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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. Books are available at the Reader’s Advisory desk during the month preceding the discussion. Volunteers from among the group lead the discussion, with background materials supplied by the librarian.

*This program is currently a hybrid program, meeting in person AND online. If you are interested in attending via Zoom, please email Tim Sherman at for Zoom link and login information.

Upcoming Titles

Firekeeper's Daughter book cover image
The Mystery of Mrs. Christie book cover
And then there were none book cover
The Vanishing Half book cover

Firekeeper’s Daughter

BY Angeline Boulley

November 22 at 12pm

Join us for a celebration of the 2023-24 Michigan Humanity Council’s selection for the Great Michigan Read.

For fans of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange, Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, is a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community.

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions – and deaths – keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

The Mystery of MRS. Christie

by Marie Benedict

December 27 at 12pm

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car―strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

And Then There were none

by Agatha Christie

January 24 at 12pm

1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr. and Mrs. U.N. Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realize they may be harboring a murderer among their number.

    The tension escalates as the survivors realize the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

    “If you’re one of the few who haven’t experienced the genius of Agatha Christie, this novel is a stellar starting point.” — DAVID BALDACCI, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

    The Vanishing half

    by Brit Bennett

    February 28th at 12pm

    The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

    Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

    As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.


    Previous Books Discussed

    2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999

    Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
    Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
    Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
    The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
    Deacon King Kong by James McBride
    Americanon: an unexpected U.S. history in thirteen bestselling books by Jess McHugh
    The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz
    The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
    The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

    Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
    Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall
    Made in China by Amelia Pang
    The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell
    An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
    Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
    The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve
    The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
    Invisible Women: Bata Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
    Edgar Allan Poe Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
    This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
    Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber

    Factfulness by Hans Rosling
    The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
    The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
    What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
    The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
    Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
    My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
    The Overstory by Richard Powers
    The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
    Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
    A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

    by Andrew Sean Greer
    What the Eyes Don’t See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
    [no meeting]
    The Sport of Kings
    by C. E. Morgan
    The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
    Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
    Virgil Wander by Lief Enger
    Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
    Creatures by Crissy Van Meter
    Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
    Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

    Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
    Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani
    Improvement by Joan Silber
    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
    The Power by Naomi Alderman
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
    Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
    The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

    Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
    by Roz Chast
    News of the World by Paulette Jiles
    A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
    Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
    Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
    The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
    The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
    Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
    Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance
    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

    Desert Queen
    by Janet Wallach
    The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
    The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Once in a Great City by David Maraniss
    The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
    The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
    One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Ngyuen
    Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
    X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
    Euphoria by Lily King
    Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
    TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
    Dead Wake by Erik Larson
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

    The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
    The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
    The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
    The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
    The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
    A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
    I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish
    Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
    To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

    The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
    by Jonas Jonasson
    The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro
    Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
    Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
    Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier
    The Round House by Louise Erdrich
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
    The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
    Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
    And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

    The Language of Flowers
    by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    The Tiger’s Wife by Tèa Obreht
    Remains of the Day by Kazou Ishiguro
    The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
    The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
    The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
    Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? by Michael J. Sandel
    The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
    Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
    Tinkers by Paul Harding
    The Art Student’s War by Brad Leithauser
    Please Look After Mom by Kyong-Sook Shin
    Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof
    Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
    The Submission by Amy Waldman
    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
    The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
    The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
    Annie’s Ghosts by Steven Luxenberg
    Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
    Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
    The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac
    Arc of Justice: a saga of race, civil rights, and murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle
    Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

    Stealing Buddha’s Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen
    Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berniers
    Still Alice by Lisa Genova
    Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Kings of New York by Michael Weinreb
    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
    The Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
    My Ántonia by Willa Cather

    Little Heathens
    by Mildred A. Kalish
    The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
    Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
    The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch & Jeffrye Zaslow
    Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russel
    Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
    The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    Home by Marilyne Robinson

    His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
    The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleid Hosseini
    Atonement by Ian McEwan
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
    Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
    Go and Come Back by Joan Abelove

    by Ian McEwan
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
    The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
    The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
    A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
    Julie and Julia by Julia Powell
    Digging to America by Anne Tyler
    Arc of Justice: a saga of race, civil rights, and murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
    March by Geraldine Brooks
    The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
    The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

    The Bone People by Keri Hulme
    True North by Jim Harrison
    Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
    The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
    Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
    Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
    East of Eden by John Steinbeck
    The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
    Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan

    Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
    The Three Miss Margarets by Louise Shaffer
    Niagara Falls All Over Again by Elizabeth McCraken
    Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
    My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
    Madam Secretary by Madeleine Albright
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
    Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    April 1865: the month that saved America
    by Jay Winik
    The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
    Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel
    Saul and Patsy by Charles Baxter
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel
    Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
    The Giver, Gathering Blue, & The Messenger by Lois Lowry
    Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor of Jordan
    Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks
    True to Form by Elizabeth Berg

    John Adams by David McCullough
    The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy
    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
    The Hours by Michael Cunningham
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Earle Stegner
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
    The Lucky Gourd Shop by Joanna Catherine Scott
    A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson
    West of Kabul, East of New York by Tamim Ansary
    Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey
    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
    Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

    A Virtuous Woman
    by Kaye Gibbons
    Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
    Seabiscuit: an American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
    The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
    Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
    The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
    Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
    Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

    The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon
    by Stephen King
    The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
    The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate by Barbara Mikulski, et al.
    Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama
    The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
    Beach Music by Pat Conroy
    Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    A Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
    Personal History by Katharine Graham
    Sometimes I Dream in Italian by Rita Ciresi

    The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
    Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
    Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
    Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
    Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
    Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
    No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Evensong by Gail Godwin
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
    At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

    Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
    Father Melancholy’s Daughter by Gail Godwin
    We Were the Mulhaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
    I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
    The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
    The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow
    Patty Jane’s House of Curl by Lorna Landrik
    The Testament by John Grisham
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy