Book Club Kits
The Salem Public Library Foundation, the Friends of Salem Public Library, the Oregon Center for the Book, and the Salem Public Library have teamed up to develop a group of Book Club Kits that are now available to area book clubs. Each kit offers 10 copies of a single book, author information, and suggested discussion questions. Some kits also include a large print copy and/or the audiobook on CD. Kits check out for two months at a time.
For more information about the book kits, contact the Salem Public Library Reference Desk in person, by phone at 503-588-6052 or by email at email@example.com
On the verge of committing an act of violence, a troubled, orphaned Indian teenager finds himself hurtled through time and into various bodies, before returning to himself, forever altered by his experiences.
|Trans-Sister Radio||Bohjalian, Chris|
With her daughter about to leave for college, forty something Alison Banks enrolls in a local college course to take her mind off things and finds herself falling for her instructor, Dana, a man who later confides that he wants to have a sex-change operation.
|The Tortilla Curtain||Boyle, T.C.|
While leading their lives in their gated hilltop community in Los Angeles, Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher accidentally meet Mexican undocumented immigrants Candido and America Rincon, and their encounter brings them together in a relationship of error and misunderstanding.
Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family's 1890s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world.
|My Antonia||Cather, Willa|
A compassionate and gripping reflection on life and community in America through the life story of Antonia Shimerda, a Bohemian immigrant woman living on the plains of Nebraska in the 1880s.
|Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay||Chabon, Michael |
In 1939 New York City, Joe Kavalier, a refugee from Hitler's Prague, joins forces with his Brooklyn-born cousin, Sammy Clay, to create comic-book superheroes inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams.
|Ricochet River||Cody, Robin|
Three teenagers growing up in Calamus, Oregon, in the 1960s--native American newcomer Jessie, star athlete Wade, and Wade's girlfriend, Lorna--struggle to escape the physical and mental confines of their small town.
|Pope Joan||Cross, Donna|
Set against the turbulent events of the Dark Ages, a fictional account of the controversial figure of historical record profiles a spirited woman who, disguised as a man, rose to rule Christianity as the only woman ever to become pope.
|The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao||Diaz, Junot|
Living with an old-world mother and rebellious sister, an urban New Jersey misfit dreams of becoming the next J. R. R. Tolkien and believes that a long-standing family curse is thwarting his efforts to find love and happiness.
|Dancing at the Rascal Fair||Doig, Ivan|
In 1889, Angus McCaskill travels from Scotland to America where he and Anna Ramsey engage in a fateful contest of the heart as they forge new lives in the beautiful Two Medicine country of Montana.
|His Mother’s Son||Emmons, Cai (Oregon author)|
Her successful life as an emergency-room doctor unraveling as her young son's behavior becomes increasingly problematic, Jana Thomas remembers the past that she put out of her mind years earlier involving her violent younger brother and the parental role she assumed for his care.
|Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co||Escandon, Maria Amparo|
A model prisoner at the Mexicali Penal Institution for Women, Libertad Gonzalez leads the weekly Library Club, reading aloud from whatever books she can find and in the process revealing the story of her father.
Calliope's friendship with a classmate and her sense of identity are compromised by the adolescent discovery that she is a hermaphrodite, a situation with roots in her Grandparents' desperate struggle for survival in the 1920s.
|Then We Came to the End||Ferris, Joshua|
The remaining employees at an office affected by a business downturn spend their time enjoying secret romances, elaborate pranks, and frequent coffee breaks, while trying to make sense of their only remaining "work," a mysterious pro-bono ad campaign.
|A Sudden Country||Fisher, Karen|
His life turned upside down by the deaths of his children from smallpox and desertion of his Nez Percé wife, Hudson's Bay Company trader James MacLaren joins a group of settlers headed west to Oregon in 1847 and encounters Lucy Mitchell, the wife of his employer, a woman who helps him confront his past, present, and future.
|The Great Gatsby||Fitzgerald, F. Scott|
Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything, but beneath his young, handsome, rich exterior, lies a secret longing to be fulfilled. Considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest novel, The Great Gatsby is a riveting commentary on American Society in the 1920s.
|The Local News||Gershow, Miriam|
Still haunted by the disappearance of her popular older brother when she was sixteen, Lydia Pasternak grows up dealing with her frantic parents and assisting the private investigator hired by her family to search for clues to his fate.
|Three Junes||Glass, Julia|
Three Junes reveals the interconnected lives, loves, and relationships of different generations of the McLeod family over the course of three crucial summers.
|The Hearts of Horses||Gloss, Molly|
In the winter of 1917, with many of his regular hands off fighting in World War I, George Bliss hires young Martha Lessen to help gentle wild horses, and as she demonstrates her unique talent for dealing with damaged horses, she finds a sense of family and belonging.
|The Jump-Off Creek||Gloss, Molly (Oregon author)|
A dramatic novel detailing the trials and tribulations of a widowed homesteader against the backdrop of Oregon’s unforgiving and forbidding Blue Mountains.
|A Reliable Wife||Goolrick, Robert|
Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman with a troubled past who lives in a remote nineteenth-century Wisconsin town, has advertised for a reliable wife; and his ad is answered by Catherine Land, a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets.
|Water For Elephants||Gruen, Sara|
Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression, and his friendship with Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, and Rosie, the elephant, who gave them hope.
From the unsettled lives of a small-town teacher struggling to raise two boys alone in the face of their mother's retreat from life, a pregnant teenage girl with nowhere to go, and two elderly bachelor farmers emerges a new vision of life and family as their diverse destinies intertwine.
(It is recommended that both Plainsong and Eventide be read sequentially.) A novel of small-town life in the high plains region around Holt, Colorado, follows the challenges, emotional upheaval, tragedies, and intertwined destinies of the local inhabitants as they cope with the changes they encounter.
|Loving Frank||Horan, Nancy|
Fact and fiction blend in a historical novel that chronicles the relationship between seminal architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, from their meeting, when they were each married to another, to the clandestine affair that shocked Chicago society.
|The Kite Runner||Hosseini, Khaled|
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
|A Prayer for Owen Meany||Irving, John|
Owen Meany hits a foul ball while playing baseball in the summer of 1953 that kills his best friend's mother, an accident that Owen is sure is the result of divine intervention.
|Never Let Me Go||Ishiguro, Kazuo|
A reunion with two childhood friends draws Kathy and her companions on a nostalgic odyssey into their lives at Hailsham, an isolated private school in the English countryside, and a confrontation with the truth about their childhoods.
|Broken for You||Kallos, Stephanie|
Margaret Hughes, a septuagenarian living in Seattle, takes in a series of boarders who help her cope with her illness, and whose lives become unexpectedly connected to each other.
|Unaccustomed Earth||Lahiri, Jhumpa|
Exploring the secrets and complexities lying at the heart of family life and relationships, a collection of eight stories includes the title work, about a young mother in a new city whose father tends her garden while hiding a secret love affair.
|The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo||Larsson, Steig|
Forty years after the disappearance of Harriet Vanger from the secluded island owned and inhabited by her powerful family, her uncle, convinced that she had been murdered by someone from her own deeply dysfunctional clan, hires journalist Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, an unconventional young hacker, to investigate.
|Lathe of Heaven||LeGuin, Ursula|
George Orr discovers that his dreams possess the remarkable ability to change the world, and when he falls into the hands of a power-mad psychiatrist, he counters by dreaming up a perfect world that can overcome his nightmares, in a new edition of the classic science fiction novel.
|Shutter Island||Lehane, Dennis|
U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner, Chuck Aule, come to Shutter Island's Ashecliffe Hospital in search of an escaped mental patient, but uncover true wickedness as Ashecliffe's mysterious patient treatments propel them to the brink of insanity.
|The Road (2007 Pulitzer Prize)||McCarthy, Cormac|
In a novel set in an indefinite, futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, a father and his young son make their way through the ruins of a devastated American landscape, struggling to survive and preserve the last remnants of their own humanity.
|Last Night at the Lobster||O’Nan, Stewart|
Managing a failed seafood restaurant in a run-down New England mall just before Christmas, Manny DeLeon coordinates a challenging final shift of mutinous staff members, an effort that is complicated by his love for a waitress, a pregnant girlfriend, and an elusive holiday gift.
|When the Emperor Was Divine||Otsuka, Julie|
A story told from five different points of view, chronicles the experiences of Japanese Americans caught up in the nightmare of the World War II internment camps.
|My Name is Asher Lev||Potok, Chaim|
The novelist records the anguish and triumps of a young painter as he emerges into the great world of art and rejects all else
|The Crying Tree||Rakha, Naseem|
When her 15-year-old son is killed shortly after their family relocates to Oregon, the grieving mother secretly exchanges letters with the killer in a desperate hope to forgive him and move on, a correspondence that sparks an explosive confrontation when it is discovered by her husband years later.
|My Abandonment||Rock, Peter|
Living with her father in a nature preserve in Portland, Oregon, thirteen-year-old Caroline only merges with the civilized world once a week when they go into the city, but an encounter with a backcountry jogger derails their entire existence.
|Shadow of the Wind||Ruiz, Carlos Zafón|
A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author's works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written.
|Blindness||Saramago, Jose |
In a provocative parable of loss, disorientation, and weakness, a city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" whose victims are confined to a vacant mental hospital, while a single eyewitness to the nightmare guides seven oddly assorted strangers through the barren urban landscape.
|The 13th Tale||Satterfield, Diane|
When her health begins failing, the mysterious author Vida Winter decides to let Margaret Lea, a biographer, write the truth about her life, but Margaret needs to verify the facts since Vida has a history of telling outlandish tales.
|The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society||Shaffer, Mary Ann|
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.
Tells the tragic tale of Victor Frankenstein and the tortured creation he rejects is a classic fable about the pursuit of knowledge, the nature of beauty and the monstrosity inherent to man.
|When She Flew||Shortridge, Jenny|
Police officer Jessica Villareal recognizes a chance to make a difference in someone's life, as well as her own, when faced with having to separate a father and daughter living off the radar in the Oregon woods.
|East of Eden||Steinbeck, John|
The biblical account of Cain and Abel is echoed in the history of two generations of the Trask family in California.
|The Myth of You and Me||Stewart, Leah|
A letter from a childhood friend to whom she has not spoken in ten years and an odd legacy from her boss, elderly historian Oliver Doucet, sends Cameron on a mission to track down her old friend Sonia and deliver a mysterious package to her.
|Digging to America||Tyler, Anne|
A chance airport encounter between two families--the Donaldsons, and the Iranian-born Yazdans--as both couples await the arrival of an adopted daughter from Korea prompts an examination about what it means to be an American.
|Into the Beautiful North||Urrea, Luis Alberto|
Working in a Mexican taco shop while dreaming of the father who left their family to work in the United States, nineteen-year-old Nayeli struggles with a realization that most of the men in her village have left to pursue work in the north.
|Lean on Pete||Vlautin, Willie|
Left homeless by the death of his father, fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson sets off with a racehorse, Lean on Pete, on a perilous treck from Portland, Oregon to Wyoming to find a distant aunt, hoping to regain stability in his life.
|The Book Thief||Zusak, Markus|
Living with a foster family in Germany during World War II, a young girl struggles to survive her day-to-day trials through stealing anything she can get her hands on, but when she discovers the beauty of literature, she realizes that she has been blessed with a gift that must be shared with others, including the Jewish man hiding in the basement.
|Gather Together in My Name||Angelou, Maya|
In this second volume of her poignant autobiographical series, Maya Angelou powerfully captures the struggles and triumphs of her passionate life with dignity, wisdom, humor, and humanity.
|The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride||Brown, Daniel|
A chronicle of the mid-nineteenth-century wagon train tragedy draws on the perspectives of one of its survivors, Sarah Graves, recounting how she and her new husband joined the Donner party on their California-bound journey and encountered violent perils.
|The Worst Hard Time||Egan, Timothy|
Presents an oral history of the dust storms that devastated the Great Plains during the Depression, following several families and their communities in their struggle to persevere despite the devastation.
|Nickel and Dimed||Ehrenreich, Barbara|
In an attempt to understand the lives of Americans earning near-minimum wages, Ehrenreich works as a waitress in Florida, a cleaning woman in Maine, and a sales clerk in Minnesota.
|Don't let's go to the dogs tonight : an African childhood||Fuller, Alexandra|
An intimate memoir of growing up in Africa during the Rhodesian civil war of 1971 to 1979 describes her life on farms in southern Rhodesia, Milawi, and Zambia, detailing her hardscrabble existence with an alcoholic mother, frequently absent father, and three lost siblings, as well as her fierce love for Africa.
|Too Close to the Falls||Gildiner, Catherine|
A memoir about life in small-town America takes readers to Lewiston, New York--a small village near Niagara Falls--in the 1950s as she describes her various adventures working in her father's pharmacy.
|The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon||Grann, David|
Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author's own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett's final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle.
|The year of living biblically : one man's humble quest to follow the Bible as literally as possible||Jacobs, A. J.|
The author of Know It All documents his improbable adventure of living one year in literal compliance with biblical rules, a quest during which he adhered to famous and lesser-known scriptural laws, from being fruitful and multiplying to growing a beard and avoiding mixed-fiber clothing.
|Under the banner of heaven : a story of violent faith||Krakauer, Jon|
Traces the events that surrounded the 1984 murder of a woman and her child by fundamentalist Mormons Ron and Dan Lafferty, exploring the belief systems and traditions that mark the faith's most extreme factions.
|Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers||Roach, Mary |
A look inside the world of forensics examines the use of human cadavers in a wide range of endeavors, including research into new surgical procedures, space exploration, and a Tennessee human decay research facility.
|The bookseller of Kabul||Seierstad, Asne|
Capturing the harsh realities of life in modern-day Afghanistan and plight of Afghan women, the Norwegian journalist provides a portrait of a committed Muslim man, a bookseller, and his family living in post-Taliban Kabul, Afghanistan.
|Manhunt: The Twelve-Day Chase of Lincoln’s Killer||Swanson, James |
Recounts the escape of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin, and follows the intensive search for him from the streets of Washington, D.C., through the swamps of Maryland, into the forests of Virginia.
|The glass castle : a memoir||Walls, Jeanette|
The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
|Geography of Bliss||Weiner, Eric|
Draws on the author's experiences as a foreign correspondent and reporter to evaluate more than three dozen countries for their happiness potential, in a lighthearted survey that includes profiles of such locales as the American shores, glacial Iceland, and the Bhutan jungles.
|Falling Leaves: the True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter||Yen Mah, Adeline|
The daughter of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman describes her very difficult childhood and the psychological abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepmother