Calling all bookworms!
The KU Alumni Association has partnered with KU Libraries to create a Jayhawk Book Club for alumni, students and friends.
Here’s how it works:
Each semester, KU Libraries staff will select a book and create discussion questions. The discussions will take place in a closed Facebook group, and you can participate as much or as little as you like.
Not on Facebook? You can still participate! We’ll send monthly emails that will include the discussion questions, and we will also schedule online chats to discuss the book.
Spring 2021 Book: These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card
Stanford Solomon has a shocking, thirty-year-old secret. And it’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford Solomon is actually Abel Paisley, a man who faked his own death and stole the identity of his best friend.
And now, nearing the end of his life, Stanford is about to meet his firstborn daughter, Irene Paisley, a home health aide who has unwittingly shown up for her first day of work to tend to the father she thought was dead.
These Ghosts Are Family revolves around the consequences of Abel’s decision and tells the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem. There is Vera, whose widowhood forced her into the role of single mother. There are two daughters and a granddaughter who have never known they are related. And there are others, like the house boy who loved Vera, whose lives might have taken different courses if not for Abel Paisley’s actions.
These Ghosts Are Family explores the ways each character wrestles with their ghosts and struggles to forge independent identities outside of the family and their trauma. The result is an engrossing portrait of a family and individuals caught in the sweep of history, slavery, migration, and the more personal dramas of infidelity, lost love, and regret. This electric and luminous family saga announces the arrival of a new American talent.
KU Alumni members can use their KU Bookstore discount in-store and online to buy the book. In addition, all KU faculty, students and staff will receive 20% off in-store when using their KU ID. Discounts may not be stacked or combined.
How to join:
1. Fill out this form to join the Jayhawk Book Club and receive emails.
2. Join the Jayhawk Book Club Facebook Group. Discussion questions will be posted in this group.
Contact Michelle Lang, director of alumni programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785.864.9769 with questions or suggestions.
Past Jayhawk Book Club Selections
Fall 2020 Book: Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don’s work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins–aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony–and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?
What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.
With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family’s unforgettable legacy of suffering, love, and hope.
Summer 2020 Book: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
An unforgettable novel by Kristina McMorris, inspired by a stunning piece of history.
2 CHILDREN FOR SALE
The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.
For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.
Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.
Spring 2020 Book: The One by John Marrs
How far would you go to find The One?
A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.
Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…
A word-of-mouth hit in the United Kingdom, The One is a fascinating novel that shows how even the simplest discoveries can have complicated consequences.
Fall 2019 Book: When All Is Said by Anne Griffin
“I’m here to remember–all that I have been and all that I will never be again.”
If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said?
At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual – though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.
Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerful and poignantly laid bare.
Summer 2019 Book: Educated by Tara Westover
An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Spring 2019 Book: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
The spring 2019 selection was Every Note Played by Lisa Genova. Every Note Played appears on many ‘best of’ lists, including a spot on Goodreads‘ “Best Books of 2018.”
From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.
Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.
Fall 2018 Book: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
KU Libraries staff selected #1 New York Times bestseller Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman as the first book for the Jayhawk Book Club.
The book is Honeyman’s 2017 debut novel, and the winner of the 2018 Cost Debut Novel Award.
Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes… The only way to survive is to open your heart.