Book Group Kits

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Each kit offers 10 copies of the book, author information, and suggested discussion questions. You can keep the kits for two months at a time. 

​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 the kits for area book clubs.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The lives of two sisters—Nettie, a missionary in Africa, and Celie, a southern woman married to a man she hates—are revealed in a series of letters exchanged over thirty years.

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. In 1982, Evelyn's daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband's drug addiction. Jackie's son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn't survive the storm. For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's critically acclaimed debut is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship, only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband's sentence is suddenly overturned.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

In a rural East Texas town of fewer than 200 people, the body of an African American lawyer from Chicago is found in a bayou, followed several days later by that of a local white woman. What's going on? African American Texas Ranger Darren Mathews hopes to find out, which means talking to relatives of the deceased, including the woman's white supremacist husband—and Mathews soon discovers things are more complex than they seem.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism, and faith, independence and love.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Explores the fallout of a favorite daughter's shattering death on a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The lives of three women converge at the Ravensbrèuck concentration camp as one resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, one becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and one takes a German government medical position.

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar

Two girls living 800 years apart—a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker—place today's headlines in the sweep of history, where the pain of exile and the triumph of courage echo again and again.

The Other Side of Everything by Lauren Doyle Owens

A curmudgeonly widower emerges from a hermit-like existence in the wake of a neighborhood murder that implicates an artistic cancer survivor who creates suspiciously realistic paintings of the crime scene in her efforts to cope, a situation that is further complicated by an abandoned teen who finds herself drawn to the chief suspect.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

An impassioned novel of activism and natural-world power that is comprised of interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school's amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After staying with their aunt in Nsukka, Nigeria, Kambili and her brother return home changed by their newfound freedom. At home, they deal with their father, a religious fanatic, who has high expectations of them and his wife. And eventually Kambili tries to keep their family together after their mother commits a desperate act.

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

Living alone in her Stockholm apartment, a 96-year-old woman reminisces through the pages of a long-kept address book before starting to write down stories from her past, unlocking family secrets in unexpectedly beneficial ways.

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

A family reshapes their ideas about family, love and loyalty when youngest son Claude reveals increasingly determined preferences for girls' clothing and accessories and refuses to stay silent.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A young girl growing up in an Alabama town in the 1930s learns of injustice and violence when her father, a widowed lawyer, defends a black man falsely accused of rape.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Unexpectedly chosen to be a family manservant, an 11-year-old Barbados sugar-plantation slave is initiated into a world of technology and dignity before a devastating betrayal propels him throughout the world in search of his true self.

Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison

Facing starvation and worse when she is orphaned on her family's 1885 homestead, a 17-year-old sharpshooter cuts off her hair and disguises herself as a boy to journey across the mountains in search of her outlaw brother.

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in The West by Nate Blakeslee

The story of O-Six, a female wolf in Yellowstone National Park who became something of a social media star, and the challenges her, her pups, and her pack faced from hunters, cattle ranchers, and other Yellowstone wolves. It is also a larger story of the clash in the American West between those who want to restore the wolf population of Yellowstone, and those who oppose it.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men -- bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. National Book Award Winner.

The Common Good by Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich makes the case for a generous, inclusive understanding of the American project, centering on the moral obligations of citizenship. Rooting his argument in everyday reality and common sense, Reich demonstrates the existence of a common good, and argues that it is this that defines a society or a nation.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and The Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Kings of the Yukon: One Summer Paddling Across the Far North by Adam Weymouth

In this riveting examination of one of the last wild places on earth, Adam Weymouth canoes from Canada's Yukon Territory, through Alaska, to the Bering Sea. The result is a book that shows how even the most remote wilderness is affected by the same forces reshaping the rest of the planet.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

Traces the story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American in San Francisco, and his dream of resurrecting the ancient art of cultivating, roasting, and importing Yemeni coffee, an endeavor that is challenged by the brutal realities of Yemen's 2015 civil war.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

From the North Dakota beet fields to California's National Forest campgrounds to Amazon's Texas CamperForce program, employers have discovered a new low-cost labor pool: transient older Americans. With Social security coming up short, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands, forming a growing community of migrant laborers dubbed "workampers." In a secondhand vehicle christened "Van Halen," Bruder hits the road to tell an eye-opening tale of the American economy's dark underbelly.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy--from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans--has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair--and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend? Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

Thick and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

At its peak, the Dust Bowl covered close to one hundred million acres, and more than a quarter of a million Americans were forced to flee their ruined homes. Egan follows a diverse cast of individuals and families across the affected region, weaving together the eyewitness accounts of survivors now in their eighties and nineties.

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