Book Club Kit: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Snow Flower and the Secret FanSnow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See
First Published: 2005
10 Copies & Reading Guide

In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Reading Guides:
Reading Group Guides – Includes Brief Reviews and Discussion Questions
Author’s Website – Includes Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “2 Women Cling in a Culture of Bound Feed” by Janet Maslin
USA Today – “Snow Flower Unfolds Secrets” by Susan Kelly

On the Web:
Lisa See’s Website –
NPR – “Painful Memories for China’s Footbinding Survivors” by Louisa Lim
BBC – In Pictures: 19th Century China

If you enjoyed Snow Flower… see the movie coming out in July 2011:

You also might like to read:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
The Good Earth (Book Club Kit) by Pearl S. Buck

More from Lisa See:
Peony in Love
Shanghai Girls
Coming Soon: Dreams of Joy – continuing the story of Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls


Book Club Kit: The Hummingbird’s Daughter

The Hummingbird's DaughterThe Hummingbird’s Daughter
by Luís Alberto Urrea
First Published: 2005
10 Copies & Reading Guide

It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, Teresita, illegitimate but beloved daughter of the wealthy and powerful rancher Don Tomas Urrea, wakes from the strangest dream–a dream that she has died. Only it was not a dream. This passionate and rebellious young woman has arisen from death with a power to heal–but it will take all her faith to endure the trials that await her and her family now that she has become the Saint of Cabora.

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

Reviews and Articles:
The New York Times – “A Saint with Grit” by Stacey D’Erasmo
NPR, All Things Considered – “Family Memoir” by Alan Cheuse
The Observer (UK) – “Oh, My Sainted Aunt” by Stephanie Merritt

On the Web:
Official Author Website –
Like the author on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @urrealism!

More about Teresa Urrea:
Texas State Historical Association – Teresa Urrea
El Paso Community College – Borderlands Project with info about Teresa Urrea.

If you enjoyed The Hummingbird’s Daughter, you might like:
The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luís Alberto Urrea
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
In the Time of the Butterflies (Book Club Kit) by Julia Alvarez
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Book Club Kit: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford
First Published: 2009
10 Copies & Reading Guide

When artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II are uncovered during renovations at a Seattle hotel, Henry Lee embarks on a quest that leads to memories of growing up Chinese in a city rife with anti-Japanese sentiment.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes a Book Description, Author Information, Reviews, and Discussion Questions.
NoveList – Includes Read-alikes and a complete Book Discussion Guide (if you need assistance navigating NoveList, give us a call!)

The Seattle Times – “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Recalls World War II-era Seattle” by Michael Upchurch
The Book Lady’s Blog
– “Book Review” by Rebecca Joines Schinsky
The New York Times – “Fiction Chronicle” by Alison McCulloch (4th Review on page) – “Book Review” by Norah Piehl

On the Web:
Jamie Ford’s Website & Blog –
Shelf Awareness – “Book Brahmin: Jamie Ford
Videos – A Tour of Locations Mentioned in the Book from ExpandedBooks and an Interview with Jamie Ford at Borders Presents.

More about World War II and the Japanese-American Internment Camps:
Our Documents – Transcript of Executive Order 9066 (1942)
Digital History – Explorations: Japanese-American Internment
Calisphere – University of California: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
Library of Congress – Ansel Adam’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar
PBS – or “Children of the Camps: Internment History
Wikipedia – Japanese American Internment and Japanese Canadian Internment

If you enjoyed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you might like:
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Last Witnesses: Reflections on the Wartime Internment of Japanese Americans by Erica Harth
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Book Club Kit) by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Sea of Poppies (Book Club Kit) by Amitav Ghosh
Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Book Club Kit: Cold Mountain

Cold MountainCold Mountain
by Charles Frazier
First Published: 1997
7 Copies & Reading Guide

Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, this is the story of a wounded soldier, Inman, who escapes the army and tries to make his way home to Cold Mountain and to Ada, the woman he left behind when the war began.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Description, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

The New York Times – “American Odyssey” by James Polk
Goodreads – See what fellow readers had to say on Goodreads.

On the Web: – “Cold Mountain Diaries” by Charles Frazier
Charlie Rose – An Interview with Charles Frazier (Video)

Want to watch the movie? Check the catalog to see if we have it!

If you enjoyed Cold Mountain, you might like:
Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Gone with the Wind by Margeret Mitchell
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Time Traveler’s Wife (Book Club Kit) by Audrey Niffenegger

Book Club Kit: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
First Published: 2008
PCLD Kit: 10 Copies & Reading Guide
AJPL Kit: 6 Copies & Reading Guide

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.

Reading Guide:
LitLovers – Includes Information about the Authors, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

The Christian Science Monitor – “Book Review” by Yvonne Zipp
The Guardian (UK) – “Bright and Dark” by Stevie Davies

On the Web:
Author’s Website –
Book Website – Includes a Potato Peel Pie Recipe, a Reader-Created Map, List of Books mentioned in Guernsey, and more!

Map of Guernsey:

More about the German Occupation of Guernsey:

WWII People’s War – “A Child’s War: The German Occupation of Guernsey” by Peter Le Prevost
The Guardian (UK) – “WW2 File: The Guernsey Resistance” by Walter Henry Lainé
The Guardian (UK) – “Guernsey Files Reveal How Islanders Defied Nazi Occupation” by Stephen Bates
Heritage Guernsey – “The Occupation of the Channel Islands 1940-45
Wikipedia – “Occupation of the Channel Islands

If you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you might like:
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Book Club Kit) by Diane Ackerman

From our readers:
The Mammoth Book Club recommends La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

Book Club Kit: Sea of Poppies

Sea of PoppiesSea of Poppies
by Amitav Ghosh
First Published: 2008
10 Copies & Reading Guide

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton.

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

Reviews and Articles:
The New York Times – “A Passage from India” by Gaiutra Bahadur
The Guardian (UK) – “Lascars, Sepoys, and Nautch Girls” by James Buchan
All Things Considered – “A Multilingual Voyage, Buoyed by a Sea of Poppies” by Alan Cheuse
BBC News – “Opium Financed British Rule of IndiaInterview with Amitav Ghosh
BBC News
– “Inside the World’s Largest Opium Factory” by Amarnath Tewary

NPR Book Tour – includes web features and podcasts.
Amitav Ghosh talks about Sea of Poppies

Historical Context:
PBS The Story of India – Website or DVD
The Victorian Web – “England and China: The Opium Wars, 1839-60” by Philip V. Allingham

If you enjoyed Sea of Poppies, you might like:
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Life of Pi  by Yann Martel
Cutting for Stone (Book Club Kit) by Abraham Verghese

Have you read Sea of Poppies? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment below or joining us over at Goodreads.

Book Club Kit: The Return

The ReturnThe Return
by Victoria Hislop
First Published: 2008
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Upon visiting a small cafe in Granada, Spain, modern tourist Sonia is treated to the historical tale of the Ramirez family, whose atmosphere of hope is threatened when the Spanish Civil War erupts in 1936.

Reading Guide:
HarperCollins – Includes Introduction and Discussion Questions

Reviews and Articles:
The Guardian (UK) – “Dancer from the Dance” by Rachel Hore
The Times (UK) – “Exclusive Interview with Victoria Hislop” by Alan Franks
The Independent (UK) – “My Secret Life: Victoria Hislop

Official Author Website:

FLAMENCO 101 from Kate Thomas on Vimeo.

Victoria Hislop at The Oldie Literary Lunch

Similar reads:
The Island by Victoria Hislop
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The Shadow of the Wind (Book Club Kit) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Club Kit: Prayers for Sale

Prayers for SalePrayers for Sale
by Sandra Dallas
First Published: 2009
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Set in Colorado during the Depression, an unforgettable friendship between two women–86-year-old Hennie Comfort & 17-year-old Nit Spindle–and the deepest hardships and darkest secrets they shared with each other.

Reading Guide:
Reading Group Gold: Includes Author Info, an Interview, and Discussion Questions

Reviews and Articles:
The Washington Post – “Women to Match the Mines and Mountains” by Caroline Preston
Deseret News  – “Book Review” by Jessica Harrison
Rocky Mountain News – “Interview with Author Sandra Dallas” by Patti Thorn

On the Web:
Official Author Website:
Like Sandra Dallas on Facebook.
Barnes & Noble Tagged! Sandra Dallas talks about Prayers for Sale:

Middle Swan, CO – AKA Breckenridge, CO
Where is Breckenridge, CO?
Wikipedia – Includes a beautiful panorama of Breckenridge.
Town of Breckenridge Website: Includes a Photo Gallery

More by Sandra Dallas:
Whiter than Snow
The Diary of Mattie Spenser

If you enjoyed Prayers for Sale, you might like:
Rainwater by Sandra Brown
The Help (Book Club Kit) by Kathryn Stockett
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Don’t forget to tell us what you thought about Prayers for Sale in the comments below or over at Goodreads.

Book Club Kit: The Piano Teacher

The Piano TeacherThe Piano Teacher
by Janice Y K Lee
First Published: 2009
8 Copies & Reading Guide

Hired by the wealthy Chen family as a piano instructor, Claire Pendleton is seduced by the social life of Hong Kong’s expatriate community and begins an affair with Will Truesdale, an enigmatic Englishman with a devastating past.

Reading Guide:
Penguin: Includes an Interview with the Author and Discussion Questions

Reviews and Articles:
The New York Times – “Colonial Rondo” by Lisa Fugard
O, The Oprah Magazine – “Pride and Privilege” by Cathleen Medwick “Cautious Lust” by Sara Ewald “Writer’s Colony” by Miranda Purves

Author’s Website: – Includes Interviews with Janice Y K Lee and Images of Historical Hong Kong

If you enjoyed The Piano Teacher, you might like:
Cutting for Stone (Book Club Kit) by Abraham Verghese
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Kiss by Danielle Steel

Book Club Kit: These is My Words

These is My WordsThese is My Words: the Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine
by Nancy E. Turner
First Published: 1998
8 Copies & Reading Guide

These Is My Words uses the love of learning as a major plot element in a story inspired by the author’s great-grandmother, Sarah Prine. It is set during a time in Territorial Arizona when life was hard and tenuous. The story is a portrait of the courage and perseverance of one woman, and a love affair that will never be forgotten.

Reading Guides:
OneBookAZ 2008: Includes Discussion Questions and Historic Context Includes Description, Info about the Author, Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Nancy Turner on the Web:
Author’s Website:
The Sweet Bookshelf Interview

Want to read more about Sarah Agnes Prine?
Sarah’s Quilt (Book 2)
The Star Garden (Book 3)

More like this title:
Filaree (Book Club Kit) by Marguerite Noble
One Thousand White Women (Book Club Kit) by Jim Fergus
O Pioneers!
by Willa Cather

Tell us what you thought of These is My Words in the comments below or join as at Goodreads!