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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.


Crow Planet
Haupt, Lyanda Lynn

Illustrated with lovely b&w woodcuts by Daniel Cautrell, Haupt's book is part memoir, part musing on the challenges, common thinking, and realities of interacting with nature while living in a city. Based on her own study of the crows of Seattle and including many personal anecdotes about her own family, Haupt's text does not answer any questions so much as draw attention to various issues that arise from human's fraught relationship with the natural world. An accessible read, the work concludes with a bibliography, but is not indexed. Annotation c2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Cutting for Stone
Verghese, Abraham

Focusing on the world of medicine, this epic first novel by well-known doctor/author Verghese follows a man on a mythic quest to find his father. It begins with the dramatic birth of twins slightly joined at the skull, their father serving as surgeon and their mother dying on the table. The horrorstruck father vanishes, and the now separated boys are raised by two Indian doctors living on the grounds of a mission hospital in early 1950s Ethiopia. The boys both gravitate toward medical practice, with Marion the more studious one and Shiva a moody genius and loner.

Dark Places
Flynn, Gillian

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas." As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived-and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her. The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details-proof they hope may free Ben-Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she'll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she'll admit her testimony wasn't so solid after all. As Libby's search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985.

Death of Bees, The
O'Donnell, Lisa

Trying to keep the death of their parents a secret, Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own until several residents in Glasgow's Hazelhurst housing estate suspect that something is not right.

Defending Jacob
Landay, William

Andy Barber has been an ADA in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But after a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Descendants, The
Hemmings, Kaui Hart

Narrated in a bold, fearless, hilarious voice and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy...Before honoring Joanie's living will, [her husband] Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn't been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife's lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth.

Destiny of the Republic
Millard, Candice

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

Detroit: An American Autopsy
LeDuff, Charlie

...Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation's poorest. Once the vanguard of America's machine age--mass production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles--Detroit is now America's capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures. It is an eerie and angry place of deserted factories and abandoned homes and forgotten people. Trees and switchgrass and wild animals have come back to reclaim their right¬ful places. Coyotes are here. The pigeons have left. A city the size of San Francisco and Manhattan could neatly fit into Detroit's vacant lots. After revealing that the city's murder rate is higher than the official police number--making it the highest in the country--a weary old detective tells LeDuff, "In this city two plus two equals three." With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses, LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city...

Devil in the White City
Larson, Erik

The true stories of two men are intertwined in Larson's tale set in the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Larson is a Washington author.

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Dinner, The
Koch, Herman

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives--all over the course of one meal.

Dirty Life, The
Kimball, Kristin

"This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming-that dirty, concupiscent art-and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer." Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him..."

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl
Beasley, Sandra

A beautifully written and darkly funny journey through the world of the allergic. Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies--severe and lifelong--include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it's no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as "Allergy Girl."...With candor, wit, and a journalist's curiosity, Sandra draws on her own experiences while covering the scientific, cultural, and sociological terrain of allergies...From the Hardcover edition.

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
Fuller, Alexandra

This is a riveting memoir of a white African girl's childhood in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) during the civil war and unrest of the 1970s.

Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff
Mahoney, Rosemary

Documents the author's danger-ridden voyage by seven-foot skiff down the Egyptian Nile, an endeavor that is challenged by civil unrest, local disapproval about women traveling alone, wild animals, harsh climate, and the unlikely assistance of a kind Muslim sailor.

Dreams of Joy
See, Lisa

A continuation of "Shanghai Girls" finds a devastated Joy fleeing to China to search for her real father while her mother, Pearl, desperately pursues her, a dual quest marked by their encounters with the nation's intolerant Communist culture.

Dressmaker, The
Alcott, Kate

A spirited woman survives the sinking of the Titanic only to find herself embroiled in the tumultuous aftermath of that great tragedy. Tess is one of the last people to escape into a lifeboat. When an enterprising reporter turns her employer, Lady Duff Gordon, into an object of scorn, Tess is torn between loyalty and the truth.

Driving Mr. Albert
Paterniti, Michael

Follow the adventures of an unlikely threesome; a freelance writer, an elderly pathologist, and Albert Einstein's brain; on a cross-country trip.

Eating Animals
Foer, Jonathan Safran

Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, memoir and his own detective work, "Eating Animals" explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits--from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth--and how such tales can lull us into a brutal forgetting.

Edible History of Humanity, An
Standage, Tom

The bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses brilliantly charts how foods have transformed human culture through the ages. Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes--caused, enabled, or influenced by food--has helped to shape and transform societies around the world. The first civilizations were built on barley and wheat in the Near East, millet and rice in Asia, corn and potatoes in the Americas. Why farming created a strictly ordered social hierarchy in contrast to the loose egalitarianism of hunter-gatherers is, as Tom Standage reveals, as interesting as the details of the complex cultures that emerged, eventually interconnected by commerce. Trade in exotic spices in particular spawned the age of exploration and the colonization of the New World. Food's influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britain's solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleon's rise and fall was intimately connected with his ability to feed his vast armies. In the twentieth century, Communist leaders employed food as an ideological weapon, resulting in the death by starvation of millions in the S oviet Union and China. And today the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development, the environment, and the adoption of new technologies. Encompassing many fields, from genetics and archaeology to anthropology and economics--and invoking food as a special form of technology-- An Edible History of Humanity is a fully satisfying discourse on the sweep of human history.

Elegance of the Hedgehog, The
Barbery, Muriel

The lives of fifty-four-year-old concierge Rene Michel and extremely bright, suicidal twelve-year-old Paloma Josse are transformed by the arrival of a new tenant, Kakuro Ozu.

Emily, Alone
O'Nan, Stewart

Newly independent widow Emily Maxwell dreams of visits by grandchildren and mourns changes in her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood before realizing an inner strength to pursue developing opportunities.

Emperor of All Maladies, The
Mukherjee, Siddhartha

A magnificently written "biography" of cancer--from its origins to the epic battle to cure, control, and conquer it.

End of Illness, The
Agus, David

Can we live robustly until our last breath? Do we have to suffer from debilitating conditions and sickness? Is it possible to add more vibrant years to our lives? In The End of Illness , David B. Agus, MD, one of the world's leading cancer doctors, researchers, and technology innovators, tackles these fundamental questions, challenging long-held wisdoms and dismantling misperceptions about what "health" means. With a blend of storytelling, landmark research, and provocative ideas on health, Dr. Agus presents an eye-opening picture of the human body and all of the ways it works--and fails--showing us how a new perspective on our individual health will allow each of us to achieve that often elusive but now reachable goal of a long, vigorous life. When Dr. Agus decided to pursue a career in oncology, many of his mentors questioned his choice. Why, they asked, would a promising young doctor want to enter a field known for its inescapably grim outcomes? But it was precisely the lack of progress that inspired Dr. Agus to join the war on cancer. He moved away from the modern methods of the medical establishment, which aim to reduce our afflictions to a single point. Instead, as he does in this book, Dr. Agus argues for the adoption of a systemic view--a way of honoring our bodies as complex, whole systems. This outlook informs how we can avoid all illnesses--not just cancer. Dr. Agus empowers us to take charge of our individual health in personal, customized ways we could not have imagined before...

End of Your Life Book Club, The
Schwalbe, Will

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

Execution of Noa P. Singleton
Silver, Elizabeth

Noa P. Singleton sits on death row in a maximum security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date. She is visited by a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is a heartbroken mother of the victim and now wants to see the death penalty delayed--if only Noa reveals her motive.

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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Faith
Haigh, Jennifer

Sheila McGann is estranged from her complicated family. But when her older brother Art, pastor of a large suburban parish, finds himself at the center of a scandal, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him. Her strict mother lives in a state of angry denial; her younger brother Mike has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.

Faithful Place
French, Tana

Detective Frank Mackey finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind twenty-two years ago when the suitcase belonging to his first love, Rosie Daly, shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place. The hotly anticipated third novel of the Dublin murder squad.

Father of the Rain
King, Lily

"Gardiner Amory is a New England WASP who is beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is about to be impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly becoming outdated. His daughter, Daley, has spent the first eleven years of her life carefully negotiating her parents' conflicting worlds: the liberal, socially committed realm of her mother and the conservative, decadent, liquor-soaked life of her father. As she grows into adulthood, Daley rejects the narrow world that nourished her father's fears and prejudices, and embarks on her own separate life, until he hits rock bottom"--Dust jacket flap.

Finkler Question, The
Jacobson, Howard

...Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer, and television personality, are old school friends...Dining together one night at Sevcik's apartment--the two Jewish widowers and the unmarried Gentile, Treslove--the men share a sweetly painful evening, reminiscing on a time before they had loved and lost, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. But as Treslove makes his way home, he is attacked and mugged outside a violin dealer's window. Treslove is convinced the crime was a misdirected act of anti-Semitism, and in its aftermath, his whole sense of self will ineluctably change.

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...

Flight of Gemma Hardy, The
Livesey, Margo

Overcoming a life of hardship and loneliness, Gemma Hardy, a brilliant and determined young woman, accepts a position as an au pair on the remote Orkney Islands where she faces her biggest challenge yet.

Flower Confidential
Stewart, Amy

Award-winning author Amy Stewart takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes look at the flower industry and how it has sought—for better or worse—to achieve perfection. She tracks down the hybridizers, geneticists, farmers, and florists working to invent, manufacture, and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter, and sturdier than anything nature can provide. At every turn she discovers the startling intersection of nature and technology, of sentiment and commerce.

Forgotten Garden, The
Morton, Kate

A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book -- a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and with very little to go on, "Nell" sets out on a journey to England to try to trace her story, to fi nd her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.

Gallery of Vanished Husbands, The
Solomons, Natasha

A stunning new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford London, 1958. It's the eve of the sexual revolution, but in Juliet Montague's conservative Jewish community where only men can divorce women, shefinds herself a living widow, invisible. Ever since her husband disappeared seven years ago, Juliet has been a hardworking single mother of two and unnaturally practical. But on her thirtieth birthday, that's all about to change. A wealthy young artist asks to paint her portrait, and Juliet, moved by the powerful desire to be seen, enters into the burgeoning art world of 1960s London, which will bring her fame, fortune, and a life-long love aff air.

Garlic and Sapphires
Reichl, Ruth.

This delicious new volume of Ruth Reichl's acclaimed memoirs recounts her "adventures in deception," as she goes undercover in the world's finest restaurants.

Gate at the Stairs, A
Moore, Lorrie

"... As the United States begins gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, the Midwestern daughter of a gentleman hill farmer--his 'Keltjin potatoes' are justifiably famous--has come to a university town as a college student, her brain on fire with Chaucer, Sylvia Plath, Simone de Beauvoir. Between semesters, she takes a job as a part-time nanny. The family she works for seems both mysterious and glamorous to her, and although Tassie had once found children boring, she comes to care for, and to protect, their newly adopted little girl as her own. As the year unfolds and she is drawn deeper into each of these lives, her own life back home becomes ever more alien to her: her parents are frailer; her brother, aimless and lost in high school, contemplates joining the military. Tassie finds herself becoming more and more the stranger she felt herself to be, and as life and love unravel dramatically, even shockingly, she is forever changed ..."--Publisher description.

Girl in Translation
Kwok, Jean

Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures. When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Girl Who Fell from the Sky
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.

Girl's Guide to Homelessness, The
Karp, Brianna

Karp delivers a heartwrenching and darkly funny memoir about her experience becoming homeless after losing her corporate job in the Great Recession.

Girls
Lansens, Lori

In this novel, readers come to know Rose and Ruby, 29-year-old conjoined twins. When one of the girls decides to write her autobiography, the distinct personalities of the two emerge to reveal their contradictory longing for independence and their unwavering togetherness.

Girls from Ames: a Story of Women and a Forty-year Friendship
Zaslow, Jeffrey

An inspiring story of 11 girls from Ames, Iowa, and the 10 women they became. A moving demonstration of how female friendships can shape every aspect of women's lives.

Giver
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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Glass Castle: A Memoir
Walls, Jeannette

The second child of a scholarly, alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing from the Arizona desert, to Las Vegas, to an Appalachian mining town, during which her siblings and she fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.

Going Clear
Wright, Lawrence

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

Gone to Ground
Collins, Brandilyn

Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it's named-bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison. In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two nights ago-a sixth murder. Clearly a killer lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis. And now three terrified women are sure they know who he is-someone they love. None is aware of the others' suspicions. And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer down. But each woman suspects a different man.

Greater Journey, The
McCullough, David

The Greater Journey is the enthralling, inspiring--and until now, untold--story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the years between 1830 and 1900, ambitious to excel in their work. After risking the hazardous journey across the Atlantic, these Americans embarked on a greater journey in the City of Light...Nearly all of these Americans, whatever their troubles learning French, their spells of homesickness, and their suffering in the raw cold winters by the Seine, spent many of the happiest days and nights of their lives in Paris. McCullough tells this sweeping, fascinating story with power and intimacy, bringing us into the lives of remarkable men and women who, in Saint-Gaudens's phrase, longed "to soar into the blue."

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Shaffer, Mary Ann

January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

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It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people,
that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.
- Eudora Welty


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