Book Discussion Kits
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.
Book Kits Added in the past year, sorted newest to oldest added.
You're viewing items 1-38
Undertaker's Assistant, TheSkenandore, Amanda
Raised in Indiana by a Union Army surgeon and his wife, former slave Effie returns to New Orleans after the end of the Civil War as a freedwoman. Thanks to her work assisting her adoptive father in his surgery, she has a stomach for gore, so she finds work as an embalmer. Searching for her roots and building an independent life for herself, Effie is pulled into political activism through her attraction to a young politician. This historical novel explores issues of class and race during the Reconstruction Era, and will appeal to readers who love immersive detail.
So You Want to Talk About RaceOluo, Ijeoma
Oluo is a Seattle writer and editor. This book of essays, her debut, was written in response to the conversations forced upon her growing up as a person of color in a largely-white middle-class area of Seattle. Oluo speaks clearly and thoughtfully about her personal and work life, exposing the injustice and duplicity she has encountered, and the hurt caused by casual interactions with well-intentioned acquaintances. Throughout the book she also answers questions – about racism, about the experience of oppression, and about the best way to navigate painful, racially-charged conversations.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted AmericaMacy, Beth
More Americans die from drugs in one year than were killed in the entire Vietnam war. Journalist Beth Macy traces the opioid epidemic from its root in the boardrooms of big pharmaceutical companies, all the way through the supply chain to towns and communities devastated by addiction and crime. Dopesick has been praised both for the painstaking and detailed research into the causes and symptoms of the epidemic, to the compassionate portraits of those affected. As Macy focuses in particular on central Appalachia, this book might make an interesting counterpoint to Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. The Boston Globe called Dopesick "An impressive feat of journalism, monumental in scope and urgent in its implications."
Carnegie Medal shortlist
Unsheltered features a dual narrative set in the same New Jersey house more than one hundred years apart. In the 1870s, science teacher Thatcher Greenwood grapples with the controversy over teaching evolution in schools. In the present day, newly laid-off magazine worker Willa Knox struggles with the recession that destroyed her job, her husband’s job, and their comfortable middle-class status. Both families are trying to survive during times of rapid change in an unstable world.
NPR Best Book
Most Dangerous Branch, TheKaplan, David A.
Journalist David Kaplan makes the case that the United States Supreme Court has grown dangerously powerful – that the nine judges are all, regardless of political orientation, guilty of arrogant political overreach. He traces the history of the chamber from a relatively quiescent one to a group that, he argues, routinely interferes with policy making better left to legislative process. The book, based on dozens of interviews with those who work with the Supreme Court, describes the court’s inner workings and behind-the-scenes operations.
What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in An American CityHanna-Attisha, Mona
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha was a pediatrician in Flint, Michigan who noticed that something was wrong with the water in her city. There was plenty of circumstantial evidence of a mounting health crisis, but there was no proof. When she announced her conclusion that city drinking water was the source, city officials challenged her data and her credibility. This 2018 book is a firsthand account of the Flint water crisis, Hanna-Attisha's research into its origins and effects, and the ongoing struggle of Flint advocates to secure clean water. In it, Hanna-Attisha personalizes the crisis by telling the stories of her patients: Flint's children and their parents.
New York Times Notable
NPR's Best Science Book
Braving the WildernessBrown, Brené
There is evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality. Social scientist Brown has conducted exhaustive research into loneliness and failed relationships. Through interviews, case studies, and surveys, she shows how many people long for - but struggle to achieve - connection with others. She investigates the things that prevent this: distractions of daily life, self doubts, even perfectionism. And she shares her own history of self-destructive and unstable behavior, and her own efforts to combat fear of rejection and find togetherness. With enthusiasm and compassion, she urges readers to venture forth into the "wilderness" of relationships and to have the courage to believe in ourselves and to reach out to others.
Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, TheBobotis, Andrea
In 1929, 14-year-old Quincy Kratt is murdered. Sixty years later, his elderly sister, Miss Judith Kratt, makes a list of all the family heirlooms that have accumulated in her South Carolina Home over the decades. But, piece by piece, her list reveals a devastating family secret. As her inventory of items grows, the story unfolds - of brother Quincy and how he died, of sister Rosemarie and what she knew, of murder and secrets and coverups. In this highly-atmospheric southern thriller, all kinds of relationships are explored: between the present and the past, between members of a family; and also between white masters and Black servants.
Another BrooklynWoodson, Jacqueline
Poetic prose and strong, richly written characters drive this haunting coming-of-age story following a young black woman through flashbacks of her childhood in 1970s Brooklyn.
BACALA Literary Award
New York Times Notable
Life in the GardenLively, Penelope
Written like a conversation with a friend, this is a charming and poetic memoir delighting in all things gardening, from history to literature to psychology to the simple joy of a day’s labor.
Call Me AmericanIftin, Abdi Nor
In this compelling, inspiring memoir, Iftin speaks candidly about his life in war-torn Somalia, his struggle to leave, and a chance encounter that changed the course of his life.
Thank You for ArguingHeinrichs, Jay
A humorous, cheerful, and accessible book on the art of rhetoric, mixing personal anecdotes with tools and techniques used by figures throughout history and pop culture to help readers recognize and use persuasion themselves.
Breath of A Whale, TheCalvez, Leigh
An exploration of the elusive lives of whales in the Pacific Ocean. Leigh Calvez has spent a dozen years researching, observing, and probing the lives of the giants of the deep.
Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, TheKamkwamba, William
A resonant, hopeful, engaging memoir showing the power of the human spirit through the author’s difficult life in Malawi and his quest to bring electricity to his village by building a windmill from scraps.
Us Against YouBackman, Fredrik
Backman returns to the Swedish village of Beartown in this insightful novel offering humor and emotion alongside grim realism to explore heavy themes like violence, politics, family, and community.
Washington BlackEdugyan, Esi
Told with nuanced prose, this is a searing, unforgettable novel following a young slave on a strange and fascinating adventure.
Scotiabank Giller Prize
New York Times Notable
There ThereOrange, Tommy
With a large cast of characters, light suspense, and insightful narration, this is an enlightening and fast-paced story depicting Native American life in a modern urban setting.
Indies’ Choice Book Award
Society of American Historians Prize for Historical Fiction
New York Times Notable
Power, TheAlderman, Naomi
A smart and evocative dystopian novel of a near future that flips traditional gender roles. This book is bound to spark discussion by challenging long-held beliefs.
New York Times Notable
Next Year in HavanaCleeton, Chanel
Told with a somber tone and intricate plotting, this is a dramatic historical romance following two women, 60 years apart, as they each experience passion and romance in the midst of oppressive political regimes.
Lost Girls of Paris, TheJenoff, Pam
Mysterious, romantic, and filled with strong female characters, this is a fast-paced fictionalized account of espionage in WWII.
Little Fires EverywhereNg, Celeste
Secrets are unraveled, community tensions run high, and relationships are tested in this gripping, multilayered story filled with complex characters and mesmerizing prose.
Booklist Editors' Choice
Goodreads Choice Award
Learning to See: A Novel of Dorothea Lange, the Woman Who Revealed the Real AmericaHooper, Elise
A thought-provoking and engaging work of historical fiction exploring the life of Dorothea Lange, a fearless photographer noted for documenting American life during the Great Depression and WWII.
Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne ListerChoma, Anne
Fans of the HBO series and history buffs alike will enjoy this fascinating biography of an extraordinary, highly intelligent woman who made history by defying convention and following her passions.
Conversations With FriendsRooney, Sally
A complex and vividly realized novel depicting the struggle to find one’s own voice while navigating the intricacies of friendship, romance, and adulthood.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of PlantsKimmerer, Robin Wall
Professor and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer shares memories of her past mixed with legends from her Potawatomi ancestors in this engaging and meditative collection of essays that invites readers to express gratitude for everyday gifts.
Bookshop of Yesterdays, TheMeyerson, Amy
Filled with likable characters, a charming adventure, and plenty of literary references, this upbeat novel is a perfect read for bibliophiles who fantasize about owning a bookstore.
American Marriage, AnJones, Tayari
A newly married couple’s lives are shattered by a wrongful imprisonment in this moving, character-driven story tackling themes of love, family, and racial injustice.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas BookstoreSullivan, Matthew
When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. When Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia? As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey's suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood.
"Both charming and challenging" (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review), Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a "multi-generational tale of abandonment, desperation, and betrayal…inventive and intricately plotted" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Whidbey Reads Selection
Two siblings are abandoned by their parents, left in the care of mysterious guardians who operate in the dark and the murk. They look for answers where none are forthcoming. In the aftermath of the London Blitz, the city struggles to rebuild itself, one relationship at a time. Written with spare prose, Ondaatje’s story prompts readers to wonder the best way to protect a child when understanding may put them in greater danger.
Man Booker Prize Longlist
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee
Walter Scott Prize Longlist
Place for Us, AMirza, Fatima Farheen
An adult child and his estranged parents attempt to reconcile in this novel of identity and belonging. Rafiq and Layla, Muslim Indian-Americans living in California, see their son Amar for the first timein years at their daughter’s wedding. Spanning decades, this novel examines the family’s history, from the parents’ arrival in America to the secrets and betrayals that led to the present day.
Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award
Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist
Map of Salt and Stars, TheJoukhadar, Jennifer Zeynab
Two girls journey through the Middle East, separated by 800 years. Nour’s family returns to Syria after her father’s death, just as the country is thrown into conflict. Rawiya flees her home disguised as a boy in order to apprentice with a mapmaker. What are the parallels in their stories set in worlds both similar and disparate?
Middle East Book Award Winner
Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist
Lilac GirlsKelly, Martha Hall
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals the power of unsung women to change history in their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. The lives of three women are set on a collision course with Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as two of the women strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten. -adapted from the publisher description.
Heavy: An American MemoirLaymon, Kiese
In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. (Adapted from publisher description)
Finalist, 2018 Kirkus Prize
Gentleman in Moscow, ATowles, Amor
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a Moscow hotel by a Bolshevik tribunal. There he remains for decades, exploring the hotel, befriending the staff and the other inhabitants, and witnessing the sweep of Russian history from the elegant quarters he cannot leave. A novel whose somewhat fantastical premise still manages to be relevant today.
Fascism: A WarningAlbright, Madeleine Korbel
Madeleine Albright was a child in war-torn Europe, a lifelong diplomat, and the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. She draws upon these experiences to understand fascism – its rise, its attraction to its adherents, and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past. (Adapted from publisher description)
Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksSkloot, Rebecca
Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. Includes reading-group guide. A best-selling book.
Language of Kindness, TheWatson, Christie
Christie Watson spent twenty years as a nurse, and in this intimate, poignant, and powerful book, she opens the doors of the hospital and shares its secrets. This memoir follows Watson through her training and career, her own father’s long ordeal with cancer, and the other nurses she’s encountered who have inspired and informed her. For fans of
My Old Man and the MountainWhittaker, Leif
Growing up in a mountaineering family in Port Townsend, Leif explores his relationship to his legendary father, Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest in 1963. Leif also describes his process of discovering his own path. Filled with descriptions of local places and peaks, this climbing story focuses on family and relationships. How do we define ourselves when a larger than life person is leading the way?
2017 Washington State Book Award finalist