Category Archives: News

O Pioneers!

Book & Author

O Pioneers!: The first of Cather’s renowned prairie novels, O Pioneers! established a new voice in American literature–turning the stories of ordinary Midwesterners and immigrants into authentic literary characters.

O Pioneers! was Willa Cather’s first great novel, and to many it remains her unchallenged masterpiece. No other work of fiction so faithfully conveys both the sharp physical realities and the mythic sweep of the transformation of the American frontier–and the transformation of the people who settled it. Cather’s heroine is Alexandra Bergson, who arrives on the wind-blasted prairie of Hanover, Nebraska, as a girl and grows up to make it a prosperous farm. But this archetypal success story is darkened by loss, and Alexandra’s devotion to the land may come at the cost of love itself.

At once a sophisticated pastoral and a prototype for later feminist novels, O Pioneers! is a work in which triumph is inextricably enmeshed with tragedy, a story of people who do not claim a land so much as they submit to it and, in the process, become greater than they were.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Published in 1913, 210 pages.


Willa Cather is one of the most important American novelists of the first half of the twentieth century. Seen as a regional writer for decades after her passing in 1947, critics have increasingly identified Cather as a canonical American writer, the peer of authors like Hemingway, Faulkner and Wharton. The author of 12 novels, 6 collections of short fiction, 2 editions of her book of poetry, April Twilights, and 9 works of nonfiction and collected journalism, speeches, and letters.

Born in Virginia in 1873, Cather settled in Webster County, Nebraska, in 1883. Though she lived the rest of her life in Pittsburgh and New York and traveled extensively, Cather’s depictions of the Nebraska prairie and farming communities were important milestones in American literature. “Miss Cather is Nebraska’s foremost citizen,” wrote author and Nobel Prize-winner Sinclair Lewis. “The United States knows Nebraska because of Willa Cather’s books.”

Quote from the book:

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. I feel as if this tree knows everything I ever think of when I sit here. When I come back to it, I never have to remind it of anything; I begin just where I left off.


  • What qualities must a person have to survive as a farmer in Nebraska in the 1870s? What qualities would hinder such survival in Cather’s point of view?
  • Do you believe that Marie, by her beauty and vitality, caused her own tragedy? Do such women cause problems? If so, how?
  • Alexandra is deeply tied to the land, and yet her greatest hope is for Emil to leave the farm and go to college, to have a personality apart from the soil.  Why does Alexandra wish a different life for Emil?

Now Read This Interview from the Philadelphia Record

Test of Wills

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Book and Author

A Test of WillsIt’s 1919, and the “War to End All Wars” has been won. But there is no peace for Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge, recently returned from the battlefields of France shell-shocked and tormented by the ever-present voice of the young Scot he had executed for refusing an order. Escaping into his work to save his sanity, Rutledge investigates the murder of a popular colonel in Warwickshire and his alleged killer, a decorated war hero and close friend of the Prince of Wales.

The case is a political minefield, and its resolution could mean the end of Rutledge’s career. Win or lose, the cost may be more than the damaged investigator can bear. For the one witness who can break the case open is, like Rutledge, a war-ravaged victim . . . and his grim, shattered fate could well prove to be the haunted investigator’s own.Published 1996, 320 pages. Description from book jacket.


Charles ToddCharles and Caroline Todd are a mother-and-son writing team who live on the east coast of the United States. Caroline has a BA in English Literature and History, and a Masters in International Relations. Charles has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Business Management, and a culinary arts degree that means he can boil more than water. Caroline has been married (to the same man) for umpteen years, and Charles isdivorced.

Charles and Caroline have a rich storytelling heritage. Both spent many evenings on the porch listening to their fathers and grandfathers reminisce. And a maternal grandmother told marvelous ghost stories. This tradition allows them to write with passion about events before their own time. And an uncle/great-uncle who served as a flyer in WWI aroused an early interest in the Great War.


A Test of Wills: The First Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery
From the Reader’s Guide at the back of the book
William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 16, 2011)

  • Why does Chief Superintendent Bowles feel that Rutledge is a threat, even though the inspector has been away for nearly five years?
  • What was your reaction when you discovered what happened between Rutledge and Hamish MacLeod during the battle of the Somme? With whom did your sympathies lie?
  • Shaken by the outcome of the inquiry, Rutledge must still face his own demons. Were you moved by the ending?  Did your feelings about Ian Rutledge change over the course of the book?


The History of Inspector Ian Rutledge Timeline

Listed are the first titles in the series.  Find the complete list of titles with brief descriptions at Charles Todd’s website

  • A TEST OF WILLS takes place in June 1919
  • WINGS OF FIRE takes place in July 1919
  • SEARCH THE DARK takes place in August 1919
  • LEGACY OF THE DEAD takes place in September 1919
  • WATCHERS OF TIME takes place in October 1919


From  RT Book Reviews is a YouTube video of Charles and Caroline talking about writing their Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford World War I mystery series. Published on Jul 28, 2011


Request Book Kit

Book and Author

The Yard:  As Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror in London comes to an end, a new era of depravity sets the stage for the first gripping mystery featuring the detectives of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad.

“If Charles Dickens isn’t somewhere clapping his hands for this one, Wilkie Collins surely is.”– The New York Times Book Review

Victorian London–a violent cesspool of squalid sin. The twelve detectives of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad are expected to solve the thousands of crimes committed in the city each month. Formed after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure in capturing Jack the Ripper, they suffer the brunt of public contempt. But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…

A Scotland Yard Inspector has been found stuffed in a black steamer trunk at Euston Square Station, his eyes and mouth sewn shut. When Walter Day, the squad’s new hire, is assigned to the case, he finds a strange ally in Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the Yard’s first forensic pathologist. Their grim conclusion: this was not just a random, bizarre murder but in all probability, the first of twelve.

The squad itself it being targeted and the devious killer shows no signs of stopping. But Inspector Day has one more surprise, something even more shocking than the crimes: the murderer’s motive..  Published 2012, 448 pages. Description from catalog

Alex Grecianis the national bestselling author of the “Scotland Yard Murder Squad” novels, including The YardThe Black Country, and the forthcoming The Devil’s Workshop.

After leaving a career in advertising, working on accounts that included Harley-Davidson and The Great American Smokeout, Alex returned to his first love: writing fiction.

He co-created the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof, which NPR named one of the best books of 2009. One of the Proof storylines is set in the 1800’s and inspired Alex’s debut novel The Yard.

He has also written an original “Murder Squad” e-book, The Blue Girl, and an original graphic novel, Seven Sons, as well as a multitude of short stories, both comics and prose, for various anthologies. He lives in the Midwest with his wife and son. He is working on the sixth novel of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad.

Quote from the book:

“A man cuts the guts out of woman after woman or sews a man’s face  up or shaves some poor bastard and then cuts his throat for no reason at all – there’s no percentage in it.  That’s killing for the sake of killing.  Where do we even start to look for the monster done that?”


  • Failure to solve the Jack the Ripper murders has diminished Scotland Yard’s reputation.  Crime is overwhelming and inspectors have to triage the caseload.  How does Inspector Day organize the cases left by Inspector Little?  What does he come to realize?
  • Forensic pathology is a developing science in criminal investigations. Describe Dr. Kingsley and his methods.  Are his methods accepted and do they help further the investigation?
  • From A Conversation with Alex Grecian Author of the Yard, Grecian said his original intention was to write this book as a graphic novel series, but his agent talked him into writing it as prose.  Is his background as a graphic artist evident in the descriptions and pacing of the book?



Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad


Have your book group test their detective skills!  Use the instructions from this Scientific American article “Finding Fingerprints” to dust and lift fingerprints from hard surfaces.


The Girl Before

Book & Author

‘Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.’ The request seems odd, even intrusive — and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating. Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant — and it does. After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space — and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Published in 2017, 336 pages. Description from the catalog.


J.P. Delaney is a pseudonym for a writer (Anthony Capella) who has previously written bestselling fiction under other names. Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Before, which is being brought to the screen by Academy Award winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment


“I’m JP Delaney, a bestselling author who’s written under several different names.

People often ask why I write under a pseudonym. There’s no great mystery to it – it’s simply that I like to write different kinds of books, and publishers and retailers believe it’s confusing for readers to pick up a book by an author they think they know, only to discover it’s a completely different kind of story to the one they were expecting.

Personally, I think my books have much more in common with each other than they have differences. I find similar characters, themes and interests cropping up whatever I’m writing. (Sometimes I even drop in little parallels, just for fun…) And my relationship with the reader is always fundamentally the same. I never forget I’m inviting them to come with me on a journey, and that as their host and guide it’s my duty to enthrall them”.

Quote from the book:

People like to talk about clean slates. But the only truly clean slate is a new one. The rest are gray from whatever’s been written on them before.


  • Emma and Jane have a lot in common, but there are also striking differences between the two women. Compare and contrast these two characters, and discuss some of the ways in which their differences and similarities influenced their relationships
  • How does living at One Folgate Street impact each of the women? In what ways do our environments shape our experiences? If you could make one change to your current living environment that would have an impact on your behavior, what would it be?
  • What do you think of Edward’s dream to create a community of homes like One Folgate Street? Could such a project ever really work successfully? Why or why not?

Book Trailer


Velveteen Daughter

Book & Author

The Velveteen Daughter:  The story of Margery Williams Bianco, author of the beloved children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit, and her daughter Pamela, a world-renowned child prodigy artist whose fame at one time greatly eclipses her mother’s. But celebrity at such an early age exacts a great toll. Pamela’s dreams elude her as she struggles with severe depressions, an overbearing father, an obsessive love affair, and a spectacularly misguided marriage. Throughout, her life raft is her mother.The glamorous art world of Europe and New York in the early 20th century and a supporting cast of luminaries, including Eugene O’Neill and his wife Agnes (Margery’s niece), Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Richard Hughes, author of A High Wind in Jamaica, provide a vivid backdrop to the Biancos’ story.

Published in 2017, 399 pages.  Description from the catalog.


“I was born in a blizzard in Milton Massachusetts where my father was a teacher and coach at Milton Academy. On the night before my early-morning birth my parents battled snow and slippery roads to drive to the hospital in a cranky old Ford Woody station wagon with a broken, wide-open window. My father later called the school to let them know he couldn’t teach his classes, and he always claimed that the next day all classes at Milton were cancelled to celebrate the great occasion of my birth. I took that as gospel for a long time, but I’m guessing it was really only a snow day. Just a hunch.

I learned to read when I was three years old. This was thanks to a six-year-old sister who came home from first grade every day, sat me down, and played “teacher.” She taught me phonetics and I can still remember vividly the miracle of opening all the books in my room and realizing I could read the words myself. My world had changed forever.

At eight, in the back of another Ford station wagon, I had an experience that, to me, signaled that I would be a writer someday.  If you want to hear the story, click here

But I grew up and had to earn a living. These are some of the jobs I have had, in chronological order:

  • Typing letters at a cheap jewelry manufacturer in the garment district in New York
  • Administrative assistant to the General Counsel of Columbia Pictures (NYC, Fifth Ave.)
  • High school English teacher in California
  • Corporate newsletter editor at a real estate development company in Florida
  • Communications Director – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, also in Florida
  • Development Director – New Canaan Country School in Connecticut
  • Development Officer – Amherst College in Massachusetts.

That eight-year-old’s dream of writing – what happened to it?

Did I write furiously and devotedly in my spare time during these years of work? No, I did not. At some point I did get serious about an idea and I wrote several chapters of a novel about Benedict Arnold, but never managed to get beyond a certain point. This went on for about 15 years (I’m not kidding) – and one morning, stuck as usual in front of the computer, I took a break. Which turned out to be a very good idea, because it was at that moment that The Velveteen Daughter was born. If you want to hear the story, click here

Personal stuff, in a nutshell:

I have been married more than once. My most recent marriage is twenty years old, and so I think it’s not too much wishful thinking to say that it seems to be working. I was a single mother for fourteen years, and have a stellar, marathon-running son and two awesome grandchildren. I am also a proud stepmother and step-grandmother of four daughters and six grandchildren.

I take very long walks. I carry a pen and notepaper with me as I seem to get a lot of creative ideas and writing problems worked out along the way.

I have a thing about cemeteries. Always have. Drove my son crazy on road trips, though once I showed him how to find military graves from the Revolutionary War (spurred by my Benedict Arnold work-in-progress obsession), he could look at it as a treasure hunt and then it was sort of fun.

I think that’s enough”.

Quote from the book:

She’ll sleep the day away, I can count on that. Another bad sign. There’s trouble ahead when the little genius takes to bed.


  • What is the relationship between Pamela and Margery? Do you find it problematical? What about the relationship between Pamela and Francesco?
  • How do you feel about the fictionalization of the lives of Pamela and Margery?
  • Many primary materials are quoted in this novel? Does this make the narrative more effective? Is it distracting?
  • How does Pamela’s illness manifest itself? When does it begin? Do you think it was inevitable (simply inherited), or do you think it had to do with circumstances in her life? What was the cause of her breakdown?

Now Read This Interview with Beth Anderson



My Absolute Darling

Book and Author

“Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her.”

Published in 2017, 417 pages.  Description from the catalog

Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his B.A. from Willamette University in 2010, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.

Quote from the book:

He has a way of watching her that makes her feel as if she is the most important thing in the world.

Now Read This interview with Liz Button

Bel Canto

Book and Author

Bel Canto:  Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. 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 breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger thathas been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

Published in 2001, 352 pages.  Description from the catalog.

ANN PATCHETT is the author of seven novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction–Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy, What Now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays examining the theme of commitment.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Patchett has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Book Sense Book of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, The Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the American Bookseller’s Association’s Most Engaging Author Award, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books and New York Times bestsellers. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes.  She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores on NPR, The Colbert Report (including the series finale), Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, The Martha Stewart Show, and The CBS Early Show, among many others. Along with James Patterson, she was the honorary chair of World Book Night. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Ann Patchett lives in Nashville with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky. Follow along with Parnassus Books on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the bookstore blog, Musing.

Quote from the book:

It makes you wonder. All the brilliant things we might have done with our lives if only we suspected we knew how.


Discussion questions from Reading Group Guides:

  • Describe Roxane Coss. What is it about her that makes such an impression on the other hostages and the terrorists? Is it merely that she is famous? How does her singing and the music relate to the story?
  •  Roxane and Mr. Hosokawa speak different languages and require Gen to translate their conversations. Do you think it’s possible to fall in love with someone to whom you cannot speak directly?
  • The story is told by a narrator who is looking back and recounting the events that took place. What do you think of this technique? Did it enhance the story, or would you have preferred the use of a straight narrative?

Now Read This interview with Gwen Ifill

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

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Book and Author

Killers of the Flower Moon:   In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.

As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
Published 2017, 400 pages. Description from the catalog.

David Grannis a #1 New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine. His upcoming book, The White Darkness, which will be published in October, is a true story of adventure and obsession in the Antarctic.

His previous book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, documented one of the most sinister crimes and racial injustices in American history. Described by Dave Eggers in the New York Times Book Review as a “riveting” work that will “sear your soul,” Killers of the Flower Moon was a finalist for the National Book Award and a winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award for best true crime book, a Spur Award for best work of historical nonfiction, and an Indies Choice Award for best adult nonfiction book of the year. A #1 New York Times bestseller, Killers of the Flower Moon was named one of the best books of the year by the TimesWall Street JournalWashington PostLos Angeles TimesTimeEntertainment WeeklyBoston GlobeSan Francisco ChronicleNPR, PBS, BloombergGQSlateBuzzfeedVogueand other publications.


Quote from the book:

While researching the murders, I often felt that I was chasing history even as it was slipping away…


Discussion Questions from Penguin Random House:

  • What do the contemporary media reports on the wealth and lifestyle of the Osage reflect about white perceptions of Native Americans (pp. 6–7; pp. 76–77)? In what way do they lay a foundation for the way the murders and mysterious deaths were treated by law enforcement?
  • How were manufactured evidence, suborned testimony, and false confessions used to divert the FBI investigation? What role did independently hired private eyes and informants play in the search for the truth?
  • Are there recent examples of racial prejudice and injustice that parallel those described in Killers of the Flower Moon? What has changed about the approach taken by law enforcement? About the attitudes expressed by the white community in the face of racial or religious discrimination? In what ways have things remained the same?


Now Read This interview with David Grann

As part of the NewsHour and New York Times book club, Now Read This, author David Grann answers your questions about “Killers of the Flower Moon,”” his true crime book on the 20th century Osage murders. And Jeffrey Brown announces the March pick, a book that takes a surreal look at modern migration.



Maisie Dobbs


Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs enters domestic service in 1910 at thirteen, working for Lady Rowan Compton. When her remarkable intelligence is discovered by her employer, Maisie becomes the pupil of detective Maurice Blanche. In 1929 Maisie hangs out her shingle: M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations — and that is where our story begins.

Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England.  She emigrated to the United States in 1990 embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer—she subsequently became a regular contributor to journals covering international education and travel, and has published articles in the Washington PostHuffington PostThe Daily Beast and other publications.

Click on the screenshot below access a video where Jacqueline Winspear explains to Nancy Pearl she was inspired to write Maisie Dobbs – her first work of fiction.

Quote from the book

Memories are links in a golden chain that bind us until we meet again.


Topics this book will bring up for discussion include:

  • How Maisie seems to have changed and grown as a person.
  • Maisie decides her sign should read:  “M. Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator.”  Is this an accurate description of what she does?
  • Several times in the book people are told to “Get on with it”, in reference to leaving the trauma of the war behind them and moving on with life.  Is this sound advice?  How does their attitude compare to how we treat veterans of war today?

More discussion questions are available from Reading Group Guides at


Maisie Dobbs features many details about life in Britain during the aftermath of the Great War.

Some items from our collection that might help your group understand the time period better are:

The Great Silence: Britain From the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age by Juliet Nicolson

Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War by Virginia Nicholson

One popular British food that could be served at your meeting is Rice Pudding.  Here is a recipe for Classic Rice Pudding from Fine Cooking.

Girls of Atomic City

Book & Author

The Girls of Atomic City

A secret city in Tennessee.  Women recruited to work on a top secret project for top dollar wages.  They are sworn to secrecy and wondering what they are working on.  Then a detonation overseas makes it all clear.

Denise Kiernan

Denise has this to say about herself on her website bio:


I tell stories.

Sometimes they’re my own, sometimes they’re not.

Sometimes they’re true, sometimes they’re not.

Sometimes I write them alone, sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes I use words, sometimes I use images.

Watch this video from Simon and Schuster to hear Denise share what inspired her to write The Girls of Atomic City.

 Quote from the Book

They fought to smile through the lines and the mud and the long hours, dancing under the stars and under the watchful eyes of their government, an Orwellian backdrop for a Rockwellian world.


Topics that the book will bring up for discussion include:

  • The African American experience at Oak Ridge and the ways people coped with it.
  • The ethical implications of the employees at Oak Ridge being asked to spy on each other.
  • Oak Ridge was in some ways a social experiment.  How did the women featured in the book create a community in a town populated by people who were mostly strangers to one another?

More discussion questions are available from Simon and Schuster.
You might want to also look at the questions (and responses) that a librarian at a public library used with her book group.