Brown Bag Books

Upcoming Selections

August 28 at noon
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
In another much anticipated follow-up, Manhattan Beach is Jennifer Egan’s first novel since her Pulitzer Prize winner, A Visit from the Goon Squad.  This is Egan’s fist historical novel, opening during the depression and following 12-year-old Anna Kerrigan and her father into WWII.  Soon her father disappears and Anna finds herself working in a Brooklyn naval shipyard.  Anna is the first female diver – repairing American ships used in the war.  Clues begin to surface as to the possible whereabouts of her father.  “Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there’s nothing Egan can’t do.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Miller's Valley by Anna QuindlenSeptember 25 at noon
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.

The Coddling of the American MindOctober 23 at noon
The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt
Something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and are afraid to speak honestly. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen? First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; always trust your feelings; and life is a battle between good people and evil people. This is a book for anyone who is confused by what is happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is concerned about the growing inability of Americans to live, work, and cooperate across party lines.

Little Women by Louisa May AlcottNovember 27 at noon
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters – Alcott quickly completed a second volume. The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Enjoy revisiting this enduring classic!

Previous Books Discussed

2019
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

2018
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

2017
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

2016
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

2015
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

2014
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

2013
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

2012
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

2011
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

2010
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

2009
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

2008
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

2007
Saturday 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

2006
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

2005
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

2004
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

2003
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

2002
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

2001
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

2000
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

1999
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