Book Club Kit: The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
by Allison Hoover Bartlett
First Published: 2009
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Unrepentant book thief John Charles Gilkey has stolen a fortune in rare books from around the county. Yet unlike most thieves, who steal for profit, Gilkey steals for the love of the books. Perhaps equally obsessive, though, is Ken Sanders, the self-appointed “bibliodick” driven to catch him. Sanders, a lifelong rare book collector and dealer turned amateur detective, will stop at nothing to catch the thief plaguing his trade.

Reading Guide: – Includes an Introduction and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “The Book Thief” by Christopher R. Beha
The Washington Post – “Book Review” by Dennis Drabelle
Los Angeles Times – “Book Review” by Carmela Ciuraru

Around the Web:

If you enjoyed this title, try…



Book Club Kit: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe
by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
First Published: 2011
10 Copies & Reading Guide

The incredible true account of Kamila Sidiqi who, when her father and brother were forced to flee Kabul, became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own and held her family together.

Reading Guide:
HarperCollins – Includes an Introduction to the Book and Discussion Questions

The Washington Times – “Book Review” by Sandra McElwaine
The Christian Science Monitor – “Review” by Kelly Nuxoll

Around the Web:
Author’s Website – Includes Book Club Info, Videos, an Excerpt, and more!
Psychology Today – “Gayle T. Lemmon Talks About The Dressmaker of Khair Khana” with Jennifer Haupt
NPR: Morning Edition – “In Kabul, a Dressmaker Sows Entrepreneurial Seeds
Library Journal – “Video Q&A: Gayle Lemmon

If you enjoyed The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, you might like…

Book Club Kit: Cleopatra

Cleopatra: A Life
by Stacy Schiff
First Published: 2010
10 Copies & Reading Guide

To this day, Cleopatra proves to be one of the most important and controversial figures in ancient history. Married to both of her brothers, the first of which she defeated in a civil war before ordering the second’s murder, Cleopatra would also have affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and nearly tear the Roman Empire in two. However, author Stacy Schiff believes history has given Cleopatra a bad rap and sets out to tell the Egyptian queen’s true story.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Book Summary, Author Bio, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “The Woman Who Had the World Enthralled” by Michiko Kakutani
The Washington Post – “Stacy Schiff’s New Biography of Cleopatra” reviewed by Marie Arana
Los Angeles Times – “Book Review” by Wendy Smith

Around the Web:
Author’s Website – Includes Videos, Essays, and more.
O, The Oprah Magazine – “Why Cleopatra Still Matters” – Stacy Schiff interviewed by Liza Nelson
The New York Times – “Cleopatra’s Guide to Good Governance” by Stacy Schiff
The Wall Street Journal – “Still Under Cleopatra’s Spell” by Stacy Schiff
National Geographic — Website for the Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt exhibit — it includes audio slide shows and maps about Cleopatra’s Egypt.

Looking for historical fiction about Cleopatra? Try…

Or are you looking for more biographies of women rulers? Try…

Book Club Kit: Sarah’s Key

Tatiana de Rosnay - Sarah's KeySarah’s Key
by Tatiana De Rosnay
First Published: 2007
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Book Summary, Author Bio, Discussion Questions, and  Book Reviews

Publishers Weekly -“Book Review” Reviewed on 05/28/07
Jewish Literary Review – “Two Families, Linked by Death, and a Secret” by Steve Pollak
BlogCritics – “Book Review” by Emm

Author’s Website: (in French)

More about the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup:
The New York Times – “France Reflects on Its Role in Wartime Fate of Jews” by Scott Sayare
The Huffington Post – “Cecile Widerman Kaufer, Holocaust Survivor, Recounts 1942 Vel D’Hiv Roundup in Paris Stadium” by Tara Kelly
Radio France International – “France Commemorates Victims of Vel d’Hiv Roundup
Online Encylopedia of Mass ViolenceCase Study: The Vélodrome d’hiver Round-up: July 16 and 17, 1942

If you enjoyed Sarah’s Key, you might like…

Food Bonus! Check out The Book Club Cook Book for Sarah’s Key inspired recipes.

Book Club Kit: The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan - The Lost HeroThe Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus #1)
by Rick Riordan
First Published: 2010
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students from a school for “bad kids,” find themselves at Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods and begin a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth herself.

Reading Guide:
Disney Hyperion – Includes information on Mythology, Author Info, Activities, and Discussion Questions.

Scholastic News Kid Press Corps – “Book Review: The Lost Hero” by Gowtham Balaji
Lesa’s Book Critiques – “Review” by Lesa (an Arizona Librarian)
Kirkus Reviews – “Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero” by Vicky Smith 

On the Web:
The Online World of Rick Riordan – Filled with fun information about all of his books.
The Heroes of Olympus website – Includes Printables, Character Info, and more.
Arts Beat – “Rick Riordan’s Favorite Childhood Books” by Pamela Paul
Goodreads – Reader written trivia questions and quizzes.

Want to read more like this? Try…

Book Club Kit: Silver Sparrow

Tayari Jones - Silver SparrowSilver Sparrow
by Tayari Jones
First Published: 2011
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, Silver Sparrow revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families-the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered.

Reading Guide:
Reading Group Choices – Includes a Book Summary, Praise, and Conversation Starters
Algonquin Book Club – Includes Excerpts, a Webcast, Author Info, Discussion Questions, and more! – Includes a Book Review and Discussion Questions

Reviews and Articles:
The Washington Post – “Book Review” by Anita Shreve
NPR, All Things Considered – “Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones’ Tale of Secret Sisters
Los Angeles Times – “Book Review” by Susan Straight
Chicago Tribune – “Review” by Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Author’s Website:

Want to read more like Silver Sparrow? Try:
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
The Secret Life of Bees (Book Club Kit) by Sue Monk Kidd

Book Club Kit: The Warmth of Other Suns

Isabel Wilkerson - The Warmth of Other SunsThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson
First Published: 2010
10 Copies & Reading Guide

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers –  Includes Author Info, Book Reviews, and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “Freedom Trains” by David Oshinsky and “The Lives Gained by Fleeing Jim Crow” by Janet Maslin
AARP The Magazine – “Review” by Charles Cobb Jr
Los Angeles Times – “Book Review” by Lynell George
The Wall Street Journal – “The Great Northern Migration” by John Stauffer
The New Yorker – “The Uprooted” by Jill Lepore

On the Web:
Isabel Wilkerson’s Website –
The New York Times – “A Writer’s Long Journey to Trace the Great Migration” by Charles McGrath
NPR: Fresh Air from WHYY – “Great Migration: The African-American Exodus North
TIME – “Q&A: Isabel Wilkerson on Black America’s Immigration Story” by Steven Gray
C-SPAN – “Q&A with Isabel Wilkerson” [Video]

If you enjoyed The Warmth of Other Suns, you might like:
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Jazz by Toni Morrison
Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris

Book Club Kit: Bel Canto

Ann Patchett - Bel CantoBel Canto
by Ann Patchett
Published: 2001
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening–until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Author Info, Discussion Questions, and Brief Reviews

The Guardian – “Danger Arias” by Alex Clark
Entertainment Weekly – “Review” by Karen Valby
The New York Times – “Uninvited Guests Wearing You Down? Listen to Opera” by Janet Maslin

On the Web:
Author’s Website –
Spotify Playlists – Listen to the music mentioned in the book via Tattered Cover and GalleyCat.
NPR – “Talk Like an Opera Geek: Savoring the ‘Bel Canto’ Sound” by Tom Huizenga
NPR: Morning Edition – “Ann Patchett and Renee Fleming on ‘Bel Canto’

If you enjoyed Bel Canto, you might like: 
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Food Bonus!

Check out The Book Club Cookbook for a delicious recipe inspired by Bel Canto‘s kitchen scene.

Book Club Kit: Death Clouds on Mt. Baldy

Cathy Hufault - Death Clouds on Mt. Baldy: Tucson's Lost TragedyDeath Clouds on Mt Baldy: Tucson’s Lost Tragedy
by Cathy Hufault
First Published: 2010
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Nov. 15, 1958. An arctic-like blizzard roars out of nowhere across the mild desert terrain of southern Arizona. Boy scouts are feared caught out in the open, perhaps buried under the three to seven feet of snowfall in the mountains. Cowboys urge their horses through the chest high snow, hikers push through monster snowdrifts, and helicopters hover at dangerous altitudes in their struggle to find the boys before they die.

No Reading Guide?
Book Club Queen – General Discussion Questions for Nonfiction
LitLovers – More General Questions for Nonfiction Books

The Virtual SCRIBEReview by Bonnie Lee
Check Goodreads for reviews from fellow readers.

On the Web:
Publisher’s Website – Arizona Mountain Publications – “Tucson Author Filming Video about Boy Scouts’ Tragic Deaths
– Twenty Part series on The Boy Scout Tragedy in the Santa Rita Mountains
Deb’s Search & Rescue Stories – Read more search and rescue stories from a volunteer in Coconino County.
Arizona Public Media – “Exploring the Story Behind the Deaths of Three Boy Scouts near Tucson in 1958” – Story by Mark Duggan
Green Valley News – “Mystery Solved: Two Men Recover Piece of History Tied to Tragic Boy Scout Hike” by Dan Shearer

Want more Arizona history? Try these:
Going Back to Bisbee (Book Club Kit) by Richard Shelton
These is My Words (Book Club Kit) by Nancy E Turner
Filaree (Book Club Kit) by Marguerite Noble
Lazy B: Growing Up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest by Sandra Day O’Connor

Book Club Kit: Doc

by Mary Doria Russell
First Published: 2011
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Born to the life of an educated Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday is given a choice at the age of twenty-two: die within months in Atlanta or leave everyone he loves in hopes of finding health in the West. Young, scared, lonely and sick, he arrives on the rawest edge of the Texas frontier in time for an economic crash. Soon he’s gambling professionally and living with a high-strung Hungarian whore who insists that they follow the money to Dodge City.

Reading Guides:
Random House – Includes a Letter from the Author and Discussion Questions
Author’s Website – Includes additional discussion questions from the author.

The Washington Post – “Ron Charles reviews Doc by Mary Doria Russell
The Seattle Times – “Mary Doria Russell’s intoxicating novel of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and Dodge City” by Moira Macdonald
The Oregonian – “For one season of bliss, Doc gets a lot out of Dodge” by Margaret Donsbach

More about Doc Holliday:
Wikipedia – Doc Holliday article
Old West Legends – Doc Holliday: Deadly Doctor of the West
More books in our catalog by subject – John Henry Holliday

If you enjoyed Doc, check out these titles:
Lonesome Dove or Zeke & Ned both by Larry McMurtry
These is My Words (Book Club Kit) by Nancy E Turner
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt