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Brown Bag Books


This Library book discussion group meets at noon on the fourth Wednesday of each month and is always open to new members. The group selects the books for discussion, which are available at the check-out desk during the month preceding the discussion. Volunteers from among the group lead the discussion, with background materials supplied by the librarian. Bring your own lunch or snack; the Library provides beverages.

Titles for upcoming months are:


September 26

Madame Bovary

by Gustav Flaubert

Madame Bovary2

Madame Bovary is Gustave Flaubert’s debut novel – although it debuted in serial form all the way back in 1856.  A best seller in its own time, it continues to be listed among the greatest and most important contributions to literature over 150 years later.  Emma Bovary may not be a likeable tragic heroine but given her sustained popularity she must at least be relatable to some degree.  More than the characters or story it is Flaubert’s writing that has elevated Madame Bovary to its current status.  Proust praised its “grammatical purity” and Henry James said, “Madame Bovary has a perfection that not only stamps it, but makes it stand almost alone.”



October 24

Lincoln in the Bardo

by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo

Winner of the 2017 Man-Booker Prize, Lincoln in the Bardo is the perfect literary-supernatural crossover to get you in the Halloween spirit this month.  The true story of a grieving Abraham Lincoln visiting his son Willie’s tomb after he had succumb to typhoid fever is the jumping off point for Saunders’ brilliant storytelling.  Saunder’s places Willie in the supernatural “bardo” a place of limbo or purgatory somewhere between the living and the dead.  “A stunningly powerful work, both in its imagery and its intense focus on death, this remarkable work of historical fiction gives an intimate view of 19th-century fears and mores through the voices of the bardo's denizens.” – Library Journal (starred review)



November 28

Hillbilly Elegy

by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy

A moving portrait of rural Middle America, Hillbilly Elegy is equal parts memoir and social commentary.  Vance is a former Marine and a Yale Law School graduate whose familial roots are Appalachian.  Training a critical eye on the social problems and self-defeating mindsets that are at the root of the difficult life Vance came from, he is able to uncover long held believes that spread and infect like a virus.  Profoundly popular and equally controversial, Hillbilly Elegy is said to explain or enlighten much of what is being experienced politically in America today.  “[It] couldn’t have been better timed...a harrowing portrait of much that has gone wrong in America over the past two honest look at the dysfunction that afflicts too many working-class Americans.” –National Review

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