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Book Discussion Kits

The Plainfield Public Library has a growing collection of Book Discussion Kits available to lend to our patrons and fellow libraries who are seeking multiple copies of books for discussion. New titles are added periodically and each discussion set contains between 10-12 books. Contact the Adult Services Desk at info@papl.info if you are interested in borrowing a kit.

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More discussion kits will be available over the coming year. Contact the Adult Services Desk at info@papl.info if you are interested in borrowing a “Book Club in a Bag”.

Looking for eBooks?  Check out our eBooks & Streaming page for digital copies of your next book club read (library card required).  You can also check out hoopla’s Book Club Hub for discussion guides, author Q&As, recommended reading, meeting planners, and other resources for hosting clubs in person or virtually.

Any Other Family

by Eleanor Brown

Though they look like any other family, they aren’t one—not quite. They are three sets of parents who find themselves intertwined after adopting four biological siblings, having committed to keeping the children as connected as possible. At the heart of the family, the adoptive mothers grapple to define themselves and their new roles. Tabitha, who adopted the twins, crowns herself planner of the group, responsible for endless playdates and holidays, determined to create a perfect happy family. Quiet and steady Ginger, single mother to the eldest daughter, is wary of the way these complicated not-fully-family relationships test her long held boundaries. And Elizabeth, still reeling from rounds of failed IVF, is terrified that her unhappiness after adopting a newborn means she was not meant to be a mother at all. As they set out on their first family vacation, all three are pushed into uncomfortably close quarters. And when they receive a call from their children’s birth mother announcing she is pregnant again, the delicate bonds the women are struggling to form threaten to collapse as they each must consider how a family is found and formed.

Book Discussion Guide

Art Thief, The

by Michael Finkel

NEW! For centuries, works of art have been stolen in countless ways from all over the world, but no one has been quite as successful at it as the master thief Stâephane Breitwieser. Carrying out more than two hundred heists over nearly ten years-in museums and cathedrals all over Europe-Breitwieser, along with his girlfriend who worked as his lookout, stole more than three hundred objects, until it all fell apart in spectacular fashion. In The Art Thief, Michael Finkel brings us into Breitwieser’s strange and fascinating world. Unlike most thieves, he never stole for money, keeping all his treasures in a single room where he could admire them to his heart’s content. Possessed of a remarkable athleticism and an innate ability to assess practically any security system, Breitwieser managed to pull off a breathtakingly number of audacious thefts. Yet these strange talents bred a growing disregard for risk and an addict’s need to score, leading Breitwieser to ignore his girlfriend’s pleas to stop-until one final act of hubris brought everything crashing down

Book Discussion Guide

Blonde Identity, The

by Ally Carter

COMING SOON! Waking up in Paris with no memory of who she is, a young woman discovers she’s the identical twin of a rogue spy and, to stay alive, must team up with a very grouchy, very sexy, very secret agent to unravel a deadly conspiracy and clear her sister’s name.

Book Discussion Guide

Braiding Sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.

Book Discussion Guide

Daisy Darker

by Alice Feeney

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows… Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed. With a wicked wink to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Daisy Darker’s unforgettable twists will leave readers reeling.

Book Discussion Guide

Deliberate Cruelty: Truman Capote, the millionaire’s wife, and the murder of the century

by Rosanne Montillo

COMING SOON! When Ann Woodward shot her husband, banking heir Billy Woodward, in the middle of the night in 1955, her life changed forever. Though she claimed she thought he was a prowler, few believed the woman who had risen from charismatic showgirl to popular socialite. Everyone had something to say about the scorching scandal afflicting one of the most rich and famous families of New York City, but no one was more obsessed with the tale than Truman Capote.

Demon Copperhead

by Barbara Kingsolver

Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. Relayed in his own unsparing voice, Demon braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities. Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.

Dictionary of Lost Words,The

by Pip Williams

Deciding to create her own dictionary — the Dictionary of Lost Words — Esme, who has collected “objectionable” words a team of male scholars omit from the first Oxford English Dictionary, leaves her sheltered world behind to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

Book Discussion Guide

Dish, The : the lives and labor behind one plate of food

by Andrew Friedman

NEW! On a typical evening, in a contemporary American restaurant, a table orders their dinner from a server. It’s an exchange that happens dozens, or hundreds, of times a night—the core transaction that keeps the place churning. In this book, acclaimed chef writer Andrew Friedman slows down time to focus on a single dish at Chicago’s Wherewithall restaurant, following its production and provenances via real-time kitchen and in-the-field reportage, from the moment the order is placed to when the finished dish is delivered to the table.

Book Discussion Guide

Final Girl Support Group, The

by Grady Hendrix

COMING SOON! Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre. For more than a decade, she’s been meeting with five other final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, working to put their lives back together. Then one woman misses a meeting, and their worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to rip their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about final girls is that no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Book Discussion Guide

First Lie Wins

by Ashley Elston

COMING SOON! Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist. The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job. Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes–especially after what happened last time. Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to-her real identity-just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn’t be higher–but then, Evie has always liked a challenge…

Book Discussion Guide

Four Treasures of the Sky

by Jenny Zhang

Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.

Book Discussion Guide

Four Winds, The

by Kristin Hannah

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

Book Discussion Guide

Golden Spoon, The

by Jessa Maxwell

NEW! When production for the tenth season of the hit cooking competition Bake Week begins at the gothic estate of the show’s host and founder, celebrity chef Betsy Martin, everything seems normal. The six contestants are eager to prove their culinary talents over the course of five days, while Betsy struggles for control of the show with her new co-host, the brash and unpredictable Archie Morris. But as the baking competition gets under way, things begin to go awry. At first it’s merely sabotage-sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high-but then someone shows up dead and suddenly everyone’s a suspect.

Book Discussion Guide

Good Sister, The

by Sally Hepworth

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be…dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden.

Book Discussion Guide

Happiness Falls

by Angie Kim

NEW! “We didn’t call the police right away.” When Mia’s father doesn’t come home from a walk in the local nature reserve, she doesn’t think much of it. He must’ve turned off his phone. Or his battery died. Or he probably stopped for an errand-but doing what exactly? Soon more questions arise and it becomes clear to Mia and her family that he is missing. Or is he?

Book Discussion Guide

Her Deadly Game

by Robert Dugoni

NEW! Keera Duggan was building a solid reputation as a Seattle prosecutor, until her romantic relationship with a senior colleague ended badly. For the competitive former chess prodigy, returning to her family’s failing criminal defense law firm to work for her father is the best shot she has. With the right moves, she hopes to restore the family’s reputation, her relationship with her father, and her career. Keera’s chance to play in the big leagues comes when she’s retained by Vince LaRussa, an investment adviser accused of murdering his wealthy wife. There’s little hard evidence against him, but considering the couple’s impending and potentially nasty divorce, LaRussa faces life in prison. The prosecutor is equally challenging: Miller Ambrose, Keera’s former lover, who’s eager to destroy her in court on her first homicide defense. As Keera and her team follow the evidence, they uncover a complicated and deadly game that’s more than Keera bargained for. When shocking information turns the case upside down, Keera must decide between her duty to her client, her family’s legacy, and her own future.

Book Discussion Guide

Hostage

by Clare Mackintosh

A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of Room, Hostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney. Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply. It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours..

Book Discussion Guide

Hula

by Jasmin 'Iolani Hakes

COMING SOON! Hi’i is proud to be a Naupaka, a family renowned for its contributions to hula and her hometown of Hilo, Hawaii, but there’s a lot she doesn’t understand. She’s never met her legendary grandmother and her mother has never revealed the identity of her father. Worse, unspoken divides within her tight-knit community have started to grow, creating fractures whose origins are somehow entangled with her own family history. In hula, Hi’i sees a chance to live up to her name and solidify her place within her family legacy. But in order to win the next Miss Aloha Hula competition, she will have to turn her back on everything she had ever been taught, and maybe even lose the very thing she was fighting for. Told in part in the collective voice of a community fighting for its survival, Hula is a spellbinding debut that offers a rare glimpse into a forgotten kingdom that still exists in the heart of its people.

Iona Iverson’s Rules For Commuting

by Clare Pooley

Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Bookworm and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do. Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of Sanjay, a nurse, who gives him the Heimlich maneuver. This single event starts a chain reaction, and an eclectic group of people with almost nothing in common except their commute discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more. It turns out that talking to strangers can teach you about the world around you–and even more about yourself.

Book Discussion Guide

Just the Nicest Couple

by Mary Kubica

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.

Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.

Book Discussion Guide

Lessons in Chemistry

by Bonnie Garmus

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 
 
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.  

Book Discussion Guide

Love & Saffron

by Kim Fay

When twenty-seven-year-old Joan Bergstrom sends a fan letter–as well as a gift of saffron–to fifty-nine-year-old Imogen Fortier, a life-changing friendship begins. Joan lives in Los Angeles and is just starting out as a writer for the newspaper food pages. Imogen lives on Camano Island outside Seattle, writing a monthly column for a Pacific Northwest magazine, and while she can hunt elk and dig for clams, she’s never tasted fresh garlic–exotic fare in the Northwest of the sixties. As the two women commune through their letters, they build a closeness that sustains them through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the unexpected in their own lives.
 
Food and a good life—they can’t be separated. It is a discovery the women share, not only with each other, but with the men in their lives. Because of her correspondence with Joan, Imogen’s decades-long marriage blossoms into something new and exciting, and in turn, Joan learns that true love does not always come in the form we expect it to. Into this beautiful, intimate world comes the ultimate test of Joan and Imogen’s friendship—a test that summons their unconditional trust in each other.

Book Discussion Guide

Maid, The

by Nita Prose

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by. Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter – she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection. But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black – but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late? A “Clue”-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different – and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

Book Discussion Guide

Marriage Act, The

by John Marrs

COMING SOON! In Britain, in the near future, the Sanctity of Marriage Act is implemented, punishing those who choose to remain single, and four couples discover how impossible relationships can be when the government uses every tool in its arsenal to ensure everyone will love, honor and obey.

Nurse’s Secret, The

by Amanda Skenandore

Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect.

Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

Other Princess, The

by Denny S. Bryce

COMING SOON! With a brilliant mind and a fierce will to survive, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, a kidnapped African princess, is rescued from enslavement at seven years old and presented to Queen Victoria as a “gift.” To the Queen, the girl is an exotic trophy to be trotted out for the entertainment of the royal court and to showcase Victoria’s magnanimity. Sarah charms most of the people she meets, even those who would cast her aside. Her keen intelligence and her aptitude for languages and musical composition helps Sarah navigate the Victorian era as an outsider given insider privileges.

But embedded in Sarah’s past is her destiny. Haunted by visions of destruction and decapitations, she desperately seeks a place, a home she will never run from, never fear, a refuge from nightmares and memories of death.

From West Africa to Windsor Castle to Sierra Leone, to St. James’s Palace, and the Lagos Colony, Sarah juggles the power and pitfalls of a royal upbringing as she battles racism and systematic oppression on her way to living a life worthy of a Yoruba princess.

Based on the real life of Queen Victoria’s Black goddaughter, Sarah Forbes Bonetta’s story is a sweeping saga of an African princess in Victorian England and West Africa, as she searches for a home, family, love, and identity.

Our Missing Hearts

by Celeste Ng

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
 
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.

Book Discussion Guide

Plot, The

by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written-let alone published-anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot. Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that-a story that absolutely needs to be told. In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says. As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

Reading List, The

by Sara Nisha Adams

Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in Wembley, in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading while he spends his evenings watching nature documentaries. Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, and a little bored with her slow job at the checkout desk, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list, one after the other. As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home. When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls, as fiction helps them escape their grief and everyday troubles and find joy again.

Book Discussion Guide

Remarkably Bright Creatures

by Shelby Van Pelt

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. 

Book Discussion Guide

Rose Code, The

by Kate Quinn

Joining the elite Bletchley Park codebreaking team during World War II, three women from very different walks of life uncover a spy’s dangerous agenda against a backdrop of the royal wedding of Elizabeth and Philip.

Book Discussion Guide

Secret Book of Flora Lea, The

by Patti Callahan Henry

NEW! When she receives a rare book linked to the disappearance of her sister, Flora, in 1939, Hazel, believing this is a sign Flora is still alive after all these years, embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely reopening wounds from the past to find the truth.

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Solito

by Javier Zamora

A young poet reflects on his 3,000-mile journey from El Salvador to the United States when he was nine years old, during which he was faced with perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions during two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who became an unexpected family. 

Book Discussion Guide

Someone Else’s Shoes

by Jojo Moyes

NEW! Who are you when you are forced to walk in someone else’s shoes? Nisha Cantor and Sam Kemp are two very different women. Nisha, 45, lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband inexplicably cuts her off entirely. She doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in. That’s because Sam–47, middle-aged, struggling to keep herself and her family afloat–has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. Now Nisha’s got nothing. And Sam’s walking tall with shoes that catch eyes–and give her a career an unexpected boost. Except Nisha wants her life back–and she’ll start with her shoes…

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Spectacular, The

by Fiona Davis

NEW! New York City, 1956: Nineteen-year-old Marion Brooks knows she should be happy. Her college sweetheart is about to propose and sweep her off to the life everyone has always expected they’d have together: a quiet house in the suburbs, Marion staying home to raise their future children. But instead, Marion finds herself feeling trapped. So when she comes across an opportunity to audition for the famous Radio City Rockettes—the glamorous precision-dancing troupe—she jumps at the chance to exchange her predictable future for the dazzling life of a performer. 
 
Meanwhile, the city is reeling from a string of bombings orchestrated by a person the press has nicknamed the “Big Apple Bomber,” who has been terrorizing the citizens of New York for sixteen years by planting bombs in popular, crowded spaces. With the public in an uproar over the lack of any real leads after a years long manhunt, the police turn in desperation to Peter Griggs, a young doctor at a local mental hospital who espouses a radical new technique: psychological profiling. 

As both Marion and Peter find themselves unexpectedly pulled in to the police search for the bomber, Marion realizes that as much as she’s been training herself to blend in—performing in perfect unison with all the other identical Rockettes—if she hopes to catch the bomber, she’ll need to stand out and take a terrifying risk. In doing so, she may be forced to sacrifice everything she’s worked for, as well as the people she loves the most.

Tangled Vines

by John Glatt

COMING SOON! Among the lush, tree-lined waterways of South Carolina low country, the Murdaugh name means power. A century-old, multimillion-dollar law practice has catapulted the family into incredible wealth and local celebrity—but it was an unimaginable tragedy that would thrust them into the national spotlight. On June 7th, 2021, prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh discovered the bodies of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, on the grounds of their thousand-acre hunting lodge. The mystery deepened only months later when Alex himself was discovered shot in the head on a local roadside. But as authorities scrambled for clues and the community reeled from the loss and media attention, dark secrets about this Southern legal dynasty came to light. The Murdaughs, it turned out, were feared as much as they were loved. And they wouldn’t hesitate to wield their influence to protect one of their own…

Things Past Telling

by Sheila Williams

Born in West Africa in the mid-eighteenth century, Maryam Prescilla Grace—a.k.a “Momma Grace” will live a long, wondrous life marked by hardship, oppression, opportunity, and love. Though she will be “gifted” various names, her birth name is known to her alone. Over the course of 100-plus years, she survives capture, enslavement by several property owners, the Atlantic crossing when she is only eleven years of age, and a brief stint as a pirate’s ward, acting as both a spy and a translator. 

Maryam learns midwifery from a Caribbean-born wise woman, whose “craft” combines curated techniques and medicines from African, Indigenous, and European women. Those midwifery skills allow her to sometimes transcend the racial and class barriers of her enslavement, as she walks the razor’s edge trying to balance the lives and health of her own people with the cruel economic mandates of the slave holders, who view infants born in bondage not as flesh-and-blood children but as investment property. 

Throughout her triumphant and tumultuous life Maryam gains and loses her homeland, her family, her culture, her husband, her lovers, and her children. Yet as the decades pass, this tenacious woman never loses her sense of self.  

Book Discussion Guide

What Happened to the Bennetts

by Lisa Scottoline

Jason Bennett is a suburban dad who owns a court-reporting business, but one night, his life takes a horrific turn. He is driving his family home after his daughter’s field hockey game when a pickup truck begins tailgating them, on a dark stretch of road. Suddenly two men jump from the pickup and pull guns on Jason, demanding the car. A horrific flash of violence changes his life forever.
 
Later that awful night, Jason and his family receive a visit from the FBI. The agents tell them that the carjackers were members of a dangerous drug-trafficking organization—and now Jason and his family are in their crosshairs.
 
The agents advise the Bennetts to enter the witness protection program right away, and they have no choice but to agree. But WITSEC was designed to protect criminal informants, not law-abiding families. Taken from all they know, trapped in an unfamiliar life, the Bennetts begin to fall apart at the seams. Then Jason learns a shocking truth and realizes that he has to take matters into his own hands.
 

Book Discussion Guide

What Lies In the Woods

by Kate Alice Marshall

NEW! Twenty-two years ago, Naomi Shaw believed in magic. She and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent that summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder–the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes. And they were liars. For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods–no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.

Book Discussion Guide

What You Are Looking for is in the Library

by Michiko Aoyama

COMING SOON! What are you looking for? So asks Tokyo’s most enigmatic librarian. For Sayuri Komachi is able to sense exactly what each visitor to her library is searching for and provide just the book recommendation to help them find it. A restless retail assistant looks to gain new skills, a mother tries to overcome demotion at work after maternity leave, a conscientious accountant yearns to open an antique store, a recently retired salaryman searches for newfound purpose. In Komachi’s unique book recommendations they will find just what they need to achieve their dreams. What You Are Looking For Is in the Library is about the magic of libraries and the discovery of connection. This inspirational tale shows how, by listening to our hearts, seizing opportunity and reaching out, we too can fulfill our lifelong dreams.

Wishing Game, The

by Meg Shaffer

NEW! Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.

Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.

For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.

Book Discussion Guide

Wrong Place Wrong Time

by Gillian McAllister

Late October. After midnight. You’re waiting up for your eighteen-year-old son. He’s past curfew. As you watch from the window, he emerges, and you realize he isn’t alone: he’s walking toward a man, and he’s armed.

You can’t believe it when you see him do it: your funny, happy teenage son, he kills a stranger, right there on the street outside your house. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your son is now in custody, his future shattered.

That night you fall asleep in despair. All is lost. Until you wake . . . and it is yesterday. And then you wake again . . . and it is the day before yesterday.

Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. With another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lies an answer. The trigger for this crime—and you don’t have a choice but to find it . . .

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