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 We've made it easier for you by collecting donated and withdrawn copies of discussible books and putting all the copies in a canvas bag.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
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother's sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother, yet the prospect is dimming. So, when Willa receives a phone call from a stranger, telling her that her son's ex-girlfriend has been shot, she drops everything and flies across the country to Baltimore.
With great compassion--because the Native way is to bring the oppressor into the circle of healing, understanding that healing cannot occur unless everyone is part of the process-- Villanueva diagnoses the fatal flaws in financial institutions, unflinchingly drilling down to the core of colonialism and White supremacy. Integrating traditional indigenous wisdom with savvy financial experience, this book explains how money can be used to facilitate relationships, to help us thrive, and to bring things back into balance.
If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? In 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, four teenage siblings visit a fortune-teller who is reputed to be able to predict the date of a person’s death; this bestselling novel by Madison author Chloe Benjamin follows them across the country and through next five decades.
In this hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.
The compulsively readable story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum in Vineland, New Jersey, navigating what seems to be the end of the world as they know it. With history as their tantalizing canvas, these characters paint a startlingly relevant portrait of life in precarious times when the foundations of the past have failed to prepare us for the future.
On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person--but also that the cold-reading skills she's honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased...where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, award-winning reporter and author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.
In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader in a single weekend. This indelible portrait of a complex family reminds us of what it means to be the first generation and to live two lives across one border.
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He's popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne's house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers--one they are determined to conceal. A year later, they're both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain.
Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany's defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband's ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband's brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.
Bestselling author Grann presents a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history, the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals in which the director of a Memphis adoption organization kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, Wingate's wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though our paths can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.
In this 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, after receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur Less, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.
A Washington Post reporter's intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors' assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin--Paul Ryan's hometown--and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body. The bold, imaginative first novel from critically acclaimed author Saunders.
A coming-of-age novel about the sexual awakening of a middle-aged woman, Mrs. Fletcher is a provocative, witty look at contemporary sexual politics and timeless moral dilemmas - a moving and funny examination of sexuality, identity, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure who they are and where they belong.
A luminous coming-of-age novel about a young female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track. She's tormented by her failed research--and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence. But there's another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend.
When Miss Norma was diagnosed with uterine cancer, she was advised to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. But instead of confining herself to a hospital bed for what could be her last stay, Miss Norma--newly widowed after nearly seven decades of marriage--told her doctor, "I'm ninety years old. I'm hitting the road." And so Miss Norma took off on an unforgettable around-the-country journey in a thirty-six-foot motorhome with her retired son Tim, his wife Ramie, and their dog Ringo. This book was the 2018 Fond du Lac Reads selection.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Egan turns to historical fiction, telling the story of Anna Kerrigan, who grows up during the Great Depression to eventually become the first female diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, while also unraveling the mysteries of her father’s disappearance and caring for her mother and disabled sister.
The remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi's past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power--and limitations--of family bonds.
After her father's death, Nikki, a modern young Punjabi woman, takes a job teaching creative writing. The Sikh widows who show up expect an English literacy course. But Nikki never expected what she would learn from them. This lively, sexy, and thought-provoking debut novel is about community, friendship, and women's lives at all ages.
Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history.
An unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress's relentless rise to the top, the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
A 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, written by two-time Pulitzer-Prize finalist and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan. Chosen as the 2018-2019 UW-Madison Go Big Read selection.
One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.
This warm and practical book by Madison area author, psychotherapist, and mindfulness teacher Mare Chapman, M.A., based on Chapman’s ‘Mindfulness for Women’ course, guides the reader through an intimate journey, showing how women form disempowering beliefs that cause them to lose themselves in relationships, and how to regain connection with their true selves through mindfulness.
This kit was added to the collection with support from the Madison Public Library Foundation.
A rich Nigerian boy; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. When a vital new force takes root and flourishes, their lives converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls and women now have immense physical power-- they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And everything changes ...
This story of a community and a family, whose attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby dramatically divides the town, explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood - and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Kim Phúc, informally known as “the Napalm Girl,” was immortalized as a badly burned child running from a bombing in one of the most horrifying, iconic images of the Vietnam war. Yet despite the physical and emotional pain she suffered, this memoir details how she found faith, forgiveness, and peace.
One foggy night, a private plane takes off from Martha’s Vineyard. Sixteen minutes later, it plunges straight into the sea. Only two survive. Was it an accident? Murder? Just a simple twist of fate? As each of the passengers’ stories is revealed, the answer becomes more elusive.
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
This Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning novel follows the route of Cora and Caesar, two slaves who escape a brutal plantation via the Underground Railroad. But in this surreal world, the railroad is a literal track underground, and Cora and Caesar must follow a harrowing route through multiple states just ahead of a cruel slave catcher in search of real freedom.
A workaholic with a too-good-to-be-true romance can't stop thinking about her first love in this unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.
As Lucy Barton recovers from an operation, her mother comes to visit her and the two reflect on Lucy’s life in small town Amgash, Illinois. Yet under their conversation is a tension that hints at deeper aspects to Lucy’s life.
In the Rust Belt town of North Bath, New York, police chief Doug Raymer is convinced he’s ‘everyone’s fool’ as he grapples with the revelation his now-dead wife cheated on him, engages in an ongoing feud with the curmudgeon Sully Sullivan and otherwise tries to maintain order in a town filled with down-on-their-luck but lovable characters.
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world.
A kiss at a christening party leads to the dissolution of marriages and the creation of a new blended family, the repercussions of which are traced through fifty years.
In this novel, set in Northern California in 1969, and based loosely on the stories of Charles Manson’s followers, a disaffected and lonely teenager meets a group of girls who follow a manipulative, charismatic, and dangerous man, and joins them.
Ruth, an experienced African-American delivery nurse, is forbidden to tend to the baby of a white supremacist family, but when the child goes into cardiac arrest and no one else is able to help, she makes a fateful decision. When the baby dies in her care, she is charged with a serious crime, and must reconsider what she thought she knew about others—and herself.
After a tragic hunting accident in which Landreaux Irons accidentally shoots and kills his neighbor’s five-year-old-son, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition - the sweat lodge - for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and his wife will give their own five-year-old-son, LaRose, to their grieving neighbors to raise as their own.
In this humorous novel about a dysfunctional family, three siblings find that their reckless brother has drained the $2 million dollar bank account their father left them at his death, money they have all been planning to use to solve their own financial problems.
This novel follows the fate of two half-sisters born in eighteenth century Ghana, and their descendants. One sister marries the British head of a slave trading colony, while the other is captured in the same colony and sold into American slavery.
A last-minute invitation to a weekend barbeque has lasting effects for three couples, and leaves them questioning their friendships and the guilt underlying even the most commonplace moments.
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
The author of this memoir was a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer in his mid-thirties. Writing in his last months of life, he talks about his childhood and college studies, explains why he decided to become a doctor, and describes his experiences with his illness.
When Joel, whose then-7-year-old brother was kidnapped in a Stockholm subway station in 1970, suddenly goes missing, his wife reaches out to an old friend for help. Danny Katz, a brilliant computer programmer and recovering heroin addict, as well as a divorced father of two young girls, begins to dig behind the digital veil in search of Joel, even though the investigation quickly interferes with his duties as a parent.
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.
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.
Beryl Markham has grown up in the wilds of 1920s Kenya, raised by her British father and members of the local tribes. Her unlikely upbringing gives her a boldness that helps her become a pioneering aviator and author, as well as a deep appreciation for the beautiful and wild spirit of Africa. But affairs of the heart are a different matter, challenging even a woman as independent and strong as Markham.
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.
This novel tells the story of two French sisters, one married with children, and the other a rebellious teenager, who struggle to survive the many hardships and abuses of German occupation during World War II, each finding her own path to resistance.
Lotto and Mathilde’s marriage seems charmed, beginning with a whirlwind romance and withstanding years of poor idealism to yield financial and artistic success. But every story has two sides, and Groff masterfully portrays a complex marriage, first from Lotto’s perspective and then a very different version from Mathilde’s point of view.
One doctor's passionate and profound memoir of his experience grappling with race, bias, and the unique health problems of black Americans.
Rachel, whose life has spiraled into depression and alcoholism, becomes intrigued by a couple she dubs Jess and Jason who she spots from her commuter train every day. One day as she is passing their home, she sees Jess kissing a man who is not her husband. Shortly after, Jess disappears entirely. Told from the intersecting perspectives of Rachel, Jess and Anna, Jess’s neighbor, an intriguing thriller unfolds. But who is telling the truth?
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.