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 We've made it easier for you by collecting donated and withdrawn copies of discussible books and putting all the copies in a canvas bag.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
Civil rights advocate and legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that a new permanent under-class has been created by the war on drugs and the denial of equal access to employment, housing, public benefits and education to ex-prisoners.
In this humorous love story a proper, retired British army officer and a shopkeeper of Pakistani heritage begin a romance despite family problems and cultural barriers.
Bill Bryson relates the history of a household by touring his own home, a Church of England rectory built in the nineteenth century, and relating stories of everyday objects and how they transformed the way people lived.
Jacob Hunt, a teen with Asperger’s syndrome, becomes a suspect in a terrible murder which shines the spotlight on his family. This medical courtroom drama deals with issues of what it means to be different, how autism affects the family, and how the legal system can fail people who cannot communicate well.
A woman of intelligence, cunning and ambition intent on consolidating and maximizing her power emerges against the romanticized, melodramatic vixen portrayed in Western history in this thoroughly researched biography of Cleopatra.
In this novel of drama and satire, the bombing of the Great Ape Language Lab and the subsequent removal of their bonobo apes to a new life on reality TV brings together married reporter John Thigpen and primate-loving scientist Isabel Duncan.
Interwoven stories of three American women at the start of World War II: a single 40-year old postmistress in a small town on Cape Cod, a newlywed new to the town, and a reporter in London working under Edward R. Morrow.
A suburban mother raising three teenage children and running a landscaping business has an ordinary life with ordinary problems until the family is engulfed in a violent tragedy.
The deftly wry, deeply romantic story of Davie Jones -- an "ugly duckling" from small-town Mississippi with a voice like Tina Turner, who escapes to Los Angeles to try to make it big, and risks losing her soul along the way to finding her fairy tale ending.
The story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American cancer patient, wife and mother, and of her cells, known as HeLa cells. HeLa cells are used daily in labs worldwide, yet Lacks' family was unaware of their use until more than 20 years after her death. Chosen as the 2010-2011 UW-Madison Go Big Read selection.
This stream-of-consciousness novel tells the story, part realistic and part fantastic, of a quirky little town on the Oregon coast, and the lives of its inhabitants, including Salish Indians, Irish immigrants, and a crow who talks.
Radioactive is an an innovative type of book: a graphic biography that adeptly combines the author’s vibrant cyanotype prints with a narrative story of Marie and Pierre Curie and their discovery of radioactivity and its applications in the last century. Weaving her own narrative and images together with historical documents, photographs, and artwork, Redniss has created a reading and viewing experience that uniquely blends art and science. Chosen as the 2012-13 UW-Madison Go Big Read selection.
Witnessing Whiteness invites readers to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations. The book also offers practical information on building knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices, a hopeful look at our collective future, and a discussion of how to create a culture of witnesses who support allies for social and racial justice.
Between World War I and 1970, six million black Americans left the South for the East Coast, West Coast, or Midwest. This non-fiction book tells the story of this “Great Migration” by focusing on the lives of three of the people who made the move.
In 1950s Ireland, when Ellis Lacey is unable to find a job in her home country, she leaves reluctantly for Brooklyn, NY. After a period of isolation she begins to find happiness, yet when a tragedy takes her back to Ireland the limitations of her old life conflict with her newfound possibilities in America.
In 1960s Jackson, Mississippi aspiring author Skeeter, who is white, gains the trust of some of the town's black maids and departs from her newspaper advice column assignment to secretly write a book from their point of view about being 'the help.'
Cape Cod is the home of memories good and bad for Jack Griffin. When he returns there post-divorce for his daughter’s wedding, comedy and pathos join forces to create a memorable event.
The story of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath is told through the experiences of Zeitoun, a Syrian-American and Muslim who stays in New Orleans to watch over his home and business. He helps rescue his neighbors, but is later arrested and imprisoned.
A chronicle of the author's year long quest to find happiness through testing ideas from age old wisdom, popular culture, and current scientific research.
A fictionalized biography of the author's grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who was a mustang breaker, school teacher, bootlegger, poker player, racehorse rider, bush pilot, ranch wife and mother.
A gothic tale set in 1907 Wisconsin told from two viewpoints: Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman who advertises for a wife for practical reasons, and Catherine Land, a beauty hungry for riches, posing as a dowdy daughter of a missionary.
Harrison William Shephard, whose father is American and mother is Mexican, lives in Mexico in the 1930s with Diego Rivera, his wife Frida Kahlo, and their houseguest Leon Trotsky.
Funny, humble and pensive—Michael’s life is changing as he’s pulled in different directions all at once.
New York City in the early 1970s is portrayed in this set of connected stories including a street priest, a judge, heroin addicts, mothers of sons killed in Vietnam, and a man who walks on a cable between the World Trade Center towers in August, 1974.
Escaping from civil war and genocide in his home country of Burundi, Deogratias, a young medical student, comes to New York city with $200. Despite facing many obstacles, Deo becomes an Ivy League student and eventually goes back to Burundi to found a public health clinic.
In this pre- and post-9/11 novel Tassie, a student at thinly veiled UW-Madison, hires on as a nanny for the owner of a pricey French restaurant who adopts a mixed-race child.
A chance discovery of items left behind by Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps during World War II causes Henry Lee, a Chinese-American and recent widower, to reflect on his first romance with Keiko, which ended when her family was evacuated.
In this debut novel, a runaway bestseller in Sweden, a mother, drawn by a mysterious clue back to the island where her 6-year-old son Jens disappeared 20 years ago, is determined to find out what really happened that gray September day. In the process, she finds a shocking connection to Öland's most notorious murder case: the killing spree of a wealthy young man who fled the island and died years before Jens was even born.
Sedaris returns with comic essays employing keen observation, absurdity and hilarity to explore everyday life from smoking to family dysfunction and death.
The intertwined stories of three women in suburban Philadelphia: newly arrived Cornelia searching for a new life; judgmental, perfectionist Piper struggling with her best friend's cancer; and elusive, free-spirited Lake.
An Iraqi-American is the chef at a small Los Angeles café, where Arab-Americans come to feel at home. A folkloric family story is interwoven with this contemporary tale of love, food and home.
This ‘novel in stories,’ set in small town Maine, centers on Olive Kitteridge, a difficult-to-like retired teacher and her friends and acquaintances. Together they reveal their follies, foibles, difficulties and capacity for change.
A cat found in the book return at a small town Iowa library became a library resident and enchanted customers for nearly 20 years with his winsome personality.
Journalist Lopez befriends a schizophrenic former Juilliard student playing a battered violin beside a shopping cart of belongings in L.A. Chosen by Porchlight as their Madison Cares community read. The full title is The Soloist: a Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music.
The personal costs of slavery are explored in this novel of 4 abandoned women together on a farm in upstate New York.