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Book Club Kits

Essentially everything you need to get started with your own book discussion group is available from Durham County Library.

Each Adult Book Club Kit contains 15 copies of one title and a handy tote bag. Each Teen Book Club Kit contains 10 copies of one title and the handy tote bag. Book discussion guides in PDF format along with information about the author can be found with each title.

Look for a kit at your location, or request a kit directly from the online catalog.

When finished with a kit, please take a moment to complete an evaluation form (PDF) so we know how to serve you better.

Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama
Added August 17, 2015
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father–a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man–has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey–first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. Discussion Guide >>>

Anybody’s Daughter – Pamela Samuels Young
Added June 10, 2015
Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She’s about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend–a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn’t exist. Instead, she’s hurled into the shocking underworld of human sex trafficking. Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is not content to rely on police to bring his niece home. He scours the dark corners of Los Angeles determined to end this nightmare. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them. Angela lends both her moral support and professional resources, but Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan of his own–one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it’s too late? Discussion Guide >>>

Who Asked You? – Terry McMillan
Added March 17, 2015
With her wise, wry, and poignant novels of families and friendships, Terry McMillan has touched millions of readers. Now, in her eighth novel, the author of Waiting to Exhale gives exuberant voice to characters who reveal how we live now — at least as lived in a racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood. Who Asked You? casts an intimate look at the burdens and blessings of family and speaks to trusting your own judgment when others don’t agree. Discussion Guide >>>

The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
Added February 13, 2015
Two brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. An extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: the best-selling author of The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth. Discussion Guide >>>

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
Added February 13, 2015
The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books, has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother saying she can no longer raise her. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the transformation of both bookstore and owner, especially to the lovely yet eccentric sales rep, Amelia Loman. Discussion Guide >>>

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Added February 3, 2015
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts-from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. Discussion Guide >>>

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – Ayana Mathis
Added February 3, 2014
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. Discussion Guide >>>

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
Added February 3, 2015
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared–Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor. Discussion Guide >>>

The Coldest Winter Ever – Sister Souljah
Added January 20, 2015
Winter Santiaga, the daughter of one of Brooklyn’s most powerful drug czars, uses her own weapons–including sex and an aggressive attitude–to stay on top, after her father’s empire is threatened by a drug war. Discussion Guide >>>

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler
Added January 20, 2015
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. Discussion Guide >>>

The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
Added January 20, 2015
In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker-a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction-into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist-but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. Discussion Guide >>>

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Added December 18, 2014
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Discussion Guide >>>

Adult Book Club Kits are made possible by the Friends of the Durham Library.

The Age of Miracles – Karen Walker (large print)
This is the story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in an extraordinary time. On an ordinary Saturday, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer, gravity is affected, the birds, the tides, human behavior and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world of danger and loss, Julia faces surprising developments in herself, and her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by Hannah and other friends, the vulnerability of first love, a sense of isolation, and a rebellious new strength. Discussion Guide >>>

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
An ordinary man finds that his life has been made extraordinary by the catastrophic intrusion of history when, in 1968 his adored daughter plants a bomb that kills a stranger, hurling her father out of the longed-for American pastoral. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Anybody’s Daughter – Pamela Samuels Young
Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She’s about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend–a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn’t exist. Instead, she’s hurled into the shocking underworld of human sex trafficking. Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is not content to rely on police to bring his niece home. He scours the dark corners of Los Angeles determined to end this nightmare. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them. Angela lends both her moral support and professional resources, but Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan of his own–one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it’s too late? Discussion Guide >>>

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
An eccentric family falls apart at the seams in an absorbing debut that finds congruencies between the elementary school spelling-bee circuit, Jewish mysticism, Eastern religious cults and compulsive behavior. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
The dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities. In this fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human. Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees fortune in the recyclable garbage of richer people. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a rural childhood, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to good times. But then, as the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. Discussion Guide >>>

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
How do we think without thinking, seem to make choices in an instant–in the blink of an eye–that actually aren’t as simple as they seem? Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, the author reveals that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Bootlegger’s Daughter by Margaret Maron (North Carolina author)
This first novel in Maron’s Imperfect series, which won the Edgar Award for best mystery novel in 1993, introduces heroine Deborah Knott, an attorney and the daughter of an infamous North Carolina bootlegger. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
The Botany of Desire examines our species’ role in nature and challenges the idea that people are the sole drivers of domestication. Pollan looks closely at our relationship with the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato, and shows how each plant has evolved to gratify human desires and thus has enticed us to help them multiply. Just who, he asks, is domesticating whom? By chronicling the evolutionary advantages enjoyed by plants that develop qualities favored by people, Pollan leads the reader to consider how we stand in relation to our fellow species. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska
This masterwork of American immigrant literature is set in the 1920s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who rebels against her father’s rigid conception of Jewish womanhood. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Immortalized in a film starring Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is full of sharp wit and in its exuberant cast of characters vividly captures the restless, slightly madcap era of early 1940s New York. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Coldest Winter Ever – Sister Souljah
Winter Santiaga, the daughter of one of Brooklyn’s most powerful drug czars, uses her own weapons–including sex and an aggressive attitude–to stay on top, after her father’s empire is threatened by a drug war. Discussion Guide >>>

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother – James McBride
An African American man describes life as the son of a white mother and Black father, reflecting on his mother’s contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity. Discussion Guide >>>

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. Discussion Guide >>>

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32” Jones were boyhood pals, Larry the child of white, lower middle-class parents and Silas the son of a poor, single black mother. Their worlds were as different as night and day, yet, for a few months, the boys stepped outside of their circumstance and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: on a date, Larry took a girl to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father–a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man–has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey–first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. Discussion Guide >>>

End of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe
During her treatment for cancer, Mary Anne Schwalbe and her son Will spent many hours sitting in waiting rooms together. To pass the time, they would talk about the books they were reading. Once, by chance, they read the same book at the same time—and an informal book club of two was born. Through their wide-ranging reading, Will and Mary Anne are reminded how books can be comforting, astonishing, and illuminating, changing the way that we feel about and interact with the world around us. Discussion Guide >>>

Faithful Place by Tana French
A taut, gripping thriller that will keep readers in suspense until its closing pages. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Four Agreements – Miguel Ruiz
Sit at the foot of a native elder and listen as great wisdom of days long past is passed down. In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. Discussion Guide >>>

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (North Carolina author)
Two gifted sisters draw on their talents to belatedly forge a bond and find their ways in life in Allen’s easygoing debut novel. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow
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. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Go Tell It on the Mountain is the story of John Grimes and his family. Living in Harlem in 1935, John’s father is a deacon at the family’s church. In the course of a day and night, the reader will learn family secrets, and John will begin to come to terms with both his background and his destiny. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
When a woman goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, her diary reveals hidden turmoil in her marriage, while her husband, desperate to clear himself of suspicion, realizes that something more disturbing than murder may have occurred. Discussion Guide >>>

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby may be the most popular classic in modern American fiction. Since its publication in 1925, Fitzgerald’s masterpiece has become a touchstone for generations of readers and writers, many of whom reread it every few years as a ritual of imaginative renewal. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey, who tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women–black and white, mothers and daughters–view one another. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Home – Toni Morrison
When Frank Money joined the army to escape his too-small world, he left behind his cherished and fragile little sister, Cee. After the war, his shattered life has no purpose until he hears that Cee is in danger. As he journeys to his native Georgia in search of Cee, it becomes clear that their troubles began well before their wartime separation. Together, they return to their rural hometown of Lotus, where buried secrets are unearthed and where Frank learns at last what it means to be a man, what it takes to heal, and—above all—what it means to come home. Discussion Guide >>>

The House Girl – Tara Conklin
A stunning debut that intertwines the story of an escaped house slave in 1852 Virginia with that of an ambitious young lawyer in contemporary New York, and in so doing asks questions of justice, love and family, in slave-holding Virginia and today. Discussion Guide >>>

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide. Discussion Guide >>>

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells–taken without her knowledge–became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned to save him. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin. Discussion Guide >>>

The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul, who betrayed his best friend Hassan, the son of his father’s Hazara servant, and lives in regret. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Set in Manchester County, Virginia, 20 years before the Civil War began, Edward P. Jones’s debut novel is a masterpiece of overlapping plot lines, time shifts, and heartbreaking details of life under slavery. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Life of Pi – Yann Martel
A masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe. Discussion Guide >>>

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland of Nigeria. Alone in a foreign country, without a family member, friend, or pound to call her own, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a dark and tumultuous past. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri
Two brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. An extraordinary new novel, set in both India and America, that expands the scope and range of one of our most dazzling storytellers: the best-selling author of The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth. Discussion Guide >>>

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
You are about to travel to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills, thatched cottages, and a cast of characters both hilariously original and as familiar as the members of your own family. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

March by Geraldine Brooks
From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March. Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Discussion Guide >>>

March: Book One – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
MARCH is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights (including his key roles in the historic 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma-Montgomery March), meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. In MARCH, a true American icon teams up with one of America’s most acclaimed graphic novelists. Together, they bring to life one of our nation’s most historic moments, a period both shameful and inspiring, and a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations. Discussion Guide >>>

The Newlyweds – Nell Freudenberger
Amina Mazid is twenty-four when she moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life for her and her parents, as well as a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when Amina returns to Bangladesh that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together. Discussion Guide >>>

Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout
At the edge of the continent, in the small town of Crosby, Maine, lives Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher who deplores the changes in her town and in the world at large but doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Orphan Train – Christina Kline
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude? As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship. Discussion Guide >>>

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
An autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood in Iran during and after the revolution. Andrew Arnold of TIME described Persepolis as “sometimes funny and sometimes sad but always sincere and revealing.” FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner (North Carolina author)
Barbara Jefferson, a young American teaching in Tokyo in the 1960s, is set on a life-changing quest when her Japanese surrogate mother, Michi, dies. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Postmistress is a tale of three unforgettable women, of lost innocence, of what happens to love when those we cherish leave us. It examines how we tell each other stories—how we bear the fact that that war is going on at the same time as ordinary lives continue. Filled with stunning parallels to our lives today, it is a remarkable novel. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Proud Shoes by Pauli Murray (North Carolina author)
Pauli Murray, an acclaimed human right activist who grew up in Durham’s West End, interrupted her law career for four years to investigate and document her family’s history. Meticulously researched and eloquently written, Proud Shoes provides both an engrossing story of one family and an historical overview of race relations in the United States spanning almost one hundred years. Durham County Library is pleased to provide this “must-read” for Durham residents as a book club kit. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts-from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. Discussion Guide >>>

The River Wife by Jonis Agee
This engaging family saga, set in Missouri’s boot heel, traces the loves and losses of three generations of women. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Room by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Round House – Louise Erdrich
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Discussion Guide >>>

The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker-a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction-into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist-but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life. Discussion Guide >>>

Silver Sparrow – Tayari Jones
Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s families– the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the back stories of her rich and flawed characters, she also reveals the joy, and the destruction, they brought to each other’s lives. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Soldier’s Wife – Margaret Leroy
An intricate historical novel that moves deftly between mystery and romance, The Soldier’s Wife depicts domestic and military life—and the horrors of war—with poetic, evocative prose. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Something for the Pain by Paul Austin
Durham Reads Together selection for 2009. Something for the Pain explores the everyday life Durham resident and ER doctor Paul Austin: the impact his job has on his family, his faith, his personal relationships, and the lessons he learns along the way. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Genova uses the successful, articulate, and independent Alice as the perfect vehicle to capture what it feels like to literally lose your mind. You’ll admire Alice’s strength and resourcefulness even as you cry over her losses. Still Alice brings new understanding for all those affected by this terrible neurological disease. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books, has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children’s section with a note from her mother saying she can no longer raise her. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the transformation of both bookstore and owner, especially to the lovely yet eccentric sales rep, Amelia Loman. Discussion Guide >>>

Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
Janie Crawford, a Southern Black woman in the 1930s, journeys from being a free-spirited girl to a woman of independence and substance. Discussion Guide >>>

Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble
How do you cope in a world without your mother? When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware that they’ll be facing the trials and triumphs of life without her at their side. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Former academic Setterfield pays tribute in her debut to Brontë and du Maurier heroines: a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie – Ayana Mathis
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. Discussion Guide >>>

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared–Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor. Discussion Guide >>>

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance. Discussion Guide >>>

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Situated in Ohio, a free territory before the Civil War, Tawawa House is an idyllic retreat for Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their enslaved black mistresses. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances — all while they bear witness to the end of an era. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

What is the What by Dave Eggers
A biographical novel traces the story of Valentino Achak Deng, who as a boy was separated from his family when his village in southern Sudan was attacked, and become one of the estimated 17,000 “lost boys of Sudan” before relocating from a Kenyan refugee camp to Atlanta in 2001. NONFICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Who Asked You? – Terry McMillan
With her wise, wry, and poignant novels of families and friendships, Terry McMillan has touched millions of readers. Now, in her eighth novel, the author of Waiting to Exhale gives exuberant voice to characters who reveal how we live now — at least as lived in a racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood. Who Asked You? casts an intimate look at the burdens and blessings of family and speaks to trusting your own judgment when others don’t agree. Discussion Guide >>>

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil? FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail – Cheryl Strayed
A powerful, blazingly honest, inspiring memoir: the story of a 1,100 mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe–and built her back up again. Discussion Guide >>>

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell
When African American Armstrong Todd visits Hopewell, Mississippi, in 1955, Floyd Cox murders him, and following the trial, both families try to rebuild their lives. FICTION Discussion Guide >>>

Teen Book Club Kits are made possible by the Friends of the Durham Library.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. Discussion Guide >>>

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents’ divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating. Discussion Guide >>>

American Born Chinese by Gene Yang
Three apparently unrelated tales come together with an unexpected twist, in a modern fable that is hilarious, poignant and action-packed. American Born Chinese is an amazing rise, all the way up to the astonishing climax–and confirms what a growing number of readers already know: Gene Yang is a major talent. Discussion Guide >>>

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Discussion Guide >>>

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Frankie Landau-Banks a geeky girl with an unassuming nature sets out to make changes at her elite boarding school. Frankie is brazen, passionate and questions everything and she just might be a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way. Discussion Guide >>>

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. Discussion Guide >>>

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Discussion Guide >>>

Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun by Geoffrey Canada
In this candid and riveting memoir, Canada relives a childhood in which violence stalked every street corner. Discussion Guide >>>

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi
After Maddy’s parents’ divorce, she’s stuck starting over at a new high school. Friendless and nicknamed Freak Girl, Manga-loving artist Maddy finds refuge in the interactive online game Fields of Fantasy. Discussion Guide >>>

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Discussion Guide >>>

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck. Discussion Guide >>>

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever. Discussion Guide >>>

November Blues by Sharon Draper
When November Nelson loses her boyfriend, Josh, to a pledge stunt gone horribly wrong, she thinks her life can’t possibly get any worse. But Josh left something behind that will change November’s life forever, and now she’s faced with the biggest decision she could ever imagine. How in the world will she tell her mom? And how will Josh’s parents take the news? She’s never needed a friend more. This sequel to The Battle of Jericho is a no-holds-barred look at what happens when life doesn’t go as planned, by the acclaimed author of the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award winner Copper Sun. Discussion Guide >>>

Paper Towns by John Green
One month before graduating from his Central Florida high school, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen basks in the predictable boringness of his life until the beautiful and exciting Margo Roth Spiegelman, Q’s neighbor and classmate, takes him on a midnight adventure and then mysteriously disappears. Discussion Guide >>>

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. Discussion Guide >>>

Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Uglies is a 2005 science fiction novel by Scott Westerfeld. It is set in a future post-scarcity dystopian world in which everyone is turned “Pretty” by extreme cosmetic surgery upon reaching age 16. It tells the story of teenager Tally Youngblood who rebels against society’s enforced conformity. Discussion Guide >>>

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape-and to survive. Discussion Guide >>>

We Beat the Streets by Sampson Davis et al.
The Three Doctors, as the subjects of this inspirational book call both themselves and their nonprofit foundation, grew up in a tough neighborhood in Newark, NJ. The three made a teenage pact to leave their impoverished New Jersey neighborhood, attend medical school, and become doctors. Their story is profoundly inspirational, personal and intimate. Discussion Guide >>>

BookTalk.org is a discussion forum site where members can chat about what they are reading. Live author chats are also common on this site.

Book Group Buzz is a blog pertaining to book club selections. Offers insightful overviews and plenty of ideas for future reading group selections.

Reading Group Guides boasts over 2,500 online reading group guides for all kinds of books. Guides include a brief overview of each book and provoking discussion topics to get any group talking.

BookBrowse.com Reading Guides is a great resource for book clubs with an extensive reading guides section.

Reading Group Choices selects discussible books and develops resources to enhance the book club experience. Offers reading group guides, discussion topics, and free giveaways.

LitLovers provides helpful info for book clubs with tips, ideas, resources, suggested book titles and more. Check out this website for beginning a book group.

Online Book Groups

Barnes and Noble Book Clubs offers anyone with internet access the ability to join a reading group. There are many groups available, organized by genre, which ensures the perfect fit between reader and group.

Goodreads is another web-based reading group site that allows members to not only participate in reading groups, but also organize and catalog their books and socialize with other bookworms.

What titles are available as book club kits?
Visit the Adult Kits or Teen Kits tabs to see available book club titles or visit the online catalog to see a list of all book club kits.

Who can check out book club kits?
Durham County Library patrons. The person who checks out the kit is responsible for returning it on time to the library.

Where do I pick up the book club kit?
Book club kits can be picked up in the area where books on hold are kept.

Can I check out one book from the kit?
No, the kit has to be checked out as a whole.

How long can a book club kit be checked out?
Six weeks with no renewals, since other patrons may be waiting to check out the kit.

Is there fee if a book club kit is returned late?
Yes, there is a late fee like any other item in the collection.

What if a book club kit is returned with missing/damaged copies?
If the book club kit is returned incomplete, the price of each individual copy is charged. A processing fee of $5.00 per kit is charged only if the entire kit is not returned. The cost of the tote bag is $5.00.

Can book club kits be guaranteed for a specific date?
No, book club kits cannot be guaranteed for a specific availability date. One should have a second or third choice of title as a back-up in case you cannot receive your first choice at a time you may want it.

Are readers guides available for the titles?
Yes, every book club kit title will have an author biography and discussion questions that may be used with your book club. The guide is provided as a PDF and is linked to with the book entry on this page.