Book Club Kits for Adults and Teens
Essentially everything you need to get started with your own book discussion group is available from the 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 along with information about the author can be found next to each title below (click on the pdf icon).
Adult and Teen Book Club Kits are made possible by the Friends of the Durham Library.
Book Club Kits for Investors include two different kits, one with eight titles related to investing and one with eight titles relating to money management. These kits are recommended for investing clubs, money management support groups or book clubs who are interested in each member reading a different book on one topic and reporting to the whole club. The Book Club Kits for Investors were made possilbe by a grant from Smart Investing @ Your Library.
Look for a kit at your location, or request a kit directly from the online catalog.
A Book Club Kit is checked out to a single group member who is responsible for all of the materials (except print outs). The group may keep the kit for 6 weeks.
Investment Book Club Kit - titles to promote discussion on investment options in stocks & bonds, mutual funds, local small businesses, stock market strategy, and money market accounts.
Random Walk Down Wall Street
Common Sense on Mutual Funds
Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need
The Investment Answer
Mutual Funds for Dummies
Million Dollar Portfolio
The Most Important Thing
Money Management Book Club Kit - titles on money management including saving money, planning for retirement, creating a budget, becoming debt free, and managing credit and credit cards.
Personal Finance for Dummies
Debt Free for Life
Cheapskate Next Door
Your Money: the Missing Manual
Master Your Debt
10 Commandments of Money
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
America's War edited by Edward Ayers
An anthology of writings pertaining to the American Civil War. A few of the authors included, Abraham Lincoln, Shelby Foote, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass. NONFICTION
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown and locally-grown food. Accomplished gardeners, the Kingsolver clan grow a large garden in southern Appalachia and spend summers "putting food by.” NONFICTION
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
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
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
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, MYSTERY
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.
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
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
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
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others. FICTION
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
In what could be construed as a coming-of-age story for thirtysomethings, Gilbert leaves behind an excruciating divorce, tumultuous affair, and debilitating depression as she sets off on a yearlong quest to bridge the gulf between body, mind, and spirit. NONFICTION
Faithful Place by Tana French
A taut, gripping thriller that will keep readers in suspense until its closing pages. FICTION
Family by J. California Cooper
A slave mother, distraught that her children, sired by her master, might be sold away from her, attempts to poison them all. FICTION
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The titular Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence by artificial means. The story is told as a series of progress reports written by Charlie, the first human test subject for the surgery, and touches upon many different ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled. FICTION
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
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
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Forty years after the disappearance of Harriet Vanger from the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family, her octogenarian uncle hires journalist Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, an unconventional young hacker, to investigate. FICTION
God Don't Like Ugly by Mary Monroe
Set in Ohio during the 50's, 60's and 70's, this richly-drawn coming-of-age tale is about a sexually abused young black woman and the beautiful and diabolical best friend who comes to her rescue. Resonating with clear-eyed wit and uncompromising honesty, it is a tale of endurance, hope and triumph, full of laughter and pure enjoyment. FICTION
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
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
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
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed-a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back. Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. NONFICTION
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.
A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind
This nonfiction narrative follows the life of Cedric Jennings, a talented black teenager struggling to succeed in one of the worst public high schools in Washington, D.C. NONFICTION
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
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The narrator traces his life from college and into Harlem where he becomes invisible like other African Americans. FICTION
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
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
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
In his 10th novel, Stewart O’Nan explores how the closing of one chain restaurant profoundly affects many lives. Critics praised the novel as a triumph in realism. FICTION
The Last Shot by Darcy Frey
For many adolescents on Coney Island, basketball is their only escape from the urban hell of poverty, crime, and drugs. The Last Shot chronicles a group of teenagers playing for one of the best teams in New York, the Abraham Lincoln Secondary School Railsplitters. These young males continually cope with circumstances beyond their control in a society that has failed miserably to provide a safe environment and, more importantly, a good education. NONFICTION
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
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
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.
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
O My America by Johanna Kaplan
O my America! is the story of Ezra Slavin, a crusty, unremitting social critic who dies at an anti-war rally in 1972. Told in flashback by his daughter Merry, one of his six children, O my America! chronicles a complicated, free-form and exasperatingly extended "family." FICTION
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
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
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
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
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
Silver Sparrow by 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
The Soldier's Wife by 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
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
Still Alice by
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
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
Tevye the Dairyman by Sholem Aleichem
Of all the characters in modern Jewish fiction, the most beloved is Tevye, the buoyant, compassionate, philosophical, Bible-quoting dairyman whose life story formed the basis for the musical Fiddler on the Roof. FICTION
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
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
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. FICTION
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
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.
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
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
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
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
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
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.
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.
Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun by Geoffrey Canada
In this candid and riveting memoir, Canada relives a childhood in which violence stalked every street corner.
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.
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.
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.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Update: December 12, 2012