Book Discussion KitsBook Discussion Kit Home
Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.
Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)
PachinkoLee, Min Jin
In early 1900s Korea Sunja's unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame her poor yet proud family. "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. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"-- Provided by publisher.
National Book Award Finalist
New York Times Notable
Parable of the SowerButler, Octavia E.
In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages. Book Club: LeVar Burton (Jun 2021)
Parable of the TalentsButler, Octavia E.
Laura Olamina's daughter, Larkin, describes the broken and alienated world of 2032, as war racks the North American continent and an ultra-conservative religious crusader becomes president. Award winner: Nebula Awards: Best Novel New York Times Notable Books - Science Fiction: 1999
Paris Wife, TheMcLain, Paula
Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career.
Part WildTerrill, Ceiridwen
An "introspective and lyrical" ( Booklist ) memoir about a woman and her wolfdog hybrid-a powerful combination of storytelling and science that is as informative as it is moving. When Ceiridwen Terrill adopts a wolfdog-part husky, part gray wolf- named Inyo to be her protector and fellow traveler, she is drawn to Inyo's spark of wildness and compelled by the great responsibility, even danger, that accompanies the allure of the wild.
Past, TheHadley, Tessa
These three weeks may be their last time there; the upkeep is prohibitive, and they may be forced to sell this beloved house filled with memories of their shared past (their mother took them there to live when she left their father). Yet beneath the idyllic pastoral surface, hidden passions, devastating secrets, and dangerous hostilities threaten to consume them. Sophisticated and sleek, Roland's new wife (his third) arouses his sisters' jealousies and insecurities. Kasim, the twenty-year-old son of Alice's ex-boyfriend, becomes enchanted with Molly, Roland's sixteen-year-old daughter. Fran's young children make an unsettling discovery in a dilapidated cottage in the woods that shatters their innocence. Passion erupts where it's least expected, leveling the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the eldest sister. Over the course of this summer holiday, the family's stories and silences intertwine, small disturbances build into familial crises, and a way of life--bourgeois, literate, ritualized, Anglican--winds down to its inevitable end.
People of Forever Are Not Afraid, TheBoianjiu, Shani
A "searing debut" about three young women coming of age, experiencing "the absurdities of life and love on the precipice of violence" ( Vogue ) Yael, Avishag, and Lea grow up together in a tiny, dusty Israeli village, attending a high school made up of caravan classrooms, passing notes to each other to alleviate the universal boredom of teenage life. When they are conscripted into the army, their lives change in unpredictable ways, influencing the women they become and the friendship that they struggle to sustain. Yael trains marksmen and flirts with boys. Avishag stands guard, watching refugees throw themselves at barbed-wire fences. Lea, posted at a checkpoint, imagines the stories behind the familiar faces that pass by her day after day. They gossip about boys and whisper of an ever more violent world just beyond view. They drill, constantly, for a moment that may never come. They live inside that single, intense second just before danger erupts. In a relentlessly energetic and arresting voice marked by humor and fierce intelligence, Shani Boianjiu, winner of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35," creates an unforgettably intense world, capturing that unique time in a young woman's life when a single moment can change everything.
Perfect Summer, The: England 1911, Just Before the StormNicolson, Juliet
A chronicle of the glorious English summer of 1911, when the world was on the cusp of irrevocable change. Through the tight lens of four months, the author vividly renders a story of how, day by day, a nation began to lose its innocence.
The great-granddaughter of Iran's last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life (NoveList).
Amelia Bloomer List
Booklist Editors' Choice
Library Journal Best Books
New York Times Notable Book
Personal Librarian, TheBenedict, Marie and Murray, Victoria Christopher
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian-who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray. In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. Pierpont Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection. But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white-her complexion is dark because she is African American. The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go-for the protection of her family and her legacy-to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
Best Book of the Year by NPR
Notable Book of the Year
Phone Booth at the Edge of the World, TheImai Messina, Laura
When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain. Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around. Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother's death. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after.
Piece of the World, AKline, Christina Baker
Andrew Wyeth's painting "Christina's World" would immortalize a young woman. This is the story of Christina and her life. After almost dying as a child of an undiagnosed illness, her legs are twisted, making her stumble as she walks. As she ages, the effects of this illness get much worse leaving her with a shrinking world. This book immerses us in the life on her farm and into the heart of a young woman. A touching story by the author of Orphan Train that brings to life the story behind a painting and the life of a young girl who always wanted more than she was given, but accomplished so much despite her handicap. -- Diane Scholl for LibraryReads.
Living in a labyrinthine house of endless corridors, flooded staircases and thousands of statues, Piranesi assists the dreamlike dwelling's only other resident throughout a mysterious research project before evidence emerges of an astonishing alternate world. Award winner: ALA Notable Books - Fiction: 2021 LibraryReads Favorites: 2020 Loan Stars Favourites: 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction
Place for Us, AMirza, Fatima Farheen
An adult child and his estranged parents attempt to reconcile in this novel of identity and belonging. Rafiq and Layla, Muslim Indian-Americans living in California, see their son Amar for the first timein years at their daughter’s wedding. Spanning decades, this novel examines the family’s history, from the parents’ arrival in America to the secrets and betrayals that led to the present day.
Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award
Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist
Plain and SimpleBender, Sue
Heeding a persistent inner voice, Bender searches for Amish families willing to allow her to visit and share in there daily lives. Plain and Simple vividly recounts sojourns with two Amish families, visits during which Bender enters a world without television, telephone, electric light, or refrigerators; a world where clutter and hurry are replaced with inner quiet and calm ritual; a world where a sunny kitchen "glows" and "no distinction was made between the sacred and the everyday.
Plover, TheDoyle, Brian
Declan O Donnell has sailed out of Oregon and deep into the vast, wild ocean, having had just finally enough of other people and their problems. He will go it alone, he will be his own country, he will be beholden to and beloved of no one. No man is an island, my butt, he thinks. I am that very man . . . . But the galaxy soon presents him with a string of odd, entertaining, and dangerous passengers, who become companions of every sort and stripe. The Plover is the story of their adventures and misadventures in the immense blue country one of their company calls Pacifica. Hounded by a mysterious enemy, reluctantly acquiring one new resident after another, Declan O Donnell's lonely boat is eventually crammed with humor, argument, tension, and a resident herring gull.
Poisoner's Handbook, The: murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New YorkBlum, Deborah
The untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. A pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler create revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. From the vantage of their laboratory it also becomes clear that murderers aren't the only toxic threat--modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner.
Pomegranate SoupMehran, Marsha
To the Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of "crazed sheep and dizzying roads," they might finally find a home. From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets - an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Cafe, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern.
Postmistress, TheBlake, Sarah
In London covering the Blitz with Edward R. Murrow, Frankie Bard meets a Cape Cod doctor in a shelter and promises that she'll deliver a letter for him when she finally returns to the United States. Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, "The Postmistress" is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women--and of two countries torn apart by war.
Power, TheAlderman, Naomi
A smart and evocative dystopian novel of a near future that flips traditional gender roles. This book is bound to spark discussion by challenging long-held beliefs.
New York Times Notable
Pride and PrejudiceAusten, Jane
Wealthy Mr. Darcy and spirited Elizabeth Bennett dislike each other at first sight, and each must contend with their pride and prejudices while Elizabeth's mother plots economically advantageous marriages for all her daughters in this classic novel.
A darkly comic memoir about the author's relationship with her unconventional married Catholic priest father, describing emblematic moments from her youth and the crisis that led the author and her non-religious husband to briefly live in her parents' rectory. Lockwood pivots from the raunchy to the sublime, from the comic to the deeply serious, exploring issues of belief, belonging, and personhood. Priestdaddy is an entertaining, unforgettable portrait of a deeply odd religious upbringing, and how one balances a hard-won identity with the weight of family and tradition.
Thurber Prize for American Humor
Kirkus Prize Nominee
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books
Washington Post Best Book
NPR Best Book
Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter ManualAjay Jones, Luvvie
With humor and honesty, and guided by the influence of her inspiring and professional troublemaking grandmother, Funmilayo Faloyin, Luvvie walks us through what we must get right within ourselves before we can do the things that scare us; how to use our voice for a greater good; and how to put movement to the voice we've been silencing--because truth-telling is a muscle. The point is not to be fearless. It is to know we are afraid and to charge forward regardless, to recognize the things we must do are more significant than the things we are afraid to do. This book shows you how she's done it, and how you can, too.
Promise, TheGalgut, Damon
A modern saga that could only have come from South Africa, written in gorgeous prose by the Booker Prize-winning author Damon Galgut. Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa; Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life's unfulfilled promises; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt. Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country - an atmosphere of resentment, renewal, and - ultimately - hope. The Promise is an epic drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of national history. Winner of the 2021 Booker Prize
Provence 1970Barr, Luke
Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today's tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters--some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew.