Favorite Quotes

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing."


— Benjamin Franklin

Reader's Link - Book Kits (Adult)


View list in title order        Printable PDF Version

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
Achebe's first novel chronicles the life of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo (Ibo) community, from the events leading up to his banishment from the community for accidentally killing a clansman, through the seven years of his exile, to his return. The novel addresses the problem of the intrusion in the 1890s of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society. It describes the simultaneous disintegration of its protagonist Okonkwo and of his village. The novel was praised for its intelligent and realistic treatment of tribal beliefs and of psychological disintegration coincident with social unraveling.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker
by Kate Alcott
A spirited young maid on board the Titanic captures the attentions of two men including a kindhearted sailor and an enigmatic Chicago millionaire and barely escapes with her life before witnessing media scorn targeting her famous designer mistress.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of Fortune
by Isabel Allende
An orphan raised in Valparaiso, Chile, by a Victorian spinster and her rigid brother, Eliza Sommers follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 and meets a Chinese herbalist, who becomes her soul mate, on the journey.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Portrait in Sepia

Portrait in Sepia
by Isabel Allende
Lacking all memory of the first five years of her life because of a brutal trauma, Aurora del Valle is raised by her regal grandmother Paulina and eventually seeks to confront the mystery of her past.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Undaunted Courage

Undaunted Courage
by Stephen Ambrose
A chronicle of the two-and-a-half year journey of Lewis and Clark covers their incredible hardships, first encounters with Native Americans, the contributions of Sacajawea, and Lewis' post-journey depression.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Behind the Scenes at the Museum

Behind the Scenes at the Museum
by Kate Atkinson
A family saga chronicles a century of life as four generations of Yorkshire women move through two World Wars, coronations, secrets, heartbreak, and happiness, all seen through the eyes of an inimitable narrator named Ruby Lennox.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin
by Margaret Atwood
Iris describes the 1945 death of her sister, who drives her car off a bridge, followed, two years later, by the death of her husband, in a story that features a novel-within-a-novel about two unnamed lovers who meet in a dark backstreet room.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Alias Grace

Alias Grace
by Margaret Atwood
Based on a sensational trial that made headlines throughout the world, a nineteenth-century housemaid endures life imprisonment for the murders of her employer and mistress, murders she may not have committed, while a doctor tries to help her recover her memories of the past.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood
A novel of the future explores a world that has been devastated by ecological and scientific disasters.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Elizabeth Bennett is young, clever and attractive, but her mother is a nightmare and she and her four sisters are in dire need of financial security and escape in the shape of husbands. The arrival of nice Mr. Bingley and arrogant Mr. Darcy in the neighborhood turns all their lives upside down.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Sea

The Sea
by John Banville
Following the death of his wife, Max Morden retreats to the seaside town of his childhood summers, where his own life becomes inextricably entwined with the members of the vacationing Grace family.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes
Follows a middle-aged man as he reflects on a past he thought was behind him, until he is presented with a legacy that forces him to reconsider different decisions, and to revise his place in the world.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


What We Keep

What We Keep
by Elizabeth Berg
A touching, compassionate novel of childhood and family by the author of Joy School follows one woman on a cross-country journey to see her long-estranged mother, which sparks memories of the summer she turned twelve.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Sandcastle Girls

The Sandcastle Girls
by Chris Bohjalian
A historical love story inspired by the author's Armenian heritage finds early 20th-century nurse Elizabeth Endicott arriving in Syria to help deliver food and medical aid to genocide refugees, a volunteer service during which she exchanges letters with an Armenian engineer and widower.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Tortilla Curtain

Tortilla Curtain
by T.C. Boyle
The lives of two very different couples--wealthy Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher, and Candido and America Rincon, a pair of Mexican illegals--suddenly collide, in a story that unfolds from the shifting viewpoints of the various characters.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
by Alan Bradley
Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is propelled into a mystery when a man is murdered on the grounds of her family's decaying English mansion and Flavia's father becomes the main suspect.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Moloka'i

Moloka'i
by Alan Brennert
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


March

March
by Geraldine Brooks
In a story inspired by the father character in Little Women and drawn from the journals and letters of Louisa May Alcott's father Bronson, a man leaves behind his family to serve in the Civil War and finds his marriage and beliefs profoundly challenged by his experiences
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson
Bryson shares his breath-taking adventures and the fascinating history of the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, in this wry account of his arduous trek past the Trail's natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Cold Sassy Tree

Cold Sassy Tree
by Olive Ann Burns
Modern times come to a conservative Southern town in 1906 when the proprietor of the general store elopes with a woman half his age, and worse yet, a Yankee.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Possession

Possession
by A.S. Byatt
Roland Michell and Maud Bailey, two rather unfulfilled young literary scholars, unexpectedly become figures of romance as they discover a surprising link between the two poets on whom they are authorities. Byatt deftly plays with literary genres--Romantic quest, campus satire, detective story, myth, fairy tale--as Maud and Roland become deeply involved in the unfolding story of a secret relationship between the Victorian poets Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Let's Take the Long Way Home

Let's Take the Long Way Home
by Gail Caldwell
Traces the author's close friendship with the late fellow writer Caroline Knapp, describing their shared experiences with sobriety, a love of dogs, and Caroline's battle with cancer.
Approximate number of books in kit: 6


The Emperor of Ocean Park

The Emperor of Ocean Park
by Stephen L. Carter
After the death of his father, the accomplished, flamboyant, and controversial Judge Oliver Garland, his son Talcott, a law professor, must unravel the truth about his father's life, a quest that brings him face to face with old scandals, family secrets, and justice gone wrong.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Michael Chabon
In a world in which Alaska, rather than Israel, has become the homeland for the Jews following World War II, Detective Meyer Landsman and his half-Tlingit partner Berko investigate the death of a heroin-addled chess prodigy.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


Girl with a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier
A poor seventeenth-century servant girl knows her place in the household of the painter Johannes Vermeer, but when he begins to paint her, nasty whispers and rumors circulate throughout the town.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Virgin Blue

The Virgin Blue
by Tracy Chevalier
A dark, mysterious tale that weaves the stories of two women in two different centuries into an increasingly complex web-twentieth-century Ella, who dreams in blue when she moves to southwestern France, and sixteenth-century Isabelle, Ella's ancestor, who had been persecuted as a suspected witch.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


My Life in France

My Life in France
by Julia Child
A memoir begun just months before Child's death describes the legendary food expert's years in Paris, Marseille, and Provence and her journey from a young woman from Pasadena who cannot cook or speak any French to the publication of her legendary Mastering cookbooks and her winning the hearts of America as "The French Chef."
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Shadow Effect

The Shadow Effect
by Deepak Chopra
Three popular spiritual teachers examine the dark side of human nature--the emotions and traits that people fear and instinctively hide--and discusses how to embrace the power of the dark side as part of a journey to wholeness.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Caramelo

Caramelo
by Sandra Cisneros
During her family's annual car trip from Chicago to Mexico City, Lala Reyes listens to stories about her family, including her grandmother, the descendant of a renowned dynasty of shawl makers, whose magnificent striped shawl has come into Lala's possession.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Little Bee

Little Bee
by Chris Cleave
A tale of a precarious friendship between an illegal Nigerian refugee and a recent widow from suburban London, a story told from the alternating and disparate perspectives of both women.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Alchemist

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho
An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. What starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a meditation on the treasures found within.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Disgrace

Disgrace
by J.M. Coetzee
Written with austere clarity, Disgrace explores the downfall of one man and dramatizes with unforgettable, almost unbearable vividness the plight of South Africa-a country caught in the chaotic aftermath of the overthrow of Apartheid.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Orchardist

The Orchardist
by Amanda Coplin
When two feral girls--one of them very pregnant--appear on his homestead, solitary orchardist Talmadge, who carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century, vows to save and protect them.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Pope Joan

Pope Joan
by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Rebelling against medieval strictures forbidding the education of women, young Joan assumes the identity of her murdered brother and is initiated into the monastery of Fulda, where she distinguishes herself as a great Christian scholar before relocating to Rome and becoming a powerful force in religious politics.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Crow Lake

Crow Lake
by Mary Dawson
In the rural farm country of northern Ontario, the lives of members of two families--the farming Pye family and the Morrisons, zoologist Kate Morrison and her three brothers--are brought together and torn apart by misunderstanding, resentment, family love, and tragedy.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key
by Tatiana de Rosnay
On the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the French police in Paris, Julia is asked to write an article on this dark episode and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Good Harbor

Good Harbor
by Anita Diamant
Follows the growing friendship between fifty-nine-year-old Kathleen, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and the slightly younger Joyce, increasingly distant from her teenage daughter and struggling to write a second novel.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Red Tent

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant
The story of Dinah, a tragic character from the Bible whose great love, a prince, is killed by her brother, leaving her alone and pregnant. The novel traces her life from childhood to death, in the process examining sexual and religious practices of the day, and what it meant to be a woman.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz
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 longstanding family curse is thwarting his efforts to find love and happiness.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion
An autobiographical portrait of marriage and motherhood by the acclaimed author details the critical illness of her daughter, Quintana Roo, followed by the fatal coronary of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and her daughter's second bout with a life-threatening ailment, and her struggle to come to terms with life and death, illness, sanity, personal upheaval, and grief.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Discovering the symbolic meanings of flowers while languishing in the foster-care system, eighteen-year-old Victoria is hired by a florist when her talent for helping others is discovered, a situation that leads her to confront a painful secret from her past.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Mistress of Spices

The Mistress of Spices
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Tilo, an Indian clairvoyant, becomes queen of the pirates who kidnapped her for her powers, and she gains immortality and the skills of a mistress of spices, which she uses to help mortals before falling in love with Raven.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


A Northern Light

A Northern Light
by Jennifer Donnelly
In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Justine

Justine
by Lawrence Durrell
The Egyptian city of Alexandria once boasted the world's greatest library, home to scholars dedicated solely to the pursuit of knowledge. But on the eve of World War II, the obsessed characters in this mesmerizing novel find that their pursuits lead only to bedrooms in which each seeks to know-and possess-the other.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
by Heidi W. Durrow
After a family tragedy orphans her, Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., moves into her grandmother's mostly black community in the 1980s, where she must swallow her grief and confront her identity as a biracial woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers
A moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. This is an account that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive, as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed is a modern classic that deftly portrays the plight of America's working-class poor. Author Barbara Ehrenreich decides to see if she can scratch out a comfortable living in blue-collar America. What she discovers is a culture of desperation, where workers often take multiple low-paying jobs just to keep a roof overhead.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Garden of Evening Mists

The Garden of Evening Mists
by Tan Twan Eng
Seeking solace in the Malaysian plantations of her childhood after grueling World War II experiences, criminal prosecutor Yun Ling Teoh discovers a Japanese garden and its enigmatic tender, an exiled Japanese royal gardener who reluctantly accepts her as an apprentice. By the author of The Gift of Rain.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River
by Leif Enger
Set in 1950s rural Minnesota, Enger weaves spirituality into this coming-of-age quest novel. The family's search for one of it's sons is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, a love story, and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Love Medicine

Love Medicine
by Louise Erdrich
The lives and destinies of the Kashpaw and the Lamartine families intertwine on and around a North Dakota Indian reservation from 1934 to 1984, in a tale of survival, tenacity, tradition, injustice, and love.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Middlesex

Middlesex
by Jeffrey Eugenides
A young girl discovers she's actually a hermaphrodite in her teen years. This is a story of her family's history beginning with their escape from Greece as well as her own experiences growing up in Detroit in the 1960's.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down

The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down
by Anne Fadiman
A tragic tale of cultural differences chronicles the fight over the proper care of an epilectic Hmong child between a California medical center and her tradition-minded Laotian refugee family.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd
by Jim Fergus
A vivid portrait of the American West follows May Dodd as she leaves the East Coast asylum to which she had been committed by her high-society family, heads west, and, with the help of a government program, ends up marrying a chief of the Cheyenne nation.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
by Fannie Flagg
Cleo Threadgood, 86, shares a lifetime of memories of Whistle Stop, Alabama, where the social scene centered on its one cafe with Evelyn Couch, a younger woman who is looking for meaning in her life.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Everything is Illuminated

Everything is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Follows a young writer as he travels to the farmlands of Eastern Europe, where he embarks on a quest to find Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, and, guided by his young Ukrainian translator, he discovers an unexpected past that will resonate far into the future.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett
Set in twelfth-century England, this epic of kings and peasants juxtaposes the building of a magnificent church with the violence and treachery that often characterized the Middle Ages.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford
When artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II are uncovered in Seattle, Henry Lee embarks on a quest that leads to memories of growing up Chinese in a city rife with anti-Japanese sentiment.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Corrections

The Corrections
by Jonathan Franzen
What appears as a typical Midwestern family is anything but, as preparations are made for an ideal family holiday. Alfred, the father is losing his fight to control Parkinson's disease and dementia. His wife, Enid is no longer in control of her household and feels her choices slipping away. Their three grown children are struggling with their own lives. But for this Christmas, Enid is determined to bring them together for the perfect family holiday.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain
by Charles Frazier
Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, walks away from the ravages of the Civil War back home to Ada, his prewar sweetheart. Inman's odyssey through the devastated landscape of the soon-to-be-defeated South interweaves with Ada's struggle to revive her father's farm.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


A Virtuous Woman

A Virtuous Woman
by Kaye Gibbons
She was the 20 year-old daughter of Carolina gentry. He was a 40 year-old skinny tenant farmer. They didn't fall in love so much as they simply found each other and held on for dear life.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Traces the author's decision to travel the world for a year after suffering a midlife crisis and divorce, a journey that took her to three places in her quest to explore her own nature and learn the art of spiritual balance.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Blink

Blink
by Malcolm Gladwell
Utilizing case studies as diverse as speed dating, pop music, and the shooting of Amadou Diallo, Gladwell reveals that what we think of as decisions made in the blink of an eye are much more complicated than assumed. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, he shows how the difference between good decision-making and bad has nothing to do with how much information we can process quickly, but on the few particular details on which we focus.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell
By exposing the importance of the "tipping point" in human affairs--that moment when a trend, idea, or social behavior crosses the threshold into acceptability--the author sheds important light on the forces that drive group dynamics and mass culture.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Three Junes

The Three Junes
by Julia Glass
Reveals the interconnected lives, loves, and relationships of different generations of the McLeod family over the course of three crucial summers.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Evensong

Evensong
by Gail Godwin
Narrates the life of a young female Episcopal priest in High Balsam, a small, economically distressed Smoky Mountain town, which is shaken up by the arrival of three strangers
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Kaaterskill Falls

Kaaterskill Falls
by Allegra Goodman
The story of a devout Orthodox Jewish woman, a mother of five spending the summer in a tiny town in upstate New York, who feels the need for a project of her own . . . a secular project, outside her family and her cloistered community.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Lake of Dead Languages

The Lake of Dead Languages
by Carol Goodman
Returning to the Heart Lake School for Girls as a Latin teacher to start a new life with her daughter, Jane is haunted by past tragedy and terrifying memories when she begins receiving menacing messages.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Cookbook Collector

The Cookbook Collector
by Allegra Goodman
While executive Emily questions her choices about her career and a long-distance relationship with a successful man, her environmental activist sister, Jessamine, struggles with her own doubts about her beliefs and love affair.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Reliable Wife

Reliable Wife
by Robert Goolrick
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Mrs. Kimble

Mrs. Kimble
by Jennifer Haigh
Follows twenty-five years in the life of Ken Kimble as seen through the eyes of his three wives, from Birdie, who struggles with his abandonment; to heiress Joan, who is recovering from a personal loss; to Dinah, who suffers from an unhappy past.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Chocolat

Chocolat
by Joanne Harris
When the beautiful and mysterious Vianne moves to Lansquenet and opens a chocolate shop across from the church, the inhabitants of the tiny village find themselves torn between the solemn law of religion and the joyful rewards of Vianne's confections.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Plainsong

Plainsong
by Kent Haruf
An unlikely extended family is formed when a high school teacher helps a pregnant student make a home with two elderly bachelor ranchers.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Stones from the River

Stones from the River
by Ursula Hegi
Spanning both World Wars, this novel is narrated by dwarf Trudi Montag, the town gossip, historian and librarian, who chronicles the lives of the ordinary residents inhabiting small rural town in Germany and the growing impact of the Nazi regime on their lives.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Into The Forest

Into The Forest
by Jean Hegland
A delicately wrought modern fable about values, both of individual and of society, tells the moving story of two sisters struggling to survive while too much technology and information overwhelms the world around them.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Catch-22

Catch-22
by Joseph Heller
Presents the contemporary classic depicting the struggles of a United States airman attempting to survive the lunacy and depravity of a World War II airbase.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers
by Alice Hoffman
A tale inspired by the massacre of hundreds of Jewish people at Masada presents the stories of a hated daughter, a baker's wife, a girl disguised as a warrior, and a medicine woman who keep doves and secrets while Roman soldiers draw near.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Loving Frank

Loving Frank
by Nancy Horan
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


How to Be Good

How to Be Good
by Nick Hornby
Katie, a liberal, urban mother and doctor from North London, finds her life turned upside down when her husband, David, undergoes an outrageous spiritual transformation, in a hilarious novel about marriage, parenthood, religion, and morality.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul during the final days of the monarchy. When Amir is forced to flee with his prominent and wealthy father for a new life in California, he leaves behind Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Amir cannot, however, leave the memory of Hassan behind him.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Farewell to Manzanar

Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
The American-born author describes her family's experience and impressions when they were forced to relocate in a camp for the Japanese in Owens Valley, California, during World War II.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neal Hurston
Meet the unforgettable Janie Crawford, an articulate black woman in the 1930s. This story traces Janie's quest for identity, through three marriages, on a journey to her roots.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


When We Were Orphans

When We Were Orphans
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Christopher Banks, an English boy born in early 20th century Shanghai, is orphaned at age nine when both his parents disappear under suspicious circumstances. He grows up to become a renowned detective, and more than 20 years later, returns to Shanghai to solve the mystery of the disappearance.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Snow Child

The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey
A childless couple working a farm in the brutal landscape of 1920 Alaska discover a little girl living in the wilderness, with a red fox as a companion, and begin to love the strange, almost-supernatural child as their own.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley
by P. D. James
A rare meeting of literary genius: P. D. James, long among the most admired mystery writers of our time, draws the characters of Jane Austen's beloved novel Pride and Prejudice into a tale of murder and emotional mayhem.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
by Rhoda Janzen
A poet describes how, after her husband left her for a relationship with a man and she subsequently was seriously injured in a car crash, she returned home to her close-knit Mennonite family and came to terms with her failed marriage and her choices in life.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


Ahab's Wife

Ahab's Wife
by Sena Jeter Naslund
Seeking adventure, Una Spenser runs away, masquerades as a boy, and joins a whaling ship which begins a life for her of adventure and trials which enables Una to grow into a strong and intelligent woman.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Enemy Women

Enemy Women
by Paulette Jiles
An unforgettable story of family, love, and war follows Adair, the daughter of modest farmers in the Missouri Ozarks who is wrongly accused of "enemy collaboration" by the Union militia, as she falls in love with her interrogator, a Union major who orchestrates her escape, and embarks on a perilous journey to find her family.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Waiting

Waiting
by Ha Jin
An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong finds himself torn between two very different women--the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love and the traditional, meek, and humble woman to whom his family married him when they were both very young.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Orphan Master's Son

The Orphan Master's Son
by Adam Johnson
The son of a singer mother whose career forcibly separated her from her family and an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il. By the author of Parasites Like Us.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Known World

The Known World
by Edward P. Jones
When a plantation proprietor and former slave--now possessing slaves of his own--dies, his household falls apart in the wake of a slave rebellion and corrupt underpaid patrolers who enable free black people to be sold into slavery.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Little Heathens

Little Heathens
by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
An evocative memoir of growing up in the heart of the Midwest during the Great Depression describes life on an Iowa farm during a time of endless work, resourcefulness, family and kinship, and no tolerance for idleness or waste.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Broken For You

Broken For You
by Stephanie Kallos
Two very different women, each with her own dark secrets--wealthy, reclusive septuagenarian Margaret Hughes, living alone with her vast collection of priceless antiques, and Wanda Schultz, a brokenhearted young woman in search of her wayward boyfriend--find new meaning and redemption in their growing friendship with each other.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
When Lily's "stand-in mother" insults the racists in town, Lily knows it's time to leave. They end up being taken in by a trio of black beekeeping sisters who lead her to the single thing her heart longs for most.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Mountains Beyond Mountains

Mountains Beyond Mountains
by Tracy Kidder
A portrait of infectious disease expert Dr. Paul Farmer follows the efforts of this unconventional Harvard genius to understand the world's great health, economic, and social problems and to bring healing to humankind.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


A Grave Talent

A Grave Talent
by Laurie R. King
Assigned, along with her new partner, to investigate the murders of three little girls, homicide detective Casey Martinelli closes in on a colony of mismatched people living in the wooded hills near San Francisco
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice
by Laurie R. King
Chance meeting with a Sussex beekeeper turns into a pivotal, personal transformation when fifteen-year-old Mary Russell discovers that the beekeeper is the reclusive, retired detective Sherlock Holmes, who soon takes on the role of mentor and teacher.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Art of Detection

The Art of Detection
by Laurie R. King
San Francisco detective Kate Martinelli receives a lesson in detection from the master sleuth himself when she investigates the murder of a Sherlock Holmes aficionado, who may have been killed for a century-old manuscript purportedly penned by Holmes.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Pirate King

Pirate King
by Laurie R. King
Sent to Lisbon and Morocco, where a British studio is creating a silent film version of "The Pirates of Penzance," Mary Russell investigates a series of crimes targeting the production and confronts a high-stakes situation when actual pirates orchestrate a hostage situation.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Lacuna

The Lacuna
by Barbara Kingsolver
Harrison William Shepherd, a highly observant writer, is caught between two worlds--in Mexico, working for communists Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Leon Trotsky, and later in America, where he is caught up in the patriotism of World War II.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
by Barbara Kingsolver
When Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. "Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we'd know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through. Or starting with baby animals, and enough sense to refrain from naming them."
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver
Taylor Greer hits the road wanting only to get as far away from Kentucky as possible, ending up in Arizona with a 3-year-old Cherokee girl she has inherited from a woman in a bar.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver
A fanatical evangelical Baptist preacher takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo, where the family's fate intersects with that of the newly independent war-torn country.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Prodigal Summer

The Prodigal Summer
by Barbara Kingsolver
Three stories of human love are woven together within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel's intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Small Wonder

Small Wonder
by Barbara Kingsolver
Twenty-two optimistic essays cover such topics as nature, family, literature, and the joys of everyday life while examining the challenges of war, poverty, and violence.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
by Maxine Hong Kingston
A man fleeing from the repressive social conformity required by China's communist government journeys into the remote mountain regions of southwest China in search of meaning in his life and the elusive Soul Mountain.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


History of Love

History of Love
by Nicole Krauss
Sixty years after a book's publication, its author remembers his lost love and missing son, while a teenage girl named for one of the book's characters seeks her namesake, as well as a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Girl In Translation

Girl In Translation
by Jean Kwok
Emigrating with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, Kimberly begins a double life as a schoolgirl by day and sweatshop worker at night, an existence also marked by her first crush and the pressure to save her family from poverty.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Ice Princess

The Ice Princess
by Camilla Lackberg
After she returns to her hometown to learn that her friend, Alex, was found in a frozen bath with her wrists slashed, Erica Falck joins forces with Detective Patrik Hedstrom to investigate, who has his own suspicions about the case.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
A debut collection of short fiction blends elements of Indian traditions with the complexities of American culture in such tales as "A Temporary Matter," in which a young Indian-American couple confronts their grief over the loss of a child, while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


How to Be Compassionate

How to Be Compassionate
by Dalai Lama
Through practical exercises and personal anecdotes, the revered spiritual leader shows how individuals' compassion can lead to global changes.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


I Know This Much is True

I Know This Much is True
by Wally Lamb
Dominick Birdsey, a forty-year-old housepainter living in Three Rivers, Connecticut, finds his subdued life greatly disturbed when his identical twin brother Thomas, a paranoid schizophrenic, commits a shocking act of self-mutilation.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


Blue Shoe

Blue Shoe
by Anne Lamott
When she stumbles upon a small rubber blue shoe left behind in her deceased father's car, Mattie Ryder, a recently divorced mother of two young children struggles to uncover the truth about her dysfunctional upbringing. In the process, she finds the foundation for a new relationship with her mother and the potential for a new life.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Girls

The Girls
by Lori Lansens
At the approach of her thirtieth birday, Rose Darlen attempts to pen her autobiography while remembering the joys and challenges of her life with her conjoined twin sister, Ruby.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind
by Alice LaPlante
Implicated in the murder of her best friend, Jennifer White, a brilliant retired surgeon with dementia, struggles with fractured memories of their complex relationship and wonders if she actually committed the crime.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Devil in the White City

Devil in the White City
by Erik Larson
A compelling account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 brings together the divergent stories of two very different men who played a key role in shaping the history of the event--visionary architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and Dr. Henry H. Holmes, an insatiable and charming serial killer who lured women to their deaths.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck
by Erik Larson
A portrait of the Edwardian era recounts two parallel stories--the case of Dr. Hawley Crippen, who murdered his wife and fled to America, and Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless communication--as the new technology is used to capture a killer.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
A story about a lawyer in a small Alabama town in the l930s whose defense of a Black man arouses the town's prejudice and hostility.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Astor Place Vintage

Astor Place Vintage
by Stephanie Lehmann
Amanda Rosenbloom, owner of a struggling vintage clothing shop, finds the journal of a woman who lived in New York one hundred years ago and discovers a secret that inspires her to stop living in the past and take control of her future.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Motherless Brooklyn

Motherless Brooklyn
by Jonathan Lethem
Lionel Essrog has always respected Frank Minna, who helped him out when he was young, and when Frank is found dead, Lionel and his friends, the Minna Men, scour the streets of Brooklyn in search of the killer.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel
Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price.
Approximate number of books in kit: 5


Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Set on the Caribbean coast of South America, this love story brings together Fermina Daza, her distinguished husband, and a man who has secretly loved her for more than fifty years.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The story of the Buendia family, set against the background of the evolution and eventual decadence of a small South American town.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Life of Pi

The Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Possessing encyclopedia-like intelligence, unusual zookeeper's son Pi Patel sets sail for America, but when the ship sinks, he escapes on a life boat and is lost at sea with a dwindling number of animals until only he and a hungry Bengal tiger remain.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
by Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Peter the Great presents a reconstruction of the 18th-century empress's life that includes coverage of such topics as her efforts to engage Russia in the cultural life of Europe, her creation of the Hermitage and her numerous scandal-free romantic affairs.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun
by Frances Mayes
Popular poet and author Frances Mayes transports you to the spectacular Tuscan countryside with her memoirs. She explores the fascinating people, landscape, and history of Italy--and seasons them with hearty recipes.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin
by Colum McCann
In 1974 Manhattan, a radical young Irish monk struggles with personal demons while making his home among Bronx prostitutes, a group of mothers shares grief over their lost Vietnam soldier sons, and a young grandmother attempts to prove her worth.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


All the Pretty Horses

All the Pretty Horses
by Cormac McCarthy
John Grady Cole, 16, leaves Texas for Mexico in 1950 and becomes an essential vaquero in a hacienda's program.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
by Carson McCullers
In a small Georgia mill town during the depression, four misfits form a group that revolves around a deaf-mute whose sole companion has been sent to an insane asylum.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Thousand Pieces of Gold

Thousand Pieces of Gold
by Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Lalu Nathoy's father called his thirteen-year-old daughter his treasure, his "thousand pieces of gold," yet when famine strikes northern China in 1871, he is forced to sell her. Polly, as Lalu is later called, is sold to a brothel, sold again to a slave merchant bound for America, auctioned to a saloonkeeper, and offered as a prize in a poker game. This biographical novel is the extraordinary story of one woman's fight for independence and dignity in the American West.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Atonement

Atonement
by Ian McEwan
In a crumbling English mansion in 1935, young Briony tells a lie that sends a man to jail. Five years later, a solider retreats during World War II. These story threads come together in the book's surprising conclusion.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain
Follows the life of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, as she navigates 1920s Paris.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Crucible

The Crucible
by Arthur Miller
A veiled reflection of the anticommunist witch-hunts of the 1950s, this play portrays seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts as a rigid theocracy eager to ferret out real or imagined deviations from the norm, and indicts everyone in Salem--and by extension American society--for the crimes of intolerance and blind hatred.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


While I Was Gone

While I Was Gone
by Sue Miller
When an old housemate settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo's life begins to unravel: seduced again by the enticing possibility of another self and another life, she begins a dangerous flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The World Below

The World Below
by Sue Miller
After being diagnosed at nineteen with tuberculosis in 1919, a young woman is sent to a sanitarium, where she rediscovers the pleasures of unfettered youth and falls in love with a doomed man, in a novel that follows the lives of two women of two very different generations.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet

The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet
by David Mitchell
Dispatched to the influential Japanese port of Dejima in 1799, ambitious clerk Jacob de Zoet resolves to earn enough money to deserve his wealthy fiancâee, an effort that is challenged by his relationship with the midwife daughter of a samurai.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Tender Bar

The Tender Bar
by J.R. Moehringer
In a memoir of growing up with a single mother, the author describes how he received valuable life lessons and friendship from an assortment of characters at the neighborhood bar, who provided him with a kind of fatherhood by committee.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


A Gate at the Stairs

A Gate at the Stairs
by Lorrie Moore
In the Midwest just after the September 11 attacks, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin comes of age amid such challenges as racism, the War on Terror, and cruelty in the name of love, as she leaves her family's farm to attend college and takes a part-time job as a nanny.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


Gap Creek

Gap Creek
by Robert Morgan
Set in South Carolina in the early part of the twentieth century, this novel is a compassionate tale of poverty-stricken lives in Appalachia, centered around Julie Harmon who carries on with the farm after her father and brother die.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Home

Home
by Toni Morrison
Presents the story of embittered Korean War veteran Frank Money, who struggles against trauma and racism to rescue his medically abused sister and work through identity-shattering memories.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison
Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl in an America whose love for blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran
by Azar Nafisi
Lolita in Tehran? Yes, and plenty of other Western classics, read and discussed by a group of women who met secretly with Nafisi, an instructor at the University of Tehran until she was expelled in 1997 for shunning the veil and left the country.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith
by Queen Noor
Leap of Faith is the story of a young American woman who became wife and partner to an Arab monarch. Queen Noor of Jordan provides a compelling portrait of her late husband King Hussein and his lifelong effort to bring peace to his war torn region and an insider's view of the growing gulf between the United States and the Arab nations. But most of all it is a love story--the intimate account of a woman who lost her heart to a king, and to his people.
Approximate number of books in kit: 6


Netherland

Netherland
by Joseph O'Neill
Abandoned amid the offbeat inhabitants of the Chelsea Hotel when his English wife and son return to London following September 11th, Hans, a banker originally from the Netherlands, struggles to find himself in his adopted country.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Tiger's Wife

The Tiger's Wife
by Tea Obreht
Struggling to understand why her beloved grandfather left his family to die alone in a field hospital far from home, a young doctor in a war-torn Balkan country takes over her grandfather's search for a mythical ageless vagabond while referring to a worncopy of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book."
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Anil's Ghost

Anil's Ghost
by Michael Ondaatje
In the bloody sectarian upheaval that ripped Sri Lanka apart in the 1980s and '90s, the enemy is difficult to identify. The protagonist, Anil Tissera, a native Sri Lankan, left her homeland at 18 and returns to it 15 years later only as part of an international human rights fact-finding mission.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Orchid Thief

The Orchid Thief
by Susan Orlean
A staff writer for The New Yorker describes the life and times of John Laroche, a plant smuggler and orchid thief, and the eccentric world of Florida's obsessed collectors of rare plants.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Buddha in the Attic

The Buddha in the Attic
by Julie Otsuka
Presents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage, and the prospect of wartime internment.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


When the Emperor Was Divine

When the Emperor Was Divine
by Julie Otsuka
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


My Name is Red

My Name is Red
by Orhan Pamuk
In sixteenth-century Istanbul, a furor erupts when the Sultan hires a group of artists to illuminate a great book in the European style at a time in which all figurative art is considered Islamic heresy, but the situation becomes worse when one of the miniaturists vanishes.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Snow

Snow
by Orhan Pamuk
Losing touch with his creative nature by years of lonely political exile, Turkish poet Ka returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns about a series of suicides among pious girls forbidden to wear headscarves, a story that brings him face-to-face with militant Islam, a new romance, and his own atheism.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Bel Canto

Bel Canto
by Ann Patchett
In the Vice President's house in an unnamed South American country, what begins as an elegant dinner party turns into a kidnapping that goes awry when the President the terrorists are intent on capturing misses the dinner. When the government refuses to give in to their demands, the hostage situation continues for a number of weeks during which a pleasant domesticity, enlivened by opera singing, begins to blur the lines between captive and captor.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


State of Wonder

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh must step out of her comfort zone when she is sent into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years--a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Tenderness of Wolves

The Tenderness of Wolves
by Stef Penney
When her teenage son disappears in the aftermath of a brutal murder, a determined mother sets out from her snow-covered nineteenth-century settlement to find him, an effort that is hampered by vigilante groups and the harrowing forces of nature.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Special Topics in Calamity Physics
by Marisha Pessl
Having moved from one academic outpost to another throughout her childhood, Blue van Meer attends the elite St. Gallway School in her senior year, where the deaths of a teacher and student awaken her analytical instincts.
Approximate number of books in kit: 6


Out Stealing Horses

Out Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson
After a meeting with his only neighbor, sixty-seven-year-old Trond is forced to reflect upon a long-ago incident that marks the beginning of a series of losses for Trond and his childhood friend, Jon.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Mayflower

Mayflower
by Nathaniel Philbrick
A history of the Pilgrim settlement of New England challenges popular misconceptions, discussing such topics as the diseases of European origin suffered by the Wampanoag tribe, the fragile working relationship between the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors, and the devastating impact of the King Philip's War. By the author of Sea of Glory.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Measure of a Man

The Measure of a Man
by Sidney Poitier
The acclaimed actor reveals the depth, passion, and intellectual fervor that have driven his life and career, citing the elements of his childhood that gave him his sense of worth, family, and ethics and how these qualities are essential to spiritual development.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Botany of Desire

Botany of Desire
by Michael Pollan
Focusing on the human relationship with plants, the author of Second Nature uses botany to explore four basic human desires--sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control--through portraits of four plants that embody them: the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Tender at the Bone

Tender at the Bone
by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl's deliciously crafted non-fiction memoir, Tender at the Bone, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell the Wolves I'm Home
by Carol Rifka Brunt
Her world upended by the death of a beloved artist uncle who was the only person who understood her, fourteen-year-old June is mailed a teapot by her uncle's grieving friend, with whom June forges a poignant relationship.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Housekeeping

Housekeeping
by Marilynne Robinson
Ruth, a young girl struggling to overcome haunting family memories in a town which will not let her forget, gradually grows close to Sylvie, the sister of her dead mother.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters
by Elisabeth Robinson
Unemployed actress Olivia Hunt leaves Hollywood to return home at the request of her younger sister, Madeleine, and finds herself struggling to help her sister, keep her parents under control, and reconnect with an old boyfriend.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy
This Booker Prize-winning novel, praised for its "extraordinary linguistic inventiveness," is set in India in the late 1960s, as young twins grapple with complex family relationships and emotions following a tragedy.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Midnight's Children

Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
Born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India's independence, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs, and telepathic powers link him with the other children born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.
Approximate number of books in kit: 6


Musicophilia

Musicophilia
by Oliver Sacks
In this book, Oliver Sacks explores the power music wields over us; a power that sometimes we control and at other times don't. He explores, in his inimitable fashion, how it can provide access to otherwise unreachable emotional states, how it can revivify neurological avenues that have been frozen, evoke memories of earlier, lost events or states or bring those with neurological disorders back to a time when the world was much richer.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger
In an effort to escape the hypocrisies of life at his boarding school, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield seeks refuge in New York City.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


Dreams of Joy

Dreams of Joy
by Lisa See
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Peony In Love

Peony In Love
by Lisa See
In seventeenth-century China, three women become emotionally involved with The Peony Pavilion, a famed opera rumored to cause lovesickness and even death, including Peony, the cloistered daughter of a wealthy scholar, who succumbs to its spell only to return after her death as a "hungry ghost" to haunt her former fiance, who has married another.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls
by Lisa See
Forced to leave Shanghai when their father sells them to California suitors, sisters May and Pearl struggle to adapt to life in 1930s Los Angeles while still bound to old customs, as they face discrimination and confront a life-altering secret.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul
by Asne Seierstad
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield
Having spent sixty years creating a series of alternate identities for herself, enigmatic Vida Winter pens a painful letter to young Margaret Lea when the latter begs her to disclose the truth about her secretive birth.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer
In 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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Stone Diaries

The Stone Diaries
by Carol Shields
In this Pulitzer Prize winning book, Daisy Goodwill attempts to understand her place in the world as she nears the end of her life. She narrates her own biography, from her birth in Manitoba in 1905 when she loses her mother to childbirth, through her college years, her marriages and her work as a newspaper columnist.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Sea Glass

Sea Glass
by Anita Shreve
When Honora and Sexton Beecher are rendered penniless by the crash of the stock market, Sexton is forced to work in a nearby mill that is plagued by violence, and as they try to reconstruct their lives, they are confronted by passions of every kind.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water
by Anita Shreve
A double narrative set on and around an island off the coast of New Hampshire. A vacationing woman investigates the house and environs where a murder took place more than 100 years ago.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver
Eva Khatchadourian writes to her estranged husband Frank, trying to solve what went wrong in raising their son Kevin after he kills seven classmates and a teacher in his high school in upstate New York.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
by Dai Sijie
Two boys are sent to the countryside to be re-educated in this fable set during China's Cultural Revolution. They discover hope through forbidden western literature, but find hope can be cruel and corrupting.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
by Helen Simonson
Forced to confront the realities of life in the 21st century when he falls in love with widowed Pakistani descendant Mrs. Ali, a retired Major Pettigrew finds the relationship challenged by local prejudices that view Mrs. Ali, a Cambridge native, as a perpetual foreigner.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Roseanna

Roseanna
by Maj Sjowall
The discovery of the body of an unknown rape and murder victim sends Detective Inspector Beck of the Stockholm Homicide Squad on a six-month search to determine the identity of the victim and her killer from among dozens of suspects.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, and whose cells--taken without her knowledge when she was treated for cancer in 1951--have become one of the most important tools in medicine. The Lacks family did not learn of Henrietta's cells until 20 years after her death, but these first "immortal" human cells grown in culture are still alive today: they've been bought and sold by the billions and have been vital in fighting polio, cancer, and many viruses. This incredible book explores race, bioethics, scientific research, human rights, the power of family, and the question of whether we control the very cells we're made of.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Last Girls

Last Girls
by Lee Smith
Thirty-five years after a trip down the Mississippi on a raft with their classmates, four women are reunited to cruise the river once again where they plan to release the ashes of a fellow rafter, Margaret "Baby" Ballou.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
In a classic English story, Cassandra Mortmain chronicles in her diary what happens to her eccentric family when a young American man inherits the local estate. The bittersweet love story that ensues is far more complicated than she ever imagines.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith
Armed with her idealism and determination, young Francie Nolan struggles to escape from the poverty of life in a Brooklyn tenement during the early 1900s.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


White Teeth

White Teeth
by Zadie Smith
Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families--the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire--as they make their way in modern England.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love
by Dava Sobel
Galileo Galilei's telescopes allowed him to discover a new reality in the heavens. But for publicly declaring his astounding argument--that the earth revolves around the sun--he was accused of heresy and put under house arrest by the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Living a far different life, Galileo's daughter Virginia, a cloistered nun, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength through the difficult years of his trial and persecution.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


Longitude

Longitude
by Dava Sobel
Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest, and of John Harrison's forty-year obsession with his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Angle of Repose

Angle of Repose
by Wallace Stegner
Wheelchair-bound historian Lyman Ward decides to write about the frontier lives of his grandparents at a time when he has lost connection with his living family.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets : a novel

How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets : a novel
by Garth Stein
When his son's mother dies and leaves him a single parent to Dean, a fourteen-year-old boy he has never met, Evan Wallace is forced to confront his music career and his epilepsy.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein
Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher's soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three year custody battle between daughter Zoe's maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


East of Eden

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck
The biblical account of Cain and Abel is echoed in the history of two generations of the Trask family in California.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
Depicts the hardships and suffering endured by the Joads as they journey from Oklahoma to California during the Depression.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Help

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, three women, including an African-American maid, her sassy and chronically unemployed friend, and a recently graduated white woman, team up for a clandestine project.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Wild

Wild
by Cheryl Strayed
Traces the personal crisis the author endured after the death of her mother and a painful divorce, which prompted her ambition to undertake a dangerous thousand-mile solo hike that both drove her to rock bottom and helped her to heal.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
The world of Olive Kitteridge, a retired school teacher in a small coastal town in Maine, is revealed in stories that explore her diverse roles in many lives, including a lounge singer haunted by a past love, her stoic husband, and her own resentful son.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Cane River

Cane River
by Lalita Tademy
Follows four generations of African American women from slavery to the early twentieth century as they struggle for economic security and the future of their families along the Cane River in rural Louisiana.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The Bonesetter's Daughter

The Bonesetter's Daughter
by Amy Tan
When Ruth Young comes across a stack of letters in Chinese calligraphy written by her ailing mother, she discovers the truth about her mother's life as the daughter of the famous bonesetter in the village of Xian Xin, China.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The Secret History

The Secret History
by Donna Tartt
A transfer student from a small town in California, Richard Papen is determined to affect the ways of his Hampden College peers, and he begins his intense studies under the tutelage of eccentric Julian Morrow.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Good Thief

The Good Thief
by Hannah Tinti
Growing up in a New England orphanage unaware of his family and how he lost his left hand as an infant, twelve-year-old Ren is terrified of the future until a young man shows up claiming to be his long-lost brother.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
This classic novel tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.
Approximate number of books in kit: 9


The Odyssey

The Odyssey
by Homer/ translated by Robert Fagles
The award-winning translator of Iliad and Oresteia introduces a new translation of Homer's age-old tale of the wanderings of Odysseus during his ten-year voyage back home to Ithaca after the Trojan War as he overcomes both divine and natural forces.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


The Language of Threads

The Language of Threads
by Gail Tsukiyama
Pei travels with a young orphan named Ji Shen to 1930s Hong Kong, where they receive help from a British woman, but experience the chaos of the Japanese occupation.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Samurai's Garden

The Samurai's Garden
by Gail Tsukiyama
In 1938, on the eve of World War II, a young Chinese man suffering from tuberculosis travels to his family's summer home in Japan, where his encounters with a lovely Japanese girl and four local residents prove to be memorable.
Approximate number of books in kit: 11


The News from Paraguay

The News from Paraguay
by Lily Tuck
Pursued by the future dictator of nineteenth-century Paraguay, Irish courtesan Ella Lynch struggles with isolation and displacement in spite of her power as his mistress, and witnesses the nation's victimization in the wake of her lover's arrogant ambitions.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Ladder of Years

Ladder of Years
by Anne Tyler
Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead, mother of three almost-grown children, impulsively walks away from her marriage and sets off into the unknown to begin an entirely new life, but suddenly she discovers that she is accumulating fresh responsibilities.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Amateur Marriage

The Amateur Marriage
by Anne Tyler
Marrying quickly during World War II after falling in love at first sight, a mismatched couple discovers that their very different personalities and approaches to life are taking a toll on their lives, their relationship, and their family.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Back When We Were Grownups

Back When We Were Grownups
by Anne Tyler
In this deeply moving novel a woman of fifty-three tries to find out who she truly is, compared to who her world believes she is.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Presents the story of a fearless young woman who became a dress-making entrepreneur in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, thus saving her family and bringing hope to the lives of dozens of women in her war-torn nation.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Hummingbird's Daughter

The Hummingbird's Daughter
by Luis Alberto Urrea
When sixteen-year-old Teresita, the illegitimate and beloved daughter of a powerful late-nineteenth-century rancher, arises from death possessing the power to heal, she is declared a saint and finds her family and faith tested by the impending Mexican civil war.
Approximate number of books in kit: 7


Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese
Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins
by Jess Walter
Follows a young Italian innkeeper and his almost-love affair with a beautiful American starlet, which draws him into a glittering world filled with unforgettable characters.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


Elegy For Eddie

Elegy For Eddie
by Jacqueline Winspear
When Eddie Pettit's death is ruled an accident by the police, many believe that this gentle soul was murdered and Maisy Dobbs, determined to do right by Eddie, searches for the truth amid the working-class of Lambeth.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear
Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.
Approximate number of books in kit: 10


The Ginger Tree

The Ginger Tree
by Oswald Wynd
A young Scottish woman, in 1903, travels to Peking to marry a British military attachee. She becomes a scandal to the British community by having an affair with Count Kuriha, a Japanese soldier. She is shunned by her own people, and not really accepted by the Japanese either. We are given the account of a hard, lonely, but fascinating life in an alien culture.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Shack

The Shack
by William Paul Young
Four years after his daughter is abducted and evidence of her murder is found in an abandoned shack, Mackenzie Allen Philips returns to the shack in response to a note claiming to be from God, and has a life-changing experience.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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.
Approximate number of books in kit: 12


The Girls From Ames

The Girls From Ames
by Jeffrey Zaslow
The story of eleven girls from Ames, Iowa, the ten women they became, and the mysterious death of their eleventh member demonstrates how female friendships can shape every aspect of women's lives.
Approximate number of books in kit: 8


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