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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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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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Animals Awards Bio & Memoir History Not so Grim WWII
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Elizabeth Is Missing

Healey, Emma

In this darkly riveting debut novel--a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging--an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory--and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger. But no one will listen to Maud--not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

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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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Euphoria

King, Lily

From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30's caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink.

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Awards History International Society & Culture
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Everything I Never Told You

Ng, Celeste

Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue--in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Desmond, Matthew

"In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality-- and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. 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. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible." - from the publisher

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

National Book Critics Circle Award

Pulitzer Prize: General Nonfiction

Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

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Exit West

Hamid, Mohsin

"In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, a young man met a young woman in a classroom and did not speak to her." A love story in a time of violence. Achingly gorgeous prose begging the reader to slow down and savor while the slowly escalating tension urges faster reading. -SnoIsleLib_DeniseD

Man Booker Prize

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Fahrenheit 451

Bradbury, Ray

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners suddenly realizes their merit. This classic science fiction novel explores questions of intellectual freedom.
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Fifth Season, The

Jemisin, N. K.

Winner of the Hugo Award for best Novel, and nominated for the Nebula and World Fantasy awards: This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes -- those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon -- are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back. She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

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Flight Behavior

Kingsolver, Barbara

Set in the present day in the rural community of Feathertown, Tennessee, this novel tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a petite, razor-sharp 29-year-old who nurtured worldly ambitions before becoming pregnant and marrying at seventeen...In the opening scene, Dellarobia is headed for a secluded mountain cabin to meet this man and initiate what she expects will be a self-destructive affair. But the tryst never happens. Instead, she walks into something on the mountainside she cannot explain or understand: a forested valley filled with a lake of silent red fire that appears to her a miracle. In reality, the forest is ablaze with millions of butterflies. Their usual migratory route has been disrupted, and what looks to be a stunningly beautiful view is really an ominous sign, for the Appalachian winter could prove to be the demise of the species. Her discovery of this phenomenon ignites a media and religious firestorm that changes her life forever...

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Fortunes, The

Davies, Peter Ho

The Fortunes reimagines the traditional multigenerational novel through the lens of immigrant experience. The family institution is revered in Chinese culture, but the historical reality of Chinese Americans has seen family bonds denied, fragmented, or imperiled. The Fortunes uses this history from the bachelor society of the gold rush era to laws against interracial marriage to the recent wave of adopted baby girls to create a portrait of a community whose line of descent is broken, yet which has tenaciously persisted, as much through love as by blood. Through four lives a railroad baron's valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood's first Chinese movie star, a victim of a hate crime that mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption--this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history. These stories, three of which are inspired by real historical characters, examines the process of becoming not only Chinese American, but American.

Anisfielf-Wolf Book Award
New York Times Notable
NPR Best Books
Chautauqua Prize
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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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Girl Who Fell from the Sky, The

Durrow, Heidi

This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl--and society's ideas of race, class, and beauty. It is a winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.
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Giver, The

Lowry, Lois

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.
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Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

Vaillant, John

When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.

BC Book Prizes: Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Governor General's Literary Awards: English-Language Nonfiction

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize

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Awards Pacific Northwest Science & Nature
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Goldfinch, The

Tartt, Donna

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

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Awards Coming of Age Watch It
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Golem and the Jinni, The

Wecker, Helene

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures.

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Awards History Sci-fi/Fantasy
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Good Lord Bird, The

McBride, James

Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, the region a battlefield between anti and pro slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an arguement between Brown and Henry's master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes Henry is a girl. Over the next months, Henry conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. He finds himeself with Brown at the historic raid on Harper's Ferry, one of the catalysts for the civil war.

Booklist Editors' Choice

Library Journal Best Historical Fiction

National Book Award

New York Times Notable Book

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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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Animals Awards Bio & Memoir Family International Science & Nature
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Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel

Walls, Jeannette

A true-life novel about Lily Casey Smith (the author's grandmother) who at age six helped her father break horses, at age fifteen left home to teach in a frontier town, and later as a wife and mother runs a vast ranch in Arizona where she survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy--but despite a life of hardscrabble drudgery still remains a woman of indomitable spirit.

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Animals Awards Family History
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Handmaid's Tale, The

Atwood, Margaret

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. Like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid's Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.

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Heart Goes Last, The

Atwood, Margaret

Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin . Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around--and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their "civilian" homes. At first, this doesn't seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one's head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan's life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.

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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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Hex

Olde Heuvelt, Thomas

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear. The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated by being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers, decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past. Award: The Reading List (RUSA): 2017

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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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Homegoing

Gyasi, Yaa

"Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonial, and will live in comfort in the sprawling, palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Her sister, Esi, will be imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon, and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery. Stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's has written a modern masterpiece, a novel that moves through histories and geographies and--with outstanding economy and force--captures the troubled spirit of our own nation"-- Provided by publisher.

ALA Notable Book
Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
Indies' Choice Book Awards: Adult Debut Fiction
Library Journal Best Historical Fiction
LibraryReads Favorites
New York Times Notable Book

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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Ford, Jamie

In Ford's stunning debut novel, he offers an on-the-ground look at the true tolls of Japanese families' deportation to concentration camps in the 1940s, at what each family lost and left behind, and what two families--Henry's and Keiko's--stood to gain by facing their painful past.

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Awards Family History Pacific Northwest Society & Culture WWII
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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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    Indigenous People's History of the United States, An

    Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne

    Challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the indigenous peoples was genocidal and imperialist, designed to crush the original inhabitants. Spanning more than 300 years, a classic bottom-up history significantly reframes how we view our past. Told from the viewpoint of the indigenous, it reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the U.S. empire. 2015 Recipient of the American Book Award

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    Interior Chinatown

    Yu, Charles

    A stereotyped character actor stumbles into the spotlight before uncovering surprising links between his family and the secret history of Chinatown. National Book Awards: Fiction Book Club: Now Read This -- PBS NewsHour and The New York Times (Feb 2021)

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    Invention of Wings, The

    Kidd, Sue Monk

    Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. Kidd's sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other's destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

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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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    Invisible Man

    Ellison, Ralph

    A Black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility. "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me...When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination - indeed, everything and anything except me."

    National Book Award

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    Janesville

    Goldstein, Amy

    A Washington Post reporter provides an 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. An engrossing, enlightening, and disturbing investigation.

    J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

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    Jimmy Bluefeather

    Heacox, Kim

    Old Keb Wisting is somewhere around ninety-five years old (he lost count awhile ago) and in constant pain and thinks he wants to die. He also thinks he thinks too much. Part Norwegian and part Tlingit Native ("with some Filipino and Portuguese thrown in"), he's the last living canoe carver in the village of Jinkaat, in Southeast Alaska. When his grandson, James, a promising basketball player, ruins his leg in a logging accident and tells his grandpa that he has nothing left to live for, Old Keb comes alive and finishes his last canoe, with help from his grandson. Together (with a few friends and a crazy but likeable dog named Steve) they embark on a great canoe journey. Suddenly all of Old Keb's senses come into play, so clever and wise in how he reads the currents, tides and storms. Nobody can find him. He and the others paddle deep into wild Alaska, but mostly into the human heart, in a story of adventure, love, and reconciliation. With its rogue's gallery of colorful, endearing, small-town characters, this book stands as a wonderful blend of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and John Nichols's The Milagro Beanfield War , with dashes of John Steinbeck thrown in.

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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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    Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI

    Grann, David

    True crime & the 1920's case that made the FBI what it is today. While some were brought to justice, in this page-turner Grann's shows that the true scope of the rampant corruption and conspiracy was even bigger than what the Feds were able to discover. Suspenseful and spellbinding.

    ALA Notable Books
    Booklist Editors' Choice
    Edgar Allan Poe Awards
    Indies' Choice Book Awards
    Library Journal Top Ten
    LibraryReads Favorites

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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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    Lacuna, The

    Kingsolver, Barbara

    In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities. Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico-from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City-Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence. Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach-the lacuna-between truth and public presumption. With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has created an unforgettable portrait of the artist-and of art itself. The Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.

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    Awards History International Politics WWII
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    Land More Kind Than Home, A

    Cash, Wiley

    A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town. For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to--an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil--but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well. Told by three resonant and evocative characters--Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, a sheriff with his own painful past--A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all. These are masterful portrayals, written with assurance and truth, and they show us the extraordinary promise of this remarkable first novel.

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    Awards Coming of Age Crime Family
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    Language of Flowers, The

    Diffenbaugh, Vanessa

    "The story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past"-- Provided by publisher.

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    Awards Family Youth
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    LaRose

    Erdrich, Louise

    "North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence - but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else - he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son. The youngest child of his friend and neighbor Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town. Horrified at what he's done, 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 Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them." -from the publisher

    Booklist Editors' Choice

    National Book Critics Circle Award

    New York Times Notable Book

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    Awards Crime Family Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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    Last Policeman, The

    Winters, Ben

    Winner of the 2013 Edgar® Award Winner for Best Paperback Original! What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There's no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job--but not Hank Palace. He's investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week--except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares. The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace's investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we're confronted by hard questions way beyond "whodunit." What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

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    Awards Crime Sci-fi/Fantasy
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    Last Town on Earth

    Mullen, Thomas

    Nestled in the quiet woods of the Pacific Northwest, the town of Commonwealth is a haven for the loggers who live there, until the flu starts striking down entire surrounding villages. When the residents of Commonwealth vote to quarantine themselves, armed guards are posted at the one road leading to town. But then a disheveled--and apparently sick--soldier approaches begging for food and shelter. Shots are fired, and soon Commonwealth is plunged into turmoil.

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    Awards Pacific Northwest
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    Leave Me

    Forman, Gayle

    Meet Maribeth Klein, a harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack. Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once she gets to where she's going, she sees her life from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves, and from herself.

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    Awards Family Not so Grim Society & Culture
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    Leaving Berlin

    Kanon, Joseph

    Berlin 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors. Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment-to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved.

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    Awards Crime History International Politics
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