“Caring too much for objects can destroy you. Only—if you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn’t it?”

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Boasting impressive biceps, the Brown Baggers met in late January to discuss Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Why the newfound upper arm strength? Clocking in at some 700 pages, it took some skill to keep this novel propped up.

 While the Brown Baggers aren’t strangers to lengthy tomes (full list of Brown Baggers titles found here), many group members felt this book would have greatly benefited from a stricter editor. The swiftly moving events of the book’s beginning grabbed most members and kept them reading eagerly. By the time Theo arrives in Las Vegas, though, the book began to drag. Most group members felt that this part in particular could have been drastically cut down. Continue reading

“Whatever you is, Onion,” he said, “be it full.”

The_Good_Lord_BirdJames McBride’s The Good Lord Bird was the focus of the most recent Brown Baggers discussion. As always, we kicked off the discussion with a short overview of the author’s life and works. Although this is McBride’s first novel, he is a prolific journalist. Many group members had previously read his autobiography, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, published almost twenty years prior. Continue reading

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”

The Brown Baggers pick each year’s book selections in December of the previous year (stay tuned — this is coming up soon!), so it was good luck and good timing that October’s selection was I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. You may remember JMRL’s recent blog post about books by Nobel Prize winners. Mere days before our discussion, Malala Yousafzai was named as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi from India, another advocate and activist for children’s rights. Continue reading