Book Discussion Kits

Book 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.)

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Alan Turing

Hodges, Andrew

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This acclaimed biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life...
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Alexander Hamilton

Chernow, Ron

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow's biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today's America is the result of Hamilton's countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. "To repudiate his legacy," Chernow writes, "is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world." Chernow here recounts Hamilton's turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington's aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.

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Astoria

Stark, Peter

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing. Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment's leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition. Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast--one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn--nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.
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Bettyville

Hodgman, George

When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself--an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook--in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can't bring himself to force her from the home both treasure--the place where his father's voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay. As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty's life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town--crumbling but still colorful--to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar , Hodgman's New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son's return.

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Gilbert, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Gilbert "offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the "strange jewels" that are hidden within each of us."-- Provided by publisher.

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Born a Crime

Noah, Trevor

The host of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah traces his wild coming of age during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, offering insight into the farcical aspects of the political and social systems of today's world.
  • Thurber Prize for Humor
  • NAACP Image Award for Debut Author
  • Booklist Editors' Choice
  • New York Times Notible

  • Funds for this kit were generously donated by the Edmonds Lutheran Book Club. To donate funds for book kits, please contact the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.
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    Bosnia List, The

    Trebincevic, Kenan

    A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return. "A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family. At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47, screaming: "You have one hour to leave or be killed!" Kenan's only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan's miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia." -Publisher description
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    Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, The

    Kamkwamba, William

    A resonant, hopeful, engaging memoir showing the power of the human spirit through the author’s difficult life in Malawi and his quest to bring electricity to his village by building a windmill from scraps.

    Alex Award

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    Boy Who Loved Too Much, The: A True Story of Pathological Friendliness

    Latson, Jennifer

    A journalist describes the story of a twelve-year-old boy suffering from Williams syndrome, a genetic, developmental disorder that makes him impervious to social inhibitions and incapable of distrust, putting him at an extreme disadvantage for life in modern times. In a vivid and sympathetic telling based on three years of immersive reporting, Jennifer Latson intertwines Eli and Gayle's story with a look a the genetic basis of behavior, revealing how insights drawn from this rare condition shine a light on what makes us all human.
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    Boys in the Boat, The

    Brown, Daniel James

    The dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics, Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together--a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism. An irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times--the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.

    ALA Notable Book
    Indies' Choice Book Award
    2015 Whidbey Reads selection

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    Breakfast at Sally's: one homeless man's inspirational journey

    LeMieux, Richard

    One day, Richard LeMieux had a happy marriage, a palatial home, and took $40,000 Greek vacations. The next, he was living out of a van with only his dog, Willow, for company. This astonishingly frank memoir tells the story of one man's resilience in the face of economic disaster. Penniless, a failed suicide, estranged from his family, and living "the vehicular lifestyle" in Washington state, LeMieux chronicles his journey from the Salvation Army kitchens to his days with "C" a philosopher in a homeless man's clothing to his run-ins with Pastor Bob and other characters he meets on the streets. Along the way, he finds time to haunt public libraries and discover his desire to write.
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    Bully Pulpit, The

    Goodwin, Doris Kearns

    ...Doris Kearns Goodwin's highly anticipated The Bully Pulpit -a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air. The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft-a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that divides their wives, their children, and their closest friends, while crippling the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country's history. The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources...

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    Call Me American

    Iftin, Abdi Nor

    In this compelling, inspiring memoir, Iftin speaks candidly about his life in war-torn Somalia, his struggle to leave, and a chance encounter that changed the course of his life.

    ALA Notable

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    Cleopatra : A Life

    Schiff, Stacy

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

    New York Times Notable

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    Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening

    Sharif, Manal

    A memoir by a Saudi Arabian woman who became the unexpected leader of a movement to support women's rights describes how fundamentalism influenced her radical religious beliefs until her education, a job, and legal contradictions changed her perspectives. Daring to Drive is a remarkable celebration of resilience in the face of tyranny, the extraordinary power of education and female solidarity, and the difficulties and joys of taking the driver's seat of your own destiny. -- Inside jacket flap.
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    Destiny of the Republic

    Millard, Candice

    A narrative account of the twentieth president's political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell's failed attempt to save him from an assassin'sbullet.

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    Dog Years

    Doty, Mark

    Dog Years is a remarkable work: a moving and intimate memoir interwoven with profound reflections on our feelings for animals and the lessons they teach us about life, love, and loss. Mark Doty writes about the heart-wrenching vulnerability of dogs, the positive energy and joy they bring, and the gift they bear us of unconditional love. A book unlike any other, Mark Doty's surprising meditation is radiantly unsentimental yet profoundly affecting. Beautifully written, Dog Years is a classic in the making.
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    Egg and I, The

    MacDonald, Betty

    When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall—through chaos and catastrophe—this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor. A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on an American frontier.
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    Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of An Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II

    Croke, Vicki

    At the onset of World War II, Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own "Hannibal Trek." Billy Williams became a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them, but his story has since been forgotten. Part biography, part war story, and part wildlife adventure, Croke delivers an utterly charming narrative and an important, little-known piece of the legacy of World War II"-- Provided by publisher.

    New York Time Notable
    Goodreads Choice Award Nominee

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    Empathy Exams, The

    Jamison, Leslie

    From personal loss to phantom diseases, a bold and brilliant collection, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize

    A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Essay Collection of Spring 2014 Beginning with her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose, Leslie Jamison's visceral and revealing essays ask essential questions about our basic understanding of others: How should we care about each other? How can we feel another's pain, especially when pain can be assumed, distorted, or performed? Is empathy a tool by which to test or even grade each other? By confronting pain--real and imagined, her own and others'--Jamison uncovers a personal and cultural urgency to feel. She draws from her own experiences of illness and bodily injury to engage in an exploration that extends far beyond her life, spanning wide-ranging territory--from poverty tourism to phantom diseases, street violence to reality television, illness to incarceration--in its search for a kind of sight shaped by humility and grace.

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    End of Your Life Book Club, The

    Schwalbe, Will

    "What are you reading?" That's the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less. This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a "book club" that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isnt the opposite of doing; its the opposite of dying. Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other- and rediscover their lives-through their favorite books. When they read, they arent a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Wills love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.

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    Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall

    Willner, Nina

    "In this illuminating and deeply moving memoir, a former American military intelligence officer goes beyond traditional Cold War espionage tales to tell the true story of her family--of five women separated by the Iron Curtain for more than forty years, and their miraculous reunion after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Forty Autumns makes visceral the pain and longing of one family forced to live apart in a world divided by two. A personal look at a tenuous era that divided a city and a nation, and continues to haunt us, Forty Autumns is an intimate and beautifully written story of courage, resilience, and love--of five women whose spirits could not be broken, and who fought to preserve what matters most: family." -publisher description

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    From the Ashes: my story of being Metis, homeless and finding my way

    Thistle, Jesse

    In his memoir, Jesse Thistle writes about his experiences as a child abandoned by his parents and placed in foster care, his self-destructive cycle of drug addiction, petty crime and homelessness, and how he managed to turn his life around through education and perseverance. Winner, Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Nonfiction *Winner, Indigenous Voices Awards *Winner, High Plains Book Awards *Finalist, CBC Canada Reads *A Globe and Mail Book of the Year *A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year
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    Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister

    Choma, Anne

    Fans of the HBO series and history buffs alike will enjoy this fascinating biography of an extraordinary, highly intelligent woman who made history by defying convention and following her passions.

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    Going Clear

    Wright, Lawrence

    "Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists--both famous and less well known--and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative skills to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology: its origins in the imagination of science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard; its struggles to find acceptance as a legitimate (and legally acknowledged) religion; its vast, secret campaign to infiltrate the U.S. government; its vindictive treatment of critics; its phenomenal wealth; and its dramatic efforts to grow and prevail after the death of Hubbard"--From publisher description.

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    H is for Hawk

    Macdonald, Helen

    When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer-Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood-she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel, and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T.H. White's chronicle The Goshawk to begin her challenging endeavor. Projecting herself "in the hawk's wild mind to tame her" tested the limits of Macdonald's humanity and changed her life. Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer's eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

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    Hannibal

    Hunt, Patrick N.

    One of the greatest commanders of the ancient world brought vividly to life: Hannibal, the brilliant general who successfully crossed the Alps with his war elephants and brought Rome to its knees. To this day Hannibal is still regarded as a military genius. Napoleon, George Patton, and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. are only some of the generals who studied and admired him. His strategy and tactics are still taught in military academies. He is one of the figures of the ancient world whose life and exploits never fail to impress. Historian Patrick N. Hunt has led archeological expeditions in the Alps and elsewhere to study Hannibal's achievements. Now he brings Hannibal's incredible story to life in this riveting and dramatic book.

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    Heart of Everything That Is, The

    Drury, Bob

    An astonishing untold story of the American West The great Sioux warrior-statesman Red Cloud was the only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the government to sue for peace on his terms. At the peak of Red Cloud's powers the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States and the loyalty of thousands of fierce fighters. But the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of a lost autobiography, and painstaking research by two award-winning authors, the story of our nation's most powerful and successful Indian warrior can finally be told. This fiery narrative, fueled by contemporary diaries and journals, newspaper reports, eyewitness accounts, and meticulous firsthand sourcing, is a stirring chronicle of the conflict between an expanding white civilization and the Plains Indians who stood in its way. The Heart of Everything That Is not only places the reader at the center of this remarkable epoch, but finally gives Red Cloud the modern-day recognition he deserves.

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    Heavy: An American Memoir

    Laymon, Kiese

    In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. (Adapted from publisher description)

    Finalist, 2018 Kirkus Prize

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    Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space

    Lee Shetterly, Margot

    Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as "Human Computers," calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these "colored computers," as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America's fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Kit donated by the Coupeville "One Thing" Book Group.
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    Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of A Family and Culture in Crisis

    Vance, J. D.

    Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans and a story of how upward mobility really feels. An urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country, J. D. Vance tells the his story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

    Prose Bowl Contender

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    House of Hope and Fear, The

    Young, Audrey

    Opening with the view of an idealistic young doctor entering her first post-graduate job, The House of Hope and Fear explores not only the personal journey of one doctor's life and career but also the health care system as a whole. The setting is Seattle's Harborview Hospital.
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    Hunger

    Gay, Roxane

    "Gay has written ... about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as 'wildly undisciplined,' Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care"--Amazon.com.

  • ALA Notable
  • Booklist Editors' Choice
  • Lambda Literary Award
  • Library Journal Top Ten
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    Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The

    Skloot, Rebecca

    Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Includes reading-group guide. Reprint. A best-selling book.

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    Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The

    Skloot, Rebecca

    Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Includes reading-group guide. A best-selling book.

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    In the Darkroom

    Faludi, Susan

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi had barely heard from her father Steven for over 20 years when she received an email in which Steven came out as transgender. Now called Stefánie Faludi, she wanted to make her daughter's acquaintance all over again. In the Darkroom explores Stefánie's life, beginning in Budapest after World War I. Susan based this biography on recollections from her childhood, conversations and correspondence with Stefánie, as well as interviews with other family members and friends, Stefánie's surgeon, and other transgender women. In this fascinating account, Susan disentangles fact from fiction in Stefánie's recollections, painting a moving and insightful portrait. -- Description by Katherine Bradley Johnson.

    ALA Notable Book

    New York Times Notable Book

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    In the Garden of Beasts

    Larson, Erik

    In this readable narrative, author Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck) offers a real-life, eyewitness perspective inside the Nazi hierarchy as Hitler came to power. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered professor from Chicago, became the first US ambassador to Hitler's Germany in 1933. Dodd, his wife, their son, and their 24-year-old daughter Martha lived in Germany for about five years. Drawing on Martha's diaries and letters, much of the book centers on Martha's romantic affairs with high-ranking Nazi officials and her eventual heroism as she realized Hitler's true character. Meanwhile, her father William Dodd informed the US State Department of increasing Jewish persecution, with little response from the State Department. The book sheds light on why it took so long for the world to recognize the threat posed by Hitler. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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    Invisible Front, The

    Dreazen, Yochi

    Major General Mark Graham was a decorated two-star officer whose integrity and patriotism inspired his sons, Jeff and Kevin, to pursue military careers of their own. His wife Carol was a teacher who held the family together while Mark's career took them to bases around the world. When Kevin and Jeff die within nine months of each other--Kevin commits suicide and Jeff is killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq--Mark and Carol are astonished by the drastically different responses their sons' deaths receive from the Army. While Jeff is lauded as a hero, Kevin's death is met with silence, evidence of the terrible stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness in the military. Convinced that their sons died fighting different battles, Mark and Carol commit themselves to transforming the institution that is the cornerstone of their lives. The Invisible Front is the story of how one family tries to set aside their grief and find purpose in almost unimaginable loss. The Grahams work to change how the Army treats those with PTSD and to erase the stigma that prevents suicidal troops from getting the help they need before making the darkest of choices. Their fight offers a window into the military's institutional shortcomings and its resistance to change - failures that have allowed more than 3,000 troops to take their own lives since 2001.

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    Just Mercy

    Stevenson, Bryan

    A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time 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: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
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    Lab Girl

    Jahren, Hope

    "In Lab Girl, Jahren traces her path from an early infatuation with the natural world to her hard-earned triumphs as a scientist recognized for breakthrough contributions to her field. She braids together stories of her emotional and professional challenges, of the bond with her odd and brilliant lab partner who helped her persevere, and descriptions of plant life that, at once lyrical and precise, reveal the unseen processes driving the natural world. Through these different perspectives, she draws unexpected connections between plants and the people whose lives depend on them that will make you see both realms in a new light." -from the publisher

    National Book Critics Circle Award

    New York Times Notable Book

    Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books

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    Language of Kindness, The

    Watson, Christie

    Christie Watson spent twenty years as a nurse, and in this intimate, poignant, and powerful book, she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. This memoir follows Watson through her training and career, her own father’s long ordeal with cancer, and the other nurses she’s encountered who have inspired and informed her. For fans of

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    Lemon Tree, The: an Arab, a Jew, and the heart of the Middle East

    Tolan, Sandy

    Describes how a simple act of faith and the relationship between two families - one Israeli, one Palestinian - represents a personal microcosm of decades of Israeli-Palestinian history and symbolizes the hope for peace in the Middle East.
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    Liar, Temptress, Soldier Spy

    Abbott, Karen

    After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O'Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives.

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    Life from Scratch

    Martin, Sasha

    It was a culinary journey like no other: Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook--and eat--a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. From the tiny, makeshift kitchen of her eccentric, creative mother to a string of foster homes to the house from which she launches her own cooking adventure, Martin's heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal--and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

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    Life in the Garden

    Lively, Penelope

    Written like a conversation with a friend, this is a charming and poetic memoir delighting in all things gardening, from history to literature to psychology to the simple joy of a day’s labor.
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    Long Way Gone, A

    Beah, Ishmael

    This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived. In A Long Way Gone , Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

    Alex Award

    Booklist Editors' Choice

    New York Times Notable Book

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    Long Way Home, A

    Brierley, Saroo

    Now an award-winning film, Lion, "this is the miraculous and triumphant story of a young man who rediscovers not only his childhood life and home, but an identity long-since left behind. At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia. Despite his gratitude, he always wondered about his origins. This is a true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope." -description provided by the publisher
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    Lost City of the Monkey God, The

    Preston, Douglas J.

    "Since the days of Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. In 1940 journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City-- but then committed suicide without revealing its location. In 2012 Preston joined a team of scientists using classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. They found evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization-- and returned carrying a horrifying, sometimes lethal-- and incurable-- disease." -Provided by the publisher

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    Bio & Memoir International Science & Nature
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    Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    Cooper, Helene

    The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women's movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history. Detailing the president, the women of Liberia who elected her, and the Ebola epidemic that impacted them both. A vivid portrait with the rhythm of Liberian English --NoveList & Library Journal.

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    Bio & Memoir History International Politics
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    Making Toast

    Rosenblatt, Roger

    When his daughter, Amy--a gifted doctor, mother, and wife--collapses and dies from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, leave their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren: six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one-year-old James, known as Bubbies. Long past the years of diapers, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny--Boppo and Mimi to the kids--quickly reaccustom themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, playdates, nonstop questions, and nonsequential thought. Though reeling from Amy's death they carry on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tender-hearted children through the pains and confusions of grief.

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    Bio & Memoir Family Short (less than 250 pages)
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