full title is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures.
A brutally moving work of art--widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written--Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author's father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats. (Contains both volumes, I, My Father Bleeds History and II, And Here My Troubles Began)
This memoir combines accounts of McBride’s childhood in a mixed-race family and his mother’s life history, and is a powerful portrait of growing up, a meditation on race and identity, and a poignant hymn from a son to his mother.
Young Henry was fascinated with his new school teacher, who was unconventional by the local standards of their seaside town. The adult Henry harbors a secret-- and it involves a murder in Chatham long ago.
Ruby Lennox gives an account of family life above a petshop in England, revealing the lives of the women in her family, from her great-grandmother's affair with a French photographer to her mother's unfulfilled dreams of Hollywood glamour.
Two couples, an undocumented Mexican husband and wife camping in a canyon and well-heeled Americans living in a gated community, cross paths repeatedly and usually unknowingly in this novel set in Southern California.
In this Pulitzer Prize winning book, Daisy Goodwill attempts to understand her place in the world as she nears the end of her life. She narrates her own biography, from her birth in Manitoba in 1905 when she loses her mother to childbirth, through her college years, her marriages and her work as a newspaper columnist.
A Catholic nun shares her perspective of our system of capital punishment after she is asked to counsel Patrick Sonnier, a death-row inmate. She writes of her experiences as she gets to know Patrick, including her shock at the brutality of his crime, her sympathy with his pain and her efforts to abolish the death penalty.
Kent Nerburn draws the reader deep into the world of an Indian elder known only as Dan. It's a world of Indian towns, white roadside cafes, and abandoned roads that swirl with the memories of the Ghost Dance and Sitting Bull. Readers meet vivid characters like Jumbo, a 400-pound mechanic, and Annie, an 80-year-old Lakota woman living in a log cabin. Threading through the book is the story of two men struggling to find a common voice.
Forced to flee an America where anarchy and violence have completely taken over, empath Lauren Olamina--who can feel the pain of others and is crippled by it--becomes a prophet carrying the hope of a new world and a new faith christened "Earthseed".