Book Club Kit: The Devil in the White City


The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
by Erik Larson
First Published: 2003
5 Copies & Reading Guide

The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 was one of the most spectacular exhibitions the world has ever seen. This is the story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked – an architect and a serial killer. The architect as Daniel H. Burnham, who created the White City, a magical landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H.H. Holmes, a handsome young doctor with striking blue eyes, who used the attraction of the great fair – and his own devilish charms – to lure scores of young women to their death. Holmes would stroll through the fair at night, when an electric dynamo transformed it into an incandescent fairyland, with an unsuspecting victim on each arm. This is the story of the men and women whose lives were irrevocably changed by the Chicago World Fair, and of Burnham and Holmes.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Author Info, Book Summary, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions
Licking County Library Book Blog – Includes Discussion Questions


On the Web:

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Book Club Kit: Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in TehranReading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
by Azar Nafisi
First Published: 2003
5 Copies & Reading Guide

From 1995-97 in Iran, Azar Nafisi gathered with seven of her former students, all young women, to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. Reserved at first, the women soon learned to speak their minds and share their repressed dreams.

Reading Guides:

Book Reviews:

On the Web:

If you enjoyed Reading Lolita in Tehran, you also might like…

Book Club Kit: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lionel Shriver - We Need to Talk About KevinWe Need to Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver
First Published: 2003
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

Reading Guide:
Reading Group Guides – Includes Book Info, an Excerpt, and Discussion Questions

The Guardian (UK) – “Not Mad About the Boy” by Sarah A Smith
The Independent (UK) – “Review” by Lisa Gee
Kirkus’ Reviews – Reviewed on March 1, 2003

On the Web: & life – “Perfectly Flawed” by Lionel Shriver
The Guardian (UK) – “Lionel Shriver Talks About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver
Bomb MagazineInterview with Lionel Shriver by Jenefer Shute (2005)
Identity TheoryInterview with Lionel Shriver by Robert Birnbaum (2003)

More by Lionel Shriver:
The Post-Birthday World
So Much for That

If you liked We Need to Talk About Kevin, you might enjoy:
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
Columbine by Dave Cullen
A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

Book Club Kit: Mountains Beyond Mountains

Mountains Beyond MountainsMountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World
by Tracy Kidder
First Published: 2003
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Paul Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity” – a philosophy that is embodied in the small public charity he founded, Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “beyond mountains there are mountains” as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

Reading Guide:
Loyola Seminar – Includes Information about the Book and Discussion Questions
LitLovers – Includes Author Information, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “A Season in Hell” by Abraham Verghese
The New England Journal of MedicineReviewed Nov 2003 by Bernard Hirschel, M.D.

On the Web:
Tracy Kidder’s Website –
Partners in Health –
Huffington Post – “A Coversation with Tracy Kidder about Mountains Beyond Mountains” with Mark Klempner

This I Believe by Paul Farmer

If you enjoyed Mountains Beyond Mountains, you might like:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes On An Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Book Club Kit: Persuader

Persuader: A Jack Reacher NovelPersuader: A Jack Reacher Novel (#7)
by Lee Child
First Published: 2003
6 Copies & Reading Guide

Jack Reacher takes an undercover assignment to investigate the disappearance of a federal agent from the home of a notorious drug dealer, but Reacher soon discovers that the dealer has ties to a man from Reacher’s own past, one that Reacher supposedly killed.

No Reading Guide?
Reading Group Guides – Basic questions to get your discussion started about any mystery.

Reviews & Articles:
Entertainment Weekly – “Book Review” Reviewed in May 2003
Kirkus ReviewsReviewed on April 1, 2003
The Telegraph (UK) – “Why Lee Child Makes for Good Holiday Reading” by Sarah Crompton
TIMEQ&A: Author Lee Child by Andrea Sachs

On the Web:
Official Website –
Find Lee Child on Facebook or Follow him on Twitter.
Jack Reacher Website –

Lee Child shares two previously unknown Reacher facts:

More Jack Reacher:
Killing Floor (#1)
Die Trying (#2)
Tripwire (#3)
The Enemy (#8 – a prequel)

If enjoyed Persuader, you might like:
The Closers (Book Club Kit) by Michael Connelly
The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner
Sunset Express (Elvis Cole #6) by Robert Crais

Book Club Kit: Moloka’i

by Alan Brennert
First Published: 2003
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Here her life is supposed to end—but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.

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

Publishers Weekly – “Moloka’i” reviewed 09/01/2003
Goodreads – Read reviews by fellow readers at Goodreads.

Alan Brennert’s Website:

More about Moloka’i, HI & the Settlement:
Wikipedia – Moloka’i, Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement,
CBS News – “Last Days of a Leper Colony” by Bootie Cosgrove-mather
Remembering Kalaupapa – Includes Photos, FAQs, Letters, and more.
NPR – “Fear and Loathing in Hawaii: ‘Colony’” by Terry Gross (features The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Moloka’i by John Tayman)
Visit Moloka’i – Photo tours and info about the island

If you enjoyed Moloka’i, you might like:
Honolulu by Alan Brennert
Hawaii by James Michener
The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (Book Club Kit) by Lisa See
Cutting for Stone (Book Club Kit) by Abraham Verghese

If your group read Moloka’i, don’t forget to share what you thought!

Book Club Kit: The Family on Beartown Road

The Family on Beartown RoadThe Family on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Love and Courage*
by Elizabeth Cohen
First Published: 2003
5 Copies & Reading Guide

Soon after her daughter’s first birthday, Elizabeth Cohen’s husband walked out of their rambling old house in the country, leaving her to come to terms with his absence and her new role as carer to a growing, demanding child, and a shrinking, demanding father. Elizabeth has no choice but to be the rock at the centre of her new, unusual family. Amidst the chaos of the house on Beartown Road, she discovers a new beauty in being in the middle of two universal stages of life and learning. She watches the growth of her baby Ava, hungrily learning about the world around her, and at the other extreme her father, trying to hold on to the fragments of his memory, fighting a losing battle against forgetting, but despite it all, capable of learning. And she begins to learn about herself, as someone who is strong, courageous and capable of looking after her family.
*Originally published as The House on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Learning and Forgetting.

Reading Guide:
Barnes & Noble – Includes Review, Excerpt, and Discussion Questions
Story Circle Network – Includes Story Circle’s Discussion Questions

Kirkus Reviews – “The House on Beartown Road
The New York Times – “Filling the Room with Hurricanes” by Maggie Jones

Elizabeth Cohen’s Official Website:

More about Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s Association –
Wikipedia – Includes images and further resources
National Institute on Aging – Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
Mayo Clinic – “Alzheimer’s Disease” by Mayo Clinic Staff

If you enjoyed The Family on Beartown Road, you might like:
Still Alice (Book Club Kit) by Lisa Genova
The Story of My Father: A Memoir by Sue Miller
The Middle Place (Book Club Kit) by Kelly Corrigan
Eat Pray Love (Book Club Kit) by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Club Kit: The Kite Runner

The Kite RunnerThe Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
First Published: 2003
6 Copies & Reading Guide

An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant.

Reading Guides:
LitLovers – Includes Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions
On the Same Page, Cincinatti – Includes Discussion Questions
UT Arlington – Includes List of Characters, Author Biography, and Timeline of Afghan History

Reviews and Articles:
The Observer (UK) – “An Afghan Hounded By His Past” by Amelia Hill
The New York Times – “The Servant” by Edward Hower
Slate Magazine – “The Kite Runner: Do I Really Have to Read It?” by Meghan O’Rourke

On the Web:
Official Author Website:
Afghan Magazine – “Dialogue with Khaled Hosseini” by Farhad Azad
NPR – “The Kite Runner” with Liane Hansen (Audio)

More Information About Afghanistan:

PBS Newshour A Historical Timeline of Afghanistan
Afghan Magazine – “Afghan History: Kite Flying, Kite Running, and Kite Banning” by Mir Hekmatullah Sadat
Library of Congress – Country Study: Afghanistan | Country Profile: Afghanistan
National Geographic Aghanistan Guide
Map of Afghanistan from the CIA World Factbook:

If you enjoyed The Kite Runner, you might like:
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Three Cups of Tea (Book Club Kit) by Greg Mortenson

Book Club Kit: The Time Traveler’s Wife

The Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler’s Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
First Published: 2003
6 Copies & Reading Guide

This is the story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap.

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

January Magazine – “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” by David Abrams|
The Times (UK) – “Tony Parsons’ Favourite Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife

On the Web:
Official Author Website –
You Know Jack – “Time Traveler’s Wife: Timelines” – includes chronological timeline and timelines for Clare and Henry.

Read the book? Now watch the movie! Check the catalog to see if your library has a copy.

If you enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife, you might like:
The Lovely Bones (Book Club Kit) by Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Sparrow (Book Club Kit) by Mary Doria Russell

Book Club Kit: Out Stealing Horses

Out Stealing HorsesOut Stealing Horses
by Per Petterson
First Published: 2003, Translation: 2005
9 copies & Reading Guide

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.

Reading Guide:
Picador Press – includes Information about the Author and Discussion Questions.
Graywolf Press – includes Author Info and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “In a Lonely Place” by Thomas McGuane
All Things Considered – “Out Stealing Horses Beats Fiction Heavyweights” by Alan Cheuse

Per Petterson Fansite:

Petterson’s Acceptance Speech @ the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards Pt 1

Petterson’s Acceptance Speech @ the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards Pt 2

Similar Reads:
I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Eye of the Leopard by Henning Mankell
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (Book Club Kit) by David Wroblewski

Did your book club read Out Stealing Horses? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment below or join the discussion over at Goodreads.