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 We've made it easier for you by collecting donated and withdrawn copies of discussible books and putting all the copies in a canvas bag.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
The Turner House
The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts--and shapes--their family's future.
The Cherry Harvest
In the summer of 1944, most of the men have been shipped off to war, and Door County’s cherry harvest is threatened. Faced with the possibility of losing their livelihood, the Christiansen family lobbies to use Germans housed at a nearby POW camp for labor. But when friendships are sparked between enemies and former servicemen begin coming home with an intense hatred of Germany, the prospects for trouble are inevitable.
Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine
One doctor's passionate and profound memoir of his experience grappling with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black Americans.
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.
Go Set a Watchman
An earlier written sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird set in the 1950s, Go Set a Watchman casts the beloved characters of Scout and Atticus in a new light, and poses the question of how far we have really come in the battle against discrimination.
A teenage boy struggling with schizophrenia in this deeply powerful and personal novel from one of today's most admired writers for teens.
Between the World and Me
In this National Book Award-winning memoir, journalist Coates recounts his experience growing up black and offers penetrating insight into the state of race relations in America today.
In this prize-winning novel of the Vietnam War, a double-agent, half-French and half-Vietnamese, leaves his homeland and comes to America after the Fall of Saigon. While building a new life in California, he continues to report back to his Communist supervisors.
In the Unlikely Event
This novel, based on true events in the author’s childhood, portrays the community of Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950’s, when it was hit by three major plane crashes within a few months, leaving residents to struggle with the repeated tragedies.
All the Things You Are
A childhood Halloween prank with horrible consequences comes back to haunt a man and his family in this Madison-set thriller.
This novel tells the story of five friends who grew up together in the fictional small town of Little Wing, Wisconsin: a famous musician, a wealthy commodities trader, a former rodeo star, and a married couple who stayed in the community as farmers.
A Man Called Ove
Ove has always lived his life according to strict principles, earning him the status of lead curmudgeon in his neighborhood. But when life threatens to overwhelm even the firmly stoic Ove, a comedic cast of characters comes to the rescue—and proves that help can come from the most surprising of sources.
Inspired by events in the life of anthropologist, Margaret Mead, this is the fictional story of a love triangle among three anthropologists working in New Guinea, who display three completely different approaches to studying other cultures.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need. One of his first clients was Walter McMillian, a man on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. Here Stevenson details the legal journey to McMillian’s release as well as those of others he’s helped in his now thirty year career.
The Paying Guests
Frances Wray and her mother, formerly genteel but fallen on hard times and devastated by the toll of the Great War, offer a portion of their London house to rent. A young lower-class couple, the Barbers, become the Wrays’ ‘paying guests.’ Drawn to the vivacious Mrs. Barber, Frances embarks on a relationship that quickly turns into something far more serious with unimagined repercussions.
The Invention of Wings
Sarah Grimke, a well-to-do daughter of antebellum Charleston receives a ten-year old slave girl, Hetty ‘Handful’ Grimke, on her eleventh birthday. Both women know they are meant to do more in the wider world, and yearn to escape the respective paths of life they were born to. Over the course of their thirty-five year relationship, their destinies overlap and intertwine through slavery, freedom and the complexities of love, against the backdrop of the abolition and early women’s movements.
H Is for Hawk
British naturalist Macdonald undertakes the training of a goshawk as a means of working through the grief at the sudden loss her father, himself a falconer.
In this National Book Award-nominated novel, a rag-tag group of traveling Shakespearean actors struggle to survive in a landscape that has been decimated by a global pandemic that wipes out 99% of the population. In flashbacks, members of the group recall their lives during the pandemic and what it took for them to survive, with some surprising connections.
Left for dead after an accident, astronaut Mark Watley is stranded on the surface of Mars. Left with only enough food and supplies for a few months, Watley has to rely on his wits and ingenuity to survive.
The Post family and friends embark on a celebratory two-week vacation in the island paradise of Mallorca. But humorous revelations of secrets and infidelities promise to turn their holiday into one they’ll never forget.
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
This is a graphic memoir by a New Yorker cartoonist, both hilarious and horrifying, in which she uses cartoons, hand-written text, and photographs to recount the story of her parents' last years and to explore her difficult relationship with them.
All the Light We Cannot See
Blind Marie-Laure has escaped war-torn Paris for the French seaside town of Saint-Malo along with her father and a precious jewel, determined to keep it out of Nazi hands. German boy Gunther’s talent with radios makes him a valuable asset to the Nazi war effort, but he struggles to cope with the human cost of his intelligence. By the end of the war, the two children’s stories intertwine as they try to hold on to their humanity in Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
While modern medicine has developed breathtaking advances in the pursuit to extend life, the ability of doctors treat the realities of aging and dying often runs counter to the best interests of the patient. Surgeon Gawande examines the limitations of medicine at the end of life, and speaks with those in the profession who are turning ‘a good death’ into a quality life to the very end.
Opening up a vintage clothing shop in Madison has always been Violet’s dream, but making it a success is entirely different challenge. Teenager April is trying to recover from a broken engagement and the looming birth of her child. Amithi struggles with the betrayal of her husband and tension with her tradition-averse daughter. These different women connect over vintage cloth and learn to face down the upheavals of their lives to emerge stronger together.
The Silver Star
In the summer of 1961, life in New Bremen, Minnesota moves slowly for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum. The tragic death of a child in a train accident prompts old memories to resurface between the Drum and Brandt families, revealing the pain and dark shadows that lurked just under the surface of an idyllic life, and introducing Frank to the harsh realities of adulthood.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
We Need New Names
In Bulawayo’s semiautobiographical novel, young Darling describes her chaotic but still happy childhood during Zimbabwe’s strife-filled Lost Decade. In the second half of the novel, the teenage Darling reflects on the promises and failures of America after she emigrates to Destroyedmichigan (Detroit). A work that considers what one embraces in a new culture and what can’t be left behind, We Need New Names was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Award.
Learning to Stay
When her husband Brad returns from Iraq, Elise is thrilled to have him home. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered on duty has turned the patient, thoughtful man she married into someone quite different. Faced with potentially losing the man she loves, Elise receives help from an unlikely source.
Where They Bury You
In August 1863, during Kit Carson's roundup of the Navajo, Santa Fe's Provost Marshal, Major Joseph Cummings, is found dead in an arroyo near what is now the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona. The murder, as well as the roughly million of today's dollars in cash and belongings in his saddlebags, is historically factual. Carson's explanation that he was shot by a lone Indian, which, even today, can be found in the U.S. Army Archives, is implausible. Who did kill Carson's ''brave and lamented'' Major?
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Shot in the head on her way home from her Pakistan school, Malala was targeted by the Taliban because she publicly advocated for girls education and attended school herself. In her book, Malala blends the politics and the personal into a story not just of what happened to her, but also the difficulties-- both politically and otherwise-- in Pakistan today. Chosen as UW-Madison's 2014 Go Big Read selection.
The Cuckoo's Calling
In this literary novel, a 13-year-old-boy survives a terrorist explosion at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which kills his mother. He then finds himself the owner of a seventeenth century Dutch painting called “The Goldfinch,” and drawn into the dark and mysterious underworld of art dealing.
A Tale for the Time Being
In Japan, a teenage girl is struggling-- and writing to a future anonymous reader about it in a diary. Ten years later the diary, along with letters in Japanese and French, wash ashore in a metal lunchbox on the coast of British Columbia. The woman who finds it sets out to identify the girl to see how she's fared in the intervening years.
A troubled teenaged girl, who is helping an old woman organize her house, learns about the woman's early life as an Irish immigrant in New York City and in Minnesota, where she was sent at the age of nine, on an orphan train.
Paroled after serving time for a crime he might not have committed, Brock Bookchester is back in his hometown of Words, Wisconsin. As he slowly tries to reconnect with family and friends, the residents of Words find that only by taking risks and making sacrifices can a community make one of its own whole again. Revisiting the world he created in Driftless, Rhodes creates a detailed, poignant portrait of those who call small towns home.
Crazy Rich Asians
Envisioning a summer vacation in the humble Singapore home of a boy she hopes to marry, Chinese American Rachel Chu is unexpectedly introduced to a rich and scheming clan that strongly opposes their son's relationship with an American girl.
The Burgess Boys
Two brothers left their hometown in Maine to become New York City lawyers. One is now a hotshot corporate attorney, the other works for Legal Aid. When their sister in Maine needs help, both go back to assist—and secrets large and small are revealed.