Book Club Kits Explained
What are they?
Each kit contains ten paperback copies of the same title, discussion questions, and other resources. You can check out a kit and distribute the books among your book club members. Each member now has a copy of the next book to be discussed without any extra work at all. Convenient and easy!
How long can I check out a kit?
Kits can be checked out for six weeks. They can be placed on hold. They can also be renewed for an additional two weeks, as long as no other patron is on hold. Kits may be checked out by Westfield and MURAL card holders. Fines are 1.00 per day.
The 19th Wife, By David Ebershoff.
All the Light We Cannot See, By Anthony Doerr
The Art of Racing in the Rain, By Garth Stein
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.—amazon.com
The Book Thief, By Markus Zusak
The Boys In the Boat, By Daniel Brown
The Coffee Trader, By David Liss
Dead Wake, By Erik Larson
Dear Life: Stories, By Alice Munro
Defending Jacob, By William Landay
The Dinner, By Herman Koch
The Dovekeepers, By Alice Hoffmann
Eat,Pray,Love, By Elizabeth Gilbert
The Emperor’s Children, By Claire Messud
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, By Matthew Desmond—NEW!!
The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, By Mojha Kahf
When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state — taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba’s sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she’s back on familiar ground: Attending a concert by her brother’s interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere. Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.”-book jacket
The Goldfinch, By Donna Tartt
Hillbilly Elegy, By J.D. Vance—NEW!!
Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet, By Jamie Ford
The Husband’s Secret, By Liane Moriarty
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, By Rebecca Skloot
In the Garden of Beasts, By Erik Larson
In the Time of Butterflies By Julia Alvarez.
The Invention of Wings, By Sue Monk Kidd
An Italian Affair, By Laura Fraser
Killers of the Flower Moon, By David Grann
The Kitchen House, By Kathleen Grissom
The Language of Flowers, By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Lean In, By Sheryl Sandberg
Left Neglected, By Lisa Genova
Little Heathens, By Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Loving Frank, By Nancy Horan
So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives. In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright. Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably ultimately lead to this novel’s stunning conclusion. Elegantly written and remarkably rich in detail, Loving Frank is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman, a national icon, and their timeless love story.”-book jacket
The Lowland, By Jhumpa Hahiri
Matrimony, By Joshua Henkin
A Moveable Feast, By Ernest Hemingway
The Night Circus, By Erin Morgenstern
The Night Strangers, By Chris Bohjalian
Norse Mythology, By Neil Gaiman
Orphan Train, By Christina Baker Kline
A Piece of the World, By Christina Baker Kline
Pope Joan, By Donna Woolfolk Cross
Rebecca, By Daphne Du Maurier
Room, By Emma Donoghue
The Round House, By Louise Erdich
The Rules of Civility, By Amor Towles
Sarah’s Key, By Tatiana de Rosnay
The Shoemaker’s Wife, By Adriana Trigiani
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, By Gabrielle Zevin
Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism, By Temple Grandin
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, By Maggie O’Farrell
The Visit From the Goon Squad, By Jennifer Egan
Water for Elephants, By Sara Gruen
We are Not Ourselves, By MatthewThomas
Wild, By Cheryl Strayed
The Women in the Castle, By Jessica Shattuck
Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague. By Geraldine Brooks
Exploring love and learning, fear and fanaticism, and the struggle of science and religion to interpret the world at the cusp of the modern era, Year of Wonders is at once a story of unconventional love and a richly detailed evocation of a riveting moment in history. Like Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha and A. S. Byatt’s Posession, Year of Wonders blends learning and romance into an unforgettable read.”-book jacket
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, By Terese Anne Fowler
The following general questions can be applied to any novel, and they provide a good starting point for creating your own discussion questions for a given work.
- What was unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from the story?
- What specific themes did the author emphasize throughout the novel? What do you think he or she is trying to get across to the reader?
- Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
- How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes?
- In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
- Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
- Did you like the book? If you have read any of the author’s other books, how does this compare?
- What is this book’s message?
- How did you feel about the characters? Whom did you like or not like and why?
- What did you think of the ending?
- In a movie version, who would play what parts?
- How did you feel when the character did or said….How do you think the character felt when she did or said…?
- If questions…e.g. If the characters had done this instead, how would the story have changed?
- What do book reviews say about this book or more generally the author, and her past works?
- What did you think of the plot line development? How credible did the author make it?
- What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What did you think of those choices? How would you have chosen?
- How authentic is the culture or era represented in the book?
- Why do you think the author wrote this? What is her most important message?
- How do you think the main character’s point of view is similar or different from the author’s point of view or background?
- What is the author’s background (her style, stature and focus)?
- How does the setting figure as a character in the story?
- Are the characters’ actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?
- Is there any moral responsibility that was abdicated?
- Are there any symbols that may have cultural, political or religious reference? e.g. flag, tree, rose.
- What type of vision does the author use with her word choice? Is it optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, humourous, satirical, venomous, cathartic?
- What effects do the events (time, nationality, physicality) have on the character’s self or personality?
Keeping non-fiction book club questions simple, but open ended, will allow for plenty of opinions and encourage discussion among members.
Asking the right questions can mean the difference between a dull, lackluster book club and an inspiring and engaging one. However, non-fiction books are not yet as popular as their fiction counterparts as far as book club selections go, which means it is difficult to find a non-fiction title that has an accompanying book club guide.
Therefore, it is oftentimes necessary for a book club to create its own set of questions for discussion.
- What was the purpose of this book (eg, to teach, to entertain
- If this book was intended to teach the reader something, did it succeed? Was something learned from reading this book, if so what? If not, why did the book failed as a teaching tool?
- Was there a specific passage that had left an impression, good or bad? Share the passage and its effect.
- Was the purpose of the book to bring to light an issue? If so, did it make the group more aware and knowledgeable about the particular issue? How did earlier opinions about the issue change after reading this book?
- If the book addressed an issue, did the author cover both sides of the topic fairly and thoroughly or did the book appear to be biased, solely written to promote the author’s own agenda?
- After reading the book, has the group’s interest been piqued about the subject matter? If so, would the group consider reading more on the topic in the future?
- The way a non-fiction book is written can impact a reader’s enjoyment and understanding of it. Was the book written in a way that was easily accessible? Did the language make the group loose interest in something that would have otherwise been an exciting subject? Were unfamiliar terms and concepts explained? Were there plenty of visuals to reinforce the subject matter and were they helpful?
- Did the author provide any pertinent web links for readers to use? If so, would the group consider visiting them?
- Did the author provide a suggested reading list for further information on the topic? If so, would the group consider reading any of the suggestions?
- Was there something especially surprising about this person’s story? What was it and why?
- Memoirs can be written for a variety of different purposes, such as clearing up a misconceived notion, gaining fame and notoriety or promoting something. What category does this book fall into?
- Was there a lesson could be taken away from this person’s life? What was it and why is it important?
- Did preconceived opinions of this person change after reading their story? If so, did it change for the better or the worse? Explain.
Non-fiction books can be a great addition to any book club and offer a nice change of pace from typical reading group fiction selections. By using these simple starter questions, non-fiction books can be introduced to the club with ease and can ensure that future meetings will be filled with intelligent discussions and the exciting exchanging of ideas.
Credit: © Lisa Rufle
Comments, questions, and suggestions for future titles can be directed to Jennifer Rees Schulze, email@example.com, (908) 789-4090 x7951