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 We've made it easier for you by collecting donated and withdrawn copies of discussible books and putting all the copies in a canvas bag.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
Austen's classic of social manners follows Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they try to achieve married bliss, in spite of bad first impressions and meddling families.
Part case studies, part meditation on the past, present and future of the disease, The Problem of Alzheimer’s traces Alzheimer's disease from its discovery and tells the story of the biomedical breakthroughs that may allow it to finally be prevented and treated by medicine.
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.
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.
Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency--a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.
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.
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.
Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends--some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness.
In a major novel unlike anything he has written before, John Grisham takes the reader on an incredible journey, from the Jim Crow South to the jungles of the Philippines during World War II; from an insane asylum filled with secrets to the Clanton courtroom where upstanding citizen and World War II hero Pete Banning's defense attorney tries desperately to save him from conviction for the murder of the esteemed Reverend Bell, the most mysterious and unforgettable crime Ford County had ever known.
Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy.
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.
Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago.
While her mic is accidentally on, morning talk show host Meghan calls a guest a vulgar name on national television. Her entire world changes, including her career and relationships with her husband, grown son and social worker sister.
Sy’noba, a young female lioness with roots from the savanna in Africa finds herself battling with her true identity living in civilization amongst humans. The pride’s king, Koja, who already has two wives has his eyes set on Sy’noba, his first wife little sister. With jealousy brewing in the pride, will Asha turn on her sister, Sy’noba? Will Sy’noba find herself when her back is against the wall or will she become Koja’s third wife?
5-year old Jack narrates the story of his life from the 11 by 11 foot room where he and his mother are confined by Old Nick.
Anna Pigeon's first job as a National Park employee in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area basis for this book-- Barr's 17th in the series. The setting of the desert surrounding Lake Powell and the houseboat renting tourists that populate the park are central features of this story, which reveals a broken-hearted and widowed Anna just getting started on what we know to be a long career in solving crimes.
In this unconventional love story, scientist Don sets out to overcome his Asperger’s syndrome and find the Perfect Wife by concocting an exhaustive, mathematically precise questionnaire. And then he meets Rosie, who should be all wrong for him but for some reason seems just right.
Adoption, race, class, and family are explored in this novel about three brothers and their widowed father.
A chilling debut in which a detective must uncover the dark history of a luxury hotel in the Alps if she has any hope of stopping the deaths that won't let up.
A stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland in 1972, during the vicious conflict known as The Troubles, and its devastating repercussions.
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.
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.
A sweeping, achingly beautiful novel that moves between Germany on the eve of World War II and present day Wisconsin, unspooling a story of love, longing, and the ceaseless push and pull of motherhood.
This Booker Prize winner is suspenseful tale of memory and self-knowledge. When Tony receives a classmate's diary from 40+ years before, it leads to a re-examination of his younger years and what he thought was true.
Lifelong Madison resident Muriel Simms presents a brief history of African American settlement in Madison and a collection of oral histories from twenty-five African Americans whose families arrived, survived, and thrived here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This kit was added to the collection with support from the Madison Public Library Foundation.
Threatened by bankruptcy, May and Pearl, two beautiful girls living in Shanghai in the 1930s, are placed in arranged marriages to Chinese men living in Los Angeles where the girls struggle to form a new life.
Ever since Draylah Omari was sixteen years old, it seemed like life had only dealt her a bad hand. Tragedies and betrayal have taken the people she loved most, including her best friend of over a decade, Glory. After finding out her boyfriend Lue, who was once her savior, is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing, Draylah decides to lock her heart up and focus only on her half finished brow bar. She's no longer in the mood to weather any storms, especially ones that are brought on by a man.
Lake District raised and Oxford educated Rebanks provides a poetic, loving and realistic portrait of the farms and shepherds in one of England’s most rugged regions. Far from an elegy for a disappearing way of life, Rebanks emphasizes the importance of maintaining a connection to the land, and recognizing the worth of rural work.
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.
The unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland, and his alcoholic mother Agnes, whose love is only matched by her pride.
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.
A slap of an obnoxious toddler at a backyard party results in an arrest and court case, and leads to an exploration of the diverse lives of the partygoers.
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.
The story of Lily Yi and Snow Flower, intimate friends who used a secret written language to correspond, and how they were brought together and torn apart by their letters in 19th century rural China.
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.
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 bestselling author returns with a powerful and provocative new novel about ordinary lives that intersect during a heart-stopping crisis at a women's reproductive health services clinic.
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.
An intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz--an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis.
In this darkly comic novel, the family patriarch mistakenly believes he is dying of cancer (it’s really eczema) while his wife and grown children swirl around him getting ready for a wedding.
In his final book, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Tony Horwitz retraces landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted's journey across the American South in the 1850s, on the eve of the Civil War.
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.
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.
Frankee had everything a woman could desire. From the castle-like mansion she dwelled in to the fancy jewels she adorned; she had it all. She was the mother of two beautiful children whom she simply adored, and she was surrounded by a slew of servants who praised and worshipped her like she was royalty. Her fairytale life was every girl’s dream come true. But she never thought her shining knight in armor would come in the form of a megalomaniac!
This traditional mystery begins with the finding of the body of Jane Neal, a retired school teacher and talented amateur artist in the woods near a small Quebec village, the apparent victim of a tragic hunting accident.
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.
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.
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.
A page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of the '60s summer when everything changed.
A thirteen-year-old girl tries to save her family’s rundown alligator-themed Florida park after the death of her mother. A novel of magical realism, with a strong heroine, yet in a credible, believable world.
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 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.